Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Song of the Week: Bo Burnham: Oh Bo

Occasionally it gets old being told, "Hey Sage, you should be more like us." My ultimate rejection of this is to continue embracing what makes me different.

Speaking of different....

Make the ladies say..."Ohhhh...."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Green Lantern: TAS trailer

Finally a trailer of the new Green Lantern: The Animated Series cartoon.

Yes, the animation is CGI. If this is your first time hearing of this, then cool. But if you frequent comic book news sites, or even animation news sites, and you're surprised? Learn 2 Read, please.

We're only seeing glimpses of the characters with tiny seven and thirty second trailers like this, but the creators for this need to bring more than their A Game. Now that Green Lantern has joined both Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four as one of the most polarizing comic book movies of all time, Green Lantern is dangerously teetering on the edge of being the next "Batman", and needing to take an eight year rest before someone picks up and does something solid with the concept again. (Only Green Lantern doesn't have a fraction of the recognition Batman has, so it would likely be even longer.)

With Bruce Timm (Batman: TAS) on the project, normally that would be assurance that this concept would work, but with a look that I've only ever supported being used in ReBoot, I'm concerned, to say the least. Hopefully people enjoy it more than Young Justice, or at least as much.

Green Lantern is my favorite character DC. Don't mess this up (even more).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pull List 26: Suddenly I feel decades younger...

Hawk and Dove
Writer: Sterling Gates
Artist: Rob Liefeld

I'm a tad puzzled on this one. To begin with, who decided Hawk and Dove was a property to be marketed over The Question, or a second Flash title, Justice Society of America, Captain Marvel, or (since they're doing it this way), any number of WildStorm or Milestone properties? It's a unique enough pair, but DC has dozens of others more likely to be sure hits; I'm truly boggled they went with this.

Also...Rob Liefeld? Sure is 1993. Granted, dude has like every right to continue drawing, regardless of what haters say. There doesn't exist an artist whose work is more openly and frequently mocked than Liefeld. But he and Gail did two issues in the middle of Geoff Johns' Teen Titans run (oddly enough, featuring these two characters)? Sold like gangbusters. Man's a testament to how worthless Internet criticism actually is.

I'm no Liefeld fan to be honest, but he's not a minus to me, so it's whatever. But Sterling Gates' Supergirl was amazing, so if he can bring that level of characterization and excitement to this, I'll be happy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Age of Gundam

With the 00 movie already on DVD and probably in bargain bins in Japan ( they have those?), Bandai has gotten ready the next series that will be hitting airwaves in Japan this October: Gundam AGE.

What's strange with their new series however, is that Bandai has decided rather than allow Sunrise to make yet another series that sets the anime world on fire for a season only to fail spectacularly in the second season, that they'll be allowing game developer Level-5 to handle the reins for both the anime series and the video game (which I'm presuming is set in the same universe, if not an adaptation of the plotline itself). So far, it's produced...shall we say, interesting results.

With only a few exceptions, Gundam has always been about man truly reaching the final frontier, colonizing space, and then the conflict that comes from the interaction between those on Earth and the new "spacenoids". AGE however, has taken a different direction, sounding almost "Super Robot" in it's concept:

The story will span a century and three generations of Gundam pilots. In the year A.G. (Advanced Generation) 101 — several hundred years after humans migrated to space colonies — an Unknown Enemy (UE) suddenly attacks the space colony Angel and destroys it. The calamity and the huge loss of life became known afterward as "The Day the Angel Fell From the Skies."

Seven years later, the war with the UE comes to the once peaceful colony where seven-year-old Furitto Asuno lives. When Furitto loses his mother to the war, he is entrusted with the "AGE Device," a memory unit which has been handed down from generation to generation in his family. On the device are the designs for "Gundam," an ancient mobile suit known as a savior. Furitto resolves to build the Gundam.

In the year A.G. 115, 14-year-old Furitto is at the Earth Federation base Arinsuton on the space colony Nora. For seven years, Furitto has continued developing with the base's engineers, and at last the "Gundam" is complete. The Gundam is equipped with the AGE System, which allows the unit automatically evolve. However, the UE has arrived at Nora, and Furitto must fight in the very Gundam he built himself.

Aliens. The concept bugged me last night, but thinking on how often Gundam tends to rely on the same tropes, I welcome the potential this new element brings. And the basic plot? Gundam has always been about how rapidly war changes people (particularly the youth), and thus generally takes place across very short periods of time. The One Year War. The Gryps Conflict, which lasted all of a year. The Second Neo-Zeon War, yet again only a year long. To create a series that specifically flies in the face of that by being set over a hundred year period? [Writer] Akihiro Hino definitely has some balls on him, I'll say that.

The design of the eponymous mecha is interesting as well. The last few Gundam had grown more and more intricate/complex--it eventually got to the point where a pilot in 00 had a giant Gundam head on the back of his suit and no one really said anything. AGE is more simple; it's a stripped down design with two variants that help it excel in either strength of speed, and that's it. It's possible, and likely, that the series will have more Gundams released as Bandai decides it wants to sell more toys, but for now...

And that's all of them, right now.

Of course, it remains to be seen how good this series will be. The internet hates it, but I'm convinced half the internet is made up of complete tools that hate everything. (The other half is made of porn.)

Promotional video:

The biggest complaint about this series is that the characters look too young. Trouble is, Tomino himself said Gundam essentially is about how kids are the future and adults are evil. (I'm paraphrasing. Sort of. I distinctly recall him saying "adults are evil", so all I think I'm not accurate with is the "kids are the future" bit.) So it's fan revisionist history at work. Amuro was a kid. Kamille was slightly older at 17, but Uso was back to form and even *younger*. His "Gundam opus", Turn A? The main character was seventeen. So basically no Gundam character from a series he wrote was ever older than eightteen. If this one is 12-15, it will be nothing new.

Anime's kind of boring for me lately, with the summer releases offering all of one series I *really* want to see and THAT'S a sequel (Baka to Test), another I'm slightly interested in (Sacred Seven) and one I'll watch because of it's attachement to Marvel's Anime Project (Blade). I'm hoping something awesome comes from this, and the RPG Level-5 is working on. The excitement I feel from this is welcome.

Source Articles:
Akihiro Hino and Susumu Yamaguchi work on a new Gundam Project

Sidenote: A different Gundam Project is being announced in about a week. No clue what it is, or if people will care about it beyond it's initial announcement (ie, a new manga or game). I'm hoping they'll be doing another UC OVA, but we'll see.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Hotness

I've been a little under the weather lately. (By which I mean, each time I attempt to accomplish stuff, I pass out.) Also, I got rather burned out on writing after the blitz that was DC's relaunch and E3.

But I'm awake, and I figured I'd might as well post up a new Hotness. It's not Monday, but leave me alone. I slept through most of Monday...and Tuesday. No, I'm not sure why.

Inititally, I thought about doing this particular edition centered around booth babes. But then I remembered that booth babes are kinda offensive to me. Nothing against hot women, just...come on. We're already surrounded by AAA video games that aren't even out yet. Why is there a need to pander to our baser instincts?

Nothing against the women themselves, mind you. I'm sure they're all lovely girls who just see this as a fun way to make some extra cash. That's cool. It's the fact that developers seem to think they NEED them to push a video game at me. Meh.

Y'know what would be cool to me? If they found some sexy, geeky girls that already cosplay to do these jobs. They're *already* doing this, but why shouldn't they get paid for their hard work? Maybe some companies are already doing this (doubtful)--I couldn't say. I just think it'd be cool if instead of hiring some random models for the job, we got girls like these:

I wouldn't have thought Olivia Munn had the thighs for Chun Li. Huh. Also? The girl who built that Lightning costume? We Are Not Worthy. Gorgeous lady and sick attention to detail. I'm past impressed; staring at stunned.

But I'm gonna go ahead and point out that while you still NEED to pay them, you probably could have gotten cosplay fans like these for free. Much like most gamers, the promise of getting their hands on the newest games before EVERYONE else would be payment enough.

Also, while this isn't cosplay, it's still gaming in it's native element, I feel I should post this:

They're playing XBox games, but I forgive them.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sage's E3 Picks: Dungeons and Dragons: Neverwinter

I'm not normally for PC games, but this one sounded interesting to me. Set in the Forgotten Realms universe, Dungeons and Dragons: Neverwinter makes an attempt to bring pen and paper D&D gaming to the PC.

As someone who always thought playing with fake guns was far cooler than pretending my hands were guns, I like this. I *need* the visuals. My hands need to be able to DO stuff, rather than just talk about what I'm doing. So something like this, where if reports are to be believed you can create an entire world for your party to play in, sounds awesome.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sage's E3 Picks: Ninja Gaiden 3

The E3 trailer, and...

The gameplay. Ridiculously hard games for the win?

Sage's E3 Picks: Soul Calibur V

Soul Calibur V is a Thing.

Not a bad video, though the game appears to be far, far off, and only 15 percent complete. I decided I like the game since it's fun and doesn't involve the down-forward input.

Sage's E3 Picks: Sly Cooper - Thieves in Time

Slick. I mean, seriously slick. I *love* the old-school, 1920's world mixed with anthropomorphic animals they've set up. I've never played a Sly Cooper game before, but they have my interest right now; it just LOOKS like fun.

Here's some gameplay courtesy of G4:

I figured you'd be traveling in time, but I do hope they spend more time in the world from the teaser video over the one the second trailer takes place in.

Pull List 25: WildStorm's back?

Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Sami Basri

Priscilla Kitaen has just found out she’s a monster. A half-alien hybrid, the woman known as Voodoo must confront the secrets of her past to make sense of the nightmare her life has suddenly become. VOODOO #1 will be written by Ron Marz with art by Sami Basri.

So, this is actually a WildStorm character and a member of the WildC.A.T.s team created in the early 90's. I'm not precisely sure WHY she's got a book all to herself or what it means for the DCU as a whole, but it's safe to say that the already large universe just got larger.

No comments on the creative team, other than Ron Marz wrote a pretty good Kyle Rayner when he did Green Lantern when I was but a mere boy. (And I missed half his run until I was a teenager.) If he thinks he has stories for Voodoo, I'll give it a shot for at least four months.

Pull List 24: In a move surprising everyone...

Resurrection Man
Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Fernando Dagnino

A cult favorite character returns in a new series written by his classic creative team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Joining them is JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST artist Fernando Dagnino. RESURRECTION MAN #1 is the story of a hero who wakes up with new powers each time he’s killed.

...This, is a real blast from the past. I actually started reading comics just around the time the first Resurrection Man came out. The concept intrigued me but it cost enough just to keep up with the series I read at the time--I simply couldn't afford to buy another comic every month.

But it seems DC, in it's "infinite wisdom", has decided to bring back this character. Same powers, same writers from when the title was first released, and although the artist is new, I like what I've seen of his work. LOVE Dan and Andy--they created my favorite Legion run, and spear-headed Marvel's cosmic characters for four years. The talent on this book is not questioned, so I'm definitely willing to give this series a shot--and anyone else that likes comics should be too.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pull List 23: I think it would've sounded cooler with "mage" in the title...

Justice League Dark
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Mikel Janin

John Constantine, Deadman, Shade the Changing Man and Madame Xanadu are Justice League Dark, a band of supernatural heroes united to stop the dark things the rest of the DCU does not see in JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1, by Peter Milligan and artist Mikel Janin.

Here's a curious team. It isn't completely new, what with DC trying the same concept in 2006 or so with the supernatural team Shadowpact. I'll admit to not knowing what the problem with it was, other than it trying to be too aware of itself, but the comic was canceled after twenty-five issues or so. Hopefully tacking "Justice League" onto the title, with a talented writer like Peter Milligan, will give this comic more longevity; especially if it takes off in the digital market the way DC wants it to. Magic characters have far more appeal to mainstream audiences, after all.

Pull List 22: Earth's Chosen Protector

Swamp Thing
Writer: Scott Synder
Artist: Yanick Paquette

DC Comics embraces its dark side. On the 40th anniversary of the character’s creation, the New York Times bestselling writer of AMERICAN VAMPIRE, Scott Snyder, teams up with Yannick Paquette (BATMAN, INCORPORATED) to bring horror back to the DC Universe in SWAMP THING #1. For years, one man served against his will as the avatar of nature. And while he may have been freed of the monster, he’s about to learn the monster will never truly let go of him.

No particular comments about this. Yanick Paquette is an immensely talented artist, and though I haven't read his work, Scott Snyder seems like he would be a good fit for this book.

I've never read a Swamp Thing book (too young and it isn't high on the list of vital runs for me to read), so for now I'm content to give this series a try. Wondering if he's still the White Lantern, or if they've dropped that to make things more accessible.

Pull List 21: Finally in the right costume?

Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Eddy Barrows

After a tenure as the Batman of Gotham, Dick Grayson resumes his mantle as Nightwing! As Dick embraces his identity, Haley’s Circus, the big top where he once performed with his family, returns to Gotham - bringing with it a history of murder, mystery and superhuman evil. Nightwing must confront friends and enemies from his past as he searches for the source of an even greater evil.

I have no idea who that writer is, but Eddy Barrows is capable of decent artwork, usually.

...New costume sucks, but whatever. I'm glad to have Dick Grayson be who he's supposed to be--Nightwing.

I got behind a bit thanks to a weird Tuesday, but I'll be double-timing it today and hopefully getting far more done than yesterday.

Pull List 20:

Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Guillem March

Meet Catwoman. She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is – she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good. Find out more about what makes Catwoman tick in CATWOMAN #1, written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Guillem March.

For the curious, Guillem March did that cover. I like his art style, and normally I'd follow that (as I have with so many others) with my saying that I'm a huge fan of the writer as well.

...But Judd Winick has a habit of getting in his own way, often a decent story can be weakened by the attempt at being relevant or edgy. Still, I've always wanted to read a Catwoman book--particularly since hers got canceled not long after OYL five years ago. And from what I hear, the last story he did--Justice League: Generation Lost, worked out rather well.

...Gonna need her to zip that costume up, though.

Pull List 19: I don't even know who half of you are.

Birds of Prey
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Jesus Saiz

The Birds of Prey are Gotham City’s covert ops team, taking down the villains other heroes can’t touch. Mystery novelist ands comics writer Duane Swierczynski teams up with Jesus Saiz for BIRDS OF PREY #1, the first issue of the hard-hitting new series.

I'm so iffy on this title, it's hard to explain. To begin with, I'm not all that certain on Duane as a writer. His Cable kinda pissed me off in that it *never* once became a bright story. Can't deal with that over at DC, so hopefully he's bringing a different game here.

And then, to follow. Who ARE these girls? I recognize Black Canary, but it's not promised that the girl with the plants is Poison Ivy (could easily be Thorn), the girl with the Katana could be...someone else...and who's the chick with the rose tattoo??? This isn't even the Birds of Prey line-up.

Lastly, I'm not sure this book should exist anymore. What made Birds of Prey special, even back when Chuck Dixon was writing the book, was that it was Barbara Gordon's way of being a superhero even though her body couldn't support it. She took on an advisory role, becoming one of the smartest people in the DCU (and it's best hacker) and the information source for every hero in it. And the Birds of Prey? They were Oracle's personal team. Oracle's Angels, to be honest. A team of kick-ass female heroes taking on assignments that Barbara trusted only them with.

But with Barbara having dawned the cape and cowl again, I'm not sure they SERVE a purpose. Particularly doing covert missions like this.

That's a long list of reasons why I shouldn't be reading this. But it's not actively turning me away (yet), so I'm going to give it the chance to sell me on it. Four months, same as the other.

Pull List 18: ...She can walk??

Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes

..I'm really curious as to how and why this is happening. The Bat-Universe is leaving me very confused.

When they initially mentioned this relaunch, it sounded a lot like a reboot. There was a new number one for every comic, the characters would be younger, some histories would be different. All sounded like a giant "start over" button to me.

I figured the Green Lantern universe, solid as it was, would remain largely unchanged...but mostly everything else? I expected to be changed, if not altered heavily.

But we came to the Batman announcements and learned instead that largely nothing had been changed. Damian was still Robin (with all the continuity that that entails left in this "new DC Universe"); indeed, he may be the only Robin now. Dick is back to Nightwing (a decision I support...he was only Batman until Bruce came back), while Tim Drake is nowhere to be found, Jason Todd is leading a team, and Oracle...can walk?

I'm confused, but I believe if any writer can make the best out of this situation, it would be Gail Simone. I'm onboard with the title to see the story she wants to tell with Barbara as Batgirl. Hopefully it will be worth what we're losing.

Pull List 17: I remember this one--she's the one that likes girls!*

Writer: J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
Artist: Amy Reeder

I miss Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams' work with this character, but it's whatever. Amy Reeder does absolutely gorgeous work, and J.H. Williams must have SOME concept of how the character should be written after having worked with her for at least three years now.

Of the Bat-books announced, aside from Batman and Detective, this is the one I approve of the most.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pull List 16: It was so close to 1000.

Detective Comics
Writer: Tony Daniel
Artist: Tony Daniel

Tony Daniel's Batman was actually pretty good when I read it. His art's beautiful and his work writing the Dick Grayson Batman was, while not stellar, more than good enough for me to give him a shot as he writes Bruce Wayne under the cowl this time.

The opening story has Bruce Wayne searching for a dangerous serial killer called the Gotham Ripper. That means (we hope) this is a story that has nothing to do with Batman's overused (though great) rogues gallery. Neat.

Pull List 15: The One, True Dark Knight

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo

I'm not really happy about all the new Bat-titles, or what they mean for the "new DCU" (currently they're implying that it's not really a new DCU at all), but it's silly to expect to enjoy the entire line to begin with.

I don't know much about either of these creators, but I'm a Batman fan, so it's whatever.

And now, I present you with a brief break...

From E3, so you can get hit with awesomeness.

Best fantasy game I've seen on any system in AGES. Thank you, Ubisoft. Is there any chance of bringing this to PS3? I'd LOVE to play this. (And may care enough to get it anyway. Congrats PC for being useful.)

Sage's E3 Picks: X-Men: Destiny

Not happy that the game still looks like this, with it due out in a matter of months.

The story's by X-Men: Legacy scribe Mike Carey, so I'm positive that will rock. But when gameplay and graphics need help, even good story can't fix that.

That's it with this for now. More after the Nintendo conference and the other wave of games hit.

Sage's E3 Picks: Star Trek

For some reason, Paramount wants a Star Trek game. So they hired developer Digital Extremes to create a co-op action game that takes place after the recent movie, allowing you to control either James T. Kirk or Spock and kick butt. I'm a HUGE fan of the new Star Trek, so I loved learning about this game, and watching alpha footage. (Which makes the following even MORE impressive.)

...Gonna go change my pants now.

Sage's E3 Picks: Final Fantasy XIII-2

After spending half of May working on the original game, Final Fantasy XIII has grown on me. So this trailer, which is over two minutes long and provides us with a look at both at both the cinematic and gameplay of this new game, is of interest.

It bothers me that it doesn't seem like they tweaked the battle system too much...but the game does look gorgeous, and in that armor Lightning looks super-cool. It's interesting to be following the game now from Serah's perspective too, since she's such a 180 from Lightning's character, but I can deal with that since both will be in the game.

Hopefully Square-Enix will recognize and alter the flaws fans complained about to create a superior game here, and we can enjoy a proper Final Fantasy game on the current-gen consoles.

Sage's E3 Picks: Spider-Man: Edge of Time

A comic book geek at heart, whenever they mention a comic book game that I may actually enjoy, I get excited. And this one's written by brilliant Spider-Man scribe Peter David. It's a necessity for me to have as a gamer.

Check the trailer.

From the company that brought Shattered Dimensions to us. I would've preferred a greater amount of world-hopping, but this works too. Featuring Spider-Man and his descendant from 88 years in the future (Spider-Man 2099), the game is meant to alter reality as you work to change things at both ends. While you're playing as one webhead, another will be off doing his own thing, and your actions as one will have effect the other. Should be fun.

Sage's E3 Picks: OverShift

I was a little late with my pre-show picks, so instead I'll just go with following along with the Expo and posting things as they catch my eye. To start out with, there's this little gem from Insomniac Games.


At first I was a little bummed when CEO of Insomniac Games Ted Price started talking about the game--but the trailer itself was awesome. The team looks like they mesh well together, and I'm excited to give the game a try. (I'm presuming it's third-person, of course.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pull List 14: Finally, a title to himself?

Green Lantern: The New Guardians
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Tyler Kirkham and Batt

Who are The New Guardians?

The power of Rage, Avarice, Fear, Will, Hope, Compassion and Love combine to be the most powerful (and colorful) team in the corps under the leadership of Kyle Rayner. Beware their power . . . and their volatility!

This isn't precisely a new concept--Geoff opened his Green Lantern arc this year with it--but with a different writer and a different Green Lantern as the focus, this could be quite intriguing.

No one's said exactly WHICH Lanterns they'll be using from each group--though I'm guessing it will be the respective leaders.

I like Tony Bedard, and Tyler Kirkham's art is...a step up from the last guy that worked on GLC, so I'm down for what comes next from the two of them.

I'm not down for the Red Lantern book--but I'm very sad that we're losing a talent like Ed Benes to a title I don't care to read. Oh well.

Pull List 13: No covers?

Green Lantern Corps
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Fernando Pasarin & Scott Hanna

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.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1 will be written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna. The cover to #1 is by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy.

See, that's what I was looking for. Just a little something to tell me what I'll be looking at after this comics hit shelves three months from now. Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and some of the other Lanterns that have survived the last three wars that have torn through the universe, kicking butt and taking names. Letting the villains of the universe know--you get down, or you lay down.

Fernando Pasarin is an amazing artist, so even though DC was lazy and couldn't give us a cover, I know it'll come out looking great.

Pull List 12: So how old IS Hal, now...?

Apparently DC's determined to explain at least a fourth of their line to us before the week is over, as we've just learned about their Green Lantern books. So, without waiting, we'll go ahead and start with...

Green Lantern
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy

To my surprise, I'm just not all that hyped for this book. I mean, Geoff's a great writer, but up to this point, the coolest thing about the New DCU, was that it didn't bother keeping EVERYTHING secret.

The other ten books have a very clear opening statement. Nothing big--nothing that gives away the story, just 1-3 sentences that provide a good hook. Green Lantern couldn't even give us that:

Geoff Johns has been charting the adventures of Hal Jordan and the GREEN LANTERN Corps since GREEN LANTERN: Rebirth, collaborating with such major artists as Ethan Van Sciver, Darwyn Cooke, Prentis Rollins, Marlo Alquiza and Mick Gray.

This fall, Johns reunites with artists Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy, as the series begins anew with GREEN LANTERN #1 with cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. Together they will continue to thrill readers and expand the Green Lantern mythos.

Change is coming. But set aside your fear. It’ll be worth the wait.

That's...a press release. And not really a good one, at that. There's no real information to be had. What's the next threat? Are we back to Earth stories or is Green Lantern still one gigantic space opera?

This didn't tell me anything. As a result, I don't have much to say about it. Moving on...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pull List 11: Aliveman sucked as a name anyway...

The anthology series gets a new look in DC Universe Presents, a new series that will focus on multi-issue story arcs each featuring a different superhero from the DC Universe’s rich cast of characters, told by some of comics’ most exciting writers and artitsts. DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #1 kicks off the first arc of the series: a Deadman story by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang. The cover to issue #1 is by Ryan Sook.

DC Universe Presents
Writer: Various
Artist: Various

'Cause anthologies work so well. Especially when they feature rotating casts. I can only hope day/date digital releases help the sales on this comic, since I do enjoy them usually.

I'm also going to guess that this will be where DC explains a lot of the stories of characters in this rebooted universe. Who's still here, what's new, and so on. I'm definitely down DC, but good luck actually selling this to people.

Anyway, that's it. I didn't post the Wonder Woman announcement because I'm not wholly sure about it yet. I'll add it later if I read an interview that completely sells me on Brian Azzarello. I do love Diana, after all. Anyways, I've just spent three hours writing and my fingers kinda hurt, so I'm gone for today...unless something ELSE awesome happens.

Pull List 10: Does He Still Work For the Military?

Captain Atom has all the power in the world, but no hope of saving himself. Charged by nuclear energy, possessing vast molecular powers, he has the potential to be a god among men – a hero without limits. But the question is this: Will he lose himself in the process? JT Krul and artist Freddie Williams II take the character in a bold new direction in CAPTAIN ATOM #1. The cover to issue #1 is by Stanley “Artgem” Lau.

Captain Atom
Writer: J.T. Krul
Artist: Freddie Williams II

Another title I'm not wholly sure about. The ground being tread from this spoiler here is very, very well-tread, so J.T. Krul needs to be a genius to make it work. I mean, a man with the potential to be a god? DC, Jim Shooter called from the 90's--he said he already did that with red Cyclops.

Still, Captain Atom's a decent character and Freddie Williams Jr. puts us back to "Artists That Are Beyond Awesome" in terms of quality. It can get four months and some interviews too.

The Pull List 9: Where's his Jacket?

The world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors – uses his brains and fists against science gone mad in MISTER TERRIFIC #1, the new series from writer Eric Wallace and artist Roger Robinson. The cover to issue #1 is by J.G. Jones.

Mister Terrific
Writer: Eric Wallace
Artist: Roger Robinson

A bit iffy on this one. Huge fan of Mr. Terrific, what with him being one of the smartest men on the planet. (Somehow, third-smartest actually sounds better than second. 'Cause I'd put money on the smartest man being a white guy, and that has Unfortunate Implications all over it.) But I have no idea who Roger Robinson is, and Eric Wallace's "villain Titans" sounded like crap so I just never bothered to read it. Still, I am nothing if not a man of second chances.

I'll give him the rest of this year to see whether or not Mister Terrific is any good. Four issues, which hopefully will be an entire arc. And whatever information CBR and Newsarama get out of him so I can figure out if he's got a good grip on the character or not.

Either way, unless he calls in some favors, this comic is going to have trouble. Outside of the Justice Society he's not exactly a huge character, so I'm very curious to see just exactly how much he'll sell in the first year. Marvel has actually canceled series before their second issue has come out, and while DC is willing to take more hits before they drop a book, I hope it doesn't come to that.

Pull List 8: Please tell me we're not losing the bwahahas...

A team of internationally-drafted superheroes fight each other and their bureaucratic supervisors as much as they do global crime in JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1 from writer Dan Jurgens and artist Aaron Lopresti. The cover to issue #1 is by Aaron Lopresti.

Justice League International
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Aaron Lopresti

You know...this raises a lot of questions for me, and answers several others. First question: Why not call the other team Justice League of America? It's a classic name, and since you *already* had a JLI, I can't see a reason *not* to do it.

Second question: That's clearly a different Batman, so...we have two, still? I'm, not certain how I feel about that. There really should only ever be one Batman (whether it's Dick Grayson or Bruce Wayne), as it's not exactly the Flash Family or the Green Lantern Corps. I'm guessing that's Dick under the mask, but I'd be super-happy if it were actually Bruce and he was running some kind of game to screw with everyone's head.

Setting all that aside, again, DC seems to be picking some of my favorite artists for these books they're launching. Aaron Lopresti's a talented penciller and I've found his work a joy to behold ever since I read Shooter's run on the Threeboot Legion back in 2008. And Dan Jurgens--other than Keith Gifften, there's no better choice to write this team, though like I said--I honestly hope we're not losing the bwahahahas from this group. That would be terrible--it's too soon to suck out of this new universe.

Love the line-up though. While it's not strictly "A-List", they stuffed this team with fan-favorite B-List characters. And MOST of them are from other countries, for once! Vixen's from Africa, Ice is from Scandinavia, Fire is from Brazil, Rocket Red's from Russia, and the armored guy is from China though I can't recall his name. (Thank you Wikipedia. August General in Iron, is his name. Yes, seriously.) I think four people from America is a bit much (Batman, Black Canary, Guy Gardner, and Booster Gold--though he's from the future America), but they're all classic JLI members and the team wouldn't be the same without them.

Hopefully the team actually expands as time goes on to have a few other members, but for now this looks like it'll be a great comeback. The first trade I ever bought was the first six issues of this team's original comic--it changed the way I looked at superheroes, and made me realize you could be heroic without brooding, even if your name isn't "Spider-Man". I love this team, and I'm glad DC sees that everyone else does too.

The Pull List 7: Like Batman, but with brighter colors...and trick arrows.

Oliver Queen is an orphan who grew up to fight crime as the Green Arrow, a billionaire playboy who uses his fortune to become a superhero – able to fight the most powerful super-villains in the universe with nothing but a bow and arrow. JT Krul will write GREEN ARROW #1 with art by superstar artist Dan Jurgens. The cover to issue #1 is by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund.

Green Arrow
Writer: J.T. Krul
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Dan Jurgens not drawing Booster Gold anymore makes me very, very sad. So this comic needs to be good. I got a little busy around the time they relaunched Green Arrow, so I have no idea if J.T. Krul is any good or not. (If you are...sorry for doubting.)

Anyways. That just a little different from what I'm used to. I'm guessing this is one of our first "seriously revised" characters that we'll be hearing about. Oliver Queen used to be born into money, and eventually he gave it all away as he took on an ultra-liberal political stance.

...To be honest, if they got rid of that? I'm happy. It's not nearly as unique and groundbreaking as it was when they did it back in the 70's. Ultra-liberals are a dime-a-dozen now, and this is COMING from someone who is, mostly, a liberal. Take the politics out of that character, get him back to his superhero roots. If some small amount of that remains, great--but him giving away his fortune wasn't ever a good idea. A rich philanthropist superhero can always do more WITH his money than a broke superhero can do without it.

The real question is what kind of tragedy can occur to someone who appears to have had a silver spoon in his mouth for the majority of his life, that would push him to dress like Robin Hood and fight crime? And the second question is, how does this change how Oliver Queen operates?

Should we look to Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which had Green Arrow as basically a Batman clone (he sort of is) but with arrows and without all the darkness? That would actually be sort of fun to read. Or will they be doing something completely different with the character?

Actually, I have all sorts of questions about Green Arrow, who had quite the extensive background as far as characters like him. Connor Hawke*, the second Green Arrow, Speedy his sidekick, and Red Arrow his original sidekick...dude had quite the superheroic entourage? Are they all gone? It's a valid question which I think I know the answer to, but it's whatever. I'm just hoping someone can generate proper interest in this character again.

*Connor Hawke was awesome, and his existence by itself almost necessitates a 90's DC Earth. All jokes aside. I love those characters, and it'd be a shame for them to just go.

The Pull List 6: I bet Indiana Jones can't do this...

The Savage Hawkman
Writer: Tony Daniel
Artist: Philip Tan

Batman writer Tony Daniel will team up with artist Philip Tan (GREEN LANTERN: AGENT ORANGE, THE OUTSIDERS) for THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1. Carter Hall’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archeologist 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 cowl and wings and become the new, savage Hawkman to survive. The cover to issue #1 is by Philip Tan.

This is one of those cases where the writer/artist thing works out. (I knew I'd remember one sooner or later.) Tony Daniel is one of my favorite artists in comics--his work is super-detailed without crossing an overly realistic line. I didn't read much of his Batman, but what I read was competent and actually rather good.

I think they're putting "too much mustard" on it with the "new, savage Hawkman", and I'm not sure about his new costume, but it's an issue #1, and I'm definitely willing to give it a try.

I've been a Hawkman fan since Geoff Johns worked on the character when I was in high school, around 2004 or so. I'm curious to see what they'll keep from his alien/immortal origins and what they'll discard, as origin-wise he's been rather...complicated since the Crisis tried to merge his Golden and Silver Age versions together.

Still, that said? Philip Tan is a sick artist (Green Lantern: Agent Orange speaks for itself), and Tony Daniel's already proven himself to me.

...A thought occurs. Most of DC gets made-up cities to exist in. How awesome would it be if Hawkman was the ONLY guy operating in New York City?

The Pull List 4: Ninety Days to Figure Out Your Powers

The Fury of Firestorm
Writer: Gail Simone/Ethan van Sciver
Artist: Yildiray Ciner


Welcome to a major new vision of the Nuclear Man as writers Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone team up with artist Yildiray Cinar to deliver THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #1. Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond are two high school students, worlds apart – and now they’re drawn into a conspiracy of super science that bonds them forever in a way they can’t explain or control. The cover to issue #1 is by Ed Benes.

When Gail Simone said she and Ethan van Sciver had a project they were doing together, I figured he would be drawing and they would be doing Plastic Man. far, far better. I'm loving the way they've put a completely different spin on how Firestorm works--WITHOUT getting rid of Ronnie Raymond. There are a whole bunch of people that, no doubt, dislike "Jasonstorm" (which I honestly can't hear without it sounding a tad racist, but whatever), but I'm not one of them.

I just wasn't sold on how rapidly they got rid of Ronnie Raymond, who was never a "bad" character to begin with. For those who don't know, Firestorm is a character who is actually two beings in one. Originally, it was college student Ronnie Raymond and college professor Martin Stein. Once merged, the two could alter the chemical make-up of anything non-organic into whatever they wanted. The character Jason Rusch somehow got the nuclear matrix that gives Firestorm his powers after the original Firestorm died, only he could fuse with whomever he wanted and it worked.

To me, that was always an AWESOME power and Firestorm always had a neat design. That said, aside from the look of their "fused" form, I like the new costumes Ethan's made for Ronnie and Jason, and I'm hoping they both look different depending on who's "in control" of their physical form.

Gail proved years ago she could write young characters AND do comic book science when All-New Atom came out featuring the young college professor Ryan Choi. I can only imagine this book being just as, if not MORE awesome, than that one. Why Ethan's a co-writer rather than artist I cannot tell you, but I will say I'm equally happy with the artist choice as well. Cinar knows his way around a pencil.

Looking forward to this as much, if not more than, some of the rest of these projects. Congrats to DC on keeping the dichotomy of Firestorm almost perfectly, by the way. (I liked the Professor, but being the brains AND being in a position of power could be a bit much.) Now we just need a Firestorm cartoon, DC. Seriously--get on that. It'll sell.

The Pull List 3: The Hero who STARTED this...

The Flash
Writer: Francis Manapul/Brian Buccellato
Artist: Francis Manapul/Brian Buccellato

In a way, it's...fitting to have the Flash actually bring about the change that he has. It was the Flash who saved the world in the 1980's and created the Crisis. And it was Barry Allen, again, who in the 1950's started the Silver Age and ignited the Revitalization of all the DC characters. So for him to do it a third time, thirty years later, almost makes sense. By accident or on purpose, it truly does all begin with the Flash.

I do love the Flash and his universe, but I'm always iffy when an artist picks up pencil to do more than draw. Though there are plenty of examples of people that can (though none are springing to mind at the moment), when it doesn't work out the results are...well, troublesome, to say the least.

That said, Flash is known for getting people on it who you aren't sure about/don't know and turning them into superstars. Mark Waid. Geoff Johns. One of these writers is unquestionable in his talent. The other is too, but fanboys will be fanboys-- either way, he's currently running the DCU, so he's gotta be doing SOMETHING right. And the teaser they gave ("The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but what happens when he faces an all-new villain who can?") just sounds awesome.

Either way, we'll definitely have a beautiful book on our hands. Francis Manapul draws a slick Central City, and an even slicker Flash.

Pull List 2: This book is chart-topping. I'm ROFLing already.

After their monumental decision to reboot all of their characters, DC follows a day of silence with the announcement of several new comics that will exist in their new universe.

So, of course, I'm back to see about which titles I'll be reading when they're actually released in three months time. First up?

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis

This comic will be gorgeous. I love Ivan Reis' work--I have since Geoff first dragged him onto Green Lantern years ago. One of the greatest artists in comics today with an amazing eye for detail, seeing him tackle the beautiful undersea world of Atlantis will be a joy to read month in and month out.

My only qualms about a comic book like this is actually the writer. Lately, Johns hasn't actually stayed on most of his titles for longer than a year or two at most. I don't want to see that happen with Aquaman, who really *needs* someone to stay on the title at least as long as he has Green Lantern. Long-form storytelling that expands the Aquaman's universe, so someone who spends as much time as I do on comics can tell you more than two (recurring) villains when you ask about the guy.

Still, if he manages to get a solid three years on the book, I'll shut up. Also, it'll be hilarious to see Aquaman sell in the Top 10 for a few months.

Back with a few other choices in a sec.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Revised Pull List

I've made several prior attempts to catch back up with comics, and--obviously--they haven't worked. Quite simply, it's difficult to go through eighty comics a week like I used to, and STILL have time to read every other comic I like every month. So with DC doing a "soft reboot" for the universe as a whole and starting at #1 with, well...everything, this column will be examining some of the comics coming out and their creative teams. Specifically, the ones I actually care about.

We begin with...

Justice League
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee

Cautiously optimistic on this project. I love Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's an amazing artist, but it sounds...too perfect.

Like, Geoff Johns is responsible for several dozen comics that I absolutely love, and he's not known to strike out (unless it involves him leaving mid-way through a run), but...who knows. I'll definitely be reading this, to see what happens.

Rumored since sometime in 2009, this superstar creator jam fest will be *the* first comic book to come out featuring the new DC Universe, coming out the last week in August with Flashpoint #5. Supposedly, it will feature a more "diverse" (read: minority races and orientations) incarnation of the League, boasting a fourteen-member team.

Fourteen is an interesting number, as it's what the last legendary run on the League had once Grant Morrison really got started telling stories. I think it's the sweet spot for the team, personally. James Robinson can talk about how he wants to make a group of B-Listers the next "Big Seven", ain't happening. Even Cap's Kooky Quartet had Captain America. Kurt Busiek turned Ms. Marvel (and, in my opinion, Justice and Firestar) into big deals by placing them alongside the A-List Avengers--you don't place those characters on their own in a book. That's how a title which SHOULD sell at least 100,000 a month comes out doing half that.

Fourteen members cuts down on that. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter...and then seven other heroes that you think deserve the shine. You don't have EVERY issue about the entire team, you pair a few together and see what the interpersonal relationships are between them.

Supposedly, we're opening with a brief origin story of the team. I hope it's REALLY brief--this is a new DCU, and the less time spent talking about the past, the better. Looking forward to the run nonetheless, though.

I'll be adding to this as we hear complete creative teams, as opposed to just writer or artist, and for me only official information releases count. Bleeding Cool's great, but I'm not getting my hopes up, or dashed, because they slipped up somewhere. Later folks.

Insomnia (with cards!)

Having trouble sleeping lately, which has left me listless when I'm actually awake. Attempting to correct this problem, but it's going to take quite a bit of effort, methinks.

In the meantime, I'll try to bring updates to you anyway. Lack of sleep should have nothing to do with me not writing. Doesn't stop people who are actually talented, so one supposes it shouldn't stop me either, really.

In other news, having found a way to duel using any deck online in a functional, easy-to-use manner with Dueling Network, I've been smashing into my limitations as a Yu-Gi-Oh! player. Thoughts on the experience as a whole, which I don't care to create an essay out of:

- Tier 1 decks don't mean much when you're facing other Tier 1 decks.

- This "no Heavy Storm" format stinks. I'm so tired of opening second and watching my opponent set four Spells/Traps. I hate that card, but I miss the effect it had on the game. No one's afraid of Giant Trunade.

- Tier 2 decks are more fun to play with. I have a blast playing with my Tech Genus deck, and Blackwings (though they were Tier 1 and could be again easily next format) are just fun to run against opponents. I'll be working on my Ice Barriers shortly, after my win ratio gets back up.

- Screw Gemini Hero Beat. Like, all jokes aside. Gemini Spark is annoying, and Super Polymerization is Chimeratech Fortress Dragon for EVERY CARD EVER, but only E-Heroes can use it. Oh, and they're gaining MORE fusion cards. Screw Heroes, and screw Yuuki.

- Losing doesn't really bug me, except when it's for stupid reasons. Counter-Fairies? WTF. You can't special summon, and my monster can't be destroyed without that or effects. But I can negate/destroy all effects. W...T...F.

- Ran into an Exodia deck. Dude was literally seconds away from drawing the fifth piece, but it was literally card 37 in his 40 card deck. It took everything I had not to laugh my arse off at him.

I've only had DN about a week, but it's already sucking up more time than it should, hopefully making me into a better duelist as well. (Like there wasn't enough of that.)

More updates coming soon.