DC News and Views

SDCC is past and that means lots of me rambling. Thus, I’ll keep the rambling up here to a minimum. You’re welcome.

Today’s Award Winners, Tomorrows Unrepentant Egotists

The 2006 Eisner Awards were announced last night at Comic-Con. The winners are:

See who you have to kiss up to for the next year at Newsarama

Go DC! A strong showing from the publisher this year as they are honored (or share honors) in 12 categories. That’s not too shabby.

The one choice that fell DC’s way that I question? Alan Moore as best writer. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a genius, etc, etc. I just don’t think his output this year deserves the award. Not trying to be controversial or anything. It’s just how I feel.

Hey, Just Because DC Can’t Win at Softball Doesn’t Mean They Don’t Have Any All-Stars

Creator Adam Hughes confirmed for Newsarama Sunday afternoon at Comic-Con what has been rumored for some time and strongly hinted at by Dan DiDio Saturday – Hughes will be writing and drawing an All-Star Wonder Woman title for DC.

Watch Adam Hughes prove himself as a switch hitter in the Newsarama Stadium

No info there. Just thought you might like to know.

Yay for Elitism

DC Comics held their Big Three panel Sunday at Comic-Con specifically focusing on their “Holy Trinity” of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

Don’t feel bad. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman look down on everyone, not just you. Yes, even Newsarama

I may regret this later, but for now, I am thrilled with the idea of Batman and his black sense of humor, as written by Grant Morrison.

Joker, shot in the face. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa?

Oh, good, Superman’s “super brain” is back for good…glorious. Yes, keen observers, that is sarcasm. I liked things better when I was the only one with a super brain. Then, here comes Superman ruining it.
Seriously though, it is all just a bit too…put it this way, in my mind, Superman turning back time by flying around the world “backwards” is the next step.

Because You Demanded It…In the 80’s

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray will write, and Amanda Conner will draw a DC limited series starring the Teen Titans character Terra, this according to this message board post Saturday by Gray.

Everything old is new again at Newsarama

I like a lot of Palmiotti and Gray’s collaborative work, but do you ever get the feeling that DC likes them a little TOO much? It’s like that one guy who’s at all the parties and one of your friends insists that he’s just so funny but no one else seems to think so. But rather that just let it go, your friend keeps insists that this guy tell jokes and stories and such. And because of that, you kind of start hating that guy?

Yeah, I worry DC may push Palmiotti and Gray into that territory. Especially post-Bludhaven (shudder).

Hop in Your Rocketship

DC Comics held their major DC Universe-related panel of the Comic-Con weekend Saturday, and we’re on hand for a full report.

Starting on an empty stage, moderator Dan DiDio told the audience not to fear, that he wasn’t going to be doing the panel by himself. Theatrically starting with the female creators, DiDio called the creators up to the stage individually to thunderous applause.

Mission control at Newsarama is prepping to send you to the DC Universe.

It makes me sort of sad that the “female creators” in question were, in fact, a creator. As in one. If it wasn’t for that intro paragraph though, I doubt I’d even notice.

Ahh, more Cassandra Cain to come. I knew that that particular story couldn’t be over. I hope Batgirl fans can breathe a little bit easier in the short term now.

There’s something very unnerving about Nightwing viewing the people around him as a means to an end. That’s like Batman at his jerkiest. Isn’t the deal with Nightwing that he’s NOT that type of hero?

“We’re looking at more than the last five minutes of history.” Ouch, Paul Levitz. Ouch. Keep up those harsh words and you might make Joey Q. cry. (By the way, isn’t Levitz supposed to be the non-juvenile, non-petty one?)

Wow…if you scan down this page a little bit, I totally ruin Didio’s tease about All-Star Wonder Woman. At least I know that Adam Hughes ruined it first.

Some of those secrets are pretty weak. The two “mights” equal cheating and that bit about Inertia was already revealed in Flash #2 which was on stand two days before this panel.

On the other hand, the ‘Tec, JLA, and Wonder Woman teases are interesting.

DC, please let Morrison go back to Frankenstein. Please.

Boo on still no Elseworlds. DC, let my alternate world/time stories go!

52 Reasons to Be In San Diego

The last panel of the “day” programming schedule, DC’s 52 panel was, as usual, a wild time for both the panelists and audience, as a tired audience and punchy panelists always make for an “anything can happen” atmosphere.

If anyone’s going to make a 52 card pickup joke, it’ll be Newsarama. Or me.

I have no idea who this Mr. Banjo is, but I suspect that I’d like to.

Ahh, the Scots as an oppressed minority. Somewhere, Ben Morse is smiling.

I love the idea of “superheroes as fashion” that Morrison brings up. I don’t know if it will work or not, but I think it is a very cool idea, at least.

Huh, the whole New Gods as earthy figures is sticking around. I have to say I’m pretty surprised by that. Not disappointed though. Just surprised.

It’s a Generational Thing

Opened by DC Executive Editor Dan Didio, Friday’s JLA/JSA panel included Justice League of America writer Brad Meltzer, editor Eddie Berganza, Justice Society writer Geoff Johns, and editor Stephen Wacker discussing the legacies and futures of their respective teams, as well as teases a plenty about just who may be on the final lineups of the DCU’s premiere powerhouses.

Visiting Newsarama will be nothing like visiting Grandma at the rest home, I promise.

I thought that Hal Jordan was lock for the new Justice League, but the more “he’s my favorite” hints Meltzer drops, the more I’m expecting it to be a different GLer. I’ve got him all figured out. Unless that’s exactly what he wants me to think and I’m playing right into his hands. Damn you Meltzer!

For some reason I get a real kick out of Didio’s response to the “good” Grundy question. It seems so…I don’t know. Mean? Unilateral? I don’t know if it is the best way to run a comic universe, but I appreciate the idea of Didio accepting and rejecting characters based purely on how he feels about them.

Since Meltzer has already written all 12 Justice League issues, isn’t it conceivable that he could take that year off to write a novel and still be back into comics almost immediately after his JLA run wraps up?

Oh nevermind that above idea. I forget about lead time to put a series out. So, it would probably have to be at least a six month hiatus. It was a nice thought though.

That is One Wild Storm

Thanks in no small part to the presence of Grant Morrison, Jim Lee, and Adam Brody of The O.C. Friday’s Wildstorm panel at San Diego Comic-Con was one of the best-attended in ages for the imprint of DC.

Other creators and staff present for the discussion included: Executive editor Scott Dunbier, editor Ben Abernathy, Brian K. Vaughan, Wildstorm VP & General Manager Hank Kanalz (who also moderated the panel), Christos Gage, Gail Simone, Talent Caldwell, Darick Robertson, Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Whilce Portacio, and (new WS editor and former DC editor) Scott Petersen. Lee joined the show a few minutes in, bearing cookies, which he shared with the crowd. Artists Gene Ha and writer John Ridley snuck in later.

Kanalz began by running through the slideshow and discussing upcoming projects.

If you hate that headline, imagine how I feel. Or how Newsarama feels

MacFarlane’s first comic work in years and this is what we get? Disappointing.

The Authority revamp sounds crazy to me. Can’t wait. I was fence sitting on that, but I think the decision has been made for me now.

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I’ll be buying that Gen 13 series. God, I feel so dirty.

Ahh, so J. Scott Campbell still has the skillz (as seen in this cover).

After this cover

I was concerned.

The Most Shocking Announcement Ever

UPDATED; Though it’s been the subject of many rumors over the last several months and no less than a couple of leaks over the last few weeks, just moments ago at the Warner Bros. Home Video: Superman Through the Ages panel at Comic-Con, filmmaker Richard Donner (Superman 1 & 2) finally announced to the world that he and his former assistant and now superstar comics writer Geoff Johns will indeed be teaming to co-write DC’s Action Comics (with Adam Kubert on art) beginning this October.

Johns also just briefly confirmed the same news at DC’s JLA/JSA panel.

During the course of an earlier panel, Donner revealed he’ll be dealing with Brainiac in a Superman-related project, now thought to be Action. Update: Newsarama was able to track down Donner [who goes by “Dick”] and Johns for a few quick questions on their history, working together, and their early plans for Action…

Newsarama must be having a heart attack.

This is a cool announcement and everything, but it ends up being a little underwhelming. Why? Because it has been rumored for awhile, in part, and because DC proclaimed that it was a creative team we’d never see coming. When the creative team is one that’s been rumored for months, it is not so much a team we didn’t see coming.

Still, it’s cool so I’m trying to focus on that.

It’s All So Horrifying!

Coming on the heels last weekend’s announcement of a Nightmare on Elm Street ongoing series by Chuck Dixon and Kevin West, Fridayat Comic-Con DC/Wildstorm announced they will also publish titles based on the Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre horror film series.

No, I’m not discussing Newsarama‘s web design. That would be rude.

I’m sure there is an audience for these comics. I just have no idea who that audience is.

Look Both Ways Before “Crossing”

Mike Carey has been garnering his much deserved share of acclaim over the last few years. So it came as no surprise that he is one of the central attractions at the Vertigo Panel being held, 3:30 p.m., this Friday at the San Diego Comic-Con.

From the sounds of things, the Lucifer writer will be busier than ever, with three different titles coming over the next year. The first, Crossing Midnight, will team Carey up with interior artist Jim Fern and while J.H. Williams III will do covers. DC describes it as Asian horror meets legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki.

Watch out! Carey’s driving that bus straight to Newsarama

Ooo…Faker sounds very cool. Nice to finally hear what Jock will actually be doing next. (I mean that, although we knew it was Faker, we had no idea what Faker was, really).

Crossing Midnight sounds interesting as well. Huh. I might have just found two more Vertigo titles to follow.

Sometimes a Universe is Not Enough

Updated – Hosted by DCU Executive Editor Dan Didio, with 52 editor Stephen Wacker, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, and Jann Jones as panelists, DC kicked off its San Diego Comic-Con programming with its “DC Nation” panel, discussing the ongoing 52 series, and other changes that have come about as a result of Infinite Crisis. The panel was packed, with standing room only – not to mention a rising temperature throughout the panel.

Sticking to his approach with the “DC Nation” panels, Didio quickly turned to the audience over to questions from the audience, asked in a “quid pro quo” fashion, that is, the cost to ask a panelist a question was being asked a question by the panelist.

Newsarama is the coyote here to sneak you across the border

What sort of fan requests the death of “any character created after 1980”? And people say that DC is too bloodthirsty these days.

You Know How Those Dizzy Fairy Tales Characters Are

[Two Comic-Con reports – the first from Sunday’s Fables panel, the second from Friday’s main Vertigo panel.]

Spin, spin, spin with Tinkerbell, Inc. at Newsarama

Signed copies of Fables #50?! I miss one SDCC and this is how DC punishes me. Fine, DC, I get it. I’m the bad guy in this. Whatever. I just need my space sometimes alright? No need to get floozing it up.

I can’t believe how close Y is to ending. Sure, we knew it had a definite end issue in mind, but it still seemed to come oh-so quickly. Another sign that I have become very aged, I suppose.

Vertigo is just so full of crazy goodness, isn’t it?

COMING ATTRACTIONS

BATMAN 655

Grant Morrison on a Batman ongoing. That’s enough to get me in the door right there. Then again, the rest of you may be more difficult to please. With that in mind, consider his statements from SDCC this past week.

That’s right, Joker catches a bullet in the brain pan. Come on, you just know that you’ve gotta check THAT out or you’ll never forgive yourself.

BIRDS OF PREY 96

BLACK ALICE!!! WOOOO!!!!

And no, this is not a white Debbie/black Debbie situation.

CRISIS AFTERMATH: THE SPECTRE 3

I’m really enjoying the relationship between Allen and his “other half” the Spectre as they negotiate the OYL world and come to terms with each others strengths and limitations.

However, what’s really been selling it for me is Cliff Chiang. He is just awesome, all issue, every issue the he does. As far as I’m concerned, he deserves every ounce of work he gets. And more.

Finally, the plot hook. This installment, Allen’s son might succeed where Montoya could not when he confronts his father’s killer.

Oooo…intense.

OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

52 WEEK 11

“52” is on a mini-roll here. Between last week and this week, the story finally seem to be shaping and moving forward, not just being set up.

This issue belongs to Renee, The Question, and the all-new Batwoman. From what I understand, this Batwoman may be gay. Just a rumor I heard. Anyway, Batwoman makes her “action” debut this week, punching out some creatures who we’ve haven’t seen since Rucka’s great, but all too short and crossover riddled run on Detective Comics. It’s good stuff; great fight set pieces that don’t overwhelm characterization and vice versa (Renee’s unraveling of Batwoman’s identity mid-fight is a strong, revealing bit of work that takes less than three panels).

We also catch another glimpse of Ralph Dibny’s quest to unravel the Resurrection Cult that is less interesting than previous installments but ends with a heck of creepy image.

CHECKMATE 4

To think I almost dropped this book after #1; boy, I’d be kicking myself now if I had.

This month, Alan Scott steps up and shows why he’s the gold standard of superheroes in the DCU. It is an entirely satisfying installment that lets Scott shine but whose conclusion remains grounded and “fair” given the “world” that Checkmate operates in. Rucka successfully juggles the inherently dirty work of espionage that is full of grey areas and the inherently bright work of superheroics that is inherently black or white. Neither is given short shrift but both are allowed to be what they should be. The fun is in seeing how holding to either ideal in a world where the two are increasingly intertwined can spell your own personal undermining.

To be less overly analytical, the Great Ten are pretty damn cool too. I like that they are “different” than their familiar Western counterparts in terms of appearance and name, but similar in terms of archetypes and attitudes. I also like any silent man who drives a pitch black living jet, but that’s just my thing I guess.

ION 4

“Now things get interesting,” Kyle says to himself at the conclusion of this issue and, oddly enough, he’s right. It’s just too bad it took four issues to get to this point.

I appreciate that Marz was willing to take the time to build up “Ion’s” descent into murderous madness (the quotes will make sense after you read the issue, I promise) but I believe it actually hurt the story. For one thing, not a whole heck of a lot happened in the first three installments which is not such a good thing. For another, it makes the fact that Kyle is not responsible for what’s going on more obvious, not less. I didn’t see the reason for it coming (a very nice surprise reveal), but I knew that it was. As good as the reveal was, if the build up was more like 2 issues, it would’ve been even better.

Still, I won’t be one to look a gifthorse in the mouth. Ion (the book) seems to have finally found a groove with this issue and #5 is the first one that I am actively looking forward to since #1.

On the art side, however, things seemed to have regressed a touch. Tocchini has yet to impress me but after issue 1’s disastrous showing, he’s been steadily getting better. This time out, however, he backslides a bit. Not as bad as #1, thankfully, but it still represents a step down from #3. Most of the problem is the return of his amorphous body types and occasionally melty facial features. The Khund scenes in the beginning of the issue are probably the best example of Tocchini’s slight slip in this area. That hurts the grade.

The grade is also hurt by the fact that while this issue finally kicks the book into gear, it doesn’t really start to move forward in that gear. Still, with this book, I’m just happy to finally see it find its footing.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 0

First off, that cover is misleading. No choices are made about who’s in the League this issue. Thus “Who’s In?” remains an unanswerable question at this moment in time.

Second, goodness that J. Scott Campbell cover was ugly, eh? What is up Mr. Scott Campbell? I normally like your work.

Anyway, past that misleading and/or ugly cover is some fun stuff. It is largely inconsequential flashbacks and flash-forwards (most of which will probably never happen) but there is enough moments of “wow, nice insight” to make this slight story worth reading. In particular, look out for Batman lashes out about Red Tornado’s sacrifice many years ago, Lex pounding the trio because someone (presumably Connor) was “his son”, and Wonder Woman and Batman’s first meeting after Superman’s “death” at the hands of Doomsday. There are also more than a few moments to make you smile like Superman quizzing Batman about his famous one punch encounter with Guy Gardner, Batman borrowing a book from the Paradise Island library, and the sight of Aztek’s helmet in the JLA trophy room sometime in the future.

Okay, maybe that last one was more of a “me” thing.

Also, you can’t beat an “all-star” cast of artists.

MANHUNTER 24

The Doctor Psycho case returns to the spotlight this issue as the menacing midget (you like that? I think I may sell it to DC) gets a little too antsy to hear the verdict and his trial and takes matters into his own…mind, I suppose. Kate returns fire in her normal ruthless and improvisional manner (suffice to say, kissing seems a little bit more scarier to me now) and is rewarded with two more victories (to say of what variety would be cheating).

Meanwhile, in other supervillainy, we learn that Sweeney Todd is living up to his historical name…sort of.

In the “real world” Kate is faced with a sense of intruding, Mark heads off on his, and Chase and Dylan are evolving into quite the real couple, something both (but certainly Chase) are unaware of.

All of it…all of it is great.

ROBIN 152

The Joker’s henchmen storyline comes to the forefront a lot quicker than I expected it would as Robin’s new police contact brings him in on the matter. I like that Tim now has his own contact in the department, but I don’t like Bruce’s reaction to it. Much like Robinson’s jackhammer subtle pushing of Tim as the Best Robin Ever (patent pending) (but not nearly as egregiously), Bruce’s sunny, “Well, I have a contact, why shouldn’t you?” feels forced. We get that their relationship is better now OYL. Find a less intrusive way to let us know, please.

The stuff about the Clash, though? Gold. The Joker storyline also remains interesting and may bring up some other issues across the board (as Tim thinks, what if other villains have similar plans or have left similar deadly items just lying about).

Anyway, as promised by the cover, Robin does run into Captain Boomerang (the son) while running about after one of Joker’s soon to go off death traps. I like Tim’s attitude towards the new Boomerang, but the fight felt a bit perfunctory. I would’ve liked to have seen it either not occur at all (Tim knocks him flat on his back and tells him exactly why he doesn’t have time for Boomer right now) or be given a little bit more space to breathe. Still, since this is just part I, I am sure there is more bitterness and hostility in store for this team-up.

Oh, and Tim finally gets to that classmate’s house for some tutoring. Do I smell a brand new romantic interest? Why yes, yes I think I do.

SHADOWPACT 3

Oh, Shadowpact, what has happened to you guys? Remember the fun of the first three issues of Day of Vengeance? Where did it all go?

Instead of some of the zingers we were treated to the first time around, we get flat, straining statements like, “You’re the least powerful among us, but in many ways, you’re the most monstrous,” or bon mots like “Find, let’s fight again, but this time, let’s make it a very unfair fight.” That sound? That’s the sound of my funny bone quietly weeping.

It’s not all bad, I suppose, but it’s not very good either. The fact that Nightshade more or less takes out half the “evil” team on her own somewhat diminishes them as a credible threat and when the book has neither humor nor a credible threat then, really, what’s the point.

There is a change on art as well as Willingham lets Cory Walker take over for him. Walker is a good choice as he nicely apes Willingham’s style. That Willingham’s style is too soft and lacking in features, however, also makes it a bit unfortunate.

Un Gajje is An Institution