Friday, June 24, 2011

DC Relaunch: The Bat-Network

If all the pals of Batman had their own searchlight signals, the skies over Gotham would look like Vegas!

Batwing by Judd Winnick and Ben Oliver

TF: I’m glad later press releases narrowed this down to a fictional city in the Congo rather than “The Batman of Africa.” I hear that place is pretty big.

DM: I don’t give a shit. The “Press” can kiss my ass for pretending they care if Africa is a big or small place at all. In one fucking month, Batman can have his ass in Gotham, Metropolis, Vegas, Spain, Mexico, Japan and the god damn moon. This Batwing guy has a fictional city because if he didn’t, he’s have a hovering base over Mt. Kilimanjaro and would get everywhere in Africa by teleporting and would solve it’s problems in a year, making Bruce Wayne look like a waspish slacker. Fuck the “Press”.

TF: I know there’s only one writer I’d trust with the “hovering over Kilimanjaro” angle. But unfortunately Bob Haney is dead.

DM: Wait! Morrison put his Ultramarines there didn’t he? Then Grodd ate them. Black folks forgot to get angry and complain. So did vegetarians.

Red Hood and the Outlaws by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort

TF: Wow, you can’t swing a dead cat in here without hitting an angry sidekick--oh sorry, Speedy.

DM: Well I think this is meant to have that WildStorm like feel. It’s the only reason you include Starfire. I Can see Red Arrow hanging out with Red Hood but there are other angry also ran side kicks they could use, right?

TF: Absolutely. All-new, all-deadly versions of Wing, Dan the Dyna-Mite, and Little Boy Blue.

DM: If the JSA still existed, I know they’d use Ted Grant’s Wildcat kid. If this were a WildStom title we’d just be missing some feral cat dude with claws and a killer robot-demon. Technically maybe that’s Starfire, who also gets to be the hot, angry, space babe. She’ll have a katana to use by issue #7.

TF: Doesn’t Lobdell have the Teen Titans also?

DM: Yeah. Cross that bridge when you need to set it on fire with me in a few days.

Nightwing by Kyle Higgins and Eddie Barrows

TF: Take 2 steps back, Dick Grayson!

DM: Sigh...To be honest we all knew it was coming. The online casual readership doesn’t know fuck all about there being 2 Batmen running around. It’s just confusing to them. He goes back to being Nightwing. At least they didn’t kill him after making him one of the best characters of the last 10 years. I’m looking at you Marvel.

TF: I know, I can’t believe Marvel killed the Sentry either.

DM: Well...or Ares, the guy who killed the Sentry for that matter...

Batgirl by Gail Simone and Adrian Syaf

TF: Barbara Gordon walking again can only mean one thing: DC finally figured out they can kill Stephanie Brown a second time!

DM: No they haven’t. They don’t need anymore hate mail from the very audience they want to draw back to comics...wait...DC isn’t trying to draw girls who started reading comics Circa Y: The Last Man #1, back to comics. They are trying to attract a crowd that’s 18 - 35...which would be too young to have remembered the last time Barbara Gordon was Batgirl. Honestly, if you told anyone that the Joker had a) killed a Robin and b) crippled a Batgirl, they’d have to wonder why Batman a) didn’t just throw him in front of a train...accidentally and b) why he bothered with plucky teenagers.

TF: I’ve seen people ask you that question. You hurl a copy of Brat Pack at them.

DM: I will say this to all the people who think Oracle was the best character ever and her disability had nothing to do with why you liked her so much because you really were just into the character because she was so strong. Thank you in advance for continuing to support Gail Simone as a writer and Barbara Gordon as a character. Remember, Damian’s back was fixed in an issue after the Joker crippled him.

TF: If comics were supposed to make sense Bruce would remember where he put Shondra Kinsolving and SHE could cure Oracle.

DM: Barbara is smart and strong as shit. She can just acquire a suit that helps her physically and with her computer stuff. There. She’s then like bad ass super connected Oracle AND she’s in the field doing what she loved best, kicking ass just like everyone else. People with all sorts of disabilities, who buy comics, should be damn proud to be a fan of hers.

Catwoman by Judd Winnick and Guillem March

DM: I’m not sure what has to happen but I can’t think of anything that makes me want to buy a Catwoman comic when it lacks the names Brubaker or Cooke.

TF: I’m a little surprised the 90s Time Machine didn’t come back with Jim Balent.

Birds of Prey by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz

TF: I guess we can forget all the sociopathic killing stuff Poison Ivy used to do here in The New DC. What have we got here...Black Canary, Mecha-Katana I guess, that Amazon Grace with the tattoo sleeve?

DM: I think so but we may have to wait til the book ships for confirmation. I like the lineup. It’s what I always liked about the Birds. One day a bunch of Kick Ass DC Chicks get together and have Tom Clancy like fun. What’s not to like?

TF: You know, it’s been more than 10 years since the last revamp of Black Orchid. Somehow nobody ever thought to put her in Birds of Prey?

DM: I see, you’re gonna treat this like Girl Thunderbolts right off the bat?

TF: But disguise is her thing!

DM: No one in BoP needs a disguise. They need to be themselves and crash through skylights. It’s missing Manhunter and Big Barda.

TF: Orchid’s a master of disguise AND she’s punched out Superman, so she’s better than those two combined. This isn’t rocket botany.

DM: And turned into a race of plant people or something and she’s not going to be in this book. I’d rather see more people named after birds and shit than some character the 70’s forgot that even Vertigo decided it was best to just let lay around. If you want Black Orchid, call Rick Veitch. He’ll writer her, it’ll be great, DC will get sued for something and she’ll go away again.

TF: I’m going to read this and imagine every background character is actually Black Orchid in disguise.

DM: No you aren’t. You want Black Orchid in a book you have no intention of reading just so you can declare that DC is doing it all wrong when they forget she punched out Superman. Because Orchids are Kryptonian Tough. Let it go. They’d be better off with Arrowette...Speedy...Red &Yellow Arrow Kid...or whatever her name would be once she graduates from “damaged sidekick” to “former damaged sidekick on borrowed time”.

Batwoman by those late people

TF: I stand corrected--I was also buying Rucka & Williams’ Batwoman. That said, I’m encouraged by the rumors at bleedingcool that she’s actually Black Orchid in disguise. (spoiler)

DM: You know there was only one issue of that right? This is where I see the bottleneck in DiDio claiming all books will ship on time.

TF: Well, Mr. Williams III has had an extra few months to get ready.

DM: He does comics on a schedule similar to the one Sid Vicious used for wrestling.

TF: JHWIII is active less often than Eclipso.

DM: JHWIII does comics on a schedule similar to the early acting career of Robert Downey Jr. But I assume sober.

DM: JHWIII has turned “Travis Charest” in to a verb.

TF: Fans, please contribute your ideas to Twitter, care of #JHWilliamsIsSoLate

DM: #JHWilliamsIsSoLate Christian Alamy has a shrine to him in his basement.

TF: #JHWilliamsIsSoLate He told Brian Bolland to slow it down.

DM: #JHWilliamsIsSoLate He was rejected as a fill in artist for Battle Chasers.

TF: #JHWilliamsIsSoLate He’s working on the box art for Duke Nukem Forever.

DM: #JHWilliamsIsSoLate His variant cover for Fell #10 was turned down.

TF: #JHWilliamsIsSoLate David Finch is making #JHWilliamsIsSoLate jokes.

DM: #JHWilliamsIsSoLate Alan Moore is mad iffy about letting him work on Big Numbers.

DM: #JHWilliamsIsSoLate Final Crisis still made sense when he started Batwoman #1

DM: #JHWilliamsIsSoLate DC scrapped plans for the Batwoman Forever series that would have shown what the 2nd issue would have been like if he were on time.

DC Relaunch: The Batbooks!

The Batman Titles:

Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
Detective Comics by Tony Daniel
Batman and Robin by Peter Tomasi and Pat Gleason
Batman the Dark Knight by David Finch and Jay Fabok

DM: Aren’t you avoiding the bat books?

TF: Folks, I have to come clean here. In the past 12 months the only DC titles I’ve paid attention to have been T.H.U.N.D.E.R., Hex, and Whatever Grant Morrison Is Doing.

DM: Well then you missed you some good Batman issues. They took place in a book called Batman and Robin and they were not written or drawn by anyone named Tony. They were GREAT! Batman did some stuff in his other books too but..well, you know, it’s Batman. Grimace, grimace and stop a serial killer here and there. There was this other book, not included in the 52 relaunch titles where Batman issues an IPO for the company of Batman and makes a fuck ton of cash. He uses it to hire some guys who look like him in Africa, Japan and South America and even has this cat in France who’s into parkour!

DM: People are really unhappy that he hired the black dude though. Apparently he’s got too much territory to cover. No one seems to care that the Argentinian dude is missing a fucking costume altogether.

DM: Nothing we say about these books will matter. It’s Batman. This shit is already sold.

TF: I see they cranked up their 90s time machine and retrieved Greg Capullo.

DM: The 90’s time machine is real. DC is filled with thoughts of how Image changed the Industry. Like imagine what would have happened if the “Image 7” were given control of the creative direction and a share of the profits of the characters they worked on...while having none of the wisdom and business sense some (Jim Lee) have now?

TF: If the time machine brings back Sovereign 7 we must call for its destruction though, agreed?

DM: I don’t think that’s a concern. Somehow I think the relaunch has no room for creator owned shenanigans.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

DC Relaunch: Lanterns, Lanterns Everywhere!

The Green Lantern Books:
Green Lantern: Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy
Green Lantern Corps: Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna
New Guardians: Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham and Batt.
Red Lanterns: Peter Milligan, Ed Benes and Rob Hunter

DM: I don’t have any problems with the creative team that made Hal Jordan matter again, just staying on the book. My only request is please no more Wars of Green Lanterns. If we have less of what GL has been giving us though, I suspect that Johns may have to deal with the fact that Green Lantern normally has worse villains than Daredevil. Hal Jordan would kill to have to fight the Owl and Stilt Man.

DM: I don’t have a problem with John Stewart and Kilowog or someone heading up a GL Corps book but I do think Guy Gardner should just go and be a Red Lantern. I have never bought into the idea that he possesses great will of any kind. He’s just an angry dick.

TF: You never bought into my “Guy is Sawyer from LOST” argument?

DM: Fuck no. He’s not Sawyer. Tomar Re has a better chance of being Sawyer. Hell, Sinestro has a better chance of being Sawyer. Guy Gardner is White Masuka from Dexter. People are at least willing to side with Sawyer on a reasoned argument. No one wants to deal with Masuka.

TF: Why is there a Red Lantern book? Seems like a very 90s idea. Back then it would have been called BLOOD LANTERN EXTREME FORCE and come with a holographic pog. I tell you, some days it’s not easy being a Peter Milligan apologist like me.

DM: Because DC thinks that the message learned from Blackest Night is that we need more books about Lanterns. I don’t see this working with a hero who looks like a cross between a Sontaran and a broken lamp.

TF: And whose power is vomiting magic blood.

DM: Blood that doesn’t turn into a giant boxing glove. Why isn’t there a Red Lantern Mike Tyson? Where the hell is Rachel Pollack?

TF: Get me Bill O’Reilly on the phone. “DC’s publishing a comic about a HATE GROUP?! We’ll do it live!”

DM: Call Luda…I also thing they are just Rage-y not Hate-y.

DM: I am interested in this Tony Bedard New Guardians book. It’s got Kyle Rayner: Earth’s One True Interesting Green Lantern and a cast of hundreds!

TF: Bedard knows his space operas, that’s for sure. Hang on...Kyle Rayner AND multicolored lanterns? If they don’t form a Megazord of emotion in the first 12 pages I’m declaring it a failure.

DM: Because you just know Rayner is the one lantern who can form a giant ass Mazinga and make him use a Wave Motion Gun too.

TF: We’re the Planeteers! You can be one too!

DM: Form Blazing SWORD! OK this is looking like a region where I’ll follow GL, and the Power Rangers in Space book, but I’ll leave the Stabby Lanterns and the Green Lantern SWAT team book alone.

DC Relaunch: DC Comics Presents...a fervent hope that you like this format!


Written by Paul Jenkins
Art by Bernard Chang

TF: I happen to like anthologies, but have any sold well at all in the past 30 years? OK, technically DC’s Wednesday Comics was an anthology...

DM: Hell no and this book is another sign that someone at DC is asleep at the switch. The one thing DC didn’t really need in the last year was a title at $7.99. If you’re gonna do DC Comics Presents, just bring back the old team up title. This should be another way DC gets fans interested in its reimagined characters and history.

TF: In the olden days, team up comics like DC Presents or The Brave & The Bold were how you spotlighted up-and-coming heroes or characters that hadn’t been seen in a while. That Brave & The Bold cartoon show was created specifically to be a gateway drug into the DC universe, and it works. Tune in for Batman, then learn about Deadman, or Bronze Tiger, or how many Blue Beetles there are.

DM: Correct. Now DC seems to think we want to just read a Deadman arc and then read a Zatanna arc and then read a Dr. Fate arc...

TF: That said, it was at least wise to hire Paul Jenkins. He’s spent the past few years doing nothing but short character studies that aren’t involved with the continuity of the monthly comics.

DM: On paper that’s a maybe. I’m not sure that people are going to pay for this. Folks say they don’t want continuity but then find ways not to buy the books free of it. If DC wanted to give us a Deadman series, they should have thought of that when they came up with Brightest Day. That was a Deadman ongoing that got cancelled after 24 issues. Occasionally, Hawkman did stuff in it and there was a talking lamp. Right before Deadman could say goodbye in his own book, Swamp Thing, Aquaman, The Hawk People and Firestorm showed up to say, “We tried to make your book better but oh well, can’t get blood from a fucking stone, Deadman, see you after the relaunch!”

DM: I will say that this cover is by Ryan Sook and if he were drawing the book, I'd be all over it still!

DC Relaunch: Captain Atom...for multiversal tourism!


Written by JT Krul
Art by Freddie Williams II

TF: Somebody’s gone all “Dr. Manhattan” in more ways than one.

DM: Well to be fair, Dr. Manhattan was all Captain Atom.

TF: Captain Atom was a sleeper hit in the 80s because he was just an ordinary, relatable guy who suddenly got cosmic super powers. Putting this “isolated,” “slowly losing his humanity” stuff on him makes it “Dr. Manhattan: The Series,” and that would be a tough sell even for Alan Moore. Who’d want to sit through issue after issue of cosmic navel-gazing?

DM: In the 80’s you could get away with that. If you did it now, people would fall asleep. I’m thinking JT Krul will fall into the other cosmic guy trap. He’ll write all about how Captain Atom has to be careful of his power lest he destroy the multiverse. sigh.

TF: This is Gødland, isn’t it? Gødland but without the Kirbyness (which is the whole selling point of Gødland)?

DM: I can’t say that but there is one thing that bothers me here. The sheer number of Captain Atom relaunches. I think he’s had more books than (including Breach) Hawkman. The only thing that has ever worked for this guy is making him an order following stiff jerk on the JLU show. THAT only worked because of the characters around him. If you were concerned about Mr. Terrific’s bad guys, you need to be doubly concerned here.

TF: I bought Breach but only because Marcos Martin drew it. Should we count Takion?

DM: I don’t. I thought that was just some fake Kirby stuff.

DM: Breach brings me to my one issue with DC and it’s use of the 52 universes making up the multiverse. DC seems intent to just play around the edges of it. They won’t just flat out use it. It’s like they did the right thing by having a beloved multiverse (a sci-fi and comics staple) but they are afraid to call attention to it for fear of it being called confusing (generally by newer DC fans and Marvel fans).

DM: You can’t use the multiverse in any way that matters unless the thing out, assign it some characters, give them books and live with it. What if they want to “Dr. Manhattan” this book? So what. Shouldn’t that just be a book that takes place on Earth 4 or whatever anyway? Like what’s the point of bringing back all this Silver Age type shit if you’re really too afraid of it or too lazy to just own it?

TF: Why don’t they have an Exiles book? Did you know if Kamandi hadn’t been canceled in the 70s, they planned for him to jump to different Earths with Witchboy and Grandpa OMAC? That’s owning it.

DM: But that was like back in the day right? They’d have trashed that with Crisis on Infinite Earths and it wouldn’t have really mattered anymore. With Captain Atom they seem to want to tell stories about his VAST power. Breach did it. He’s responsible for the death of the Heartland in Kingdom Come and that’s not the end of it. Now it’s JT Krul book and I’d like this to be the point where they tour the Multiverse.

TF: It is a JT Krul book. Will Capt. Atom beat up people with a dead cat while tripping balls on heroin? Except the cat is like, the universe?

DM: That’s what this book needs to be. Let’s invent some villains for him!

TF: The Sun-f***er!

DM: What the...well seriously, why can’t he deal with Solaris the sun eating super computer. He needs an anti matter guy, a nazi scientist not over losing the race to the atom bomb, the Parasite, etc.

TF: Are the New Gods still dead? This comic could really use Metron jerking everybody around.

DM: I think they are on one of those damn Earths! Also I’m not giving JT Krul, Metron. Then folks are just gonna hate the New Gods for no reason.

TF: I’m scared Joe Casey will find this post someday and copyright “Sun-f***er.”

DM: That would be Garth Ennis. This book feels all wrong before I even read it. It’s a solid maybe. JT Krul needs a breakout moment or a JT Krul-iverse. I’d change my tune for a JT Krul-iverse. Sometimes I may not like a writer but give him his own corner of the universe to play in and I'm happy. See Joe Casey and Abnett and Lanning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DC Relaunch: Mr. Terrific - #3 in smarts...#2 in my heart!


Written by Eric Wallace
Art by Roger Robinson

TF: The success or failure of this comic depends on one thing: world-building.

DM: Well that’s the same for everyone. Shit, Green Arrow only has 2 villains and one of those is an archer.

TF: Mr. Terrific has been the anchor of the Justice Society for more than a decade. What he doesn’t have is his own mythos the way DC’s franchise players have. They need to hit the ground running and put up a setting, supporting characters, and--most importantly--villains that are unique to him. Does he have bad guys of his own?

DM: No but he’s only been in the JSA (great cast of villains) and Checkmate (Not so much).

TF: I realize that his “Fair Play” 8-ball jacket is very dated now (he was a product of the 90s, after all), but I have a problem with these tats. From a distance they look like black armbands, and that shouldn’t happen. Up close, they remind me of the current Tattooed Man, and that shouldn’t happen either. But tattoo armbands cause a problem artistically, since there are only so many poses that will show off the words “FAIR PLAY.” From other angles his arms may spell out “FA PL” or “IR PL,” and that’s not good brand recognition. Just ditch those weightlifting gloves and write F-A-I-R-P-L-A-Y on his knuckles. That would be awesome.

DM: Nice save on what is basically you complaining about what angles you need to see a man’s biceps from. Knuckles would be cool.

DM: On the villain front, he needs them to be set up for him like all good villains are. He needs a super intelligent rival, a mindless brute, A rogue operative from his Checkmate days, a JSA villain since we don’t have a JSA, A super cheater/trickster, a villain from Terry Sloane’s past.

TF: Throw in a dude who removes tattoos with lasers and you’ve got yourself a deal.

DM: How about he can fight the Tattooed Man instead. It’s not like the tattoos matter. It’s like his mask...which looks better as an “M” than a “T”.

TF: I wondered what the hell that was. Why is the third-smartest human still painting letters on his face?

DM: I think the lesson here is that Mr. Terrific is a) smarter than us and b) capable of making solid mask innovations we scarcely understand. If this were a book about Hawk and Animal we’d never question it. Where the fuck is my Dr. Midnite ongoing in this relaunch????

DC Relaunch: Justice League International - AGAIN!


Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Aaron Lopresti

TF: Did T.H.U.N.D.E.R. get canceled already?

DM: Well were they IN the DCU? If not then they can wait. Besides someone went and signed an exclusive across town.

TF: Oh they were in the DCU. I’m just not seeing the point of their purchasing those characters. Unless it was spite against the late John Carbonaro. I could believe that one.

DM: Well the point is that they are good characters and DC was trying to do something with them for ages. I’m thinking that Spencer following the “Great Image Comics Career Plan” may have left them minus one edgy hip writer to ride herd on that book. Come on. Remember my rule. Any book here in the relaunch has to be BETTER in concept than the Secret Six. THUNDER Agents is not that. It’s maybe the 55th book but not the 54th.

TF: Who do we have here...Batman, Rocket Red, Fire, Ice, August-General-in-Iron, Vixen, Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, and...Donna Troy? Gypsy? help me out here.

DM: I can’t see why Bruce Wayne would give a shit about this team. He’s busy. This is a job for Dick Grayson. You know what I don’t get about the JLI, here? What mission would be big enough for a Justice League but that the JLA wouldn’t do? You know like are Flash and Green Lantern really saying, “, why don’t we farm that out to the Chinese cat in the armor and that Russian in the armor and that Norwegian cold chick. France is SO FAR AWAY...for our teleporters to send us. Hey Batman, see if those guys wanna save the Louvre!”

TF: You may as well ask why is there more than one international superhero team on the relaunch list. So I’ll ask it now. Stormwatch: why?

DM: Why what? Why is Stormwatch getting a book or why aren’t they the JLI?

TF: Don’t they have the same mission statement?

DM: Yes.

TF: That just brings me back around to T.H.U.N.D.E.R. also having the same mission statement.

DM: Yes, “We kick ass where other super heroes can’t be bothered to team up and go.”

DM: It looks like the best thing to do here would have been to make a book called ThunderWATCH International. It would include Hawksmoor, Apollo, Midnighter, J’onn J’onzz, Dynamo, Noman, Lightning, Fire, Ice Maiden, Booster Gold, Rocket Red and the August General in Iron. Add Guy Gardner when the sales drop at issue 10.

TF: And put Batman in your final issue.

DM: Damn right. He teleports Gotham to Oslo because he can’t be bothered to leave it to solve a mystery in fucking Oslo. This book has Hawksmoor, the breakout character for Wildstorm so I’m in for now.

DC Relaunch: Green Arrow - Richer than YOU!

Written by JT Krul
Art by Dan Jurgens

TF: JT Krul? Really? Still?

DM: How many rich guys can DC support? Will there be an Arrow Car? Will Ollie have all the deadbeat dad angst?

TF: Green Arrow is one dude who could totally pull off being the Jack Burton of superheroes. When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall zombie grabs your neck, looks you crooked in the eye and he asks if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ole' Oliver Queen always says at a time like that: ‘Have ya paid your dues, Ollie?’ ‘Yes sir the check is in the mail.’"

DM: You just described Hawkeye, who may be the Jeff Jarrett of superheroes.

TF: “Just remember what ole' Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ole' storm right square in the eye and he says, ‘Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.’"

DM: Now you’re doing Blue Devil. Is he in JLA Dark?

TF: The science is settled, people. Blue Devil is the Jack Burton. Ollie can’t be Jack Burton AND a millionaire.

DM: Ollie cannot be both but he can totally be Robert Downey Jr. I mean he doesn’t have to invent stuff. He just runs a company that made him rich like Dead Ted Kord. All he has to do now if live the life of an unappreciative jag off for our reading pleasure. Like Guy Gardner but with good credit and hot ex girlfriends and the son he never knew about. Of the relaunches announced to the point we’re at, I’m willing to give this one a shot but man, JT Krul must be an awesome Blackjack player.

DM: You know what you have to do to make Green Arrow really good? Hire Chuck Dixon. HOLY CRAP! I just figured it out. Green Arrow should be Burn Notice with arrows! Remember the Dixon run back in the day when Connor Hawke shows up? He had a sloppy sidekick like Bruce Campbell didn’t he? Black Canary is Fiona...

TF: Connor’s under the same bus as Wally West. Because DC can have 3,600 Green lanterns, 10 guys who run fast, and Batman United Nations, but Oliver’s the only guy who can shoot an arrow.

DM: Yeah it runs counter to what DC up top is going for. Our Hal Jordan issue is that the other 3,599 GLs are more interesting than him. Ollie is interesting by himself but he has a damaged ex sidekick (who was a GREAT single dad) and a son who really stepped up and carried the ball. This is what a supporting cast should look like. Lets hope DC isn’t shelving them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DC Relaunch: The Savage Sword, Mace and Cestus of Hawkman


Written by Tony S. Daniel
Art by Philip Tan

TF: Geoff Johns believes saying things over and over in interviews will make them true, rather than putting them in the actual stories. “Hal Jordan is just like Indiana Jones,” for instance, despite all evidence to the contrary. And also “Hawkman is Conan, with wings!” Put the crack pipe down. Strapping D&D weapons on Hawkman is not going to get folks to respect him. I don’t know if anything would.

DM: On one level it works. He is interesting looking almost always. I think people just don’t care about Thanagar or his time lost love.

TF: Maybe Hawkman doesn’t belong in a world where every other superhero has more impressive powers.

DM: This is a function of writing. If Hawkman had the power to run fast instead of fly he’d be Flash and honestly, the only difference in their powers is that one gets you there faster. Make him interesting and give him a mission we can connect to and he can have the power to talk to fish.

Besides, Hawkman should be written like Indiana Jones. If he said that about Hal Jordan he didn’t write him that way. Maybe he meant Hal Jordan should be written like Jack Ryan...or Jack Burton. Either of those makes more sense and are still interesting. History has now shown that it like Jordan as written by Johns so you can let that one go.

That being said, I just spent a paragraph talking about Green Lantern in the Hawkman column so until he becomes Indiana Jones, Hawkman is screwed.

TF: Aquaman is Conan, but underwater!

DM: Aquaman should be Macbeth underwater.

TF: Jonah Hex is Conan, but with guns! Actually that one is true.

DM: That one is true.

DM: I used to have this idea that Hawkman was like Batman but with feathers and missing a shirt. I wanted to give him a pet Hawk and a sidekick and a battle cry. Then I realized I just wanted more cartoons designed by Alex Toth.


DM: Which just means that Hawkman is further doomed. Also this book is written by Tony Daniel, who hasn’t shown me much in his writing career.

TF: That’s twice now in this list a hot artist gets a marquee character to write.

DM: Is Tony Daniel really a hot artist? I mean I know DC has a time machine set to 1997 but dammit, they came back with Tony Daniel not Paul Smith or Bryan Hitch.

TF: They thought he was valuable enough to give him a scripting credit. Kind of like how they let Tom Welling direct some of the last seasons of Smallville, or how somebody gave William Shatner a recording contract.

DM: I know what you’re saying but isn’t it like the bid against themselves? I mean was Marvel gonna come along and give Tony Daniel Thor or something? I think the Tom Welling deal is different. He at least had actual fans. The Shatner records are gold BTW...

DM: You know what? I think this thing with Hawkman now makes more sense. He’s that idea that is always good for a few laughs and serious talk over booze, like Bruce Willis, William Shatner and the WB. Then you take it further and make it real, and it’s not long before there’s a guy flying around with no shirt, brooding and swing a fn mace....Then you realize...”CRAP....we just gave Hawkman another book and canceled Secret Six!”

DC Relaunch: The Firestorm that is...Firestorm

Written by Ethan Van Sciver & Gail Simone

Art by Yildiray Cinar

TF: So Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch. I liked when they used this combo on the Brave & the Bold cartoon. Although Ronnie was a gym teacher in that; here they’re students roughly the same age. DC says, “This is not a reboot.”

DM: Well I can see them being the same age since comic book characters don’t really age and Ronnie never exactly hit pension status. If you recall, a lot of the original Firestorm’s appeal was his age and outlook. They can work well together. That doesn’t speak to reboot quite as much. You keep forgetting that the relaunch may not really be for us. It’s for your literary minded and e-reader using cube mates. THEY don’t wanna read all about the complications of Firestorm the way you remember it.

TF: I think DC puts these contradictions in their press releases to fry the brains of any killer robots who see them.

DM: I think DC says things that make sense to DC and hope Marvel says something crazier the next day so we stop talking about the contradictions.

TF: I saw a small thumbnail of this cover and thought “what’s with the almost-swastika?”

DM: I saw the cover and thought, “Alright, those symbols represent the 8 hidden States of Firestorm’s existence and he’s unlocked like 3 of them!” You know, like in Iron fist.

TF: I could get behind a teen hero who unlocks new “achievement” powers.

DM: Look, you get Gail Simone on a book so this is one that will be crafted well. You’ll get development, support and no bullshit here. You’ll also get a fun comic too. I can’t wait to meet the supporting cast and Cinar is going to art the shit out of it. You know what I miss about the Firestorm concept though? I want some actual science in it. The point of old Prof Stein was that he could do the science while Ronnie did the being young and cool. Just give a brotha some science, Gail...

DC Relaunch: The Flash

Written by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Art by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato

TF: Giving Barry Allen a mask with a chinstrap is like giving Clint Eastwood a skateboard.

DM: That’s a design issue. Hell, most of the characters are designed in some way that speaks to function but adds a bit of “cool” that may or may not need to be there. for Flash I hope there’s more Cully Hamner than Jim Lee when it’s all said and done.

DM: Flash is one of those characters that needed the least amount of work. He’s the definition of the Legacy Character. If this new Flash book is a ‘Barry as One True Flash” scenario, I’ll be disappointed. I don’t give 2 shakes about Max Mercury but Wally West earned a shot at the big time and excelled when he got there, Giving him 2 super powered kids was GREAT and I’d hate to see all of that rolled back.

TF: Wally who?

DM: We could be headed there but I can’t see it with Bart in the Teen Titans. I mean damn, Dick learned the promotion was temporary because his guy was unstuck in time. Wally learned that following the company formula doesn’t mean fuck all when your dead ass uncle comes back from the dead after 30 damn years. I hate this more than I hate Legion reboots.

TF: It must give all the Barry Allen fans a twinge of delight to see everybody who grew up with the Wally West Flash be disappointed. Then they wonder why there aren’t any new readers.

DM: I’m not sure I believe in the existence of Barry Allen fans. I think they are a myth, like the Easter Bunny, Trickle Down Economics and Cold Fusion. We have a better chance of finding Bigfoot riding the Lochness Monster through Camelot than finding an honest Barry Allen Fan who still reads DC Comics regularly. I’m giving this book a shot although I have no reason to trust Francis Manapul as a writer.

Friday, June 10, 2011

DC Relaunch: Aquaman - The Most Interesting Man Underwater

The Once and Future Aquaman (I made most of that up)
by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

DM: OK, I’m all over a good Aquaman book and I haven’t been happy here since Peter David’s run. My only concern is that Geoff Johns has to work “Mordenkainen” levels of magic here.

TF: I assume he’ll follow the usual Geoff Johns strategy: If one thing is good, a hundred of that thing is better. I’m predicting the debut of Riverman, Pondman, Freshwaterlakeman, and the Puddler, leading to the crossover event of 2012, Splashdown.

DM: Yeah, there will have to be the decompressing (see what I did there) of whatever it means to be...Aquaman, I suppose BUT Johns has shown that he can take the worst ideas of the Silver Age and draw money. He’s like a great wrestling Booker. He’s not Paul Heyman but he might be someone better than that.

TF: He’s looking all angry on the cover, which tells me mistake #1 has already been made. Stop trying to make an angry asskicker out of Aquaman, DC. Nobody will ever believe it. You already have a ripoff of Namor called Black Adam, we don’t need another one.

DM: I disagree. DC has had success with angry Aquaman. Fans just don’t want him crying about his lack of living children. Folks accept that he’s mad. The alternative is a peaceful Aquaman and then you have to ask, “What the fuck is he so happy about?” When it comes down too it, Happy Arthur Curry makes folks think of the Super Friends. Angry Aquaman is one that can be supported. He just needs to be mad about shit he can also resolve. I’ll also say you have your rip offs backwards. Namor joining the X-Men is almost exactly a replay of Black Adam joining the JSA.

TF: He doesn’t need to be happy or shiny. He just needs to not be Namor. The guy’s wearing fluorescent orange. He’s a rescue worker to the world. Make him firefighting Dennis Leary Aquaman. THAT I could believe.

DM: Yeah but you wouldn’t buy that at all and no one would respect it. What you really want is that clown from Brave and the Bold and I don’t think that works in comics.

TF: That only worked because they ripped off Marvel’s Hercules instead of Marvel’s Namor.

DM: Agreed.


DM: Thankfully Geoff Johns isn’t going to do that. He’s probably going to start with a solid cast of supporters (hopefully without Vulko) and then shows us how Curry’s brother, Ocean Master goes from being good to slipping down into evil. I’d buy a book where the King has to deal with some Game of Thrones like BS. I know if we see Riverman and Glacierman, this is all out the window. So far, DC is 3 for 3 on books I’m supporting BUT 2 of those are by Johns and one is by Azzarello. These are damn near can’t lose properties.

TF: I only have eyes for WW so far.

DM That’s fine. I’m pretty sure you hate teams and I know you hate amphibians.

DC Relaunch: Wonder Woman

By Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chang

TF: I was all set to complain that Azzarello shouldn’t write superheroes. Then I remembered these two guys did that Doctor 13 comic. SOLD.

DM: Correct. I disagree about his Superhero books. I loved Cage. The most notable thing here is the Wonder Jacket is gone and Chang makes this outfit look like a great idea. All the detractors can now go suck it. Wonder Woman likes to break necks in pants. Done.

TF: Getting rid of the scrunched-up jacket and bangles helps this outfit a lot. She doesn’t look like she escaped from “Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon” anymore.

DM: Right. Instead she looks like she’s about to just walk through Frank Miller’s Daredevil, killing ninjas and smacking all of Matt Murdock’s angst upside the head. I’d buy 2 copies. Big win for a relaunch where I know not a thing about the plans.

TF: Although we’re pretty sure she won’t be a sassy CEO looking for love in the Big City.

DM: I’m pretty sure she won’t be a Sassy CEO because DC has a series of secret rules, made by They Who Sit In Shadow. Chief amongst these rules are there can ever only by less than three Sassy CEOs in the DCU, Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen and...then someone has to become evil or die. There can never actually be three. I could however accept that plot from the Heinberg era of Wonder Woman where Diana is a bad ass spy type chick, kicking ass for the Man/Woman.

TF: DC has NO limit on badass spies.

DM: Not during this relaunch. Both of those comics fans who cried like babies when WildStorm was folded into the DCU should have a party where they celebrate and drink a few too many Long Island Ice Teas, because it looks like WildStorm has actually infected the DCU. What do you want from her supporting cast?

TF: Fewer albino gorillas. Bring back Rama, Nemesis, and I Ching. Steve Trevor and Etta Candy can go on a very long bus ride.

DM: Well I think this relaunch can use some of everyone back. I liked the Etta I saw in the Wonder Woman animated feature. I really have all the use for Nemesis but zero use for Steve Trevor...unless they find a way to write him like Michael Vartan’s character in the first few years of the Alias TV series. Suddenly I just got an Image of Wonder Woman being written as if it were Tom Strong. Now I’m more excited!

TF: DC was too eager to scrap “Diana Prince super spy.”

DM: Yeah, they tend to have ball shrinkage when it comes to anything where Diana wears a white jumpsuit and beat ass full time. OK, it looks like we’re both on board here. We both dig the creators and you especially have come around since you realized the Doctor 13 team was back to work here.

The New DC Is on the Move: The Relaunch

In more ways than one.

A lot of folks are up in arms about the DC “Reboot”/Renumbering or whatever you want to call it but no matter what, it’s a vehicle for Day and Date delivery of comics via the Internet and this is probably the best way to do it.

This is Doc Midnight and Trey Formidable giving you the blow by blow...

Now we’re going to analyze the 52 tiles DC is offering in order of their revelation to us by way of their blog.

First Up - The Justice League by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

TF: I can’t believe nobody in this picture is wearing a jacket.

DM: It’s true but what concerns me a little more is really an issue of composition. Seriously. Is there a bigger way to say “Jim Lee just wants to draw Batman” than to have Superman, the most important member of the JLA, flying out of the top of the page like he’s Hawkman or something?

TF: Cyborg. Is he there because he’s a graduating Titan or because he was on Superfriends? With Johns you never know.

DM: I think you have an issue with Johns and his love of the Silver Age but lets be honest. DC is the “Legacy Loving City” and if one guy deserves it, it’s gonna be Cyborg. Now lets just hope the 1st 12 issues isn’t all about his noble sacrificial death so Hal and Barry can have a moment.

TF: Bulky Cyborg reminds me of “Titans Hunt.” That should never happen.

DM: Maybe he’s just bulky because this is a crappy drawing of the JLA. Aquaman looks like Ryan Phillippe. This whole pic looks like ti was drawn by the guy they hired to draw Hawk and Dove...who doesn’t like drawing feet....

TF: Aquaman needs a trenchcoat.

DM: Yeah...a lot of these relaunched books scream 90’s. I stunned the League doesn’t have a Top Secret Base inside the high rise of a secret corporation owned by Bruce Wayne. Anyway, back to the book. I’m glad they settled on Cyborg as the clear diversity hire and I’ll support it because Johns is at least a better writer than Lee is a penciller these days.
I’m not dying to make the 90’s the new Silver Age like it looks like Didio is going to do.

TF: He’s banking on 90s nostalgia? So that’s why he put a Bloodlines character in The Outsiders.

DM: My last point is that I think this particular relaunch misses the best chance to pull the whole line wide relaunch together. I loved Grant Morrison’s statement that the JLA should be the biggest and best the DCU has to offer. This Super Friends style lineup seems to be missing like seven other characters that would really make it pop. Those seven characters are getting new books and in the new DC they could be right at home in a JLA relaunch. Just the same, I'm buying this one.

TF: Well there IS more than one Justice League title launching...but we’ll get to those later.

Next Up: Wonder Woman

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lets Fix a Character: Hawkman

I know that everyone is abuzz with the news that DC is doing stuff that basically screams "Look at us, we're trying some new shit!" but I feel like talking about comics in a different way. I wanna fix stuff like characters. Today, HAWKMAN!

This is Hawkman...

Hawkman's basic premise is that he's a space cop from another world who happens to keep getting himself killed and then reincarnated as some form of Hawkman or another. This isn't the worst idea for a character but it seems like fans have a hard time sticking with him. I can't believe it's anything I named. I think it's because he's kind of a tool.

Look, if you're trying to add flavor to the JLA by offering a counterpoint to what's there then fine. Superman is a boy scout, Batman is jerk (but an awesome jerk) Wonder Woman is a warrior...and a diplomat, Aquaman is Wonder Woman but with one hand, no boobs, and fish, and the Flash is the one guy everyone likes but no one in the JLA can really say why.

What is Hawkman? He can't really be a cop. The team has a cop and a boy scout. Hell, even when Hal Jordan isn't there, there no one says, "Hey, where'd our cop go?"

My answer is that Hawkman should be written like this guy:

Think about it. Hawkman lives in a museum or something and he's all about using the weapons of the past like swords, maces, spears, kukris, and the occasional khopesh. Why not have him be the relic hunter? Give me one good reason why having stories where Hawkman tracks down and stockpiles all the mystical and evil scientific crap floating around the DCU wouldn't be great! Why would Orion's Astro Cycle just end up in Star Labs or in the JLA trophy room? Why not have Hawkman take it and stick it in his Hawk and THEN go and find the Bell, Jar and Wheel of those demons the JLA kept running into back in the day?

As far as I'm concerned you can even tie this into Hawkman's love interest, Hawkwoman, who I think is dead right now. He can be looking for a way to resurrect her with all the cool crap he finds. Other heroes and scientist in the DCU would think he was obsessed but so what. He's Hawkman Jones and he doesn't care what they think. He does care where Per Degaton hid that time traveling tank thingy he used against the JSA back in the day. He might need it to bust into some Jaguar God's lair in the 1300's to find some sort of secret to resurrecting super chicks.

I find this to be a GREAT idea! Lets get this done!