Archive | Geoff Johns RSS feed for this section

And so it begins: JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 (2011) REVIEW!

31 Aug

Its here folks! At last after all the hype and chaos that has been the news of DC reinventing itself and the madness of Flashpoint that sees its finale issue out this week, we see the first glimpse of the New DC Universe!

Apologies for the delayed post but I felt that waiting for a chance to read this and get the earliest possible review out to you all was worth delaying and postponing the scheduled post for today… ok, ok, you caught me and I really, really wanted to read it!

And for your consideration we here at Comic Addicts bring to you the all the gory details about the new face of the iconic names we have all grown up with and love.

(Click to enlarge)

Today we start with the first book out the starting gate: Justice League #1.

This opening salvo is written by recent DC architect for the Green Lantern franchise, Geoff Johns, a brand which he took from vague old title to the among the most popular and strong brands in the entire DCU line, except perhaps the Batman family. Johns is also the brains behind “Blackest Night”, “Brightest Day” and “Flashpoint” among many others.
And of course on art duties we have legendary comic creator Jim Lee who has been akin to a god for comic fans and was the architect and boss-man behind the awesome Wildstorm comics and co-founder over at Image.

And so now we come to a crossroads – the old DCU which we all had our own loves and hates with is being effectively put to a halt, much like the famous “Crisis on Infinite Earth” tried to do all those decades ago but only partially managed. This time an entirely new DC Universe is being brought to life with only selective connections to the past and all of that molded to fit this new Universe.
Is it worth it? Is this really a good and fresh start? Have DC shot themselves completely in the foot? Will this bring DC back to the greatness it once had and give new life to beloved characters? Lets find out together shall we?


Geoff Johns has been systematically revamping franchises across DC ever since his first success with the GL books showed his ability and passion for it. He followed this up with his version of Supermans Origin (which I didnt much care for I must admit) and then the Flash, with Aquaman and others in his sights for the future.
Well now he gets to take that to the next level and effectively has been one of the main minds behind this new universe and his helming of this new JL as well as Aquaman and having full control of the GL books even now (them being the only ones retaining the recent story-arcs) shows his standing and where all he is taking a hand.
But enough about all that stuff – on to the review!

Story:
I went into this both giddy as a school-boy with excitement because I’ve always been a sucker for alternate reality stories and because this was a great creative team doing that for one of the most iconic team-books in comic history and laying the groundwork for the entire new DC Universe. But at the same time the scale and pressure on this book also made me apprehensive that I would hate anything short of perfection simply by default.

A dangerous place for anything to find itself, but I have to admit, this Justice League incarnation thus far has given me pause and definitely given the kid hoping against hope within me some encouragement.

(click to enlarge)

Basically this first story arc of Justice League, as some of you may know, deals with the earliest days of the superhero community in this brave new world and shows how this Justice League came to become the iconic super-team everyone knows and trusts. Of course in this story the world has not HAD costumed heroes before really and at this juncture does not trust them – hence making this story a perfect opener and setup for the new status quo.
In all honesty when I think about it, this was a great opener! Full of action, good banter between characters, good pacing and the characters themselves seem familiar enough to the basics that we ascribe to them and expect, yet has a more dynamic and new feel to it which serves the purpose of this reboot.
However before everyone gets their hopes up I feel I should say that this is basically an early chapter in the story and seems akin to a Batman/Green Lantern buddy movie with none of the other leaguers getting any page time – except for a short bit in between showing a still normal Vic Stone who over the course of this arc will become the ‘chrome crusader’ we all know as Cyborg. Superman has a short appearance but going by it and the solicits for the next issue (see our solicit listing on facebook HERE) I don’t mind really.

How you like me now GL?! (click to enlarge)

We start of following Batman chasing down a bad guy and getting (unwanted) help from a very supercilious Green Lantern who thinks he’s “the best there is” and all that, well you get the idea. They have a good equation to read, entertaining and funny at parts.
Also made clear in this first issue is the main villain for this arc – Darkseid himself. Now I get the idea, its a great way to bring the team together being that ol’ Darky is a threat that pretty much none of them would be able to handle one-on-one and is a global level threat, thus creating a need for a team of the best of the metahuman crowd.
The only danger point I feel is that putting Darkseid as the villain right off the starting line, how do you follow that up? I mean really, he is like the biggest bad in the DCU and Im sure if they wanted to they could have found a substitute. But that is something we can judge when that moment comes, for now this looks good.
Lastly, what I liked about the way this has been approached is that its a good setup and gives you just enough without making the story a short one. It would have been easy to either put in too much or make it shorter and simpler, but the folks behind this seem to be building a nice story that will play out over several issues – and honestly if they can be as good (or ideally better) then this issue then I’m definitely going to be reading this regularly. 
The Wayfarer’s scoring: 4.5 / 5

Art:

Time to run home to mommy!

Fully drawn by Jim Lee himself and inked by Scott Williams, this is a great fun issue to read. The cover while nice is essentially a group hero-shot and personally is less important for me.
I’m still not too crazy about the weird collar and certain design elements of the new costumes (except Wonder Womans, I like that one!) but in this issue we are limited to Batman and GL and they are relatively alright. The Batman suit looks good and the subtle armoured look works for a ‘mere-mortal’ like Batman as he stands amidst near gods. Green Lanterns too is decent enough and honestly Im just relieved that Lee didn’t bring in something like the dog-collar that Kyle Rayner had once-upon-a-time in his earlier GL days. And the Superman costume – well I realised early on that these are all subjective and people will like or dislike based on their taste and nature – while its not spectacular, I feel it works really well for this new age Man of Steel and doesn’t look bad at all.
The action is intense and the art team seems to do adequate justice to the script they’ve been given with loads of explosions and flashes and things getting blown up and I have to admit that I went into this thinking Lee had not grown or evolved and we were going to get more of the same-old and expecting 90’s flashbacks! But I was pleasantly surprised to find that Lee has done a good job maintaining his own unique look and feel while bringing a more pleasing look to his layouts then I’ve seen in a bit. I hope he can keep this up on a regular basis as the comic gets on track for its monthly scheduling.

Feel the power of my breakfast burrito!

There were small details that gave me pause like this one that I had to share with you showing a creature blasting some choppers and I have to say, is it just me or does it not look like the thing is blowing out both ends? Am I right?
Suitable and well put together artwork from the entire team – pencils, inks, colours all. 
The Wayfarer’s scoring: 4 / 5

Anyway, so there you have it. I could give you more details and spoilers but ask yourself – would you want me to or would you rather get out there and read this new adventure for yourselves? Thats what I thought.

As a last word I’d like to say that I’ve few mentions of how this new universe shown here and in the upcoming Action Comics by Grant Morrison brings us a world that does not like and fears the super-powered beings and is basically DC trying to emulate Marvel and such.
I won’t deny its possible, but I ask this question: If tomorrow a bunch of guys like the DC heroes popped up around the globe, would people take it in stride and all be hunky-dory? Or would there be pandemonium as everyone rushes to understand and deal with or destroy these new beings that are beyond the average human and upset the ‘way things are’ for us all?

Not the heroes they deserve, but the ones they need? (click to enlarge)

It is a reasonable starting point but unless they are really foolish, I don’t imagine DC will go entirely the Marvel route and will start here in a realistic and logical way as they have and the other comics to come which are in the “Present day” (as opposed to this first flashback story arc) will show us a world where the heroes have been around a while and while there are less liked ones, the big names and genuine heroes will be loved and trusted in varying degrees.
The big difference between DC and Marvel has almost always been that DC is more fantastically-inclined in their story-telling, dealing with bigger pictures and a more hopeful world where people adore and praise their heroes – while Marvel has been a more gritty and “real” world where people turn on supers just as easily as we turn on failures in the real world.
If DC goes the Marvel way, then likely this entire endeavor is doomed to failure in my view – if not financially, then definitely creatively because that would be killing the core of what makes the DC heroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Only time will tell, in the meantime I intend to enjoy what I can while I can and can afford! Till next time wayfarers!
Cheers!

More then just a Flash-in-the-pan?

1 Jun

 Good day folks!
Welcome back to another Weekly sit-down with yours truly. A pleasure, as always, bringing comic thoughts to you.
I was going to write about a new madcap series in an effort to top last weeks Kill Shakespeare piece which Ive actually been told was enjoyed by more than a few – but at the last minute decided to shelve that till next week because there’s something I really want to talk about NOW!! (While there’s still time…)
Those of you who saw the previous post here by our venerable leader himself know have read DC comics announcement of the relaunch of all DC title post August when the latest event “Flashpoint” by the nigh-legen-waitforit!-dary Geoff Johns comes to a close.

What I want to touch on is a little more of a readers perspective on the event itself and the aftermath. I have to admit right off the bat that my eagerness for this series is predicated on three points primarily:

  1. I love alternate world titles, some of the best ever have been in this genre!
  2. Im a MEGA fan of Booster Gold, even more so since DC’s iconic “52” event and how that has tied into this event! πŸ™‚ Love it!
  3. And finally, because the teams of writers and artists working this event… I dont think Ive been this awed by the writing talent in a LOOOOOOONG time! 


Don’t believe me about the guys behind it? Check it out then in this handy-dandy list of all things Flashpoint! (for the sake of keeping things interesting, the list is at the end of this whole thing!
So we have a basic alternate reality created through the actions of one evil sonofagun (hey, Im trying to be family friendly here!) named Professor Zoom a.k.a. The Reverse Flash who is one of the sickest b******s (key word being ‘trying’) in the DCU(niverse), his history with The Flash (Barry Allen) was that he was a future born villain who ‘loved’ Flash and then realised he (Zoom) was destined to become a villain and went nuts, powered himself up and even made himself look like Barry, then made Flashes life hell and eventually killed his wife by vibrating his hand through her head when she rejected his advances! BUT WAIT! There’s more! He then came back and kept at it and then later tried to kill wife #2 on their wedding day but Flash snapped his neck before he could. There’s even more still because don’t forget that between time-travel mechanics and this being a fictional story – he doesn’t stay dead (obviously!) and does a WHOLE lot more – leading up to now, this mega alternate reality.
Not a bad resume if you’re going for the whole “Maniacal arch-villain” thing.
So anyway, in Flashpoint we have The Flash of the DCU proper waking up to find himself without his costume or anything in a strange new world where Wonder Woman are Aquaman married and the kingdoms of Atlantis and Themyscira waging war on the rest of the world including killing 30 odd million folks in Europe and sinking a country – or something to that effect…
Then we find Superman never existed because (it seems) when he crashed as a baby he was found by some secret agency/group and has been living in contained conditions ever since and turns out to be this super-powered malnutrition-ed looking kid-thing because he was never allowed to develop or his growth was retarded – your guess is as good as mine! Oh and for those that don’t know this, all rights to this character revert to the original creators family in 2013 and they can literally take it to a new publisher and tell DC to jump off a cliff if they want to so I wonder if DC is planning for this possibility?

On top of that we have Batman now being Thomas Wayne (Im still trying to figure that out!) who watched his wife and son die – I imagine logic would make him 70 years old so maybe he uses Lazarus Pits? Oh and he runs ‘Wayne Casino’ in Vegas and is a bit of a douche-bag.

And there’s a whole load of other madness with Villains and familiar characters not being what we know them as at all, good is bad, bad is good, new faces formed from old and some that we don’t even know anymore coming back to the light. I think its going to be a total wild ball and all fans of superhero comics will likely love the no limits renditions of this familiar and almost family-like world that is the DCU for so many of us who’ve grown up with it.
Next of course we must move on to the aftermath!

As you all know by reading the DC announcement that Manks kindly posted up – with Flashpoint shutting shop in August, every title in DC is being relaunched with a brand spanking new #1 and not just that – DC is literally recreating the DCU in a way that is totally unprecedented and even more so for a line of characters and books with this much back-story. They’ve played around with continuity and events for decades both here and at Marvel, but this magnitude of change is truly a deadly gambit!

On the one hand the potential for this being just what DC needs given how theyve been massively over-burdened by continuity and history and all the baggage that theyve built (unlike Marvel who have that sliding timescale thing going) up since the first real big event – the now legen-waitforit-dary! CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. If you haven’t read it, go now. I mean it. Go and read it. Folks tend to overlook how amazing the older stories are sometimes amid the flood of comics and stories we get today.
But by the same token a change like this can be disastrous – Marvel tried something similar once called Heroes Reborn. Man was that utter crap! I mean really, it was some of the worst re-imagining of things and left such a horrid taste with most folks that it was left behind and the reboot got rebooted back! Of course I hold far greater hope for this new one seeing the talent behind it unlike that reworking which was headed by the one man I would never let near a comic if I had my way – Rob Liefeld. But I’m not going to talk anymore about him lest I lose my famous cool and start tirading! (yes I know thats not a word…)

In any case, back to the matter at hand – There is no clear answer as to what will happen to the characters.
Will Batman be Bruce, Dick or someone else?
Will Superman still be who is and will he still be married to Lois?I doubt it. more so given the very recent teaser of Kal-El and Diana getting *ahem* together in some fashion…
What happens to the Green Lanterns and the Martian Manhunter?
What happens to the various Flashes? Who takes up the mantle now that they are all back and which ones will survive Flashpoint?
All these and more are among the swirling mass of questions that have been on my mind the last couple of days and the scale and impact of this on these books and characters. Some of them could do with some modification and others would be better served left alone.

I wonder what this means for titles like Batman Inc.? Will the JSA be majorly affected? (I hope not because its been consistently the best team book on DC lineup since this current run began – though I will be happy to see Guggenheim get taken off it!) Will the fantastic recent runs on Action Comics and Detective Comics (the numbering of these two is uncommented on…) be changed too? This last one I really hope not because between Paul Cornell and Scott Snyder they have made these two arguably the best books DC is putting out right now. Excepting of course this cruddy Doomsday thing theyve shoehorned into Cornells otherwise impeccable run on the title!
We have a new JLA (as seen below) with J’Onn replaced by Cyborg, all redesigned by Jim Lee – who normally I like but he has limitations and it shows in things like his cyborg design which is cheesy 90’s style overkill in my view and details like all the guys having that V-cut in their collars and of course that crotch cannon he’s given GL here!

Im just kidding, there are always flaws but I have to admit that overall I hold great hope for this event because unlike all the Crisis’ that came before this leading up to the recent “Final Crisis” (yeah right…) this one actually seems to be likely to change the world and reboot the history and the potential for DC to get it right this time and not get mired down by all the heavy luggage that hampered its previous events – plus an actual desire to change it all – I think feel it could be great.

A DCU which can tell fresh stories, recreate characters and play with EVERYTHING almost like wiping a slate – or at least most of it. The potential for awesomeness is epic! Of course we can all expect the hardcore nuts (Id rather just call them that then names like fanboy which just make the rest of us look bad) who will be up in arms about Wonder Woman not having the right colour underwire on her bustier or Clark Kents glasses being shaped wrong or maybe even Power Girls boobs being the wrong size – I think its better to skim the surface of their clamor for valid angst, ignore the din, enjoy the good books as they come and if there’s something truly heinous *COUGH*One-More-Day!*COUGH* then the fans can make some noise and honestly, if you dont like – DONT BUY IT!
Thats what I do… at the end of the day, if there are enough fans who will happily shug out for some of the crappy stuff Ive read in Spidey books, Super-book, Bat-books, Rulk and X-books in the past… well they’ll keep making them! So Id rather not burn my money or my brain cells on them, buy the ones I truly like or think are worth seeing more of to add to their sales, enjoy the book and hopefully do my part to keep some of the good ones going as long as possible.
So here’s hoping that this event is all we hope it will be! See you all on the other side! (Umm, yeah, I mean of course that I’ll be back on Flashpoint after the event but I will be back next week!) Cheers till next time Wayfarers!

…OH! and here as promised is the list of books you can look forward to the next few months, many with some great cover artists like Francis Manapul attached as well!…brought to you faithfully by this wacky wayfarer:

Preludes
Time Masters: Vanishing Point #1–6
The Flash #9–12
Flashpoint titles
Flashpoint #1–5
Booster Gold #44–47
Mini-series
Whatever Happened to Gotham City?
– Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #1–3, scribe Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso
– Flashpoint: Deadman And The Flying Graysons #1–3, scribe JT Krul and artist Mike Janin

Whatever Happened to the Aliens?
– Flashpoint: Abin Sur – The Green Lantern #1–3, scribe Adam Schlagman and artist Felipe Massafera.

– Flashpoint: Project: Superman #1–3, scribe Scott Snyder & Lowell Francis and artist Gene Ha.

Whatever Happened to Europe?
– Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1–3, scribe Tony Bedard and artist Ardian Syaf & Vicente Cifuentes.
– Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #1–3, scribe Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and artist Scott Clark & David Beaty with covers by Ed Benes.
– Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #1–3, scribe Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and artist Eddy Nunez & Sandra Hope.
Whatever Happened to the World’s Greatest Super Villains?
– Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #1–3, scribe and artist Scott Kolins.
– Flashpoint: Deathstroke & The Curse of the Ravager #1–3, scribe Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Joe Bennett & John Dell.
– Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #1–3 scribe Adam Glass and artist Rodeny Buchemi & Jose Marzan
– Flashpoint: The Outsider #1–3, scribe James Robinson and artist Javi Fernandez
Everything You Know Will Change in a Flash
-Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #1–3, scribe Sterling Gates and artist Oliver Nome with covers by Francis Manapul.
-Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint #1–3, scribe Rex Ogle and artist Paulo Siqueira
He Never Got the Ring
-Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #1–3, scribe Adam Schlagman and artist Ben Oliver
Whatever Happened to Science & Magic?

– Flashpoint: Frankenstein & The Creatures Of The Unknown #1–3, scribe Jeff Lemire and artist Ibraim Roberson
– Flashpoint: Secret Seven #1–3, scribe Peter Milligan and artist George Perez and Scott Koblish

One-shots

– Flashpoint: Grodd of War #1, scribe Sean Ryan and artist Ug Guara
– Flashpoint: Reverse Flash #1, scribe Scott Kolins and artist Joel Gomez
– Flashpoint: Green Arrow Industries #1, scribe Pornsak Pichetshote and artist Mark Castiello
– Flashpoint: The Canterbury Cricket #1, scribe Mike Carlin and artist Rags Morales

DC universe gets a reboot following Flashpoint #5 in September..

1 Jun

DC comics have confirmed the rumors going about in the comic reading circles… starting September, DC comics is rebooting its entire line with the relaunch of 52 titles with new first issue. Long time readers will understand the significance of the number 52 – the number of parallel worlds within DC universe. If this holds any significance to the relaunch is yet to be determined. 

Apart from these 52 titles , what else will change is not yet clear. 
DC comics is going to ship only two comics in the final week of August ; Flashpoint #5 and a new Justice League of America #1(by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee)

The following letter was sent to retailers by Bob Wayne, SVP of Sales for DC Entertainment
To our comics retail partners,

In the time I’ve worked at DC Comics, I’ve witnessed any number of industry defining moments. But today, I bring you what is perhaps the biggest news to date.
Many of you have heard rumors that DC Comics has been working on a big publishing initiative for later this year. This is indeed an historic time for us as, come this September, we are relaunching the entire DC Universe line of comic books with all new first issues. 52 of them to be exact.
In addition, the new #1s will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character’s legend – but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph.
This epic event will kick off on Wednesday, August 31st with the debut of a brand new JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, which pairs Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, together for the first time. (Yes, this is the same week as FLASHPOINT #5.)
We think our current fans will be excited by this evolution, and that it will make jumping into the story extremely accessible to first-time readers – giving them a chance to discover DC’s characters and stories.
We are positioning ourselves to tell the most innovative stories with our characters to allow fans to see them from a new angle. We have taken great care in maintaining continuity where most important, but fans will see a new approach to our storytelling.
Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes. Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once.
Dan DiDio, Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza have been working diligently to pull together some of the best creative teams in the industry. Over 50 new costumes will debut in September, many updated and designed by artist Jim Lee, ensuring that the updated images appeal to the current generation of readers.
The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 will also launch digital day-and-date for all ongoing superhero comic book titles – an industry first.
On Wednesday, June 1st, this initiative is expected to be announced in a nationwide feature article, and we’re hopeful the news will be picked up by media outlets around the world. Throughout the month we’ll reveal more details of our plans with articles in both the mainstream and comics press and on June 13th the Diamond catalog solicitations for all of the September titles will be released, followed by the June 29th street date of the print version of Previews.
DC Comics will support this initiative with an innovative mix of publicity, promotional efforts and retailer incentives designed to maximize your opportunity to increase your DC sales. We will discuss additional details of these incentives when we get closer to solicitation later in June.
We’ll be updating you more through email as September nears. But today, I hope your share our enthusiasm for this historic news!
Sincerely,
Bob Wayne
SVP, Sales
DC Entertainment