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The Pondering Pawaskar – An opinion on WERE HOUSE titled…….If wishes WERE HORSES….or…..I’m a WERE-ASS….

23 Jun
[The author wishes to make it ridiculously clear that the opinions mentioned below have sprung from his own messed up head & the owners/administrators/co-contributors (one of whom has been mentioned below) of this site do not necessarily support these opinions. He would understand if the said owners/administrators/co-contributors resort to concocting tales of his dementia or of his being a were-ass to counter the bad publicity the opinions below might garner.]

I titled this article as an opinion instead of a review because I believe that reviews are done by people who know a thing or two about comics. Opinions on the other hand are like assholes. Everyone has one and so I qualify! Two things to note before you read. There are SPOILERS and a spoilt comic geek stuck in a thankless job venting his fury ahead. You have been sufficiently warned.

I learnt to never judge a book by its cover! You should learn to never judge a book by its review. Read it yourself.
Indian Comics are touted to be in a resurgence mode. The news gladdens the very heart which winces a little when I go through most of the new fangled comics launched recently. Were House is one such book which while not as bad as some other books out there, didn’t turn out as good as I hoped it would. The hype had me salivating like Pavlov’s dog while the actual book made me realize how the same dog felt when Pavlov rang the bell but didn’t deliver the doggie snacks. Bad boy Pavlov.
To be honest, Were House does do a lot of things right. But it also does a lot of things wrong. Let’s take it story by story and then come to the art and other itty-bitty things called details.
Guardian Demon
Imagine Harry Potter’s entire story coming as a chapter in English medium balbharti textbook. How if Mr. Tolkien had crammed the entire Lord of the Rings saga on a paper napkin? Point is that every story needs a different amount of time to flourish. When one has just about 8 pages to tell a story in, the plot should be simple with a maximum of a couple of twists. In Guardian Demon, (MAJOR and I mean MAJOR SPOILERS) we’re introduced to a peaceful village that is destroyed except for a single survivor who is then saved by a were-leopard who he then nurses back to health and later trains under till he’s capable enough for being presented before a goddess who grants him power before he and his mentor venture forth to an ancient temple where they fight off an army of henchmen prior to taking on the main villain, a warlord, who gets pissed off at them and fights them to the death but not before he kills the boy’s mentor and leaves him all alone again!
I shall give you a much needed pause and some visual relief.

A visual representation of what happened to the Guardian Demon!
Click the image to view full size

The reason I scrunched the entire story in one sentence is to prove my point that a story with so much happening should not have been told in a single story. Don’t get me wrong. I think the plot had a lot of potential. Akshay could have pulled out a 10 issue maxi-series out of this single story. He would then have been able to bring the story alive and create characters we all could have loved and cared about. The way it was rushed didn’t allow me to relate with any of the characters. I didn’t feel sorry for the protagonist’s loss, get taken aback when the leopard was revealed to be a lycanthrope or be astounded when he met the goddess. All of them just happened and I was an uninterested viewer. The main villain (Mayur is it?) didn’t even instigate a yawn. Forget about dread. The plot as I said was promising but was too rushed and certainly out of place in a book that has horror as a theme.


Mousetrap

Simple story? Check. Minimum but effective twists? Check. Goosebumps? A few. Mousetrap is the best story of the lot. I liked it more because of the were-creature! A mouse trapping humans. Even the title is spot-on. Good job Soumya Das. Take a bow. I’m really not in a mood to say good things so let’s move on.

Mousetrap – Plain brilliant
It’s a dog’s death

Shweta, in the write-up following the story, mentions that the story is built up on a fear brought along from a dark, dark corner of her mind. Are they playing Terminator in the theatre in that corner of the mind? Robots taking over the world? Mankind in fear of extinction? Let’s keep the inspiration apart and consider a few logical aspects. I always believed that lycanthropes are shape shifting creatures that change forms as they wish or according to certain cycles in nature. The transformation into were-dhols was permanent. Doesn’t that make them mutants and not lycanthropes? The choice of dhols as the were-creature should have been avoided as they ended up looking as werewolves and not were-dhols. Logically why would humans combine themselves with dogs to survive extinction?

Wouldn’t combining with cockroaches (who have been around since before the dinosaurs) be more apt? Ohhhh…A were-cockroach. Put in a creature as creepy as Jeff Goldblum in ‘The Fly’ and you got a winner.

“Hasta la Windows 7, baby…”
One for the fictional fights T-600 vs Were-dhols or should it be Were-Woofs?
Again, like Guardian Demon, this story too failed to register as a horror story. But the story has a few redeeming points. Unlike Guardian Demon, the story didn’t try squeezing too many elements in the actual story. The back story was spelt out separately in the beginning. Plus the plot of the story that was illustrated was simple and the twist in the end was immensely satisfying.
Art AKA Vivek Goel

The problem with art here is that some frames are mind-numbingly awesome. They make the ones which are not, stick out like Wolverine in a Teletubbies episode. My personal favorite is that of the were-rat dragging the maid’s corpse with her insides spilling out! YIKES. The fight scenes among the were-dhols are also good. However, the two fight scenes in Guardian Demon were not up to the mark. There is inconsistency in the art too. Some panels are very detailed with good amount of attention paid to the background. Others are in limbo and seem hastily drawn. Plus I think the B&W execution didn’t really work out. The effect would have been great for a horror themed book which Were House promised to be but didn’t turn out to be.

Details

God is in the details. Going by that description, many of the new comic book houses  seem to be atheists as the details are horribly ignored. An excerpt from Guardian Demon reads, “I trusted her with my very” Very last piece of clean underwear? Another gem comes in the end, “My time is done. You were never always meant to take my place. And you never will.” Huh? Maybe I was never always meant to understand that sentence and I never will!
Ahhh! The joys of clean underwear!
There are typos and grammatical mistakes in a few places in the write-ups. Another grouse is that the flow is wrong at a lot of places. I had to make an effort to figure out what part I have to read first. In many cases the response gets read first and the stimulus comes later. It wrecks the entire reading experience. I know I sound like a grumbling old man and I shudder to think how I’ll be when I am actually a grumbling old man. However all these books are spear heading the comic resurgence in India and while others prefer a lenient attitude, I don’t. One has to get the basics right. I don’t want these guys to run before they walk. I just want them to walk properly!

To sum up…

Guardian Demon : Great plot potential squandered by rushed story telling.
Mousetrap : LOVED IT.
It’s a dog’s death : Inspired plot but good twist in the end.
Vivek Goel : Has to dig deeper in his inner awesomeness.

BTW

I DO NOT intend to demean any creator’s hardwork. I just want them to pull up their socks. I am doing my Pavlov’s dog routine all over again for RAVANAYAN. I have full faith that Vijayendra and Vivek will make me go HOLY COW when I see it. All the best. Don’t turn the were-dhols on me or I’ll be like a mouse trapped without a guardian demon!!!

And they shall call it… NEW DCU!

15 Jun

**UPDATE!** 20th June 2011 (end of post)
New info added for 2 titles continuing post October
**UPDATE!** 17th June 2011 (end of post)
 New info added for 1 new title possible starting October, waiting confirmation

 Hey folks!
Welcome once again! We have something a little extra special for you today – a full on breakdown of the new DC Universe that we can expect to see come September and the end of FLASHPOINT.
Apologies for delays with this weeks post but it was unavoidable given how much time it took to compile all this and sift through it all to find the facts! Just for you! And you should not, this post will be linked (we hope) to the main page in some fashion and all updates on the titles and on new titles not yet to announced will be added in here and updated on Facebook when it is done.
Now! According to the nice folks over at DC, there are major changes to come and while there have been any number of rumours, innuendos and speculation about what will be coming to our comic-racks come summers end – we have need of sifting through the mountains of internet “information” to get to the actual matters at hand.
So with this in mind (some of its been on my mind solidly as you’ll see shortly!) I decided to compile a database of sorts where fans such as you good people could see whats coming, what is to become of some of our beloved series that have not made it to the new Universe ahead and others that have changed drastically, while others yet seem unaffected at all.

Collected here I am listing the 52 new titles that DC will be launching after the ENTIRE existing list of monthly titles is shut down and restarted. Breakdowns are to be found here with creative teams, intended story-lines and of course – my own snippets of opinion about each and every one! These titles will be launching through September and will be the front-line of DC comics for the foreseeable future.
What I am doing here though is listing the comics in order of interest, i.e, we start with the ones Im most looking forward to and why and then follow the list down all the way till the titles Im least looking forward to and why.
But before we get to the breakdown – some things you should know so we are all on the same page here:
There are fans that read and move on and there are fans that follow a certain amount of continuity in what they are reading and care about that – I do. The ones who dont bother at all, some of my continuity problems with the new titles become irrelevant for you.
For those that try to follow it and keep track there are some problems to be realised and kept in mind when going through DC’s new plan. (Im not including obsessive fans who cant stand any change or deviation whatsoever – change is sometimes good, like in changing this damn crap-fest that has been almost every solo superman story for the past couple of years)
Now DC had an event a couple of decades ago called “Crisis on Infinite Earths” which was basically a company-wide event meant to act create an in-comic storyline which allowed them to reboot everything in the now shared universe. It was revolutionary because it used a shared universe before and after which was not a comic staple, and it was an event like none before it. It was also (and this is key) meant to be a means by which to bring all the disparate threads together from all the existing comic history and create a new unified and easier backstory and history without conflicting versions and the like.
Unfortunately they started out fine but then lost the plot and were in the same overloaded continuity boat again – and then again and then again… its why they keep having these Crisis events every couple of years and this was the big PLUS of Flashpoint for me – it was a chance for DC to do just that properly and even going by their announcements it sounded like DC was on board for precisely that.
Now going by the updates and the news on the titles its dubious… there are conflicting concepts, some books retain whats happened the last couple of years, others seem to be totally different versions of everything, others are somewhat altered but not much.
Unless DC is planning on creating a sort of new amalgam or selectively compiled reality, Im not sure what their intention is because if they are retaining things from whats happened till now then how can it not conflict with whats happening? For example, the whole thing with the Kryptonians and Supergirl in New Krypton and now she doesnt care for humans? How do you have both?
In any case, this is the crux of my dilemma at this juncture.
So then lets just get to it shall we? Oh and remember kiddies, all opinions expressed here are merely me-own and reflect not on what the comic actually might turn out to be or that of my compatriots here at CA who will undoubtedly have their own reasons to send me angry mails once they’ve found titles they might rate highly being pounded by me!
But then thats half my fun isn’t it!
Broken down in to THREE chunks by me, here is how I anticipate the new DCU:
(NOTE: All covers clickable to look at in higher resolution folks! Enjoy!)

THE “HELL YEAH!” ZONE!
ACTION COMICS #1

Written by Grant Morrison
Art & Cover by Rags Morales & Rick Bryant
Not a whole lot has been revealed about the direction this series is going to take – and even though I hate that this is being renumbered when it just hit #900 – I have to say it has in no time become the one Im most excited about.
For me Grant is one of the best writers in the business today and his character defining run on Batman has shown what he can do with love of a character – and for those of you that don’t know this, he has been trying to write Superman for years but has not been allowed to be DC for fear of his ‘doing something interesting’!
But now we are back with this series that brings us back to basics, in an interview recently Grant revealed that this book will start with Superman as the first superhero of earth, going back to basics, with a Superman that is not quite as godlike as he is now, like he used to be: faster then a speeding bullet, more powerful then a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound – but still able to be injured by things like mega explosions and such.
Oh and he is in a world that fears him and does not trust him. Raw Superman story-telling – this is going to be AWESOME!!
BATWOMAN #1
Written by J.H. Williams III & Haden Blackman
Art & Cover by J.H. Williams III
At last! Batwoman’s new series begins, from the multiple award-winning creative team of J.H. Williams III and Haden Blackman! In “Hydrology”, Batwoman faces deadly new challenges in her war against Gotham City’s underworld… and new trials in her life as Kate Kane.
Who or what is stealing children from the barrio, and for what vile purpose? Will Kate train her cousin, Bette Kane (a.k.a. Flamebird), as her new sidekick? How will she handle unsettling revelations about her father, Colonel Jacob Kane?
I cannot begin to tell you how intently I’ve been waiting for this book… ever since Greg Rucka announced his intended retirement from comic-writing and brought to a close the beautiful and legendary run he and J.H.WIlliams III (Alan Moore’s ‘Promethea’) had on the character of Batwoman in Detective Comics a year ago… One of the most definitive runs for any character ever with some of the most spectacular art I have ever seen, the book is finally getting its chance to shine as a solo title instead of under the Detective Comics banner and with Williams writing as well as doing art… Well lets just say Im dying to see what he can do with this!
ANIMAL MAN #1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art & Cover by Travel Foreman & Dan Green
Buddy Baker has gone from “super” man to family man… but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? Find out in this dramatic new series from writer Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth) and artist Travel Foreman (The Immortal Iron Fist).
I’ve been a total fan of this character for ages – ever since reading the iconic and seminal run on this series from the 80’s by Grant Morrison which for me redefined how I look at the medium of comics (alongside Watchmen and then later Gaiman’s work among a few others) and story-telling in general.
Buddy Baker has been mostly out of action since then, briefly shining during the awesome-ness that was DC’s “52” series a few years back and then after that in the mini-series he starred in with Starfire and Adam Strange. But now he is back in a great and very appropriately “human” story scribed by one of the most talented young writers I’ve seen in the last two years.
Plus I will admit, having the amazing Travel Forman who did so much amazing artwork over at Marvel on titles I loved like ‘Immortal Iron Fist’, well it nudges this book up the list!
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art & Cover by Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan
With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International.
Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red are charged with promoting unity and trust… but can they reach that goal without killing each other first?
What can I say about this title? If you know it from the old days when the JLA fell apart and these guys picked up the pieces to save the world then I need not go into it. For the rest: the JLI was one of the most ambitious projects I think DC ever undertook and one of the most out-there. A global Justice League during who’s time you simultaneously had a series for ‘Justice League Europe’ and plans for others – all written by the talented Jurgens and filled with super-heroics laced with great humour and great stories. It was this title that made me a fan-for-life of Booster, Beetle, Guy and all the rest of the JLI.
Very much looking forward to seeing where this goes, especially after the great comeback they’ve had this past year in the “Justice League: Generation Lost” limited series.
DEMON KNIGHTS #1
Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Diogenes Neves & Oclair Albert
Cover by Tony S. Daniel
Set in the Dark Ages of the DC Universe, a barbarian horde is massing to crush civilization. It’s fallen to Madame Xanadu and Jason Blood, the man with a monster inside him, to stand in their way… though the demon Etrigan has no interest in protecting anyone or anything other than himself! It’ll take more than their own power to stop an army fueled by bloodlust and dark sorcery, and some very surprising heroes… and villains… will have no choice but to join the fray!
After his work on ‘Lex Luthor’s Action Comics’, ‘Knight & Squire’, ‘Batman & Robin’ and not to mention all his Marvel Comics work, Cornell has fast become one of the most amazing writers in my view and arguably the best one DC has with them right now.
With some of the most interesting characters in the DCU alongwith Madame Xanadu from Vertigo, this series has some of the best potential thus far. Great setup and concept and the talent behind it to make this one to look out for puts this high up on my list.
And I would recommend checking out Neves’ art, the man is unreal at times! Look at that cover!
GREEN LANTERN: THE NEW GUARDIANS #1
Written by Tony Bedard
Art & Cover by Tyler Kirkham & Batt
Kyle Rayner has assembled the most powerful team in all the universe, selected from the full spectrum of corps. But can he even keep this volatile group together?
Not much to say here – Green Lantern books have been among the best books out of the DCU for a couple of years now and the premise and build on this one is extremely promising and catches the mind when you think about it – not to mention that the confusion about the extent of continuity changes is confounding many (me included) still.
But for now given that Bedard’s current awesome monthly “R.E.B.E.L.S” is being taken off the roster (so far) according to this list of DC’s, this book is replacing it and I have high hopes for it.
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Mikel Janin
Cover by Ryan Sook
The witch known as The Enchantress has gone mad, unleashing forces that not even the combined powers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg can stop. And if those heroes can’t handle the job, who will stand against this mystical madness?
Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna and John Constantine may be our only hope… but how can we put our trust in beings whose very presence makes ordinary people break out in a cold sweat?
Ever since those days long ago when the Infinite Crisis shook the DCU and I got to see the amazing world of DC’s magical based characters through the Shadowpact (which I followed like a junkie till its final issue of its long, epic run), I’ve been scrounging for all such titles of quality.
And now not only do I have Demon Knights by Cornell but this most wicked sounding book with some of the most awesome DC characters from across the board and its all written by none other then the legendary Peter Milligan who is also currently the man behind Hellblazer, and drawn by the amazingly great at fantastic images, Mikel Janin. Oh yes…
STORMWATCH #1
Written by Paul Cornell
Art & Cover by Miguel Sepulveda
They are Stormwatch, a dangerous super human police force whose existence is kept secret from the world. Directly following the ominous events of SUPERMAN #1, Adam One leads half the Stormwatch team to recover an item from deep in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the Stormwatch crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo! And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds…
Most of you may not know this but I’m not entirely a mainstream comics guy – I love em, always have, but I like to read variety and things unrestrained by the continuity and limitations that big brand names like Superman and Batman and such tend to attract. It was for this reason that I was always a big fan of the Wildstorm universe which though it had its weak points, was some of the most bad-ass super-hero fiction ever written.
Those of you who have read The Authority, Stormwatch, Midnighter and their fellow series know exactly what Im talking about! And now months after seeing the sad demise of their entire line of comics as DC shut down Wildstorm’s entire imprint, we get to see those familiar characters brought to life in the DCU proper. I will admit, though excited by this and by the story and having Cornell handle this with Miguel’s excellent hand on art, a part of me is apprehensive for the same reasons that I am iffy about Vertigo icons like John Constantine and Swamp Thing in the main universe because there are always editorial constraints, the lack of which over at Vertigo is what made these books as amazing as they were/are.
For example, I wonder how DC plan to deal with the fact that Midnighter and Apollo are meant to be gay and were in fact married. Its this aspect of it that gives me pause.
Only time will tell…
SWAMP THING #1
Written by Scott Snyder
Art & Cover by Yanick Paquette
One of the world’s most iconic characters has returned to the heart of the DC Universe, and every step he takes will shake the foundations of the Earth!
Alec Holland has his life back… but the Green has plans for it. A monstrous evil is rising in the desert, and it’ll take a monster of another kind to defend life as we know it!
I must admit I am both highly excited and extremely weary of this title. Scott Snyder has proven himself as one of the brightest among the new crop of American comic scribes with his creator owned American Vampire and his ongoing stories in Detective Comics. He has a style and voice that is truly unique and he is one of the few writers who I would trust at this juncture to do justice to a concept and character as iconic in the comic medium as Swamp Thing.
For those that know it, you’re cool, for those that do not: Swamp Thing was nothing special but many ages ago one Alan Moore came on as writer and completely recreated and brought a new life to this character, marking the beginning of a new age of comic story-telling and just so you know, it was this series that saw the birth of the now legendary John Constantine!
Sadly though, it is this legend that this new series will have to stand next to, no matter how hard we try – those of us that have read it will always hearken back and new fans will eventually go back and so this will be its real test. Here’s hoping…
Of note: Yanick is so good at drawing the ladies, I hope he can find his feet on this starkly different kind of comic!
FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Alberto Ponticelli
Cover by J.G. Jones
It’s Frankenstein as you’ve never seen him before, in a dark new series from acclaimed writer Jeff Lemire and artist Alberto Ponticelli (Unknown Soldier)!
Frankenstein is part of a network of strange beings who work for an even stranger government organization: The Super Human Advanced Defense Executive! But can he protect the world from threats even more horrifying than himself? And since he’s vilified for who and what he is, will he even want to take on this mission?
Ever since Grant Morrison’s epic mini-event “Seven Soldiers” I’ve been waiting and hoping for such a series. Once again tapping into the more esoteric and wild realm of magic that DC rarely ever gets into, that event laid some remarkable groundwork and I think going by what they’ve told us so far, this series promises to live up to its expectation – and yes, for a change Frankenstein is the hero here, monster yes, but hero. And again Lemire brings me much hope as does the detailed and beautifully dense artwork that Ponticelli is capable of bringing to the table.
RED LANTERNS #1
Written by Peter Milligan
Art & Cover by Ed Benes & Rob Hunter
Atrocitus and his Red Lantern Corps return in their own series, battling against injustice in the most bloody ways imaginable!
For those of you that have been following the Green Lantern books the last year or two, I don’t need to explain the Red Lanterns to you. With one of my all time favourite art-names attached to it – Ed Benes – and Milligan on writing duty, all I can say is, “It’s about damn time Atrocitus and his hordes got their own stories to tell!”
This should be some truly brutal fun!
ALL-STAR WESTERN #1
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Grey
Art & Cover by Moritat
Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant… and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex’s special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Find out in this new series from HEX writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with lush artwork by Moritat (The Spirit)!
Long have I been an ardent fan of the team of Palmiotti and Justin Grey – they along with the legendary Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA) are my favourite comic creating team. Both are pairs that while not so successful solo, have produced some of the most amazing comics ever when working as a team.
And with the demise of the solo Jonah Hex book (as of now) which has been astoundingly awesome since it started its run with these two masters of the genre-Western till its latest issue: #64
One of the most entertaining concepts of this new DCU thus far, I have to say that I’m very much looking forward to this and its titles like this and others on this here list that show that DC is trying and really willing to push the envelope in telling stories and not just fixating on spandex sagas.
RESURRECTION MAN #1
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Fernando Dagnino
Cover by Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
It’s the return of Mitch Shelly… and he’s still dead.
Resurrection Man can’t stay dead for long, though… and with each rebirth comes new and unexpected powers. But his many returns have not gone unnoticed, and forces are gathering to learn what’s so special about him… and to see which of them will finally stop Resurrection Man dead.
Ah… nostalgia…
This book is like a love letter to ardent fans! Thank you DC. Regardless of whether casual fans will get on board and like this book enough to keep it around, fans like myself will treasure each and every issue while it lasts.
A cult favourite series, lesser known outside hard-core readers who’ve been into comics for the past couple of decades worth of books and even read the off-the-wall and less conventional stories, Resurrection Man was special. One of those series that no one thought would get a second chance after all this time, and that too with the dream team of DnA helming it… Its like a dream come true… If for nothing else, we thank you DC and hope that this book is even half as good as we’re hoping!
LEGION LOST #1
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art & Cover by Pete Woods
Seven heroes from the 31st century have traveled back to the present day. Their mission: Save their future from annihilation. But when the future tech they brought with them fails, they find themselves trapped in a nightmarish world that, for them, is the ultimate struggle to survive!
Don’t miss the start of this all-new Legion series illustrated by Pete Woods… fresh off his spectacular run on Action Comics… who is joined by writer Fabian Nicieza!
One of the more under-rated writers in comics ever in my humble opinion – Fabian has been a favourite of mine whatever he’s written, from the silliness of early Deadpool solo books to the more recent and intense Red Robin ongoing.
Ive always had mixed reactions to stories around the Legion of Super-Heroes, they tend to be either awesome or not worth bothering about for me. With Woods moving here and Nicieza scripting this potent sounding premise I’m very much inclined to add this to my pull-list at least for now.
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art & Cover by Kenneth Rocafort
No sooner has Batman’s former sidekick, Jason Todd, put his past as the Red Hood behind him than he finds himself cornered by a pair of modern day outlaws: Green Arrow’s rejected sidekick Arsenal, the damaged soldier of fortune, and the alien Starfire, a former prisoner of intergalactic war who won’t be chained again.
As a loner, Jason has absolutely no interest in this motley crew of outlaws. So what’s he going to do when they choose the Red Hood as their leader? Find out in this hot new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDCATS, Uncanny X-Men), featuring art by rising star Kenneth Rocafort (Action Comics)!
For this book I’m walking a very fine line – Scott Lobdell has proven himself to be both a very skilled writer but also on occasion a disappointment in ways. But when he gets it right, he really does a good job!
It is this that I’m hoping he can carry forward from his better works to this new title. Most people have either no knowledge or opinion or flat out tend to not like Jason Todd, for me though he is one of the most interesting and intense characters that DC has ever had in its tights and fights stable. Putting him at the head of a shadow team with the otherwise bad-ass but recently ruined character Arsenal and the oh-so-hot (don’t lie, you thought so too once) Starfire has so much potential for at the very least a limited run if not indefinite.
And with the talented Rocafort coming on board this is a very promising book if done well and read with an open mind.
VOODOO #1
Written by Ron Marz
Art & Cover by Sami Basri
Who is Voodoo? Is she hero, villain… or both? Learn the truth about Priscilla Kitaen as she leaves a trail of violence across America. Discover the new DCU through her eyes, because the things she sees are not always what they seem…
Many of you will not even know who this character is – like the others from Stormwatch that I listed above, Voodoo is a heroine from the Wildstorm universe of comics and I’m highly intrigued to see how they plan to fit her backstory and abilities into the DC universe.
Of course having one of the masters of such story-telling, Ron Marz penning this series with the exquisite art of Basri… well lets just say it helps an already interesting book seem even more so!
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Fernando Pasarin & Scott Hanna
Cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
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… or else.
Nothing special to add here really – GL books have been awesome for the past few years, arguably my favourite stable of titles consistently put out by DC.
This book has been excellent and with no change in the creative team (same as the main GL book) I have no massive expectation or such, but if the book can maintain the quality its had so far then it belongs in this list. For now that’s what Im assuming, a rare bit of optimism if you would permit!
GREEN LANTERN #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke & Christiam Almy
Cover by Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
The red-hot GREEN LANTERN team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke introduce an unexpected new Lantern.
Well, again not a whole lot to say, intrigued but mostly this book stays high up on my list so long as it can maintain itself – like with a lot of the lesser detailed info titles, Im basically worried about the continuity aspect since it seems DC is not changing or retconning any of the recent GL story-lines and such so how well this will merge with the rest of the DCU will be seen.
GRIFTER #1
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art & Cover by Cafu
The DCU’s most wanted man stars in his own series!
Cole Cash is a charming grifter few can resist. And yet he’s about to be branded a serial killer when he begins hunting and exterminating inhuman creatures hidden in human form… creatures only he can see!
Can the biggest sweet talker of all time talk his way out of this one when even his brother thinks he’s gone over the edge?
Another title bringing Wildstorm to the DCU – this is one I was actually looking forward to the most but being a little less confident of the creative team, unfortunately this book stays lower on my listing.
Grifter is one of the most fun characters from the Wildstorm lineup, he should have a lot of fun here!
BATMAN #1
Written by Scott Snyder
Art & Cover by Greg Capullo & Jonathan Glapion
Be here for the start of a new era for The Dark Knight from writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo (Spawn)! A series of brutal killings hints at an ancient conspiracy, and Batman learns that Gotham City is deadlier than he knew.
Helmed currently by Tony Daniel who has been doing an excellent job and I am sad to see him go – this book is one of the more promising books in the Bat-family of titles. More so since I am angered and horrified that they are taking this easy way out and making Dick Grayson Nightwing again and breaking up the spectacularly fun team of him as Batman with Damian Wayne as Robin – it was brilliant.
However, Im not a total pain and if Im going to be enjoying a Bat-book, this is most likely to be it and with Capullo bringing his amazing and beautifully dark artwork to this title there should be much to look forward to for fans of the Dark Knight.
WONDER WOMAN #1
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art & Cover by Cliff Chiang
The Gods walk among us. To them, our lives are playthings. Only one woman would dare to protect humanity from the wrath of such strange and powerful forces. But is she one of us… or one of them?
I have to say this off the bat, I don’t rightly know what to make of this series. It is one of the most unlikely choices of writer for such a series and character, you see Azzarello is a writer associated with noir and gritty, hard-boiled tales. He is a very down-to-the ground and intense writer – I would recommend checking out his graphic novel simply titled ‘Joker’ – and gained fame with books like ‘100 Bullets’.
But he has written some pretty good superhero tales and is a truly talented writer and it is on this strength and Chiang’s unique visual style that I’m intrigued enough by this book to put it up here.
BLUE BEETLE #1
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Ig Guara & Ruy Jose
Cover by Tyler Kirkham & Sal Regla
It’s not easy being Jaime Reyes. He has to deal with high school, family and all the drama that comes with being a teenager. Also, he’s linked to a powerful scarab created by an alien race known as the Reach who seek to subjugate planets… or annihilate them. It’s up to one teen hero to turn this instrument of destruction into a force for good.
I used to be a fan of the old Blue Beetle Ted Kord and while enjoying the power-suit have been luke-warm on the Jaime Reyes character. However he has grown on me (in no small part to his role in “Batman:The Brave and the Bold”) and with Bedard penning and Guara doing art duty with his lighter, more fun style that could very much suit this book… well its up there for the nonce.
CATWOMAN #1
Written by Judd Winick
Art & Cover by 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 this new series from writer Judd Winick (BATMAN: UNDER THE HOOD) and artist Guillem March (GOTHAM CITY SIRENS)!
AT LAST!! So damn long after Brubakers legend making run on the character ended with her last solo-book, Selina Kyle gets back in the game!
Recently she’s been bobbing around with Harley and Ivy in the pages of Gotham City Sirens which was decent enough for a while, but now the lady is back in the thick of things and back to her roots and this promises to be some good fun for all involved.
Plus with Bruce back in the cowl now its time for Cats and Bats to play like they used to which was always fun – Winick has his hit and miss moments but largely is a dependable writer so Im looking to enjoy this.
DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #1
Written by Paul Jenkins
Art by Bernard Chang
Cover by Ryan Sook
It’s the start of a new series spotlighting some of the DC Universe’s most exciting super heroes! First up is Deadman, straight from the pages of BRIGHTEST DAY, in a five-issue epic where the body-hopping hero meets his match in a new foe who wants to make sure the souls that Deadman helps out go straight to Hell!
I’ll admit, part of my joy with this is that they are giving the spotlight to Deadman first and foremost and he is a big favourite of mine, but more then that I like this as a concept – it hearkens back to the earliest days of DC when they used to have titles like “Showcase” (which gave us the modern Flash Barry Allen, Adam Strange, Metal Men, Rip Hunter, Creeper and so many more!)
AQUAMAN #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art & Cover by Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
The superstar creators from “Blackest Night” and “Brightest Day” reunite to take Aquaman to amazing new depths!
Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis… but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily.
Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges… The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them, The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!
The last book on my “HELL YEAH!” list before we move on to the titles I hold out lesser hope for (and then finally the ones I hold NO hope for..) and it is Aquaman by Geoff Johns.
Ordinarily I would be hesitant to put this book up here because I have not found anyone who has been able to do this poor character justice truly since Peter David’s time as the writer for his last solo Aquaman book.
The only reason this book is here is because Johns is very good at rebuilding characters as we have seen him do all over the place, especially with how he literally rewrote the book on the entire GL franchise and he has made no secret of his love for this character and wanting to do the same to him. So with that in mind and Reis on art here I think this could be one of the genuinely good revamps so here it is and here it stays until release date comes!
And look! He finally has hand back! How long do you think it’ll be before they find a reason to cut it off again? Sorry, couldn’t resist. 

THE “MAYBE” ZONE!!

DETECTIVE COMICS #1

Written by Tony S. Daniel
Art & Cover by Tony S. Daniel & Ryan Winn
DC’s flagship title is relaunched for the first time ever, with new Batman adventures from acclaimed writer/artist Tony S. Daniel!
A killer called The Gotham Ripper is on the loose on Batman’s home turf… leading The Dark Knight on a deadly game of cat and mouse.
I was vexed to see Snyder taken off this book and switched with Daniel, both have been doing great on their respective books and this was like a case of trying to fix what aint broken!
But as I said, he has been writing it well and while it is a vague and dubious premise (plus I dont like that they decided to take one of the longest running titles of all time back to zero from its current 876) but it could be great it could be not so it stays in my ‘maybe’ section. 
Also Im wondering as to why a book that introduces a new villain is plastered with the Joker? Well DC?  
BATWING #1
Written by Judd Winick
Art & Cover by Ben Oliver
Cover by Ben Oliver
Africa, a land of beauty… and of great horror. A land of creation and conflict. It is in desperate need of a defender, and from the ranks of Batman Incorporated comes a soldier to carry on the legacy of The Dark Knight in the most tumultuous region on Earth. Meet Batwing, the Batman of Africa!
One of the more intiguing new titles in DC’s roster, Im actually looking forward to reading this very much, but Winick is a decent writer and while I dont doubt he will do alright, this book could very easily be a sad waste.
Its a daring new direction and a change in attitude. All depends on 2 things: (1) how does this work given DC’s reboots? How does Batman Inc still work? And (2) How well the world around our new hero is constructed.
Honestly, I have high hopes for this book despite my severe reservations and hope for the best!
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art & Cover by Jim Lee & Scott Williams
Comics superstars Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make history! In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World Greatest Heroes!
Im sure not a lot of folks would expect this to be the book here on this list as opposed to right on top – I mean its got the original JLA, its got Jim Lee and its Geoff Johns, the man who has been saving DC’s arse along-side Grant Morrison for some time now!
Im just not too mad-keen on this rebooting all the way back to zero – the current Justice League by Robinson has been great and I really like the line-up! I mean come on! We got Congo-rilla on the team dammit!! A GORILLA! Ah well, people want familiar and safe and so even though Im sure this will be a good relaunch of the JL, Im not overly excited…Also with the designs Lee has been putting up like the ones you see here and the fact that DC is so hard up they are taking Rob Leifeld on, its a terrifying reminder of the 90’s when cheesy outifts with too many muscles, too much bulk, shoulder pads and (in this case) for some reason collars. Im sorry that last bit just makes me laugh! 
TEEN TITANS #1
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art & Cover by Brett Booth & Norm Rapmund
Tim Drake, Batman’s former sidekick, is back in action when an international organization seeks to capture, kill or co-opt super-powered teenagers.
As Red Robin, he’s going to have to team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and the hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash to stand any chance at all against a living, breathing weapon with roots in another world! They… along with a few other tortured teen heroes… will be the Teen Titans in this new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDC.A.T.S, Uncanny X-Men) and artist Brett Booth (JLA)!
One of the most intriguing books in the new line-up, this title carries undoubtedly some of the biggest and most noticeable changes anywhere in the entire DCU.
Some changes sound great while others not so much, and though its not the best move to make, there is merit in DC’s seeming intention to emulate the new Young Justice TV series which has been great fun and better then any Teen Titans book in years, they even seem to have changed the Superboy character entirely for just this purpose.
My curiosity is very high on this book but it also shows potential for the kind of disaster that calls for the title being assumed non-existant by any discerning fan. Until further news comes to light, I’m going to leave this in limbo…
BATGIRL #1
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Ardian Syaf & Vicente Cifuentes
Cover by Adam Hughes
Yes, it’s really happening!
Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl… and she’s going to have to face the city’s most horrifying new villains as well as the dark secrets from her past. You won’t want to miss this stunning debut issue from fan-favorite BIRDS OF PREY writer Gail Simone!
I hate this book.
No, I mean it.
I hate it because of what it does and its a horrible step for DC to be taking and Im going to hold it against them forever in all likelihood.
They’ve taken one of the most beloved and well known characters, Barbara Gordon, who is arguably the worlds favourite – the original Batgirl. But then she got shot in the seminal “Killing Joke” by Alan Moore and became so much more. She is (and you better believe it) an icon for disabled readers. It may not seem like much but she was a step in the direction of even greater diversity and character in the field and it was where she shone – taking her disability (paralysed waist down) and kept herself going and eventually became Oracle, the leader of the Birds of Prey (one of the best books ever) and indespensible information master of the heroes of the whole DCU.
Now just for the sentimentality of it, for getting sales and all that they are just bringing her back and taking away all that made her such a great character. She was a teacher, a role model and a hero – she trained at least 2 bat-girls and worked with them among all the other things.
And now yes, she is back as a hero and flying through the air… but part of me feels that it will do nothing save diminish this character in the long run and people will always look back to before this when remembering her history no matter what DC does.
Plus, it is unfair to the current Batgirl who I used to dislike but in the ongoing series she has fast become among my favourite DC characters under Bryan Miller’s pen. Now she is it seems relegated to limbo.
And damn DC for putting Gail Simone on this. She is unquestionable the ideal person to write a story with Barbara as Batgirl, she has after all been writing her for the last few years – and therefore I know it will be a good book, but I will resent it as a fan and as a story-teller no matter how spell-binding.
THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1
Written by Tony S. Daniel
Art & Cover by Philip Tan
Carter Hall’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archaeologist 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 wings and become the new, savage Hawkman to survive! Witness the start of a new action series from writer Tony S. Daniel and artist Philip Tan that will take Hawkman where no hero has flown before!
Great potential but a mediocre and lower rung character who I have enjoyed only in fits and starts when a writer really takes an interest.
But I think Tony Daniel might do a solid job here, he has been proving himself well recently and that couple with Tan’s art could make this a book worth following.
BIRDS OF PREY #1
Written by Duane Swierczynski
Art & Cover by Jesus Saiz
One is wanted for a murder she didn’t commit. The other is on the run because she knows too much. They are Dinah Laurel Lance and Ev Crawford… a.k.a. Black Canary and Starling… and together, as Gotham City’s covert ops team, they’re taking down the villains other heroes can’t touch. But now they’ve attracted the attention of a grizzled newspaper reporter who wants to expose them, as well as a creepy, chameleon-like strike team that’s out to kill them.
Consistently one of the best books in DC’s lineup since its first volume launched all those years ago, I am happy to see it survive the rebooting but with this new team and a writer other then Gail Simone on it… well lets just say that Im dubious. However Duane is a proven writer and while he may screw it up, he may get it right too and so it stays on the middle ground for now…
BATMAN & ROBIN #1
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art & Cover by Pat Gleason & Mick Gray
Battling evil with his son, Damian, at his side, Batman now realizes that the hardest part of the job may be trying to work together!
As Batman and Robin try to adjust to their new partnership, a figure emerges from Bruce Wayne’s past… His name is NoBody, and he’s not happy that Batman Incorporated is shining a light on his own shadowy war against evil…
I like Tomasi and his work recently in GLCorp title has been pretty decent – and I must admit seeing Bruce fight crime with his obnoxious son as Robin could be interesting.
BUT I feel that they are forgetting something critical here. The dynamic of the Dynamic Duo was always the key, it was a balance of serious and at east, of intense and calm, of morose and lighter-hearted.
For Bruce’s brooding there was always Robins humour and playful approach to this, the dark, hard hearted hero balanced by the softer hearted partner. And then it was beautifully reversed by Grant who gave us a grim and brooding Damian Wayne as Robin, petulant and angry coupled with the happier and more jovial Batman in Dick Grayson and they worked remarkably well together.
That dynamic now gives way to grim and grimmer… maybe me but I dont know how well this will work.
And yes, I am very fond of the Dick-Damian teaming and am going to hold it against this book. So sue me.
STATIC SHOCK #1
Written by John Rozum & Scott McDaniel
Art & Cover by Scott McDaniel & Jonathan Glapion
The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static!
A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and a new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs!
As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City’s underworld?
I used to quite like this character and honestly, Im glad to see him getting a shot to make it here. Unfortunately my confidence in his creative team remains limited and more then the story, its in the choice of McDaniel for art. I will likely give it a shot but dont expect to follow it.
SGT. ROCK AND THE MEN OF WAR #1
Written by Ivan Brandon
Art by Tom Derenick
Cover by Viktor Kalvachev
The grandson of the original Sgt. Rock assumes the command of Easy Company, a team of crack ex-military men financed by a covert military contractor, as they brave the battle-scarred landscape carved by the DC Universe’s super-villains. SGT. ROCK AND THE MEN OF WAR #1 is contemporary military story fighting under modern conditions, and will be written by Ivan Brandon and illustrated by Tom Derenick.
All-time favourite from… well forever! Anyone who knows Sgt. Rock and Easy Company knows what I’m talking about and for the rest, well I can’t really explain it other then to say these guys were the quintessential war-heroes, they were the best war comics put out by a major comic company and had some of the best stories, deep stories.
While I was at first excited to hear of this relaunch my enthusiasm has been blunted sharply by the news of updateing them from WW2 into a more modern amy unit. Chances are you may enjoy it if you are not familiar or all that picky, but for me I love these characters and am not looking forward to seeing this.
THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #1
Written by Ethan Van Sciver & Gail Simone
Art by Yildiray Cinar
Cover by Ethan Van Sciver
Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond. These two high school students are 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 dark secrets of the murderous Dog Team and its Firestorm Protocol force them to put aside their differences to confront a threat so terrifying that it may lead to a new Cold War! Welcome to a major new vision of nuclear terror from writers Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone with astonishing art by Yildiray Cinar!
Good writing team and at first I was so pumped about this book – but then I found this intended premise and saw the horrid and truly stupid new design for Firestorm and my taste for this book soured so fast that it barely kept itself out of the Red zone… Judge for yourself, Im biased here…
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1
Written by Paul Levitz
Art by Francis Portela
Cover by Karl Kerschl
The Legion of Super-Heroes has been decimated by the worst disaster in its history. Now, the students of the Legion Academy must rise to the challenge of helping the team rebuild… but a threat of almost unstoppable power is rising at the edge of Dominator space, and if the new recruits fail, the Legion Espionage Squad may be the first casualties in a war that could split worlds in half!
Not much to say really – Levitz is good, he is the quintessential writer for a Legion series but Ive always, as stated before, had a mixed relationship with the Legion stories and so this remains in the neutral zone until I can get a better idea of its potential and quality.
HAWK & DOVE #1
Written by Sterling Gates
Art & Cover by Rob Liefeld
Hank Hall is not happy. He’s not happy to have Dawn Granger as a new partner in his war on crime. He’s not happy that she’s dating the ghostly Super Hero, Deadman. He’s not happy to learn that someone is trying to plunge the United States into a new civil war! Now it’s up to Hawk and Dove to root out the forces behind this conflict and stop them before they turn the U.S. into a wasteland!
And who is the monster lurking in the shadows, watching Hawk and Dove from afar? Find out in this new series from Sterling Gates (FLASHPOINT: KID FLASH LOST) and artist Rob Liefeld (X-Force, Youngblood)!
This book is one of the saddest moments in comic history for me in many ways… I’ve been loving the work of Sterling Gates, his recent run on Supergirl was excellent and all its readers have been wishing he had stayed on and what he would do next – and when I heard he was taking on Hawk and Dove I was actually very excited and really was looking forward to it.
But now this book is bordering on the Red Zone for me…
Why? Simply because I dont think I can bring myself to read page after page, panel after panel of the crap-tastic art of Rob Liefeld, a man who I cannot believe still gets work making comics considering how many great talents are out there. Its like a devious ploy! You want to read it for the story but hate the art so will likely pick it up whereas on another writers book you may have just said “screw it”. Clever DC, clever… 
And finally… THE “HELL NO!!” ZONE!
GREEN ARROW #1

Written by JT Krul

Art by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund

Cover by Brett Booth & Rob Hunter
Green Arrow is on the hunt. Driven by inner demons, Ollie Queen travels the world and brings outlaws to justice… by breaking every law.
Now, armed with cutting-edge weaponry and illegally gained intel (courtesy of his team at QCore), Green Arrow is shooting first and asking questions later.
This book could have been higher up in the order of things but while it was not bad, Krul has not been able to really make this character what I wanted him to be… ever since that miserable excuse for a comic “Cry for Justice” and the more recent fall of Green Arrow and the disgusting “Rise of Arsenal”, this iconic character has been floundering.
I hold out little hope that with a reboot Krul can up his game – I hope he does, but will not be holding my breath.
O.M.A.C. #1

Written by Dan Didio & Keith Giffen

Art & Cover by Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish
The all-seeing Brother Eye satellite has unleashed a new beast upon the DC Universe in this smashing new series! Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known only as O.M.A.C.!
Oh god no…
Just what we need, Dan frikkin Didio writing another book… No offense Dan, you have been a great boss over at DC but please stop writing comics! I used to be a big fan of The Outsiders but had to drop the book soon after you took over and have not been able to get back into it since then!
Why couldnt you have junked this stupid sounding book and instead let awesome books like Secret Six or Booster Gold among so many excellent titles stay alive!?
Plus looking at the cover image and seeing Giffen once again trying to badly ape the amazing style of the king Jack Kirby without the depth and dynamism does nothing but make me care less and less about this book which was not enticing even as a concept. 
Dammit…
DEATHSTROKE #1

Written by Kyle Higgins

Art by Joe Bennett & Art Thibert

Cover by Simon Bisley
“Friends die, family disappoints, but a legacy… That lives forever.”
Slade Wilson is the best mercenary in the DCU, and he’s been doing this a long time. Some might say too long. But they’ll learn… Never turn your back on Deathstroke the Terminator. He won’t quit, no matter how high the stakes. Kyle Higgins (BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and Joe Bennett (TEEN TITANS) team up to bring you the finest in mayhem and gore.
This guy is one of the most bad-ass tough guys in comics, he was the inspiration in some ways for so many including Marvel’s Deadpool.
But for me he’s become something of a joke, this most dangerous and deadly man who almost no one can beat and in Identity Crisis took on Flash, Green Arrow and several A-list JL-ers all by himself – now he’s nothing but a pathetic second-rate villain who spends his time trying to beat children trained by the big-guys, the heroes he used to smack around. Maybe Higgins can give him the shot in the arm he needs to make this happen… but I dont imagine so unless there are some major changes coming. Again until Im clearer on DC’s continuity plans this book stays on my “to avoid” list.
MISTER TERRIFIC #1

Written by Eric Wallace

Art by Roger Robinson

Cover by J.G. Jones
The world’s third-smartest man… and one of its most eligible bachelors… uses his brains and fists against science gone mad in this new series from Eric Wallace (TITANS) and Roger Robinson!
Michael Holt is the head of a successful high-tech corporation and an institute that recruits and encourages the finest minds of the next generation to excel. As Mister Terrific he inhabits a world of amazement few others know exists, let alone can comprehend.
A poor substitute for the great titles DC is cancelling, the JSA and Power Girl. Im happy to see Mr. Terrific get his solo shot here and to see a member of the JSA at least still have a book in the line-up and I was even intrigued by the story and potential of it all.
But Titans has been such an abysmal book (what I managed to get through of it) that I have little faith that Wallace can pull this off. For Terrific’s sake I hope Im wrong.
SUICIDE SQUAD #1

Written by Adam Glass

Art by Marco Rudy

Cover by Ryan Benjamin
Harley Quinn! Deadshot! King Shark! They’re a team of death-row super villains recruited by the government to take on missions so dangerous… they’re sheer suicide! Who will be the first to crack under the pressure? Find out in SUICIDE SQUAD #1, written by Adam Glass with art by Marco Rudy.
Don’t really care for what I know of the work of either of these guys and nothing to make me look up and take notice anyway.
Couple that with this – taking Harley, an all time favourite, and Deadshot (from the soon to be late-lamented Secret Six which has been an exquisite pleasure I will miss) and creates this book for no good reason. Not to mention I find the character designs on the promo cover art look flat out stupid and gimmicky… well you get the idea.
SUPERBOY #1

Written by Scott Lobdell

Art by R.B. Silva & Rob Lean

Cover by Eric Canete
They thought he was just an experiment… and a failed one at that! Grown from a combination of Kryptonian and human DNA, the Clone was no more than a set of data to the scientists of Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. But when the scope of his stunning powers was revealed, he became a deadly weapon! Now the question is: Can a clone develop a conscience?
One more book given to Lobdell, no offense to the guy but – really?
Potential is there in the premise but not too much. Plus the design is pretty mediocre and nothing overly exciting so far so this stays low until I know anything that might make me consider picking up and reading this thing.
CAPTAIN ATOM #1

Written by JT Krul

Art by Freddie Williams II

Cover by Stanley “Artgem” Lau
Charged by nuclear energy, possessing vast molecular powers, Captain Atom has the potential to be a literal god among men… a hero without limits. But the question is: Will he lose himself in the process?
Don’t miss the start of a legend from writer J.T. Krul and artist Freddie Williams II!
Good artist, decent writer – excellent cover artist.
Its a good start for any book and Captain Atom has gotten more interesting the last couple of years then he’s ever been, but Krul has not proven himself all that capable and so unfortunately this second title with his name on it will likely not make my pull list unless it shows some serious potential right out the gate!
NIGHTWING #1

Written by Kyle Higgins

Art & Cover by Eddy Barrows
Dick Grayson flies high once more as Nightwing in a new series from hot new writer Kyle Higgins (BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM)! And as he embraces his destiny, Haley’s Circus, the big top where Dick once performed, returns to Gotham City… bringing with it murder, mystery and superhuman evil. Nightwing must confront his past, among former friends and enemies from his circus days, while uncovering a much greater evil!
There is nothing at all to inspire confidence in the title for me, couple with the fact that I am most unhappy to see them cop out and make Grayson Nightwing again for no good reason – topped off with this really daft sounding premise. I mean evil circus. Really… this is the best they got?Plus I have to say it, that cover art looks really, really bad – its like a bad attempt at recreating a similar image from a Moon Knight issue which was soooo much better!
Never mind, Im not bothering with this.
SUPERGIRL #1

Written by Michael Green & Mike Johnson

Art & Cover by Mahmud Asrar

Cover by Mahmud Asrar
Meet Supergirl. She’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman… and none of his affection for the people of Earth. So don’t piss her off!
Yet another Super-book that has given me little reason to bother. Her redesign is probably my favourite out of the three Super-family heroes and the story-line is one that makes me curious, but not enough. Another wait and see book not to be bothered with unless it shows more positivity. Though in fairness I will admit, a book with a bitchy supergirl who isnt all sunshine-y and conflicts with other heroes and such could be good if handled very, VERY carefully. Its the kind of story that could go to hell in a heartbeat if the writer is just a little weak. 
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1

Written by David Finch

Art & Cover by David Finch & Jay Fabok
The Dark Knight struggles against a deadly… yet strangely familiar… foe in this phenomenal debut issue from superstar writer/artist David Finch!
As a mysterious figure slinks through the halls of Arkham Asylum, Batman must fight his way through a gauntlet of psychos, and Bruce Wayne faces the unexpected legal ramifications of Batman Incorporated!
A crap book now and Im sure a crap book when it comes back -so far its had only 2 issues, neither of which has been worth the paper it was printed on and Im not even going to bother trying this one.
FLASH #1

Written by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato

Art & Cover by Francis Manapul
The Fastest Man Alive returns to his own monthly series from the writer/artist team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato! The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but what happens when he faces an all-new villain who really can! As if that’s not bad enough, this villain is a close friend!
I have been enjoying John’s recent work on the Flash franchise which he has ben reinvigorating like the GL books and Manipul has been doing a good job on the art – but having him take over writing duties… well Im far from convinced he is capable enough to handle this so until I have more or it shows itself worthwhile Im avoiding this.
I, VAMPIRE #1

Written by Josh Fialkov

Art by Andrea Sorrentino

Cover by Jenny Frison
For hundreds of years, vampire Andrew Stanton kept mankind safe from the horrors of the supernatural world, thanks to a truce he made with his ex-lover Mary, the Queen of the Damned. But now that truce has reached a bloody end and Andrew must do everything in his power to stop Mary and her dark forces from going on a killing spree… and she plans to start with the heroes of the DCU!
Nothing about this book really excites me. In fact Im forced to ask myself what the point of this book in the DCU is at all?Haven’t we all had just about enough Vampire drama? I mean come on, DC has so many amazing mystically inclined books as you’ve seen so far so this was just overkill and a waste of a slot that could take a better book. 
SUPERMAN #1

Writing, Breakdowns & Cover by George Perez

Art by Jesus Merino
The new adventures of Superman begin here! What is The Man of Steel’s startling new status quo? How does it affect Lois Lane and The Daily Planet? There’s no time for answers now, because Superman must stop a monstrous threat to Metropolis… one that he somehow is the cause of!
I really, REALLY don’t care for some of the redesign being done here and I wish so much that they had given this book to Grant Morrison too because this is not sounding like anything other then the boring superman crap that DC has been stuck on for the last few years. And of course maybe its still too early but no clue on how much of his life has changed, is he still married or available for super-chica’s now for starters? Watch this space for updates!
So, nothing changes, I dont buy Superman now. Good for me!
BLACKHAWKS #1

Written by Mike Costa

Art & Cover by Ken Lashley
Welcome to a world waging a new kind of war that’s faster and more brutal than ever before. It’s fought by those who would make the innocent their targets, using computers, smart weapons and laser-guided missiles. The new enemy is hard to find… and closer to home than we think.
Between us and them stand the Blackhawks, an elite force of military specialists equipped with the latest in cutting-edge hardware and vehicles. Their mission: Kill the bad guys before they kill us.
Although it sounds all exciting… Im not enticed. Plus I’m wondering what this has to do with Lady Blackhawk of the Birds of Prey (if anything) and how that affects her part in all things. 
Well folks! 
That covers the 52 primary titles but unlike the first indication, DC is not limiting itself to ONLY the above lot of books. 
There will be others as well though details are scarcer on these then all else. So in my capacity as your touchstone builder for all things DCnU, I will also be keeping this little checklist below with names of what titles will be premiering post the big 52 launch in September:
Coming up in 2011 (thus far slated for October or just beyond)
1) Batman Inc. #1
For the life of me I can’t understand what the frag DC is up to. They are rebooting the universe and de-aging characters and changing so much, but retaining something like Batman Inc., how does that even work logically within a continuity? I hope they sort it out because I like this book a lot and would hate for them to bugger it up. 
2) T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
A comic about a group of heroes in an unusual place – espionage and intrigue based action! The team comprises poor saps at the end of their rope given super-powers that will eventually kill all of them – For those of you NOT reading this, you really should even if its only till its amazing scribe Nick Spencer stays on. The book is confirmed it appears for later this year but Spencer just signed an EXCLUSIVE contract for Marvel comics so how long he’ll be able to stay on it is anyone’s guess. (God does that mean he’ll stop writing Morning Glories over at Image??!? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!)
3) My Greatest Adventure #1 (due in October)
I don’t imagine many of you read the more off-beat on DC’s roster – books like the recently concluded mini-series “Wierd Worlds” volume 2? Well it fully lives up to that title and is just plain old fun reading, the 6 -issue mini followed adventures of the original bastich, the main man Lobo, a fellow called Garbage Man (yes, thats what he is, literally!and no not a collector, I mean made from…) and a bad ass purple space babe named Tanga – an anthology style book following each of their truly strange adventures. It seems two of the three – Tanga and Garbage Man are being continued in this new book out October. 

4) Batman Odyssey
Personally I hate that this book is coming back along with Finch’s Bat-book instead of amazing titles like Secret Six, REBELS, Red Robin, Freedom Fighters and Booster Gold (at least for now) but I guess it has a following – so if you like it, REJOICE, just dont expect me to do the same… 😦
Coming up who knows when (no date or details announced or teased yet)
1) Batman Beyond #1
Could not care less since I dont really follow it but for fans of the franchise and the cartoons, its been pretty decent actually*! 
*(If Beechams mini series prior to this ongoing is any indication anyway)
2) Justice Society of America #1
Only one of a number of current titles that will welcome a creative team shift, the future of the original superhero team will apparently not involve current writer Marc Guggenheim. Thank you lord for taking this pathetic writer off from this most excellent book and for keeping it alive.

One Last Ride!

18 May

Only the Legends live forever…

These words are very important – as lessons about any story, be it fictional, historical or even a combination of the two… Whatever happens in life, the facts may or may not make it down memory lane over time and the same goes for all kinds of details – but the Legends… Ah, they are immortal!

This weeks Wayfarer takes us into some very familiar territory. Some of you will find much nostalgia and names from days past, others might just – I hope – be inspired to pick up books they’ve never known about and find new worlds and heroes.

Today we’re here to talk about a mini-series from a few years back called “Blaze of Glory: Last Ride of the Western Heroes” written by John Ostrander.

Before getting to the review proper it occurred to me that not everyone gets the appeal of the old west and some might dismiss this saga out of hand based on just that. Now dont take this as pushing an opinion, but I feel everything has it’s upsides and worthy points, you have spectacular tales such as this one and by the same token you can have stuff like… well Wild Wild West (the modern movie version…).

This series however hearkens to the real Wild West, the world that captured hearts and minds and till today resonates with so many for any number of reasons. To really understand it, I call your attention to this theory I heard once in a movie no one I know ever watched (that I know of…) where a hitchhiker is quoting to the driver the basic idea of a theory from one Frederick Jackson Turner called the Frontier Theory.
Well I’m not gonna drag it but here’s the idea in a nutshell: (kudos if you know the movie!)

Hitcher: “…he was an historian. About a hundred years ago he came up with a theory about the frontier. He said the frontier was a safety valve for civilization, a place for people to go to keep from goin’ mad. So, whenever there were folks who couldn’t fit in with the way things were, nuts, and malcontents, and extremists, they’d pack up and head for the frontier. That’s how America got started – all the crackpots and troublemakers in Europe packed up and went to a frontier which became the thirteen colonies. When some people couldn’t fit in with that, they moved farther west, which is why all the nuts eventually ended up in California. Turner died in 1932, so he wasn’t around long enough to see what would happen to the world when we ran out of frontier. Some people say we have the frontier of the mind, and they go off and explore the wonderful world of alcohol and drugs, but that’s no frontier. It’s just another way for us to fool ourselves. And we’ve created this phony frontier with computers, which allows people to, you know, think they’ve escaped. A frontier with access fees?”
Driver: “What about space? You know, the final frontier!”

Hitcher: “Ah, Star Trek isn’t space. That’s television – fine fuckin’ frontier that is. Besides, how many folks can just pack up and go to space?”

And you know what? In a way the man’s completely right. This is precisely what appeals – those of us who have a penchant for wildness, that ‘frontier spirit’ and desire to just get out and away and make a new world, we are the ones who find an innate love for such tales and idea’s and the things they embody – both good and bad. Some say “You don’t know how ugly things could be back then!” and while I agree there is a certain truth in that – ITS THE WHOLE POINT! Finding yourself, chasing the unknown and building a new life and fighting to keep it. Law and life and ideals raw and unfettered by the long list of social mores and norms and propriety and etc, etc, etc… If it’s in you, you by now know exactly what I speak of, if not, well you probably never will – aint your fault, way it is I guess.

With that out of the way, ON TO THE COMICS!!! 🙂

I came across this mini-series purely by chance while trying to find out about other comics and the cover art and concept instantly caught my imagination and I had to read it. The name is literally what the book is – no exaggeration, no confusion.
This book is a story in which some of the most iconic names in Western comics come together for one huge shoot-em-up, madhouse rumble old west-style in an adventure and confrontation worthy of the O.K. Corral – arguably the most famous gunfight in western lore, most know the movie only but it really did happen kiddies, I kid you not!

Our adventure brings together Wyatt Earp, Gunhawk, Buffalo Bill, , Billy the Kid, Kid Colt, Rawhide Kid, The Two-gun Kid, Wild Bill Hickock, Caleb Hammer, Reno Jones,The Outlaw Kid and Red Wolf and The Ghost Rider.

Some of those names will jump right at you and some may not – trust me, that cast is ALL BAD-ASS! And this here double page-splash from the first issue is a terrific shot of the whole group also giving you a quick run-down on who’s who – the characters are all excellently handled and I found it exceedingly easy to keep track of who was who and what they were doing. You really should click and see the whole spread, trust me!

Written in a fast and intense, yet strangely comfortably paced manner, Ostranders narrative flows very nicely from the early pages over the course of the entire four issues. Starting with a simple story about a town called Wonderment started way out west by post Civil War freed ex-slaves and other outsiders that is being attacked and marauded by hooded monsters – the very human and bigoted kind – for no apparent reason.
Heroes emerge and after a little searching and some quick recruitment the heroes race to make it back to the town they plan to save and hope that there is enough of it left do so! Of course there is the matter of the bandit army devastating the place and the problems of our heroes themselves.
And here we find another little key factor that other genre’s I feel have adapted from westerns. Its not exclusive, sure, but the cowboy hero was always the decent guy with a questionable moral system all his own, many kills under his belt and more then a few folks who’d like to see him six-feet-under or swinging from a rope.

In this tale Ostrander takes western story-telling back to its gritty and grimy roots – crafting an excellent tale filled with a certain historical touch, very grounded in reality and most unlike what one might expect from such a comic. People die here, good and bad. Good guys don’t always feel good and there is a stark and brutal reality to what is racing toward the characters as the story barrels forward like a bullet train, always keeping true though as if on rails!
Gone are outlandish and unrealistic tales. Here the old comics are somewhat retconned to be simply dime-novels printed about these heroes in the time preceding this story, simply fiction.
Reading this saga I kept having flashes of so many classic westerns I’ve seen, filled with characters lovable and despicable – at times in the same breath – and others who you should hate but find greater depth and sorrow within them.  There were times I half expected Clint Eastwood’s character from Unforgiven – William Munny – to be a panel away, awash in firelight telling me, “Its a hell-ofa thing, killing a man…” Classic and compelling.

Filled with very suitable art that while not perfect as some, works great for this type of saga. The dirty, raw feel of it along with the kind of palate chosen for it really brings the harshness and the reality of the story to life – I had not really known Argentinian artist Leonardo Manco prior to this but his work on this series of which he is also co-creator.

Highly recommended if you have even a passing fancy for westerns and this kind of b*lls to the walls story-telling rich with history and character – and for those that don’t really ‘get’ westerns, I would say if you have to give it a shot, this may as well be it.
Sure there may well be better stories out there, but as far as the comic medium goes, except perhaps certain issues and arcs of the just as legendary Jonah Hex in his decades long career, this is one of the finest pieces of story-telling in the genre I have come across. It is one I know for certain I will be revisiting and am glad to have found.

Oh and I strongly recommend that anyone reading this should first listen to this track to create the right feeling going inside (hey what can I say, I create mental soundtracks for everything!)

Now if’n ya don’ mind folks, Ima gonna get on ol’ dusty here and be takin’ yore leave – that there sunset looks like one fine one ti ride off into. G’day folks…

Comics are for Kids: A Guide on how to respond

25 Mar

Let us introduce our newest addition to the team – Amanda White 🙂
Amanda White lives in Augusta, Maine. She has a BA in English from UMA. Amanda has been going to conventions and has been a comic enthusiast ever since she was a little girl. In this article she answers the question we all have faced “at least” once in our geeky life
 


Comic Books Are for Kids
-By Amanda White
It is a common dilemma among comic readers to hear this from time to time, “Comic books are for kids,” or “Comic books are trash literature,” It’s troubling to be enjoying something one minute and then criticized for your reading choice the next. The question is always, “How do I deal with the insults?” It is a tough question, and unless you have a degree in literature you’re not going to be able to give them an answer that will satisfy them. Then again who truly wants to battle wits when you’re enjoying yourself? What business is it of theirs what you choose to read?
Sit tight cause help is on the way. I’m going tell you how to stand up for yourself when these criticisms come flying your way. Not only that, but they will be comebacks and arguments that will give even the snootiest of critic time for pause.
First lets look at the reason comics get a bad rap. There are a lot of reasons given for why comics are “trashy”, but ultimately it boils down to one simple factor: the pictures. Pictures send an image to many people of a kids storybook. Let’s face it, unless it’s a great illustrated classic version of a work of major literature it pretty falls under the category of children’s story. Sad and narrow thinking yes, but it’s the way comics are perceived.
Alright then, if pictures are the issue lets start there. Artwork is the foundation of a comic book it’s true. If you don’t think it’s true think about a story where the story was great, but the artwork ruined it for you or vice versa. There are many factors accompanying the artwork. As is the case with any great painting hanging in the museum many questions are asked of the piece. Does the art enhance the story or subtract from it? Is it in color? Does the color add or take away from the story? Are the panels in a format that helps the story move along smoothly or does the layout hinder the action? All valid intelligent questions that on a subconscious level we all consider as we’re reading a comic.

Then there’s the comment of, “The stories are all the same just the names change,” WRONG! The stories are intricate plots that interweave and overlap with other characters and other series with that character. Many comic stories are very powerful such as the X-Men title ‘God Loves, Man Kills’.
The text within comic books can be looked at and analyzed like any other piece of literature. An English major could easily map out the plot as well as they could ’The Great Gatsby’ or any work of Shakespeare. There are plots, subplots, foreshadowing, moral issues, conflict, and many other standard story devices. It’s also easier to relate to the issues brought up by comics because they’re more relevant to our daily lives. Most of the “great works of literature” take place in a time when class was everything and women married to improve their family status. Not quite so much of an issue in modern day America.
The two major continuums in the comic industry have their own devices that make them unique in how they bring these issues to light. Aside from the characters that is. The Marvel Universe is known for using its characters and storylines that mirror current social situations. On the other hand the DC Universe focuses more on lineage with their heroes. Don’t believe that’s true? Look at it closer. X-Men, overcoming and dealing peacefully with being different in society. Batman, took on Robin to have someone to continue his fight when he’s gone.
The point is that comics are every bit as good of literature as the tired old titles that fall into the basic literary cannon. They’re just not given a fair chance. Perhaps someday, but obviously not now.
So here’s what you say the next time you get criticized for reading comics:

“Actually I find that this particular title has unique characters that I can identify with as well as having artwork that enhances the overall message. True it is the age old struggle of good vs. evil, but ultimately that’s what we’re surrounded with. This particular writer also chooses to focus on a specific moral and/or social dilemma that is a current concern. Overall the symphony that is art and text make for a very enjoyable reading experience,”
If nothing else you’ll get a couple of moments silence as they stand there stunned from getting that sort of answer from someone that assumed was of low intelligence. If they press you for more of an explanation just remember what we talked about. Ultimately though, when it comes to what makes you happy, you have nothing to prove or explain.