The Gold Standard: Taking A Look At DC In April And Other Random Musings

Man, I really need to get my schedule together, it seems like every week I get a great topic in mind, start to write it, get distracted, and the next thing I know I’m writing reviews and on to the next one. With any luck that should be a bit more easier now that football season is over with and I can stop obsessing over my muchly improved home team (the Rams), and my favorite AFC team, the one I picked back in June to win it all…and who did so, the Baltimore Ravens!

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Seriously, I’ve been watching a lot of football, and now I’m preparing to take my breather up until the combine, at which point I’ll go and start to make my guesses at who will be going on top, and more importantly, who will be playing in blue and gold next year.

But you guys aren’t here to read me ramble on about sports, this is the comics section! DC! Marvel! MONKEYBRAIN! Which really sounds like an awesome zombie movie, when you think about it. I could talk about Comixology, and how they help Marvel hate my wallet more. In the past few weeks I’ve picked up X-Factor, New X-Men, Iron Man: Noir (I had no clue Snyder wrote it), Cable & Deadpool, and more…that I may list later. I haven’t gotten any complete runs of the non-minis, but there’s a full run up every week and my bank account hates me for wanting to read stuff that I either have not read, or do not wish to find my single issues of.

Digital will kill trades before it kills single issues. Just you watch and see; who wants to spend fifteen bucks on seven issues for a random volume when you can wait it out on Comixology and find the entire run for a buck an issue? Especially with Marvel books and their love of overpricing undersized hardcovers. They really confuse me, to be honest. They do big twenty-four sales twice a week (Monday and Friday), and while it may not always be a selection you want (Punisher and Ghost Rider? Secret Wars and Squadron Supreme? Double Pass.) there’s a good chance you’ll find a few sales a month that really speak volumes to you. At the same time, when they do currentish books (on sales of ongoing books or those that have just ended, they omit the final arc or two) that’s really the only time you can expect a price dropping, because they bounce up to $1.99, and that’s the only way Marvel is a lock to put a book there. DC, Image, IDW, and most of the other publishers make that drop every three weeks.

On that note, if Marvel is going to include a ‘free digital copy’ in every book that’s four bucks, why would anybody spend the four bucks on the digital copy that lacks any sort of free incentive? How about make it three-fifty? Or even just three bucks? There is no excuse for a four dollar digital book without extra content, in fact, that’s the only reason I buy Swords of Sorcery from DC. Because at four bucks, with extra pages, it was worth reading, and I enjoyed it enough to stick around.

Does anybody else read that? Probably not, maybe, who knows? Now, real question, who has any interest in the goings on of Team 7? And who would expect to see the ramifications of Amanda Waller’s secret war with Basilisk in the pages of Suicide Squad wind up being revealed in Sword of bloody fucking Sorcery? Well, guess what people? That’s what happened in the most recent issue, and I just found out a few days ago when I read it at work. Beowulf, the Tony Bedard written backup, takes place in a future brought about by Basilisk. At the same time, and never outwardly mention, Beowulf himself is CLEARLY the future of everyone’s favorite elite gun for hire, Slade Wilson…DEATHSTROKE!

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I mean, look at him, the missing eye is now a cyber eye, and there’s scars around it, and Grendel’s mother at one point clearly tells him he’s the result of Basilisk’s super soldier program and the works of Amanda Waller. Any chance that has anything to do with John Lynch’s Majestic Project? Food for thought until Beowulf returns later this year!

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Speaking of later this year, how about I get to the point I originally had in mind when I decided to write this column? DC’s WTF solicits for April. I’m not going to do all of them, because I’m not a masochist and you really don’t want to scroll through that much, especially when I get to the books I couldn’t care less about (Batwoman) and just phone it in. So let’s start with the easy ones, shall we?

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First up we’ll do Red Hood, where the cover has actually already been spoiled (which you can see here). So what horrors lie beneath the Red Hood? The fact that Jason Todd HAS NO FACE!

Stormwatch 19

Again with the spoiled covers, this time is Stormwatch, and while it wasn’t an accident like the Red Hood leak….actually, that makes this a bit less spoilery. Team Stormwatch is list in a dimensional rift? New Stormwatch comes in to take over, which could potentially include the real Midnighter or Apollo.

Nightwing 19

Nightwing isn’t going to be facing off against Joker that soon after Death of the Family, so I’m going to guess a New 52 version of Creeper, as I equate crazy amounts of laughter to him. Plus, Brett Booth designing him? Could be pretty awesome.

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My money is on Catwoman grabbing Ollie by the neck on the JLA cover, under the mental control of a member of the Secret Society. I don’t expect this to go well, as Catwoman’s cover is her being dragged to Arkham.

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Jonah Hex is being held up by Booster Gold, as everyone seems to have noticed by this point (and I wouldn’t have had I not seen it reported everywhere, I ignore this book simply due to my not liking westerns). I guess this means I won’t be ignoring the issue in April!

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Green Lantern I expect to be Hal “Greatest Black Lantern” Jordan against Volthoom in a brawl for it all, though now I just have to wonder what Hal could do as a Black Lantern. I mean, all they did was use whatever they could do in life to torment those who cared about them, and I seriously doubt Volthoom could give a fuck about Hal Jordan.

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GLC is going to be Mogo, because he actually came back last week. I imagine he’s going to be mighty confused to return to find the Guardians trying to eradicate the Corps and freewill across the galaxy. For some reason I’d like to think Mogo just gets overly sick of it and uses planet power to off a Guardian. New Guardians is looking to debut another White Lantern, as Kyle is back in Green. Sinestro is there in Green too, which cuts down our list of potential candidates. Easy picks would be Hal or Carol, maybe even Guy Gardner or John Stewart. My pick? A fully restored Ganthet harnessing the White spectrum for one last hurrah.

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Justice League is probably going to have Batman holding up a piece of Kryptonite to knock out Superman. Why? Because he saw the video of Superman and Wonder Woman hooking up and most likely sees their pairing as a potential major pitfall. He needed a plan, made one, and called it a day. Damned be the consequences, especially since he’s been shown to not be on their side come the Trinity War.

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Finally, Batman Inc? I’m going with the Damian clone that’s been aged to adulthood, who will probably look enough like Bruce to make for some visuals. Also Batman having to layeth serious smackdown on his own son.

Damn, that scratched an itch.

What I read this week:

  • Aquaman #16
  • Batman Incorporated #7
  • Flash #16
  • Green Lantern Corps Annual #1
  • Justice League Dark #16
  • Masters of the Universe: Origin of He-Man
  • Superman #16
  • Talon #4
  • Teen Titans #16
  • Hack/Slash #23
  • Invincible #100
  • Avengers #4
  • Hawkeye #7
  • Superior Spider-Man #2
  • X-Treme X-Men #9
  • Masks and Mobsters #6
  • Deathmatch #2
  • High Crimes #1
  • Smallville Season 11 #32
  • Justice League Beyond #18

Comixology Sales of the Week:

  • Green Lantern Mosaic #1-4
  • Mr. Terrific

Top Five Books of the Week:

5. Batman Incorporated #7
4. Invincible #100
3. Masks and Mobsters #6
2. Aquaman #16
1. Hawkeye #7

What I Watched This Week:

  • Arrow
  • Necessary Roughness
  • 30 Rock
  • Anger Management
  • Archer
  • Suits
  • Shark Tank
  • Young Justice
  • Ultimate Spider-Man
  • Superbowl
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • WWE Raw
  • Raising Hope
  • New Girl
  • White Collar

The Worst Things I Saw On Shelves:

Superior Spider-Man essentially boiled down to Otto trying to fuck Mary Jane, as Peter, and failing. Then he realized he had Peter’s memories and gave himself some happy time by reliving them. Just typing that makes my skin crawl.

The Best Things I Saw This Week:

Sometimes last summer I made my early predictions for the season, really just after listening to the guys on the radio go on and on about trying to make theirs. I wobbled between two teams in the NFC that I felt were a lock to meet up in the playoffs, with the winner going on to play in the Superbowl, while in the AFC I swore up and down that this would be the year that the Baltimore Ravens won their second championship. The two NFC teams in question? The Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. When the people I wound up discussing it with told me to just pick one? I called for a Harbowl. I have spent the past week cursing myself for not putting money on it, and at the same time praising myself for not being a horrible jynx.

It was a great game, and my favorite team in the AFC won it all. It was a good weekend.

Invincible #100 is a testament to Ryan Ottley’s ability to be completely awesome on a monthly basis, not to mention handling the curve balls Robert Kirkman keeps throwing his way. The only consistent thing about this book is how quickly it moves from plot to plot and status quo to status quo, and no matter what Kirkman feels like writing, Ottley always turns in a job that has to have him on the top of Marvel and DC editors short lists for talent they wish they could put on their books.

The Green Lantern Corps Annual managed to completely slip beneath my radar for a few days, and that fact bothers me immensely. I’ve been enjoying GLC ever since the zero issue, and it usually falls into what I refer to as my ‘second tier’ of titles on its reading priority (Thursday or Friday on a big week). I think the fact that it was an Annual, and how weak those had been, that made me just assume it wouldn’t be anything too major. Man was I wrong.

Batman Inc had a cool reveal with Talia’s personal Batman’s identity. It raises more questions about Damian and just how exactly he came to be, but it’s going to make for a cool foe for Batman come the end of the run.

I have no affinity for He-Man, I’m not sure it it was before my time, or if it was just off my radar, but I’ve never really watched the cartoon. I know nothing about the concepts, characters, plots, any of it. Yet for some reason I was hooked on the digital first origin issues, enough so that I picked up the Skeletor one shots a few months ago, and the He-Man one this week. Now I’m eyeing the Masters of the Universe mini and wondering how much goodness I’m missing. On top of that? I’m seeing it on Netflix.

Hawkeye is absolutely fantastic and if you’re not reading it then you need to reexamine your taste in comics.

Throne of Atlantis is awesome, Aquaman is awesome, Justice League has become awesome, and this event has had the epic scale that Geoff has been needing to apply to the League. He has no problems handling the epic scale in Green Lantern, but Justice League had been sputtering through its first year. Now, into the second year, and joined by Ivan Reis, Justice League is finally hitting its stride. Aquaman is a big part of that, as Geoff spent the first year fleshing Arthur out into a character we would care about enough to want to see what happens when his worlds get torn apart. Despite the emergence of a third party as the villain, who has Arthur’s allegiance? His brother? His friends? His mentor? That’s a compelling story arc.

So far there’ve been seventeen issues of Teen Titans (including the zero), and you know what the best two have been? The zero issue and the current one, because for some reason, Tim Drake is still able to shine despite the questionable quality of the title. Wait, nevermind, Fabian Nicieza co-wrote, that changes everything. Fabian needs to be writing this book on his own.

My Pissed Off Moment of the Week:

Did the Ravens win the Superbowl? I think this week lacks things to be pissed about.

 

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The Gold Standard

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