Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Posts tagged “DC Reboot

Weekly Comic Reviews

I Do Not Actually Look Like Jesse CusterAnd I’m back. Sorry for skipping out on doing reviews last week but I’ve been busier than I would like and it was the last thing on my mind. Also that issue of Catwoman sorta bust a blood vessel in my brain. This week was a more pleasant reading experience, so the reviews should reflect that. Let’s get started!

ALL-STAR WESTERN # 1

The first review this week is for what I have to say is the best book of the week. I feel like getting that out of the way early is important because I’m gonna gush fairly heavily on this one. I’ve been a vocal booster of Palmiotti and Gray’s work on Jonah Hex for a long time now and when the reboot news came down the pike I was surprised to see Hex getting any attention in the new DC landscape. I figured it would be the perfect time for DC to quietly push the character aside the way it has with a few other less-than-stellar selling titles. I’ve been hearing the same “the trade sales keep it alive” line in regard to Jonah Hex for a while but DiDio’s comments that new books would be judged harshly and only the best selling titles would remain in a short period of time made me wonder how this new interpretation would work for our favorite heavily scarred western bounty-hunter.

First and foremost I need to point out that this is not your typical Jonah Hex issue. Gone are the desolate western landscapes where the dust and dirt seem to fly off the page and nestle in the corners of your eyes. We’re now in the developing sprawl of Victorian-era Gotham City, a place where cobblestones have replaced the muddy central thoroughfare of the frontier town. Our Jonah Hex here is an older iteration, having experienced the frontier life and aftermath of the Civil War. He is drawn to the city on contract to help hunt down a Jack the Ripper-esque murderer who is carving a bloody swath of violence through the city leaving a trail of mutilated prostitutes in his wake. It is a story that matches the setting quite well and Palmiotti & Gray set the stage for our adventures efficiently giving us a quiet slow burn through the proceedings punctuated with sudden bursts of violent energy as if the book itself mirrors Hex’s personality.

I felt like there was more in this issue than in three lesser titles combined. It felt dense without feeling impenetrable, offering an excellent place for those who have heard how amazing Jonah Hex was and are finally willing to give the character a shot. Tying his history in with the development of Gotham City should drawin some Bat-fans interested to see how Hex fits in with the story of the Waynes, the Cobblepots, and the Arkhams. Fans of Snyder’s work on Batman will not be disappointed by the similar tone and the uninitiated should be drawn in by the sharp pacing and quality artwork.

Overall Rating: 5/5

AQUAMAN # 1

I’m an unabashed Aquaman fan. Seriously. I’ve got a good longbox full of Aquaman books and I feel like it’s a shame that nobody gives the guy a real shake. He’s a warrior king from under the sea! The logline alone should sell it but most people only view him as a joke. As such, it’s not surprising that Geoff Johns has gone in for a psuedo-meta presentation of the character where the surface world and the DCU don’t understand why Aquaman exists. I admit that it’s a bit disheartening that this is the direction he wanted to go, because it’ll be hard to dissuade people from believing everything they previously thought about the character when even the folks in the book itself don’t take him seriously. Of course it seems like Johns is also using every page of the book to prove everyone wrong. He lays the smackdown on a bunch of bank robbers, clarifies that he does not in fact talk to fish, and makes sweet love to his woman on the seashore after deciding that he doesn’t want to be king of Atlantis anymore.

This issue reads quite a bit like Johns’ Green Lantern no. 1 when he relaunched that character a few years back. As was the case with GL, Johns dives in head first and works to establish a status quo that clearly defines what sort of character we’re going to be dealing with and doesn’t divert much attention to the looming threat, devoting perhaps three pages total to setting up any sort of external conflict. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s important at this stage to prove to the readers that Aquaman is a character worth reading about. I think that Johns has done that effectively. I believe that people who weren’t fans previously will indeed have something to latch onto with this interpretation.

Let’s hope that Aquaman takes off big time like Green Lantern did all those years ago. He deserves it, damnit.

Overall Rating: 4/5

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK # 1

I almost passed on this just because I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept of John Constantine being in any book with the “Justice League” label on it. It’s like seeing an old friend who used to weigh 300 pounds showing up looking like Chris Evans on the set of Captain America, your brain just can’t wrap itself around the concept of what is being presented as opposed to what you believe in your head to be true. Sort of like when a sentence doesn’t end the way you expect it banana.

That having been said, Peter Milligan’s name on the cover pretty much sold me entirely and then the contents of what was under that cover won me over entirely. It doesn’t read at all like what you would expect a “Justice League” title to read like. We do get the central Justice League team showing up and attempting to handle the supernatural threat but it soon becomes apparent that it will take a different sort of hero to sort things out. Thus we are introduced to our team through small vignettes. Shade the Changing Man shows up in a scene that is actually a bit heart wrenching. Xanadu, Zatanna, and Constantine get drawn in as well and we finish the issue with the players in position and the game ready to begin. If the issue weren’t almost entirely setup and exposition I would have given it a perfect score. I was expecting something a little bit more along the lines of JLI where they are assembled and the action has begun by the end of the issue but with so many characters to juggle I’m impressed that we got as much material as we did. It’s quite impressive.

OVERALL SCORE: 4/5

***************************

And that’s it for this week. I hope you’ll go out and buy some of these. It’d be nice if the good books of the DC relaunch were the ones that sold the best. Basically I want you to buy 10 All-Star Westerns each and hand them out to friends. Because that would be amazing.

Advertisements

DCnU – Pass or Pull (Final Part)

At last we come to the end. The final eleven books in the new DCU 52 put under a microscope and examined to determine whether they’re worth the paper they’re printed on…

Resurrection Man # 1
Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning & Fernando Dagnino

It’s the return of Mitch Shelly – and he’s still dead. Resurrection Man can’t stay dead for long, though – and with each rebirth comes new and unexpected powers. But his many returns have not gone unnoticed, and forces are gathering to learn what’s so special about him – and to see which of them will finally stop Resurrection Man dead.

Abnett and Lanning can do no wrong. Guardians of the Galaxy was friggin’ amazing. I know next to nothing about this Resurrection Man character but I don’t doubt DnA will be able to make it worthwhile.

Final Verdict: PULL

Savage Hawkman # 1
Tony Daniel & Philip Tan

Carter Hall’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archaeologist who specializes in alien ruins – but will the doctor’s latest discovery spread an alien plague through New York City? No matter the personal cost, Carter Hall must don his wings and become the new, savage Hawkman to survive! Witness the start of a new action series from writer Tony S. Daniel and artist Philip Tan that will take Hawkman where no hero has flown before!

Hawkman can be interesting if you cut through the continuity, so a fresh start is promising. But Tony Daniel is a far more talented artist than he is a writer, and I’m not a huge fan of Philip Tan’s artwork. So this just seems unappealing on multiple levels.

Final Verdict: PASS

Static Shock # 1
Scott McDaniel & John Rozum

The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static! A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and a new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs! As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City’s underworld?

Static Shock finally gets a title and it’s with Scott McDaniel at the helm pulling the writing duties alongside John Rozum as well as handling the artwork. I actually like McDaniel’s style, though it’s not for everybody and I think it could work wonders for a character like Static. It’s sad that we’re not getting the book under Dwayne McDuffie’s hand, may he rest in peace, but it’s good to see that DC still plans to use the character.

Final Verdict: PULL

Stormwatch # 1
Paul Cornell & Miguel Sepulveda

They are Stormwatch, a dangerous super human police force whose existence is kept secret from the world Directly following the ominous events of SUPERMAN #1, Adam One leads half the Stormwatch team to recover the [INFORMATION REDACTED] from deep in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the Stormwatch crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo! And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds?

Cornell on Stormwatch you say? And Martian Manhunter is on the team? I don’t know what to make of it. It’s something I legitimately have to see to believe. Curiosity makes this one a definite must-read.

Final Verdict: PULL

Suicide Squad # 1
Adam Glass & Marco Rudy

They’re a team of death-row super villains recruited by the government to take on missions so dangerous – they’re sheer suicide! Harley Quinn! Deadshot! King Shark! Defeated and imprisoned, they’re being interrogated about their mission – and about who’s pulling the strings behind this illegal operation. Who will be the first to crack under the pressure?

Sorry but this just looks bad. All kinds of bad. I won’t waste any more words on it because I’d just be repeating what so many others have already said.

Final Verdict: PASS

Superboy # 1
Scott Lobdell & RB Silva

They thought he was just an experiment – and a failed one at that! Grown from a combination of Kryptonian and human DNA, the Clone was no more than a set of data to the scientists of Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. But when the scope of his stunning powers was revealed, he became a deadly weapon! Now the question is: Can a clone develop a conscience?

The premise sounds interesting, I’ll give you that. I’m just not sure what the point is when all of this stuff was handled with pretty expert precision under other writers in the past. I feel like they’ve thrown away a great deal of what made Superboy exciting in exchange for this which just seems like wheel spinning.

Final Verdict: PASS

Supergirl # 1
Michael Green, Mike Johnson & Mahmud Asrar

Meet Supergirl. She’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman – and none of his affection for the people of Earth. So don’t piss her off!

Some Smallville writers take the reigns of Supergirl following the likes of Sterling Gates, Kelly Sue DeConnick and other amazing writers who worked to make her interesting and turn her into something nearly unrecognizeable and utterly bland. Nope. No sell.

Final Verdict: PASS

Superman # 1
George Perez & Jesus Merino

The new adventures of Superman begin here! What is The Man of Steel’s startling new status quo? How does it affect Lois Lane and The Daily Planet? There’s no time for answers now, because Superman must stop a monstrous threat to Metropolis – one that he somehow is the cause of!

George Perez on Superman is something I’ve wanted to see for as long as I can remember. I probably would have liked to see him do a run in his heyday, coming off the success of something like his Wonder Woman run but this is something too good to pass up, regardless of the circumstances.

Final Verdict: PULL

Swamp Thing # 1
Scott Snyder & Yanick Paquette

One of the world’s most iconic characters has returned to the heart of the DC Universe, and every step he takes will shake the foundations of the Earth! Alec Holland has his life back but the Green has plans for it. A monstrous evil is rising in the desert, and it’ll take a monster of another kind to defend life as we know it!

Oh yes. This fits in Snyder’s wheelhouse very well and Swamp Thing has been overdue for a resurgence for many years now. I suspect this will be one of the breakouts of the lineup and hopefully we’ll be able to have another run to place alongside Alan Moore’s as a contender for the definitive version of the character.

Final Verdict: PULL

Teen Titans # 1
Scott Lobdell & Brett Booth

Tim Drake, Batman’s former sidekick, is back in action when an international organization seeks to capture, kill or co-opt super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he’s going to have to team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and the hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash to stand any chance at all against a living, breathing weapon with roots in another world! They – along with a few other tortured teen heroes – will be the Teen Titans in this new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDC.A.T.S, Uncanny X-Men) and artist Brett Booth (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!

Just looking at what they’re doing here makes my head hurt. I love the Teen Titans and I’m not against different interpretations. I loved the TV show as much as I love Johns’ run and Perez’s as well. But this just seems horrible.

Final Verdict: PASS

Voodoo # 1
Ron Marz & Sami Basri

Who is Voodoo? Is she hero, villain – or both? Learn the truth about Priscilla Kitaen as she leaves a trail of violence across America. Discover the new DCU through her eyes, because the things she sees are not always what they seem?

When he’s not ranting about comic piracy on twitter, Ron Marz is usually writing Witchblade for Top Cow. Now that he’s handed that over to Hack/Slash’s Tim Seeley he’s free to write another seemingly similarly themed book for DC. Nothing about it screams must-buy, as I think Marz used up most of his mystical mojo writing Witchblade for the last few years. This one will probably end up being culled in the not too distant future.

Final Verdict: PASS

Wonder Woman # 1
Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang

The Gods walk among us. To them, our lives are playthings. Only one woman would dare to protect humanity from the wrath of such strange and powerful forces. But is she one of us – or one of them?

Anything is better than what we’ve been getting. Phil Hester has been doing an admirable job trying to salvage what he was handed but it’s still leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Azzarello’s take looks a bit more promising and Cliff Chiang can draw the crap out of anything and I’ll pay for it.

Final Verdict: PULL

************************

So where does that put us?

27/52 titles I would rate as worthy of buying. That’s roughly 52% of the 52 that you should feel comfortable buying. I have to admit, the coincidence of the number seems almost intentional. Dan DiDio, you slick bastard you.


DCnU – Pass or Pull (Part Four)

Here’s our penultimate look at the new DCU 52 titles. So far we’re finding a lot to like spread in with some iffy offerings. But it’s not the trainwreck many are making it out to be. So let’s continue…

Legion Lost # 1
Fabien Nicieza & Pete Woods

Seven heroes from the 31st century have traveled back to the present day. Their mission: Save their future from annihilation. But when the future tech they brought with them fails, they find themselves trapped in a nightmarish world that, for them, is the ultimate struggle to survive! Don’t miss the start of this all-new LEGION series illustrated by Pete Woods – fresh off his spectacular run on ACTION COMICS – who is joined by writer Fabian Nicieza (RED ROBIN)!

I’m a fan of Fabien Nicieza. I really am. Not just for Cable & Deadpool but for his work on titles like Red Robin as well. I think he’s a strong writer who can really run when given an acceptable concept and a good artist. He definitely has the good artist on this title. Pete Woods is one of the strongest talents DC has on their roster. As for the concept, it could really go either way. The Legion is a tough nut to crack. But I would wager heavily that Fabien has something worth reading here.

Final Verdict: PULL

Legion of Super-Heroes # 1
Paul Levitz & Karl Kerschl

The Legion of Super-Heroes has been decimated by the worst disaster in its history. Now, the students of the Legion Academy must rise to the challenge of helping the team rebuild – but a threat of almost unstoppable power is rising at the edge of Dominator space, and if the new recruits fail, the Legion Espionage Squad may be the first casualties in a war that could split worlds in half!

As I said before, The Legion is not the easiest title to make work. But Paul Levtiz has a strong background with the book that should carry over here. I think longtime fans of the Legion will be satisfied and hopefully he manages to snare some new readers as well.

Final Verdict: PULL

Men of War # 1
Ivan Brandon & Tom Derenick

On the ground and on the front lines, a young, headstrong soldier known as Joe Rock assumes command of Easy Company – a team of ex-military men turned contractors. Will they survive the battle-scarred landscape carved by the DCU’s Super-Villains? Find out in this explosive new series from Ivan Brandon (Viking, DOC SAVAGE) and Tom Derenick (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!

Updating Sgt. Rock out of WW2? Immediate no sell. It makes me think too much of Hex. And while I enjoy that title for a bit of “WTF” levity, it goes against much of what makes the character truly work and I think that might be the case here.

Final Verdict: PASS

Mr. Terrific # 1
Eric Wallace & Roger Robinson

The world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors – uses his brains and fists against science gone mad in this new series from Eric Wallace (TITANS) and Roger Robinson! Michael Holt is the head of a successful high-tech corporation and an institute that recruits and encourages the finest minds of the next generation to excel. As Mister Terrific he inhabits a world of amazement few others know exists, let alone can comprehend.

That suit is horrible but Mr. Terrific is an underrated character, and since we’re not getting a JSA title it looks like this is as good as it gets. Not sure about the creative team, but hopefully they can come out swinging and give Mr. Terrific the book he deserves.

Final Verdict: PULL

Nightwing # 1
Kyle Higgins & Eddy Barrows

Dick Grayson flies high once more as Nightwing in a new series from hot new writer Kyle Higgins (BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM)! And as he embraces his destiny, Haley’s Circus, the big top where Dick once performed, returns to Gotham City – bringing with it murder, mystery and superhuman evil. Nightwing must confront his past, among former friends and enemies from his circus days, while uncovering a much greater evil!

I love me some Nightwing and I’m glad to see him in his own title again, though I was really starting to embrace the Batman Inc. dynamic. Kyle Higgins is, as I’ve stated, a rising star at DC and being handed the keys to a fan favorite book could make or break him. I don’t doubt this will be worth reading.

Final Verdict: PULL

OMAC # 1
Dan DiDio & Keith Giffen

The all-seeing Brother Eye satellite has unleashed a new beast upon the DC Universe in this smashing new series! Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known only as O.M.A.C.!

Jack Kirby by way of Dan DiDio? I cringe at the very thought.

Final Verdict: PASS

Red Hood and the Outlaws # 1
Scott Lobdell & Ken Rocafort

No sooner has Batman’s former sidekick, Jason Todd, put his past as the Red Hood behind him than he finds himself cornered by a pair of modern day outlaws: Green Arrow’s rejected sidekick Arsenal, the damaged soldier of fortune, and the alien Starfire, a former prisoner of intergalactic war who won’t be chained again. As a loner, Jason has absolutely no interest in this motley crew of outlaws. So what’s he going to do when they choose the Red Hood as their leader? Find out in this hot new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDC.A.T.S, Uncanny X-Men), featuring art by rising star Kenneth Rocafort (ACTION COMICS)!

This description SCREAMS 90’s pseudo-image title and it isn’t helped by putting the man who defined much of the X-Men’s adventures during the decade at the helm. I don’t expect much out of this title at all. I don’t care how much you taunt me with Arsenal’s awesome trucker hat, I’m not buying!

Final Verdict: PASS

Red Lanterns # 1
Peter Milligan & Ed Benes

Atrocitus and his Red Lantern Corps return in their own series, battling against injustice in the most bloody ways imaginable!

I love Pete Milligan as I’ve said in earlier entries but this doesn’t seem like it could be made interesting if it were written by a council of Jack Kirby, Grant Morrison, and Shakespeare.

Final Verdict: PASS

****************************

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the last round of analysis and we tally up the score to see if this relaunch is really worth all the effort…


DCnU – Pass or Pull (Part Three)

Our in-depth look at the new DCU 52 comes on the heels of the revelation to the press by Dan DiDio that Clark Kent and Lois Lane will indeed no longer be married when the new titles launch this fall. This has prompted a new round of backlash against the reboot but frankly the amount of vitriol being spewed is about what you would expect from the DC fanbase regardless of the particulars inciting their rage.

Green Arrow # 1
JT Krul & Dan Jurgans and Norm Rapmund

Green Arrow is on the hunt. Driven by inner demons, Ollie Queen travels the world and brings outlaws to justice? by breaking every law. Now, armed with cutting-edge weaponry and illegally gained intel (courtesy of his team at QCore), Green Arrow is shooting first and asking questions later.

JT Krul headed up the last GA relaunch and I feel like it was burdened by the Brightest Day baggage it was carrying with it. That having been said, this doesn’t look too much better and the synopsis seems to indicate that this Green Arrow will bear little resemblance to the character that we’ve come to know and since there was nothing wrong with him in the first place that earns this book a tick in the loss column.

Final Verdict: PASS

Green Lantern # 1
Geoff Johns & Doug Mahnke

The red-hot GREEN LANTERN team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke introduce an unexpected new Lantern.

Wow. Vague much? There’s not much to go on but I will admit that 90% of Johns’ Lantern work has been stellar. Well worth the money and I don’t doubt that this will be much different. Johns’ best work is within the confines of a title where he can mold the characters to his liking through careful plotting over a long period of time. His first run on the Flash exemplified this. His last Green Lantern run was excellent and while Blackest Night was a misfire, Johns’ work on the central title was good enough to earn it credibility as one of the definitive works on the character. I would hope that trend continues here.

Final Verdict: PULL

Green Lantern Corps # 1
Peter Tomasi & Fernando Pasarin

When deadly conflicts emerge across the universe, it’s up to Guy Gardner, John Stewart and an elite Green Lantern strike force to keep the peace – or else.

Guy Gardner. Instant buy. The GLC book has been just as interesting as the central GL book for the past few years and Tomasi seems to have a handle on things. This seems more of a sure shot than the flagship title under Johns.

Final Verdict: PULL

Green Lantern : New Guardians # 1
Tony Bedard & Tyler Kirkham

Kyle Rayner has assembled the most powerful team in all the universe, selected from the full spectrum of corps. But can he even keep this volatile group together?

This one seems less like a slam dunk. Spinning out of the Blackest Night/Brightest Day clusterbang, the premise seems perched on too much continuity and given the reboot’s streamlined universe we can assume that this particular title may end up being a bit muddled. I’m not too optimistic.

Final Verdict: PASS

Grifter # 1
Nate Edmondson & Cafu

The DCU’s most wanted man stars in his own series! Cole Cash is a charming grifter few can resist. And yet he’s about to be branded a serial killer when he begins hunting and exterminating inhuman creatures hidden in human form – creatures only he can see! Can the biggest sweet talker of all time talk his way out of this one when even his brother thinks he’s gone over the edge?

I have a soft spot for the old WildCATs stuff, but I’m not so sure about introducing Grifter into the DCU. Edmondson is a talented scribe but Grifter is a tough sell nowadays. It’ll be interesting to see if people still give a damn. I personally don’t see the appeal anymore.

Final Verdict: PASS

Hawk and Dove # 1
Sterling Gates & Rob Liefeld

Hank Hall is not happy. He’s not happy to have Dawn Granger as a new partner in his war on crime. He’s not happy that she’s dating the ghostly Super Hero, Deadman. He’s not happy to learn that someone is trying to plunge the United States into a new civil war! Now it’s up to Hawk and Dove to root out the forces behind this conflict and stop them before they turn the U.S. into a wasteland! And who is the monster lurking in the shadows, watching Hawk and Dove from afar? Find out in this new series from Sterling Gates (FLASHPOINT: KID FLASH LOST) and artist Rob Liefeld (X-Force, Youngblood)!

Do I really need to spell out why this book will be unreadable when Liefeld’s name is in bold print at the top? No matter how much I may respect Sterling Gates, Liefeld is an immediate turn-off. When the man can get artwork in on time it’s still a mess. How the man has been unable to evolve even a little since the early 90’s is beyond me. The rest of the Image crew have evolved their art by leaps and bounds but Liefeld remains constant in his poorly drawn little niche.

Final Verdict: PASS

I, Vampire # 1
Joshua Fielkov & Andrea Sorrentino

For hundreds of years, vampire Andrew Stanton kept mankind safe from the horrors of the supernatural world, thanks to a truce he made with his ex-lover Mary, the Queen of the Damned. But now that truce has reached a bloody end and Andrew must do everything in his power to stop Mary and her dark forces from going on a killing spree – and she plans to start with the heroes of the DCU!

Again the mystical part of the DCU gets put under the spotlight and here we get something truly interesting. Some sincerely great mystical characters have been given chances to shine in the DCU only to have their lives cut short despite critical and fan respect. Simon Dark comes to mind. This seems to be an equally compelling title and I would hope people check it out.

Final Verdict: PULL

Justice League # 1
Geoff Johns & Jim Lee

Comics superstars Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make history! In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World Greatest Heroes! This spectacular debut issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of the issue.

I don’t know for sure that this will ever even see a second issue. I’m fearful of another WildCATs incident. But Johns and Lee on the premier DC book should be enough to garner a little bit of attention. It could be the catalyst that sees a return to greatness for DC the way putting Bendis on the Avengers was for Marvel. Or it could be a massive misfire. Either way, I want to see it happen.

Final Verdict: PULL

Justice League Dark # 1
Peter Milligan & Mikel Janin

The witch known as The Enchantress has gone mad, unleashing forces that not even the combined powers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg can stop. And if those heroes can’t handle the job, who will stand against this mystical madness? Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna and John Constantine may be our only hope – but how can we put our trust in beings whose very presence makes ordinary people break out in a cold sweat?

It seems so wrong to have John Constantine in a title with the words “Justice League” in it but under the penmanship of Peter Milligan you have to place your bets in the title’s favor. The man knows how to write stuff like this and I can guarantee this will be the most interesting of the JL titles this fall. Hands down.

Final Verdict: PULL

Justice League International # 1
Dan Jurgens & Aaron Lopresti

With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International. Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red are charged with promoting unity and trust – but can they reach that goal without killing each other first?

It seems off. As someone who deeply loved some JLI back in the day, this doesn’t feel right. But Jurgens has been doing some good work with the Booster Gold title recently and so maybe this will be worth a look. I have to say that if you ever loved the JLI and don’t read this then I don’t know what to say to you.

Final Verdict: PULL

************************

Part Four will be up tomorrow followed by the final installment on Thursday. Until then, you can always let us know your own Pass/Pull opinions in the comments or on our Facebook page.

 


DC Comics Announces Line-Wide Reboot

I know that this year has been a bit different when it comes to the content I’ve posted on the blog. After leaving my job at the comic shop back in December I had to make the painful decision to alter my comic buying habits to accommodate my new lifestyle. As such, I’ve been getting my comics from an online retailer, mailed out once a month and as such I haven’t had much luck posting real reviews on a timely basis. It’s just a sad byproduct of my current situation. Another byproduct has been the steady decline of my interest in the mainstream comics scene. I have, sadly, been dropping titles I once considered vital with each passing month and have instead been focusing on creator-owned work that manages to resonate with me more than anything that DC or Marvel sends down the chute every month.

I never thought I’d see the day that I’d say this but I may just be done with DC comics. Lately the only books that I can say I’ve enjoyed fully are Morrison’s Batman Inc., Palmiotti & Gray’s Jonah Hex, Cornell’s Action Comics and Gail Simone’s Secret Six. Roberson’s handling of the Superman book has also been admireable. But that’s five books out of a line that will see 52 titles jump started with a new # 1 issue.

Dan Didio was quotes in the USA Today article as saying:

In September, more than 50 more first issues will debut, introducing readers to stories that are grounded in each character’s specific legend but also reflect today’s real-world themes and events. Lee spearheaded the redesign of more than 50 costumes to make characters more identifiable and accessible to comic fans new and old.

“We looked at what was going on in the marketplace and felt we really want to inject new life in our characters and line,” says Dan DiDio, who co-publishes DC with Lee. “This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.”

Fans around the internet have been in an uproar over this and I have to say that I understand where some of them are coming from, in light of this news coupled with the rumors that have been coming out that have not yet been substantiated such as Lois & Clark’s marriage being lost in the new continuity as well as several creative team changes that are less than exciting including a possible loss of Gail Simone from Birds of Prey. The last time that happened it sucked just about all the energy from the book and it was left to die a slow death. On the other hand Grant Morrison is rumored to be taking over the central Superman title and it is confirmed we will be getting a Justice League book written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Jim Lee, in a move that clearly parallels Marvel’s decision to put Bendis on New Avengers several years ago.

The problem I have with the Justice League book being handled by Johns & Lee, aside from the fact that the creative team is almost begging for publishing delays, is that it seems like they’re aping Marvel’s formula several years after it has already gotten stale. Granted, DC could never make such a move any time after Marvel does anything similar because it’s either too soon or too late after the fact for it not to seem like a stunt or playing catch up. My philosophy when it comes to the DC v. Marvel debate comes down to the way Marvel treats its writers. They sell the writers in a way that makes them out to be superstars. Marvel presents their writers as the A-list. The cream of the crop. Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Dan Slott, Jason Aaron, Nick Spencer, et. al are sold as being equal commodities to the characters they write. DC does not seem to do the same for their writers outside of Morrison or Johns. They have a SMATTERING of amazing talent in people like Chris Roberson, Matt Sturges, Gail Simone, Paul Cornell, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, and so many others. But you don’t see DC publicizing them like walking gods of creativity the way Marvel does with their stable.

The whole line-wide reboot thing reads like a desperate stunt. DC loves to pull stunts. The repeated weekly series plan alone shows that. This stunt in particular will alienate a great deal of the fanbase and probably lose them for a good long time. They say that the point of all this is to garner new readers by eliminating the confusion surrounding certain characters and their continuity but they are failing to understand the simple reason why the comics market isn’t viable to younger readers and that’s that comic books are not cost effective to the consumer.

The article in USA today also mentions that beginning in September, DC comics will be going same-day release with digital and print copies. This is a major leap forward in the digital market but raises even more questions. Are the digital comics going to be significantly cheaper than the print counterparts? If DC wants to make me pay full price for a copy of the new Superman # 1 at $2.99 when I can get it from an online retailer for anywhere from a 10-40% discount, then what is the impetus for me to switch to digital? The price debate is probably the most important hurdle that the comics industry will have to face in the coming years. I bought a blu-ray movie yesterday for $8.99. That’s two plus hours of entertainment plus special features for roughly ten dollars with tax applied. A comic book is 20 pages of content for about $3.25 after taxes are applied and the best case scenario is usually a ten minute read-time if there’s actually any dense content to the book. If you’re trying to attract new readers, you have to give them more bang for their buck. I respect DC for trying to lower the cost of buying comics, but the content provided for the price is a huge turnoff to people who aren’t already hooked. Add to that the fact that comics aren’t readily available anywhere outside of specialized shops and you’ve got a major dilemma. All the continuity stunts in the world will not save you from that pitfall. Comics are being displayed at Barnes and Noble now, but I’ve seen that selection and it’s not very impressive and not too well organized.

I don’t want to sound like a doomsayer, foretelling the end of comics or anything like that. The industry will adapt and survive in some manner, because too much money stands to be lost if they don’t. But the logic that has gone into DC’s latest stunt boggles the mind of anyone who takes the time to look at it carefully. Perhaps this whole article will be rendered worthless when more information becomes available. I hope everything does work out for the best. I still have friends who work in the retail level of the industry, and all the writers and artists who I’ve developed a rapport with since developing this blog don’t deserve to see their chosen profession crumble because the companies don’t know how to adapt. All I can do is sit and wait and see if what DC has to offer is worth paying for.