- All-New Invaders by James Robinson
- Secret Avengers gets a new # 1 issue with the new creative team of Ales Kot and Michael Walsh.
- Avengers World by Nick Spencer and Jonathan Hickman with art by Stefano Casseli.
- Avengers Undercover, a replacement for Avengers Arena by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker
- Loki – Agent of Asgard by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett
- A new Black Widow book by Nate Edmondson and Phil Noto
- She-Hulk by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido
- Silver Surfer by Dan Slott and Mike Allred
- Iron Patriot by Ales Kot and Gary Brown
What are you most looking forward to? Personally, Black Widow and She-Hulk look the most promising and I cannot wait to see the internet explode over Dan Slott’s Silver Surfer. I’m not sure we needed ANOTHER Avengers title to go with Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers Assemble, et. al. But seeing Hickman filtered through Spencer could make for some interesting stories.
Synopsis: The critically acclaimed smash hit series rolls on with this collection of the blockbuster third arc, “P.E.!” The first days were just the beginning – when the faculty cancel classes and send the students on an outing in the nearby woods, all hell breaks loose – sending the Glories on a mysterious journey through time and space. Nothing is what it seems to be as Academy’s hold on the kids collapses and new threats emerge! Collects MORNING GLORIES #13-19
I hopped onto Morning Glories with issue one and found myself immediately hooked. While many people seem to call this the Lost of the comic world, I get a more clear and present feeling that much of the book is an homage to The Prisoner. The themes of isolation from the outside world and the mystery of the protagonists’ prison seems to fall more in line with that show than J.J. Abrams’ big hit. Though with this volume more than any other, the presence of time travel as a plot element seems to push it closer into that territory. The only thing is that the manner which it is conducted leaves us feeling less frustrated because we are told from the outset that it will be an omnipresent theme.
Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma have created a book that is damned hard to put down. This volume could have been called the book of revelations, as we get a deeper look at many of the characters origins. While the book likes to play in a mysterious sandbox, it never withholds information in a way that frustrates the reader. The pacing is truly out of this world. Now, I say that with the full disclosure that I stopped reading the monthlies around issue twelve because of budget constraints as well as my own feeling that the story reads far better as a collected edition. That isn’t a slam. None of this feels decompressed or drawn out. The pacing and the suspense would work just as well in individual issues, and now would be a great time to jump on board as things are really starting to heat up.
I think what anybody can appreciate about the series is the way the stakes are continually raised and conventions find themselves getting flipped from issue to issue. Totally unlikable characters get moments of humility and sympathy and you may find yourself questioning whether or not someone you liked was really so likable at all. Nick Spencer truly does know how to plot out a narrative and fill it with amazing character work. It’s no wonder he’s established himself as such a major talent so rapidly. I don’t think I’ve read anything he’s penned that I didn’t enjoy. His voice is a perfect fit for this medium and this is one of the best examples of his top tier writing. His pairing with Joe Eisma is a master stroke of genius as well. Eisma’s style is a perfect match for the tone of the book. His style reminds me of the Luna Brothers but fair more detailed. I adore small flourishes he will add to panels, such as the random insert of Kat Dennings’ 2 Broke Girls character into a diner scene. His art has personality and it serves the book well.
I recommend people pick up all three of these trades and give the series a go if they haven’t already. It lives up to the hype it has garnered and I think that in a few years time we’ll all be talking about what an amazing run it really was. I don’t know when the endpoint for the series is but I’ll keep reading as long as they keep putting it out.
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.