So this whole Avengers movie… made a buttload of money, right? The thing is, it did it with superheroes that the general public, until a few years ago, had never heard of, or at most vaguely remembered in a nostalgic kind of way. So let’s look at some other superheroes from outside of the A-list and see how Hollywood could make their movies into hits.
Posts Tagged ‘Deadman
Tags: 2 in 1 Showcase, Annihilators, Aquaman, Batman, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Catwoman, Deadman, Dresden Files, Firestorm, Flash, George Perez, Ghostbusters, Green Lantern, Herc, Hercules, Justice League, Justice League Dark, podcast, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Red Robin, Robin, Superman, Teen Titans, The New 52, Voodoo, Wizard of Oz
The new DC Universe is a month old now, and in an extra-sized episode Blake, Erin, and Mark sit down to talk about how that first month shaped up. Mark gives us the retailer’s perspective on how sales have changed not just for the New 52, but for other titles as well, and the gang discusses the hits and misses of the last two weeks of titles. In the picks, Erin is just getting into the Dresden Files, Mark is a fan of Annihilators: Earthfall and Herc, and Blake cheers the premieres of Ghostbusters and Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!
Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.
With Halloween just days away, friends, it’s time for my annual roundup of Halloween comics in Everything But Imaginary. You can check out all the 2010 happenings right here:
But in this week’s Classic EBI, let’s go back to 2006, when I took a look at Halloween offerings for that year, shall we? It’s October 25, 2006, and we’re looking at…
Everything But Imaginary #187: Creepy Crawly Comics
It’s time, friends, for another Everything But Imaginary Global Headquarters Halloween discussion. I love Halloween, and I’ve spent the entire month of October trying to put together as much Halloween content as possible, from special columns to movie and book reviews. Why, last weekend I even lost my mind to the degree that I spent an entire 48-hour block watching and reviewing all eleven Friday the 13th movies (that’s 48 hours minus time for sleeping, eating and – on rare occasions – emptying the ol’ “Crystal Lake”), six of which I had never seen before.
Halloween and Christmas are, to me, the two holidays richest in story potential. (Let’s face it, Here Comes Peter Cottontail was not among Rankin-Bass’s greatest achievements, and I don’t even want to get into It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown.) But there are billions of Christmas movies, TV specials, songs and comics. Halloween is a bit different. There are still lots of stories told about the holiday, but even a story with no direct connection to October 31, if sufficiently creepy, can be enough to get you into the proper mood. That’s why so many horror movies come out in October, why you see monster movies on television, and why you get comics with creepy connotations.
That in mind, let’s take a little time to look at some of the haunted happenings currently on the comic book stands. Back in the 90s, Vertigo was the undisputed monarch of horror comics, with projects like Sandman, Swamp Thing and Hellblazer. Well, John Constantine is still around and kicking, but Vertigo as a whole has turned more towards fantasy, science fiction and esoteric drama. Exterminators still brings us some horror content, as does the relaunched version of Deadman, but there’s little else there at the moment.
DC proper, unfortunately, doesn’t have too much in the way of horror these days either, but Wildstorm is taking up the torch. After spending a few years with Avatar Press, Wildstorm has taken over the license for three of New Line Cinema’s library of horror properties, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and each of these properties has been graced with a new ongoing series. Wildstorm somewhat squandered the potential in the project, though, by not launching all three titles in time for Halloween. So far, only A Nightmare on Elm Street #1 has hit the shelves. That said, I was quite impressed with the first issue. Chuck Dixon and Kevin Ward show a marked improvement from the Avatar series, which had good artwork but fairly generic stories and paper-thin characters. Dixon pushed the star, Freddy Krueger, into the background for much of the first issue, focusing on a new girl in Springwood, unaware of his legend, but nonetheless next in line to become a victim. Dixon really does a good job of making Freddy genuinely frightening – too often these days he’s played for macabre laughs, but this has the elements of a good psychological horror that makes the character work the best.
Over at Marvel, they’re pumping the new Hellstorm miniseries into their refurbished MAX line. I’ll be honest, though, I avoided the first issue (which came out today) because it’s set in New Orleans, and comic books set in Louisiana almost universally get me mad because of how painfully bad the stereotypes are. They’ve also recently brought back Blade and Ghost Rider, the former to tie in with a TV series that’s already been cancelled and the latter to tie into a movie that’s not coming out until next year. I’m not a huge fan of either property, but I do appreciate that they’re there if anyone wants them. Marvel Zombies, on the other hand, was a lot of fun. The miniseries about a universe where a zombie plague claimed virtually every hero and villain on Earth was a hit (in no small part, I suspect, due to the fantastic covers by Arthur Suydam, who parodied about a dozen different classic Marvel covers in zombie form). A sequel is already in the works, from what I hear, so you know I’ll be there.
Marvel’s deal with the Dabel Brothers has also brought them a pretty good little horror maxiseries in Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter – Guilty Pleasures. Based on the popular series of novels by Lauren K. Hamilton, this is set in a world where vampires and other supernatural creatures are accepted as everyday occurrences. Anita Blake, our heroine, is a licensed vampire executioner – she is sent to take out vampires who abuse their power. I’ve never read one of Hamilton’s novels, but I got the first issue of the comic book and I really enjoyed it – it’s a nice dash of horror mixed with some hardboiled drama. Bite Club fans may find something to enjoy here.
Over at Image, they’ve gone a long way towards diversifying their line. In the horror genre, their current darling would have to be Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, about the survivors of a zombie plague that has (apparently) swept the Earth. There’s quite a bit of zombie action in the book, but it focuses more on the humans, the people who survived the plague. Most classic zombie movies are about the humans that battle the zombies, but they’ve got to reach some sort of resolution at the two-hour mark. Kirkman’s story has no such limitation – it’s an ongoing about life in a world of the dead, and it’s excellent. Heck, it was good enough for Marvel to tap him to write Marvel Zombies, right?
Dark Horse is coming back this week for a second round of Perhapanauts, a fun little monster comic about a group of… well… monsters trained as special agents to fight various supernatural threats. It’s half horror, half superhero, which is what you expect when your cast includes a Sasquatch, a ghost and a Chupacabra. The book, by Todd DeZago and Craig Rousseau, is a lot of fun, the sort of thing Hellboy fans will eat up. The first trade paperback is now available and the first issue of the second miniseries, Second Chances, hit the stands today.
So there are tons of good comics out there to help you get your scare on, and the only way it could be better is if Gemstone had timed the release of the first Tales From the Crypt Archives for October instead of December. I’m equally certain that you guys will happily inform me of any great horror comics I may have missed. I welcome your suggestions – it’s always great to hear about more good comics. In the meantime, Happy Halloween!
Favorite of the Week: October 18, 2006
Can you say “No Brainer?” Month in and month out, for over four years now, Fables has sat firmly atop my “must read” pile, and the first ever Fables original graphic novel, 1,001 Nights of Snowfall, is no different. Written by regular series writer and creator Bill Willingham, with artwork by a plethora of extremely talented artists, this book tells a tale of Snow White, trapped in the kingdom of the Arabian Fables, forced to tell story after story about herself and her peers to stay alive. In the process, we learn a lot about our heroes (and villains). Ever wanted to know Frau Totenkinder’s story? It’s here. What did Bigby Wolf do before the General Amnesty that would horrify people if they knew? It’s here. How did the seemingly ineffectual King Cole get elected mayor? What happened to Flycatcher’s family? Why doesn’t Snow White let anyone ask her about the dwarves? All of your answers lie within. Not only is the story top-notch, but the artwork is beautiful. Every artist in the book does an absolutely magnificent job. This is more than just my favorite book of the week, it’s one of the best books of the year.
Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.
Tags: Birds of Prey, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, brightest day, comics, Dark Tower, Deadman, Ed Benes, Firestorm, Gail Simone, Geoff Johns, Hawk and Dove, Hawkman, Judd Winnick, Justice League, keith giffen, Peter David, Peter Tomasi, reviews, Richard Isanove, Robin Furth, Sean Phillips, Stephen King, Tony Harris
Today I’m going to give you guys my thoughts on a few recent comics, including three more Brightest Day issues, and the most recent comic in Marvel’s version of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. Let’s start with a book that hit the week I was in Pittsburgh…
Continuing the story of the four Justice Leaguers who remember the truth about Maxwell Lord. As we’ve learned through Booster Gold’s little robot sidekick Skeets, though, computer intelligences also remember Maxwell Lord and all the nasty things he did — and that includes the scarab that gives power to the current Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes. Jaime’s family is targeted by a group of Max’s OMACs, and he joins up Booster Gold to help hunt down the man who murdered his predecessor. It’s really nice to see Jaime having a place in this group, and what’s more, writers Keith Giffen and Judd Winick spread out and cover a lot more of the DC Universe here as well. Fire’s confrontation with her former associates in the Checkmate organization is very strong, and the return of another former JLI member at the end bodes poorly for our heroes. The tone of this book, of course, is drastically different from the old “Bwa-ha-ha” comedy of the original JLI run, but that doesn’t mean the book doesn’t work. the story is very solid and the characters feel like they’ve evolved since the old days, Booster especially. I also really love Tony Harris‘s cover, featuring Jaime and Ted Kord. It’s just a great cover, really. Three issues in, I’ve really been impressed with this maxi-series. I just hope that the writers can keep up this quality for the next 11 months.
In the fourth chapter of the core Brightest Day series, the Hawks find an arch built from the bones of their many, many former incarnations. There’s a trap that’s been laid for them, something that’s been calling to them for a very long time. Deadman, meanwhile, finally gets a chance to rest, only to find himself throwing down with Hawk and Dove, an oasis in the New Mexico desert mysteriously dries up, and Ronnie Raymond starts to have some nasty dreams about what he did while he was a Black Lantern. There’s definite plot progression here, although some of it is incremental. The Deadman story, however, moves forward quite a bit. This, I think, is the way to best handle a book like this one. With such a large cast, coming out every other week, each issue should progress all of the stories a little bit and one of them a lot. That makes for a satisfying read, and it seems like Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi have figured that out. What happens at the end of this issue is really cool — it’s one of those instances where the characters come to the sort of conclusion that the readers did two or three issues ago, and they start to act on it. One of the most interesting things about Brightest Day thus far has been the strange new powers that Deadman is exhibiting. If the cliffhanger here is any indication, next issue we may actually get an examination of how those powers work, and that’s something we’re all interested in seeing. It’s also nice to bring in the Hawk and Dove story, which hasn’t played much a part in this main title yet (they’ve been featured more prominently in Birds of Prey). Solid issue.
Birds of Prey #2
Speaking of the Birds of Prey, Gail Simone and Ed Benes‘s return to this title has been magnificent. Black Canary and Huntress find themselves facing a strange woman called the White Canary. As they go into battle their teammates — Hawk, Dove, and Lady Blackhawk — arrive on the scene just in time to find themselves targeted… not by the villains, but by the Gotham City Police Department. While the characters feel familiar — and wonderfully familiar — the book has a different dynamic than it did in its previous incarnation. There’s a different status quo, a different feeling, and that’s all to the good. We’ve actually got the Birds here trying to escape the GCPD and protect the Penguin, and the way it comes about doesn’t feel forced and it doesn’t make anyone seem out of character. The book is exciting, the fight scenes are fantastic, and the last few pages really makes Oracle out to be the bad-ass she actually is. Forget the fact that she’s in a wheelchair, forget the fact that she doesn’t have any super powers. Barbara Gordon’s mind and skill can make her one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe, and Gail Simone gets that more than anybody else. The book doesn’t really seem to have a direct tie to Brightest Day, other than the inclusion of Hawk and Dove, but that’s no problem. You can read the title by itself or as part of the larger story, and either way, you’ve got a great comic.
And as a little change of pace, let’s look at something that doesn’t have anything to do with Brightest Day, but is cool nonetheless…
Despite having perhaps the most unwieldy title of any comic book published this year, this miniseries has really turned out to be strong. The first cycle of Dark Tower comics ended with the previous miniseries, The Battle of Jericho Hill. Although this miniseries has begun the adaptation of the first Dark Tower novel, we’re still filling in backstory, showing how Roland, the last gunslinger, went from the massacre at Jericho Hill to the point we find him at the beginning of Stephen King‘s masterwork. Here we see Roland’s final journey to his destroyed homeland, the introduction of a creature whose family will turn out to be very important to him later in the series, a terrible sight and a bloody battle, and some haunted happenings back home. Robin Furth, King’s longtime assistant, is doing great work developing the story. All of her additions and alterations come with King’s approval, which makes it easier to accept, but even if he wasn’t involved the things we see here work very well with the world he established. Peter David‘s script, and the artwork of Sean Phillips and Richard Isanove come together to make a really magnificent comic book. I’ve been reading the Dark Tower comics ever since Marvel began publishing them a few years ago, but it’s been some time since I was so impressed by an issue that I felt compelled to talk about it. King fans, check this out. It’s great stuff.
It’s that time again, another chapter of Brightest Day hit the stands today, so let’s get into it. In issue #3, “Revelations,” we watch as Deadman is forced into a confrontation with the Anti-Monitor that yields some surprising results, and yet again teases some of what’s really going on with the White Lantern. The title is a little misleading, nothing is actually “revealed” in this issue, but we are given a few more pieces of more than one puzzle. Deadman is just the tip of the iceberg. We also see the now-separated Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch refusing to associate with one another (which may be the best, considering what happened the last time they formed Firestorm), Aquaman and Mera continue to delve into the mystery of why he’s gained the ability to control dead sea life, the Martian Manhunter continues to investigate the revelation that he may not have been the only Martian brought to Earth way back in his origin story, and Hawkman and Hawkgirl find out that their old foe Hath-Set was after more than just the bones of their original bodies.
The book does feel like it’s moving along rather slowly, which is often a symptom of having no less than five storylines going on at any given moment. The real issue I’m having is that it feels some of them are getting a little neglected. The Aquaman and Martian Manhunter stories have only moved forward incrementally since this series started, and while we’ve definitely gotten forward movement with Firestorm and the Hawks, it’s come in small chunks. It’s really quite a relief that half of the 12 characters who came back in Blackest Night are having their stories told in other titles, I can’t imagine how short each segment would be if they were all in this title. Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi need to pick it up a little, possibly by tying the different stories together.
Deadman is getting the most motion, and that’s okay with me. He’s really become the main protagonist for this event, the one the others are kind of revolving around, and the one whose story I believe will probably bring the most revelations. He’s also the one who has the most adjusting to do. Sure, they’ve all returned from the dead, but he lived a whole life when he was dead. It’s quite the change, and it’s working.
Again, we have a lost of artists contributing to this issue. Each one, fortunately, is handling a different storyline, so it’s not quite as jarring as it may otherwise be. The only real issue I have with the art is a continuity complaint, but it’s a big one. I realize that not everybody out there may have read the last Firestorm series, but am I the only one who remembers that Jason Rusch’s father only has one hand? That’s kind of a big thing to miss.
Not a bad issue, but I hope the book speeds up.
Tags: aaron lopresti, Adian Syaf, Birds of Prey, brightest day, comics, Deadman, Deathstroke, Ed Benes, Firestorm, Flash, Francis Manapul, Gail Simone, Geoff Johns, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Judd Winnick, Justice League, Justice Society, keith giffen, Martian Manhunter, Patrick Gleason, Power Girl, Scott Clark, Supergirl, Titans, Tony Bedard
Okay, technically I this is my second Brightest Day post in the month of May, following this earlier one, but it rhymes, and I had a rough week, and I’m tired, and shut your face.
I’m sorry, I… I didn’t mean that. It’s the last week of the semester and I’m worn down and… I like your face. Really?
Let’s review some comics, okay?
The other bi-weekly series that we’re going to follow for the next year kicked off two weeks ago with this first issue. Maxwell Lord was an entrepreneur with a metahuman talent, the ability to control people’s minds, but the power was a weak one and even a small strain caused him to break into nosebleeds. Instead of becoming a hero himself, he settled for organizing the “International” incarnation of the Justice League in the 80s and 90s. But in the opening days of what would become Infinite Crisis, Max revealed that he was in fact manipulating the heroes in concert with Checkmate, and murdered the Blue Beetle. Wonder Woman was forced to put him down to stop him from using Superman as a weapon, and the fallout nearly destroyed her career. But in the wake of the Blackest Night, Max has come back to life, and in this issue he’s pulling the biggest scam of all time — using his power to make the world forget he ever existed.
Keith Giffen, who wrote the original Max stories back in the JLI era, is the plotter and breakdown artist for this series, helping give it a strong continuity. This isn’t the “Bwa-ha-ha” League he wrote back then, however. He’s giving us a more serious story, with real stakes for our heroes. His co-writer, Judd Winick, has often been hit and miss for me. His humor books (like The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius) are great, but his superhero work often fizzles out. I’m hoping that having him work in concert with Giffen, we’ll prevent that sort of thing from happening here.
As this is a biweekly book, there isn’t much chance of a “regular” art team. Aaron Lopresti does the chores on issue one, and he does a solid job. Working from Giffen’s breakdowns, he tells a solid story that I enjoyed quite a bit.
As it’s been three Wednesdays since I talked about Brightest Day, another issue of this biweekly has already hit the stands. Let’s talk about it, shall we?
In the second issue, Max has cut loose with his power and succeeded in not just making nearly the entire planet forget him, but place some sort of post-hypnotic suggestion that makes people reject the truth when confronted with it. Only four people remember the truth, four members of Max’s former League who were in contact with his blood when he pulled his stunt. Booster Gold is already considered a joke to many of the heroes of the DC Universe, so his word is taken with a grain of salt, but now Max is taking steps to discredit and ruin Fire, Ice, and Captain Atom as well. With no one to turn to except each other, they set out to prove the truth and bring Max to justice.
The plot really kicks into gear this month, as the aftermath of Max’s global windwipe starts to come together. The writers have done a good job of filling in the gaps, even to the point of figuring out who Max would attribute each of his crimes to in order to make people forget him more readily. The things he allows people to believe about Ted Kord’s death are perhaps more insidious than anything else he’s done, and it kind of makes you hope that Booster Gold is the one who lays the smack-down on him when the time comes. I’m also glad that the writers gave us a more scientific explanation (well… comic book science) for why these four and no one else remember Max. I was afraid it would be more emotional, that these four somehow felt more strongly than anyone else, but an answer like that would really be a disservice to Guy Gardner, the Martian Manhunter, Power Girl, and other members of those JLI teams.
Two issues in, I really think the writers have given us a solid start. I just hope there’s enough meat to the story to last a whole 26 issues.
With the former Titans team pretty much disbanded and its members scattered to the four winds, the assassin called Deathstroke takes the name for his new team of mercenary villains. Their first target? Someone known to the heroes of the DCU all too well.
Plenty has been written about this issue already, so I won’t belabor the point, but there is one positive thing I can say about it. I promised that I wasn’t going to go out of my way to get every Brightest Day related title, but until I read this issue I was afraid that might happen anyway. Now, the chances of me following this story into the ongoing Titans comic are slim to none. First of all, the hero that’s killed in this issue is done so almost in a perfunctory way. I feel like he was discredited, killed just to show how “badass” the villains are. Death in comics, especially in a post-Blackest Day world, should mean something. When Ted Kord died, for example, it was very clearly the opening shot in a war. I don’t get the sense that there are going to be any serious repercussions for what Deathstroke’s team does in this issue.
What’s more, the team doesn’t really make any sense. Deathstroke has never needed a team before, and the only reason this book is called Titans is because no one seems to know what to do with the franchise. There are only two characters in this book I’m interested in reading on a regular basis, Tattooed Man and Osiris, but neither of them are villains. Neither of them belong on a team full of murderers. There’s an attempt to explain what Deathstroke has over them, but it doesn’t make their inclusion seem any less forced.
I was really happy to see Osiris among the living at the end of the Blackest Night, but my happiness was short-lived. I won’t be following his future adventures in this book.
The birds are back! Barely a year after the title was canceled in the restructuring of the Batman universe, Gail Simone and Ed Benes return to the title they made great. Oracle decides to get the band back together for a new mission, calling up Black Canary, Huntress, and Lady Blackhawk to once again help her protect the heroes of the DC Universe from threats they can’t face on their own. While she’s rounding up her friends, however, the recently-resurrected Hawk is having some issues re-acclimating to life among the living. It seems he and his partner, Dove, may have to find a home among the Birds to figure out where to fly.
This new dynamic offers some really interesting story possibilities that I’m sure Simone will have the guts to address, and I don’t just mean the fact that Hawk is the first male member of this traditionally all-female team. Before he died, Hawk walked around for some time in villain’s clothes, and he killed a lot of people, including several founding members of the Justice Society of America. I can’t imagine the folks at JSA headquarters are going to be wild about him joining the “911 operators of the DC Universe,” as Simone often refers to this squad. This is something that almost has to be addressed. But I have every faith in Simone’s ability to do it.
Benes’ art hasn’t lost a step. He’s still got great, energetic, dynamic pencils and fantastic fight scenes. Coloring has progressed even more since his first run with these characters, and it’s not hyperbole to say this book looks better than ever.
I was really bummed when this title was canceled, but I couldn’t be happier to have it back, and back in the best of hands.
In part two of “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues,” Barry Allen is on the run from a group that mimics his worst enemies, but claim to be from the far future. This group, the “Renegades,” is in our time to arrest Barry because he’s going to murder one of their members 84 days in the future. Barry is none too keen on the idea of being arrested, of course, especially for something he hasn’t done (yet), and the Flash is soon on the run. Meanwhile, the present-day Rogues approach their recently-returned member, Captain Boomerang. Boomerang is none too happy with his old friends, though, as they seem intent on making him “prove himself” before they let him back into the club.
It’s not really clear how much of his time as a Black Lantern Captain Boomerang remembers. Does he remember killing his own son? Does he remember that his teammates basically gave him the boy as a snack? Does he even really want to reunite with the old team? One of the things that made Geoff Johns‘ first tenure on the Flash so memorable was the way he redefined the villains. It looks very much like he’s poised to do the same here.
Something that’s different than when he wrote the adventures of Wally West, though, is the way he’s bringing in more of the goofy comic book science and tech. Things like the Renegades are a very Silver Age-ish concept, and he’s executing them nicely in the present day with a more modern edge. Add in some great art by Francis J. Manapul and you’ve got another book I’m really happy with.
While some of the returnees have splintered off into the other titles we’ve been discussing, here in Brightest Day the focus really seems to be on some of the other characters. Firestorm is in a quandry, with Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond fused together in the Firestorm matrix. The situation is even more uncomfortable because Ronnie doesn’t remember, as a Black Lantern, killing Jason’s girlfriend. Jason, however, remembers it all too well. Also this week, the Martian Manhunter is seeking out the daughter of the scientist who brought him to Earth in the first place, and the Hawks are hunting down their oldest enemy. Firestorm is probably the most interesting part of this book to me, though, with Deadman coming in a close second. Still being jerked around by the White Lantern ring, Deadman gets a fantastic last-page cliffhanger.
The main mystery of Brightest Day seems to be split between this title and Green Lantern, with this book delving into those who returned from the dead and why. I’ve heard a few people understandably perturbed by the lack of Lantern content in this book, but I don’t think that’s what this is about. It reminds me much more of 52, the weekly series Johns co-wrote a few years ago, in that it follows a group of characters in the wake of a major event and examines how it changes their lives and, as a result, their world. Taken on its own merits, I think this story is succeeding quite well.
While I don’t expect a biweekly book to have a regular art team, it bothers me a bit when there are so many different artists on a single issue. Guys like Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Adian Syaf, Scott Clark and Joe Prado are all fine artists, but their styles are too different from one another to transition without a jolt. Hopefully future issues will be able to have a little more consistency.
This issue is part two of the two-part prelude to the five-part Justice Society of America crossover, “The Dark Things.” (They really should have just called it a seven-part crossover.) Jade, a Blackest Night returnee, comes back to earth inside a crystal. This “Starheart” is the mystical artifact that powers her father, the Golden Age Green Lantern, but now Alan Scott’s power is going haywire. The Justice League, Justice Society, and a few friends get together to try to prevent a disaster, but Power Girl seems to have gone mad. There’s only one person Batman can find with the juice to face her — Supergirl.
We know Supergirl is joining the team full-time soon, and this issue works very nicely as an introduction to her membership. She’s called up to deal with a specific threat (a nutcase Power Girl), but she’s already working well with the rest of the group. Robinson seems to want to build a JLA that’s built around all of the main “families” of the DC Universe without actually having the usual members. That’s an interesting idea, and as such, Supergirl is a very good candidate to represent the House of El.
The end of this book is an interesting cliffhanger, if not an earth-shattering one. Future solicits have already spoiled the end of this book (I hate when that happens) and I doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that’s likely to be permanent anyway. Still, it’s a pretty good superhero team-up, and it seems to be helping the League on a much-needed march towards stability.
The other main mystery in this series is that of the White Lantern itself. Fallen to Earth, we see as Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris and Sinestro (the “New Guardians” of the Green, Violet, and Yellow Lantern Corps, respectively) step up and try to lift the Lantern. It becomes clear, though, that the Lantern isn’t there for just anyone. It’s waiting for someone… or something.
Geoff Johns throws in two different B-plots in this issue, and each of them is intriguing. Atrocitus, “New Guardian” of the Red Lanterns, is prowling the subways of New York in search of something, while the entity that captured Parallax a few months ago makes a play for another of the entities that power the seven Corps. The mystery of the entities is one thing that Blackest Night didn’t dig into very deeply, and I’m really glad to see that storyline is being fed here. The whole “Sword in the Stone” analogy for the White Lantern seems a little on the nose, but that may be a red herring (or green or yellow or whatever the case may be). Atrocitus is becoming more and more interesting as a character, and I’m very curious to hear the long-awaited story of Dex-Starr.
I’ve said it over and over, but one of the best things to come out of the Blackest Night are the new characters in the new corps. I want to see more of those guys, and that’s what Johns is giving to me. It doesn’t appear that’s going to change any time soon, and I’m very happy about that.
Closing off our look at the recent Brightest Day releases, we have Tony Bedard‘s debut as the new writer of Green Lantern Corps. As Guy Gardner leaves for a mysterious new mission of his own (which no doubt will be the focus of the upcoming Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors series) John Stewart comes to Oa to help with the rebuilding of the planet after the war. As he and Kyle Rayner help the rest of the Corps with reconstruction, the former Guardian called Ganthet approaches his brothers and sisters with a fateful decision — he is renouncing his status as a Guardian for any Corps, and instead will become the new permanently-stationed Green Lantern of the planet Oa.
The idea of Ganthet stepping down and becoming a “grunt” is an interesting one, and to the best of my knowledge it’s something that’s never been done before. Between that and the trade-off of Guy for John, Bedard has immediately created a very different feel for this book than it had under Peter Tomasi. As good as Tomasi’s run was, this new approach has a lot of promise of its own. John has really been forced out of the spotlight in recent years, ostensibly sharing the main Green Lantern title with Hal, but really getting very little screen time. Putting him in this book is already giving him a higher profile, without sacrificing any of the focus on Kyle Rayner or the rest of the cast. We also get a new mystery surrounding the Alpha Lanterns, characters that seemed to be out of a purpose not long ago. Bedard has re-purposed them and is turning them into something different, ominous, and fun to read about.
It’s a new era for this title, but it’s still a very strong part of Brightest Day.
Tags: andy kubert, Birds of Prey, Blackest Night, brian bucceallato, brightest day, captain boomerang, comics, Deadman, Fernando Pasarin, Flash, flashpoint, Francis Manapul, Geoff Johns, Hawk and Dove, Justice League, Justice Society, osiris, Peter Tomasi, professor zoom, reviews, Titans
Well, like I said, I’m going to review all of the Brightest Day tie-in comics I read here. I’m not going out of my way for them, but I read so many DC books already chances are that I’ll cover most of ’em either here or at Comixtreme.com. At any rate, the first two books with that banner both came out this week, so it’s time to begin your reviews…
Brightest Day #0
Geoff Johns, mastermind behind Blackest Night, joins with his Green Lantern-universe writing partner Peter J. Tomasi to write this year-long biweekly maxiseries that spins out of the events of the final issue of Blackest Night. In this zero issue, we begin with Boston Brand, formerly Deadman, one of the twelve characters brought back from the dead in that previous storyline. Unlike the rest of them, however, Boston was never a force in his life. He didn’t become a hero until after he died, and the new “Aliveman” (as Johns has taken to calling him online) doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. That choice seems to be made for him as the White Lantern ring that brought him back from the dead takes him on a tour into the lives of the other 11 men and women who came back from beyond the grave and, at the end, gives him the first glimpse of just what the mission of his new life may be.
This feels like a true zero issue, with lots of set-up and lots of promise. Taking the time to show us who these characters are and how they’re dealing with their return to life is a good idea. Sure, the vast majority of the people reading this issue also read Blackest Night and know who the twelve are, But some of these characters have been dead for quite a while. It’s perfectly reasonable to think that an incoming reader may not be familiar with Osiris, Hawk, Jade, or Maxwell Lord, and taking the time to remind us who they are isn’t a bad thing at all. The writers go farther than that, though, giving us a real glimpse into how their return to the living has effected them. Some of them, naturally, are handling it better than others, and this issue seems to give at least a peek into the story direction each of these characters will enjoy over the course of the next year. We also get an idea of just where many of their stories will lead — Hawk into Birds of Prey, Max into Justice League: Generation Lost, Jade into Justice League of America and Justice Society of America, Osiris into Titans and Captain Boomerang and probably Professor Zoom into The Flash, although each of them no doubt will also play a part in this main series as well. (Actually, looking at this list the only book I wasn’t planning to read anyway was Titans, and with Osiris heading there I’m sorely tempted to get it.)
Fernando Pasarin does the art for this issue, although with a biweekly series I imagine that there won’t be one “regular” artist, but probably several rotating pencilers and inkers taking turns to get this series out on time, much as was done on the previous weekly comics 52 and Countdown. I really like Pasarin’s artwork — it’s strong, traditional superhero art that works for the bright heroes (and the dark villains) we see herein.
This is a solid beginning. Brightest Day is going to be a long road, but Johns and Tomasi got it off on the right foot.
Or, more accurately, The Flash (Vol. 3) #1. While I understand why this book has been relaunched with a new first issue instead of just continuing the numbering of the previous series, that’s a pet peeve of mine in the comic book universe. This is, however, at least better than what they’re about to do with Green Arrow. But I digress, Geoff Johns re-teams with his former Adventure Comics partner Francis Manapul for the new ongoing adventures of Barry Allen, the Flash. Barry was recently returned from the dead himself (well… recently in DC Universe time, it’s been nearly two years in the real world since his return began), and as his new series kicks off we see him trying to re-acclimate into his life. Johns has a pretty plausible story for him to tell his former friends and co-workers about where he’s been all these years, and Barry wastes no time getting back into the mix.
The story really kicks into gear when a murder victim is found in the middle of Central City wearing a costume similar to that of Barry’s old foe the Mirror Master. As he tries to look into the stranger’s death, he finds that he isn’t the only one investigating… and with Mirror Master down, the rest of the Rogues can’t be far behind.
Johns does a wonderful job capturing the flavor of Barry Allen in this book. While a lot of people — fairly — miss Wally West (Barry’s former sidekick who took the top job in the nearly 25 years since Barry’s “death” in Crisis on Infinite Earths), Johns has really conveyed who Barry is and what makes him different from Wally. The relationship between Barry and his wife, Barry and his coworkers, and Barry and his enemies is all clearly defined. What’s more — as Johns so often does — he takes great pains to characterize not just the hero, but his city as well. Central City is a place concerned with speed, with getting everything done fast. And that seems a perfect fit for the scarlet speedster.
Can I say how much I love Francis Manapul’s artwork? His linework, with beautiful colors by Brian Buccellato, is unlike anything else you see in a modern superhero comic. The book has a sort of washed look to it that gives it a timeless feel. The story you’re reading could have been told twenty years ago, it could be told twenty years from now, and it will fit in just perfectly.
As he often does, Johns ends this issue with a teaser from an upcoming storyline, Flashpoint, which is promised to come in 2011. Johns will apparently be telling this story with artist Andy Kubert, although whether this is a storyline in this title, a crossover with other titles, or its own miniseries remains unknown. I love when Johns does this, though. The first time was back at the end of Sinestro Corps War, when he first teased a little something called Blackest Night, and since then he’s stepped up several times to give us teases. This tease features a clock running out, Barry with Professor Zoom’s costume, something happening to the other speedsters, and glimpes of Paris underwater, a red-eyed Batman, an armored Wonder Woman in front of a flaming Big Ben, soldiers protecting a bunker sporting Superman’s S-shield, and a white-gloved hand wearing a White Lantern ring. Curiouser and curiouser. Whatever it is, Johns has proven himself to me time and again, so I can’t wait to see it.