The Gold Standard: C2E2 Recovery, Brightest Day, Flashpoint, And People In Comics Sure Are Nice!

Your loving editor has returned, Nexus! After a weekend in Chicago with one of my best friends, scoping out C2E2, I’ve returned with stories, art, new appreciation for older books, and that’s not even counting the people I’ve met.

I’d also like to open up with a big thank you to the best second in command a guy could have, John Babos did a great job covering the weekends events while I was a part of them, and the Nexus is fortunate to have him.

On to business! C2E2 was the second real convention I’ve gone to (in that it was a convention with more than one or two big name people, to this day I might call the event where my fabled Alex Ross story took place a convention, but I’ll be damned if my memory doesn’t tell me it was just a bunch of retailers selling books with Ross being the only real name value), and it’s not going to be the last. I mean, sure, I open overwhelmed and not sure what to do, but give me a day or two and I’ll feel right at home on the show floor. The show was ridiculously less packed than NY was this year, with the estimates I’ve seen saying that there was attendance in the low thirty-thousands, while NY was easily around a hundred thousand on that Saturday. Something about being able to move around freely and not be pushing through endless crowds just made everything better for me. Large crowds and I don’t get along.

Another big bonus to the not so massive crowd is that the show was really ‘doable’, in that really the only things I missed out on were getting commissions from Jamal Igle and Tyler Kirkham and that was due to my not getting to the show early on any of the days. Personal problem, getting to the show at 1 felt natural….I also like waking up at 10 am. I made it through Artists Alley a few times, got pretty much everything I brought with me signed, and got some awesome freebies.

Things I didn’t get signed?

  • The Boys volumes 1 and 2 by Garth Ennis – Ennis was apparently doing VIP signing, and I just had a regular pass.
  • Alias by Brian Michael Bendis – I got David Mack to sign it for the covers, but Bendis had a three hour line. Yeah, sorry, I don’t like the guy that much.
  • Iron Fist and Iron Man by Matt Fraction – One look at Fraction’s line was all I needed to know that I would have more fun spending that line waiting time being more productive.

So who were some notable talents that I got to talk to?

First off, I’d like to say that Gail Simone is just so incredibly nice. I wish I’d had more for her to sign so I’d have had an excuse to talk to her for longer, but the brief conversation we did have was a highlight of the convention. I saw her on Saturday as she was coming back from either a panel or time at the DC booth, and despite it being later in the day she had a big smile on her face and her sense of humor was going strong. Especially when you consider the last interaction the Nexus had with her.

Reilly Brown and I had a good long talk about Deadpool, why the character is awesome, and why nobody really seems to get the character. He was the artist on Cable/Deadpool near the end when the book turned into a precursor for the current Deadpool Team Up, as when Cable was killed for the prelude to Messiah Complex Fabian decided to just start throwing in other characters for team ups. Deadpool/Kazar? Deadpool/Dr/ Stange? Deadpool/Brother Voodoo? The book was fun, and talking to Reilly about it just reminded me of that. He really got the humanity of the character….and the humor, can’t forget the humor, this is the guy who drew Deadpool doing “Dick in a Box”.

I met Brian Hurtt a few years ago at my local comic shop when he was signing copies of Hard Time, and I’ve probably seen him a dozen times sense without thinking about it. We got to talking at the show yesterday, and I had no idea that his current book, The Sixth Gun, is by a local creative team…local being St. Louis, MO. I’m a fan of Hurtt’s art, and I’m a big supporter of local talent, so it was a definite bonus. I was happy to buy the book and get it signed, and I’ll be happy to follow their projects going forward.

I knew Paul Mounts was pretty much Amanda Connor’s personal colorist, but I didn’t realize just how much he did until I found a Spider-Girl poster in his print portfolio and then got to hearing about what else he’d done. Like that he’s done the third most issues of Fantastic Four as a creator with seventy-six issues colored by him. He busted out his iPad to show me and the friend I was there with some cool stuff, and then ribbed her for having not heard of The Pro (she’s not the hugest comic reader), so I guess it was only fitting that after running into him at least once a day on all three days, Sunday we’d go back to see Paul with a copy of The Pro (acquired for a donation to the CBLDF) and my friend opening up with “I read it, and it was great, and now you can’t make fun of me for not having read it!”

Jamal Igle remembered me from NYCC after I mentioned a sketch he did for me, which was pretty cool. I guess Booster is just that kind of character!

Paul Cornell is the last of the name brand talent I’ll bring up, as a stop to see him as DC’s booth led to a conversation about Nate Grey and Dark X-Men, as well as just how cool Lex Luthor can be with some respect. Cornell’s a damn good guy that I wish I’d gotten more time to talk to and pick the brain of.

Oh, and I got a Booster Gold sketch from Kevin Maguire, which means another name crossed off my “Five artists I need to get a Booster sketch from”, while the ever elusive Dan Jurgens retains his #1 spot.

Now to veer away from the con for a bit and talk about some of the elephants in the title, starting with Brightest Day and a few of the things we found out pertaining to it at the convention.

  • Deathstorm isn’t going anywhere, he’ sticking around as a villain.
  • Captain Boomerang and Hawk, whose unfinished White Lantern missions are “Throw the boomerang” and “Catch the boomerang” with Dove’s life on the line, have been confirmed as wrapping up in the pages of Brightest Day. Boston Brand, the artist formerly known as Deadman will, obviously, find his conclusion there as well.
  • Adventure Comics will be moving away from the Legion Academy story, and the Legion in general, and will become a “Showcase” type of book for characters that can’t support solo titles.

So what would I do with the Brightest Day characters?

  1. Hawkman by James Robinson and Joe Prado (Hawkgirl can guest star)
  2. Firestorm by Peter Tomasi and Scott Clark
  3. Aquaman by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
  4. J’onn in the JLA or JLI as well as with stories in Adventure Comics.
  5. Boston Brand in Adventure Comics.
  6. Max Lord…..I need to know how Generation Lost ends!
  7. Hawk to stay put in Birds of Prey.
  8. Reverse Flash to continue giving the DCU someone in that outfit, since Zolomon lost his powers.
  9. Captain Boomerang to stay alive.
  10. Jade to continue not being a filthy, dirty, disgusting, brutal, skanky, bottom-feading, trash-bag ho.
  11. Osiris to die again, repeatedly.

That’s simple enough, right? I mean, not to say that Brightest Day needs to launch three new books, but we’ve heard rumblings of a James Robinson written Hawkman title, and it’s hard to believe that Aquaman won’t find his way into  new ongoing to capitalize on his current momentum. Firestorm is the wild card, but to be honest, he’s the most intriguing of the bunch as there hasn’t been a character quite like him since….the last Firestorm volume was canned. New status quo, keep Scott Clark doing the same job he was doing on BD? It’ll work. I picked Prado for Hawkman on the grounds that if you ever get a chance to see his convention sketchbooks, the man draws a really good Hawkman, and the sheer amount of pages in that book devoted to the Hawk’s tells me that someone may have a dream project. I went with Ivan for Aquaman because….well, he’s Ivan. J’onn I would include in the JLA/JLI instead of a solo title because he really is at his best when working as part of a larger cast.

Now on to Flashpoint and the things we’ve learned from there. Like what books are coming out for it, or that Flash is ending with #12, but not the future of The Flash himself. I’ve got a few scattered views on this whole ordeal.

  • With all the talk of renumbering I don’t think anyone has bothered to count the issue numbers of previous runs. Do Marvel and DC love to renumber things with big giant numbers? Yes, they do, but they also like to have the numbers be nice and round and something you can sell a book around. A number 500 or 600 looks sexy on a cover, whereas the renumbered Flash would be, possibly, #625 (Combining all of the volumes, including Bart’s). That’s not the most friendly number to readers looking to get on board with some iconic renumbering, that’s a scary number. Especially since I culled together four books to make it.
  • The Flash has been selling more based on Geoff Johns than the character or book itself, and given how hard DC wants to push the franchise as a must read one, there needs to be a hook to draw in readers. Is it possible that we’ll come out of Flashpoint with two ongoing titles to appease both the Wally fans and everyone who watched Superfriends?
  • Beyond any of this, the announcement says that The Flash ends at #12, not that the volume won’t find a new name…kinda like how Thor is turning into Journey Into Mystery.
  • There’s also the hiatus option of putting the book on hold for the duration of the event.
  • Fun fact, The Flash, as it stands right now, is a top ten seller. There is quite literally a zero percent chance that this book is being “cancelled for low sales”.

But what but the Flashpoint minis and one shots? Do I have thoughts on those.

  1. Batman: Knight of Vengeance by the reunited 100 Bullets team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso aren’t selling this book to me because of their history and Batman, because I’ve already read their Batman when they follwed up Hush with Broken City, which did nothing to inspire my confidence. Then again, that was almost seven years ago, and we have no idea just what the one will be with this book, so they might actually be a really good fit. Either way I’m going to be wary and not go past the first issue unless it’s really good.
  2. Deadman and the Flying Graysons by JT Krul could be a lot of fun, I like Deadman, I like Krul. I imagine that Dick will be in this title based on the cover, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out just what will be going on exactly. I’m intrigued though, final performance, escape act, and again, Krul hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
  3. Citizen Cold by writer-artist Scott Kolins. I think I said this in my original coverage of Flashpoint, but winning! I love Scott Kolins, I love Captain Cold, and this just seems like a great use of a miniseries.
  4. Deathstroke & The Curse of the Ravager by Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Bennett has a creative team that I like, a pitch that sparks my imagination, but at the same time, is Deathstroke the pirate a little bit too out there? Jimmy is great, and I could definitely see him bringing the same kind of energy that he gives Jonah Hex, and Joe Bennett is one of DC’s unsung heroes, so is it bad that I’m still on the fence about this title?
  5. Legion of Doom by Adam Glass is one of the books that I just can’t generate hype for, sure, I like the cover with the female Heatwave, but the creative team doesn’t make me want to spend $2.99 an issue for a three issue mini, it makes me think “Relax the wallet:.
  6. The Outsider by James Robinson could either be one of the best of the Flashpoint mini series, as Robinson is being given a chance to seemingly create a character from scratch for this world without the constraints of too much continuity which will give him the avenue needed to tell his own story without interference from others, or he’ll drop the ball and it will read like so many parts of New Krypton.
  7. Abin Sur: The Green Lantern is being written by Adam Schlagman, who can at least boast to having been the editor for the GL line of books (as well as events, and a lot else in the DCU), so Green Lantern is one concept he gets which could make this mini more than just a throwaway. After all, a few years back an editor at DC decided to try his hand at writing and we know him today as Peter J. Tomasi.
  8. Project: Superman by Scott “American Vampire and Detective Comics” Snyder and Gene Ha is quite possibly the most hyped up I’ve been for a Superman project since Johns and Gary Frank teamed up to do Superman: Secret Origin. Snyder has been aces for DC.
  9. Frankenstein & The Creatures Of The Unknown by Jeff Lemire….is getting skipped. Lemire does his own thing well, and I don’t doubt that this book could be a lot of fun, but aside from the Doug Mahnke covers I can’t foresee myself really missing anything if I skip it.
  10. Secret Seven by Peter Milligan and George Perez, featuring all kinds of crazy random characters as written by someone who is great at crazy random characters (X-Statix) and then backed up by one of the best artists in comics history? George Perez is back!
  11. Emperor Aquaman by Tony Bedard and Ardian Syaf could be interesting. Tony has a grand history with alternate realities, as I personally discovered his work during his extended run on Exiles for Marvel. He knows how to reinvent existing characters and completely turn them on their heads, and that alone should make this mini one of the more promising.
  12. Wonder Woman And The Furies by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Scott Clark is probably the most excited I’ve been about a Wonder Woman project since….well, possibly ever. It’s DnA! Dan and Andy! The best writing duo in comics! Then you’ve got Scott Clark who has been blowing me away in Brightest Day with his Firestorm segments, with a style that I’d call a less animated version of Pascal Ferry, and this mini has a total package.
  13. Lois Lane And The Resistance by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning doesn’t do quite as much for me though, despite being by the incomparable DnA. I like the character of Lois, but not enough to give her three issues as a lead character…especially in a non-Superman event. I also can’t seem to find anything on the artist, Eddy Nunez, and that’s never a good thing to tack on to a book I’m on the fence about.
  14. Kid Flash Lost by Sterling Gates is one I’m looking forward to as for about a month last year Gates was supposed to be writing a Kid Flash ongoing title that vanished before even getting a solicit. I haven’t seen anything out of Gates since his run on Supergirl ended, and I’m starting to jones a bit as that was one of my favorite books. I’m looking forward to his take on Bart Allen, as I’m really hoping he might be given the ongoing ball in the aftermath of Flashpoint.
  15. The World Of Flashpoint by Rex Ogle looks to be a typical “World of” mini for an event like this, a place to expand on the universe that Johns has created. I’m actually usually a fan of stories like this, as sometimes the more fun stories slip in through the cracks there. Ogle is an editor on books like Brightest Day and Justice League: Generation Lost so it very well may be worth a shot.
  16. Hal Jordan by Adam Schlagman seems like the obligatory “We’ve shown you everyone else, now here’s Hal” miniseries because he’s not Green Lantern in the world of Flashpoint. Pass.
  17. Grodd of War by Sean Ryan looks like a skippable one shot, because while Grodd is awesome, I don’t care enough about him to buy a one shot written by an editor.
  18. Reverse Flash by Scott Kolins and Joel Gomez is a one shot that I almost wish was a mini series, as I’ve established my love for Scott Kolins, and I’ve been a fan of Joel Gomez’s since I met him at NYCC last year.
  19. Green Arrow Industries by Pornsak Pichetshote…..the guy’s name is “Porn Sack”. I honestly can’t get past that, I’m sorry, I’m going to be immature about this.
  20. The Canterbury Cricket by Mike Carlin and Rags Morales has the odd combination of a seemingly great creative team with one of the most bizarre concepts I’ve seen. As far as one shots go, you really can’t do much better for a selling point.

Phew! That’s a hell of a lot! Good thing DC cancelled a few books that nobody was buying to make room for all of them….R.E.B.E.L.S., I’ll miss you most of all. Final Verdict though?

  1. Secret Seven
  2. Project: Superman
  3. Wonder Woman and the Furies
  4. Kid Flash Lost
  5. Citizen Cold
  6. Reverse Flash
  7. The Canterbury Cricket

Those are the only ones that I look at and think “Man, I really want this”. Sure, I’ll probably read a few more, but barely a third of the books coming out have that feeling like missing it could be a bad thing. Maybe that’s why my Flashpoint hype is focused around the happenings of Flashpoint and Booster Gold.

Or maybe it’s just that I feel that Flashpoint is the brainchild born the day Geoff Johns and Dan Jurgens brought us Booster Gold #1, and all the concepts that have built us up to Flashpoint, and Dan Jurgens has never steered me wrong. But that’s a Standard for another day.

It’s good to be back.

The Gold Standard

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