Demythify: Top 5 News Bits From Fan Expo With New Justice League Of America Series, Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier Movie, Avengers, Marvel Now, Before Watchmen New Series Moloch, Justice League, Superman Heart Wonder Woman, Shazam, Trinity War, Batman, Geoff Johns & David Finch JLA In DC Comics New 52 Wave 4

Fan Expo Canada ran this past weekend in Toronto, Canada. While it wasn’t as dynamic a weekend for news as San Diego Comic Con, there were at least 5 big news nuggets that you have got to know about.

Interesting times ahead as we march to toward the Baltimore Comic Con on September 8 and 9th, plus the New York Comic Con on October 11th through the 14th.

Check out the Fan Expo Canada 5 big news stories with a bit of analysis below.


5. Dark Avengers Gets Marvel Now’d (Marvel Comics)

Marvel Now! appears to be Marvel Comics answer to DC Comics’ successful New 52 relaunch. While the DC New 52 was a hard reboot of its in-story continuity and its publishing line, Marvel’s efforts are more of a rebranding and relaunch of retooled characters and familiar team names.

With that, we get a brand new team and take for Dark Avengers with December’s #184. This follows the recent morphing of the Thunderbolts series into Dark Avengers at the recent milestone #175 issue.

I was quite a huge fan of the Thunderbolts back in the day as Marvel’s answer to DC Comics’ classic Suicide Squad (one of my all time favorite 1980s series). It was a cool concept of villains masquerading as heroes and eventually becoming anti-heroes in their own right. Citizen V was a compelling leader followed later by Hawkeye, Marvel’s classic reformed villain as hero.

USAgent joins Dark Avengers in December 2012’s #184. I’ve been a huge fan of the character, if not the name “USAgent”, since his part in the classic “Captain” arc of Captain America. If I can’t have Hawkeye, in his classic costume, or Citizen V back on a anti-hero team like Thunderbolts-turned-Dark-Avengers, then I’ll gladly take USAgent.

Who will be on the team? Moonstone appears to be on the team with a variation of the current Captain Marvel costume, but we’ll have to wait to find out more about the next new chapter in the Jeff Parker written and Neil Edwards drawn Dark Avengers.

Who do you want on the Dark Avengers? My picks would be: USAgent, the trio of Marvel’s original reformed villains in Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, alongside Moonstone, Atlas and Fixer, with Ares, Mister Hyde, Venom (Flash Thompson), with maybe Spidey villains Chameleon or Mysterio. However, many of these character are already spoken for in Marvel Now, so we’ll just have to wait and see.


4. Justice League’s Shazam and Super-Love (DC Comics)

The Power of Shazam: I know this is kind of cheating, but I LOVED this Shazam-related variant cover reveal for Justice League #0 earlier last week (just one day before the Fan Expo opened its doors).

Writer Geoff Johns has been spinning an intriguing yarn in the back-half co-feature of his chart topping Justice League series with Shazam. The Shazam puzzle pieces were also peppered about in DC Comics’ recent Free Comic BooK Day (FCBD) 2012 issue. Gary Frank’s art has been top notch too! (As an aside, I recently picked up the trade paperback collection of JMS and Gary Frank’s Midnight Nation from Image Comics’ Top Cow. I read a few issues back in the day, but can’t wait to read the whole thing now.)

Justice League #0 focuses on Billy Batson and the Power of Shazam. The variant cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado is a great image that pulls together the story so far and what I expect will be in the zero month issue. I’m really looking forward to see what happens next!

It was also cool to get a better look at Black Adam in the recent Justice League #11 co-feature since he’s to play a leading role it seems in the upcoming DC Comics event: Trinity War.

The Power of Love: It was also right before Fan Expo last week that DC Comics revealed that this week’s Justice League #12 will unveil the budding romance of Superman and Wonder Woman. That might make things awkward for Wonder Woman’s ex and current storytline captive Steve Trevor and for Superman’s current squeeze in his own Superman series: Lois Lane’s sister Lucy. Superman = Super Playa?

This is not a gimmick, writer Geoff Johns notes, but the new status quo for these two characters, well at least for 2013.

Entertainment Weekly even had an excerpt from Lois Lane’s diary to describe how she feels about this. That passage includes the following:

    …watching the Man of Steel play tonsil hockey with that statuesque woman — seriously, she’s got to be at least as tall as he is — put me in a terrible mood. I have no claim on him, especially since I’m already dating someone who could fill out a pair of tights pretty well. Still, seeing them together made me feel crummy. It’s almost as if — and I know this is going to sound weird — he and I were together in another life. Like, maybe there’s this whole alternate universe where Superman marries me, and he dies and then comes back to life, and also he keeps me trapped on a go-kart inside a plastic bubble.

Fun reference to the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe to cap off the excerpt. 🙂 Interesting times ahead.


3. Creative Team Departures (DC and Marvel Comics)

Ed Brubaker is off Winter Solider (Marvel Comics). It was supposed to be his only Marvel title as he was primarily going to be doing creator-owned works. His twitter announcement:

    To end all speculation: Cap 19 and Winter Soldier 14 are my last Marvel books for now. But I may return, because Marvel has been my home

We also found out that the original plan was for Winter Soldier to end due to poor sales, but with the second Captain America movie spotlighting Winter Soldier, TPTB at Marvel Entertainment decided to continue on with the series. That meant that Ed had to formally drop the book as opposed to wait for cancellation news: either scenario would free me to do his creator-owned work exclusively.

Writer-artist Jason Latour takes over the Winter Soldier comic book.

Judd Winick is off Batwing (DC Comics). He’ll be focussing on some creator-owned works too. His official statement read:

    It’s with a heavy heart that I announce that I’ll be leaving the DC monthly Batwing. I’ve had a terrific time on the title and have loved crafting this adventure with some phenomenal people. Artists Ben Oliver, Marcus To, and Brain Reber have made these stories come to life. I will miss telling the tales of David Zavimbe, the Batman of Africa in many ways, but I’m proud of the work we’ve done. My departure is simply a time issue,” he said. “I’m pursing a few other projects that make it impossible for me continue doing a monthly book.

I have enjoyed Batwing. The international flavor was great as were the series’ tethers to the Gotham City heroes. This was a great companion book not just for Batman Inc. as you may have thought, but Justice League International too. I hope DC’s eventual Wave 4 has a strong JLI’ish book to be a companion for the continuing Batwing series.

Rob Liefeld is off Savage Hawkman, Grifter and Deathstroke (DC Comics). Even though he quit earlier in the week, he has taken to twitter to explain over several days the what’s and why’s of his departure. He’s also ensnared writer Scott Snyder and Marvel executive Tom Brevoort into all the chatter. I won’t focus on that unfortunate angle of all this, but I fill focus on his reasons for leaving: it had to do with consistent last-minute editorial edict changes to his projects. Here are snippets from Liefeld’s twitter saga:

    Officially got off the DC52 treadmill this morning… I believe in what DC is doing, but had to preserve my sanity…

    And where it’s all headed is overseas talent anyways. Why do you think that they fly around doing new talent searches in foreign countries? Don’t mistake this for vitriol— the big two are looking to replace talent with cheaper models, domestic and otherwise.

    My greatest triumph at DC was getting an inept editor fired. From that point on that I had put a target on me. Next guy wanted to show me.

    Next time a little DC editor wants to show me how big his little pecker is—oh, right that’s over for good…

    And, I loved all the work I did there regardless of the struggle. I think the DC 52 was/is positive for comics.

While I may not like all the twitter kiss and tells, I do think kudos are in order for Rob for doing 13 books straight, art-wise, since the New began: from Hawk and Dove to Deathstroke. Not many artists have done that. And, I have to add, that Savage Hawkman is one of the strongest new 52 titles now. I hope Joe Bennett stays on art and the writer that will replace Liefeld continues the Thanagarian subplots and brings the Silver Ageness of Hawkman, with modern twists, to a more prominent place in the DC Universe.


2. New Surprise Before Watchmen Mini-Series (DC Comics)

Well, this had to happen. All the Before Watchmen series have been doing well sales wise and have received critical buzz.

November and December 2012 brings us a two-issue mini-series by Nite Owl and Doctor Manhattan writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Eduardo Risso focussing on tangential Watchmen villain Moloch. Before Watchmen: Moloch seems intriguing. We saw Moloch at the end of his life in the classic Watchmen, so seeing him in his prime will prove illuminating and hopefully interesting.

I have enjoyed the two Before Watchmen series I’ve been reading: Minutemen and Rorschach. Darwyn Cooke can do no wrong and his Minutemen series channels his DC The New Frontier vibe, but also fits well tone-wise in the Watchmen universe. In terms of Rorschach, the collaboration of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo on this Before Watchmen series is on par with the excellence of their previous collaborations with Batman/Deathblow, Luthor: Man of Steel, and Joker.

You don’t need to read every Before Watchmen book to comprehend the series you are reading. Also, as a fan of books like the classic Thunderbolts and Suicide Squad, a villain centric mini-series in Before Watchmen: Moloch appeals to me. JMS is a pretty solid writer and Risso’s darker art style will add a moodiness to the series that I look forward to.


1. New 2013 Justice League of America Series (DC Comics)

Writer Geoff Johns is joined by artist David Finch on a new companion Justice League series called Justice League of America. This will presumably be part of the expected DC Comics New 52 Wave 4 in early 2013 which is expected to see a few more underperforming titles cancelled and replaced. So, with this news, that’ll make two Justice League series written by Johns (Justice League and the new JLA) plus the Justice League Dark series written by Jeff Lemire.

David Finch will likely be leaving his current gig on Batman: The Dark Knight and Johns is rumoured to be leaving Aquaman. Also, no word on what series will replace the commercially successful, but story-wise cancelled Justice League International series.

The new Justice League of America series will include Steve Trevor, Catwoman, Green Arrow, the new Arab-American Green Lantern “Baz”, Hawkman, Katana, Martian Manhunter, Stargirl and Vibe.

This series caps off speculation about the team Steve Trevor recruited Green Arrow to after his recent failed attempts to join the Justice League.

Over at MTV Geek, Geoff Johns and David Finch talk about the premise for the new series.

    The idea of why the JLA forms, and what it is, and what it’s in reaction to… It kind of spins out of Justice League #12; what happens in that, and then subsequent issues, because JLA comes out next year some time. But the book itself is a group of heroes that aren’t necessarily coming together because they want to be together… They’ve been selected specifically. They all want, or need something that Steve Trevor, and the other person behind the scenes that’s in charge of this team can provide.

    The first arc is going to deal with something they learn is called The Secret Society of Super-Villains…

    …[The new “of America” team is] run by A.R.G.U.S. They have a team they feel they can now control. Whether or not that ends up being the case is up for debate.

    …And there’s a big twist in the first issue that I don’t want to spoil, but it will explain exactly what’s happening, and what the team is doing, and everything else.

Johns describes the book as feeling like his pre-Flashpoint JSA (Justice Society) series in terms of spotlighting an unknown cast, strong team dynamics – the new Green Lantern and Green Arrow, Green Arrow with Hawkman, and a new teenage Starlet as Stargirl. How Stargirl is connected to Starman and Pat Duggan will be explained.

Now, THAT is an interesting reveal. With James Robinson’s Shade series taking place on the New 52 main Earth, yet it stems from the old Golden Age Starman’s son Jack Knight’s classic series, I was wondering what was the deal with Starman. So, more on that come in this new series. Sweet!

The logo for the new series has also been unveiled.

LAstly, as I have kinda noted already, I’m pretty eager to find out what book(s) replace the Justice League International and will inevitably feature Booster Gold.

Stay tuned for next week’s Justice League #12 (already mentioned on this list’s #4) and Justice League International Annual #1 for more on the road to the new status quo for DC Comics’ Justice Leagues.

And then, next month, we get the zero issues for Justice League and Justice League Dark with their 13 issues the following month. Fun times ahead. 🙂

So, what caught your eye from the Fan Expo weekend?

Till next week, thanks for reading. As always, all feedback welcome.


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