Demythify Top 5: CW’s Arrow & Cartoon Network DC Nation Impact On DC Comics New 52 w/ Young Justice Invasion, GLTAS & Beware The Batman (Updated)

Thanks for popping by and checking out my weekly Monday Demythify column.

This week’s column looks at the cross-platform optimization of DC Entertainment in the most unexpected ways.

Let’s start with DC TV. The only thing that has made my dealing with the abrupt postponement of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block – with its Young Justice Invasion, Green Lantern The Animated Series and DC Nation episodes – to January 2013 has been the CW’s surprise hit Arrow series. That CW series is a modern telling of the live-action adventures of Oliver Queen Green Arrow now know as The Hood. It has featured quite of few DC Comics characters so far: China White, Eddie Fryers, Deathstroke with the Royal Flush Gang and the Huntress on the horizon.

On the comics front, a year ago, DC Comics restarted its main super-hero comics line with the DC New 52 relaunch. There were some no-brainers as part that effort such as Justice League, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and there were some surprises too some of which were clearly inspired to feed off of DC’s TV offerings. The subsequent waves of the New 52, were DC replaced lower selling titles with new ones, the DC Entertainment TV influences became more evident.

This week I present to you the Top 5 TV-inspired DC New 52 titles.

5. Green Arrow / Arrow

It wasn’t a surprise that Oliver Queen and his alter ego Green Arrow were part of the original New 52 wave last year. The character has been around since the Golden Age of comics and raised to prominence in the Silver Age with his pal Green Lantern on more socially-relevant stories in the Green Lantern / Green Arrow series plus with the Bronze Age’s hooded Arrow relaunch under the pen and pencil of Mike Grell. The character has had his ups and downs, death and rebirth, since then, with the New 52 providing a clean slate and fresh start.

The DC Comics New 52 series has not been a smash hit, although Oliver Queen appears to have assumed the Steve Jobs role in the New 52 with his company producing all manner of Apple products like QPads instead of IPads, etc. There’s been several creative teams in 14 issues. They haven’t been able to pull the trigger on making the book a success. That appears to be changing with pairing a fan fave writer and a moody artist.

Writer Jeff Lemire who has been a critical darling with Animal Man and Justice League Dark in the New 52, and Vertigo’s Sweet Tooth, and has the appeal to draw eyes back on the book. Lapsed Green Arrow fans and Lemire fans should lead to an initial bump in sales when he takes over the book with February’s Green Arrow #17. In addition, the choice of I, Vampire artist Andrea Sorrentino seems to signal a darker more mature take on the character.

The teaser pic above seems to indicate that the island Oliver was stranded on where he learned his archery and self-preservation skills will be a greater part of the series. That would make it more similar to CW’s Arrow series were an ongoing sub-plot involves Oliver’s time on the island that includes Deathstroke. The future looks promising for Green Arrow comics.

4. Katana / Beware the Batman

As part of DC’s next wave of replacement titles in February 2013, Katana – DC’s perennial team player with Outsiders, Birds of Prey and Justice League of America – gets her own solo title. Writer Ann Nocenti, an established writer who really has been hit or miss with her New 52 offerings, well helm the series joined by Alex Sanchez on art.

Now, I like you was wondering why does Tatsu Yamashiro a.k.a. Katana warrant her own solo series? Well, first she will anchor a new Justice League of America series written by Geoff Johns and drawn by David Finch. But, more importantly, Katana will have a major role in the upcoming Beware the Batman series as part of the DC Nation offerings on Cartoon Network. Her TV look seems different from the current comics. Now, that is not so bad as I’m still partial to Katana’s first red and yellow female samurai look from her 1980’s debut.

3. Deathstroke / Arrow / Young Justice Invasion

I’ve been a huge fan of Deathstroke, DC’s top mercenary Slade Wilson, since he first tangled with the New Teen Titans in the 1980’s. I was a bigger fan of much of his own 1990’s ongoing series Deathstroke the Terminator. Since then, DC’s handled the character in a scattershot inconsistent way. Mercenary? Villain? Evil? Ant-Hero? DC seemed confused. In fact, the New 52 was an opportunity to forget the last several years of the mishandling of Deathstroke.

I was also a big fan of writer Kyle Higgins and artist Joe Bennett’s New 52 Deathstroke series. It was gritty, entertaining and gorgeously drawn. Unfortunately, it didn’t mesmerize readers and DC turned to Rob Liefeld. And, now writer Justin Jordan, of Image Comics’ Luther Strode, and artist Scott Clark take their crack at the series.

Like with Green Arrow, DC has been stubbornly clinging to the Deathstroke series. It is not only because is a key member of Justin Jordan’s Team 7 series set in the New 52’s past, but likely because DC Entertainment has doubled down on the character on TV. The character has a HUGE impact on evolving shipwrecked playboy Oliver Queen to the vigilante archer “The Hood” in CW’s hit series Arrow. In fact, Deathstroke’s live-action debut in last week’s Season 1, Episode 5 titled “Damaged” saw a bump in viewership for a series already doing great for CW. It appears the character will a presence over this season of the series. The character also appears to showing up in 2013 in Young Justice Invasion as per the clips we’ve seen so far.

I wish the new Deathstroke comic book team of Justin Jordan and Scott Clark much luck.

2. Red Lanterns / Green Lantern The Animated Series

When I was looking at the New 52 solicitations in the summer of 2011, I was surprised to see that writer Peter Milligan and artist Ed Benes were launching a Red Lanterns series. I was intrigued by it because I’ve also been drawn to the conundrum of villain-centric series. However, the series was anchored entirely by aliens instead of an Earth-borne “lantern”. That was rectified later with the debut of Earth born Brit Red Lantern Rankorr. Like with Green Arrow and Deathstroke, in my opinion the book has been struggling to find a sustainable POV, but it has been more profitable than the other two books. It has undergone creative team changes too, but the book still feels like the poor cousin to the rest of the “proper” Green Lantern series.

Later, I understood why DC chose to launch a Red Lanterns title in the New 52. It appeared to be because the Red Lanterns would be a major part of the Green Lantern Animated Series. In fact Razer, a conflicted Red Lantern, was a key player in that series alongside Hal Jordan and Kilowog.

What does the future hold for Red Lanterns after the current Green Lanterns family event called The Rise Of The Third Army? I have a suspicion that we’ll have a former Earth-born Green Lantern assume a lead role in an attempt to reform the Red Lanterns. We’ll see if I’m right soon enough.

1. Vibe / Arrow?

Vibe is another character I was not only surprised to see return as part of DC’s Trinity War tease and was even more surprised that he would be headlining his own title in February 2013. The character was a short-lived hispanic stalwart in the 1980’s Justice League of America a team remembered by fans as “Justice League Detroit”. He death capped off the end of that original JLA series which was followed by the more humorous Justice League and later Justice League International series that spun out of the mid-1980’s Legends mini-series.

The series to be called “Justice League of America’s Vibe” will be written by CW Arrow creator and head writer Andrew Kreisberg with Legion Lost artist Pete Woods. While the series continues DC’s efforts to diversify its line, there may be a Vibe appearance upcoming in CW Arrow. It only makes sense.

I’m intrigued by this new series.

As you can see, much of this week’s list includes characters that will headline DC’s newest Justice League of America series: Green Arrow, Katana and Vibe. And Trinity War is coming too. Hmmm.

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