Sage's Stray Thoughts 13: Convergence + Diversity
For whatever reason, DC's back to its old tricks again--announcing all of its books for it's mini-relaunch in June at once instead of the gradual rollout that Marvel is doing for Secret Wars. Admittedly, it certainly makes for a more exciting day. And, in addition to all the new books announced, there also seem to be some creative team changes. So, all-in-all, what do we have?
Superman sees artist John Romita Jr. stick around, while writer Geoff Johns leaves to be replaced by Gene Luen Yang. This, is going to get a pass from me. Sorry. I've got nothing against Gene, and I certainly hope he does a great job writing the Last Son of Krypton. But Superman with Klaus Janson's overbearing-ass DKR inking was difficult enough for me to sit through every month, and I only did it because Geoff Johns is one of my favorite writers of all time. If he's done, I'm done too. At least until the penciller/inker team changes.
The newly announced Justice League of America sees superstar creator Bryan Hitch pulling down both writing and artist chores. I...am not sure how I feel about this. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, two artists, actually created one of my favorite runs on Flash at the dawn of The New 52 and are doing quite well on Detective Comics right now...but really, you never know how things like this turn out. It could be like that...or it could be like Tony Daniel. I'll give the first issue a shot, so mark this one as a maybe.
Next is everyone's favorite sonic scream martial arts bad-ass, Black Canary. It's coming from one-half of the Batgirl writing duo, Brenden Fletcher and artist Annie Wu. If you were unaware, Annie's responsible for all those kick-ass issues of Hawkeye that feature Kate Bishop. So now DC's brought her on help revitalize one of the founding members of the Justice League.
My initial reaction was to pass on this. Why the fuck is Dinah in a band instead of out doing cool superhero shit? It all feels just a little too "cute", and kind of a cash-in on the popularity of Spider-Gwen. But then I'll forgive a lot for the return of the secret identity, and these days "floral shop owner" probably isn't the coolest gig to have, so what the hell? Also, since the writer is working on Batgirl (which is amazing and you should go read that now if you haven't), I guess I can count them both as a little mini-universe. Consider this a get.
Batman Beyond is getting another book, courtesy of writer Dan Jurgens and artist Bernard Chang. I like Dan, but I'm ambivalent towards Batman Beyond, so this is going to depend solely on the concept behind it. For now, put it down in the maybe.
Bizarro is...aw, who am I kidding. Pass. I'm reading Loki, Magneto, and Sinestro. I'm full up on villain books.
Bat-Mite?! The Mr. Mzyzptlk clone?! Who the fuck asked for that?! What do they think this is, the sixt-*sees art* Aw, he's adorable! I just wanna hug the little guy! Get!
Constantine: The Hellblazer: ....If DC doesn't put this dude back where the fuck they found him.... Look. He's a Vertigo character! Stop trying to be cute, adding the name of his old book to this rebooted title, and all that extra shit. Just put him back. Pass.
Cyborg: .....Who's on art?! Ivan Reis and Joe Prado?! Yeah yeah, I know I'm supposed to be excited because it's a black character written by a black writer or whatever it is IGN was on, but fuck all that. Reis and Prado are two of the biggest artists in comics. Presuming David Walker actually brings the heat on the scripting, we've got nobody to blame but ourselves if this goes bad black folks, because I can almost guarantee this will be one of the most beautiful books on the stands every month. Doesn't get anymore high profile than this. Unfortunately I have no idea who David Walker is, so call this a maybe until I hear the guy's plans for the book.
Dark Universe: The writer for this book is James Tynion IV, who wrote Talon, a spin-off from the Court of Owls storyline they kicked Batman off with when the New 52 started. Talon was a well-written title with short legs because the character had even less name recognition than Jean Paul Valley did when he was Azrael in the late 90's. (At least he had been Batman before his new identity.) So if Talon's any indication of what he's capable of, this should be a good book. The artist is Ming Doyle, who I'd never heard of until today, but upon Googling her will probably be a perfect fit for a comic book like this. She's also responsible for writing Constantine, so I'd like to apologize for my...extreme reaction earlier on. (Still not reading it, though.)
Most likely this title will feature the "Justice League Dark", pictured above, which is good because that was a stupid fucking title and the sooner we get rid of it the better. (I miss Shadowpact.) And, if it does include the line-up I'm looking at up there--Madame Xanadu, Amethyst, Constantine, and Tim motherfucking Hunter--this is almost definitely a get, as those are some of my favorite characters.
Green Lantern: Lost Army is a book by artists Jesus Saiz and Javier Pina, and writer Cullen Bunn, responsible for Magneto and Sinestro, two incredibly well-done books about misguided supervillains. If his ability for handling nuance and grey characters can carry over to this book (presumably the replacement for Green Lantern Corps), then DC will probably have a critical hit on their hands. Still, I'm putting this down as a maybe, because I don't know anything about it other than the creative team. Who's in it? Guy? John? Where the fuck is Kyle? These are questions I'll need answered before I go near it.
Doomed - Something about a teenaged Doomsday? Fucking pass. I wish Scott Lobdell and Javier Fernandez all the best, but still.
Earth 2: Society - I love Earth 2, and I love the Justice Society but...*sighs* Not like this. Sure, we don't know what happens when Earth 2: Worlds End is finished, but...I'm having trouble believing that planet will be completely free of anything Darkseid so it can develop itself properly. Still, hope springs eternal. Maybe, until I can see the art and hear about the direction.
Dr. Fate - My track record with Paul Levitz isn't all that good. The Legion came to a rather upsetting end under his pen, and with World's Finest I just...lost interest. Still and all, I like Doc Fate, so I'm willing to give him a third try. Put this down as a maybe.
Harley Quinn/Power Girl - The team from Harley Quinn and, well, Power Girl, are back with what I think is a mini-series. Y'know what? Before I even get started, I'm going to go ahead and give this a pass. Why are they even together? Because Amanda Conner drew them both? Meh. I love both of them, but DC can miss me with this cash grab.
Justice League 3001 - ....Fuck outta here, they're making more of this? You have the chance to bring back the Legion of Super-Heroes, who you're supposedly working on a film for, and you double down on this Justice League 3K shit? Brb, I'm gonna go bang my head into a wall until I lose enough brain cells for this to make sense. I have all the respect in the world for writer Keith Giffen, and Howard Porter has been a favorite artist of mine since I was like, nine years old. Still, though. If there can be only one future book (not that there has to be), let it be the one with the fifty year pedigree, and not a Justice League spin-off. Pass.
Martian Manhunter - A solo title? Yeah, why not? Get. It's been almost a decade since his last one--it's about time they tried again. Artist Ben Oliver is a superstar that just needs the right book, so hopefully this is it. That said--get this guy back on the Justice League. I know you just wanted seven members on the team at the start of the run. That's over now, and J'onn is the heart of the team. Bring him back.
Having said that? Fuck Midnighter. He's Jerk-ass Batman with superpowers, and Batman's enough of a jerk-ass as it is. I hope this title does well enough so that it helps us get to a point where an LGBT superhero title is just another announcement, not a big deal. But I ain't reading it. Pass.
Mystic U - Nobody knows what the fuck this is. There's no art, no description--it's just former Vertigo editor and novelist Alisa Kwitney and apparently that was all the info they considered necessary. So let's call this a maybe, and see what happens.
Omega Men - Another book with no relative info. No info, no opinion.
Prez - ....One of the most obscure characters ever, Prez was created in the mid-70's by Captain America co-creator Joe Simon. The basic concept was he was the first teenaged President. His book lasted four issues, and afterwards he made a handful of appearances across the DCU but never got his own mini or solo ongoing ever again. Why this guy is coming back, I couldn't begin to guess. (Watch it be the best book of the relaunch...)
Red Hood/Arsenal - ....Fucking pass. I never liked Red Hood and Arsenal was only kinda cool before the reboot. This is Red Hood and the Outlaws all over again, and I'm straight on that.
Robin, Son of Batman - #FreeMyNWordTimDrake tho. Or at least get him a book. Jeez. He's one of DC's best characters and he's floundering on Teen Titans and being upstaged by a Mary Sue over in Batman Eternal. Meanwhile, Damian Wayne is getting an ongoing? He shouldn't even be alive right now. He died in 2013--he wasn't even gone long enough for us to miss him before DC started teasing his revival. It's almost like some fanfiction writer heard Damian was dead and went, "Nuh-uh! I'm gonna write a story where he comes back! AND he's gonna have superpowers, nyah-nyah!" and someone made that canon. Pass.
We Are Robin - I'm going to ruin this title for you real quick. This is probably the biggest question mark of these announcements. There was a book pre-New 52 that was supposed to feature a fuckton of Robins in the same comic, but I don't think this is that. Instead, I think it's an idea I've had myself before: a bunch of kids, inspired by Batman and Robin, to take up for and protect Gotham City. I'm not sure whether artist-turned-writer Lee Bermejo has the chops to make this work, but he'll be backed by some gorgeous art courtesy of Khary Randolph, and like I said before I'm an optimistic guy so I'll give this a chance. Clock it at a maybe.
*whew* Okay, that about does it. Worth noting is that Justice League United, Green Arrow, and Aquaman are also changing teams. Unfortunately this article is incredibly long already, so let's just stamp them all with a giant "wait-and-see" for now. That's five gets, eleven maybes, and nine passes. Not a bad start to the post-New 52 era. Especially considering they're planning on launching more books throughout the rest of the year.