Saturday, June 11, 2011

No Lame Puns About "52"

So, the 52 books for the DC Relaunch (not calling it DCnU) have been announced and the world still exists. It's still going to be another 2 1/2 months before we get the first book from this group but let's look at each one. I'm doing this as listing of what my pull list will look like come September. As it stands, on an average month, I get 14 DC books, not including Vertigo books. Let's see how things shake up.

Justice League Geoff Johns (W) Jim Lee (A): A book nearly five years in the making. We've heard the rumblings for some time about this due bringing the big seven (Cyborg replacing Martian Manhunter) back to the Justice League. Now, will the book be on time?
Wonder Woman Brian Azzarello (W) Cliff Chiang (A): The creators behind the critically acclaimed Doctor Thirteen book but try as I may, I just can't get into Wonder Woman.
Aquaman Geoff Johns (W) Ivan Reis (A): Another book rumored for some time, again, Johns is pretty much in my top five of writers and will check out anything he writes.
the Flash Francis Manapul (W) Brian Buccellato (A): The loss of Geoff Johns and Manapul's first stint as a writer on my favorite DC character will definitely consider a look.
the Fury of Firestorm Ethan Van Sciver & Gail Simone (W) Yildiray Cinar (A): A book I would normally never check out, but I will read anything by Gail Simone!
Hawkman Tony Daniel (W) Philip Tan (A): Daniel has been primarily an artist, but over the last year or so, has cemented himself as a writer as well. But, not too confident about this pairing.
Green Arrow JT Krul (W) Dan Jurgens (A): I love Oliver Queen but am not a fan of Krul's writing. He and Jurgens on art is a strange pairing.
Justice League International Dan Jurgens (W) Aaron Lopresti (A): Taking the place of Booster Gold and Justice League: Generation Lost, definitely one to check out!
Mr. Terrific Eric Wallace (W) Roger Robinson (A): The sting of no other Justice Society of America book in the relaunch makes this one painful to pass up.
Captain Atom JT Krul (W) Freddie Williams III (A): Krul paired with the good captain is not something that fills me with hope.
DC Universe Presents #1 Paul Jenkins (W) Bernard Chang (A): An anthology title, starting with a five parter featuring Deadman, spinning out of Brightest Day. Haven't been too keen on Jenkins work as of late, maybe after the first acr is done.
Green Lantern Geoff Johns (W) Doug Mahnke (A): Keeping this course, I have a feeling the lead of this book will be Sinestro, which would be AWESOME!
Green Lantern Corps Peter Tomasi (W) Fernando Pasarin (A): Swapping the creative teams from Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors starring Guy Gardner & John Stewart. I'll take it!
Green Lantern: the New Guardians Tony Bedard (W) Tyler Kirkham (A): Previously featured on Green Lantern Corps, Kyle Rayner will be leading a team of rainbow lanterns. Keeping on, keeping on.
Red Lanterns Peter Milligan (W) Ed Benes (A): To me, a DC apologist, sees this as a very short sided concept.
Batman Scott Snyder (W) Greg Capullo (A): Snyder has been one of my favorite writers of late with American Vampire, moving over from Detective Comics. I fear Capullo, who's art is amazing, may cause delays on this one.
Detective Comics Tony Daniel (W & A): Taking over from his previous run on Batman. Again as mentioned, not a fan.
Batman & Robin Peter Tomasi (W) Pat Gleason (A): This creative team will hopefully be able to get this book out without any hiccups, as before.
Batman: the Dark Knight David Fitch (W & A): Another artist trying his hand as writing as well. A second launch for this book since November. Don't count on this one.
Batwoman JH Williams III (W & A): Speaking of not counting on things. This is a funny looking "Summer 2010" when this book was supposed to come out. Writer Greg Rucka's take on the character in Detective Comics was so strong, I have faith in this book, if it ever sees the light of day.

Batgirl Gail Simone (W) Ardian Syaf (A): A book causing much uproar on the interwebs. Barbara Gordon, one of my favorite characters, has been Oracle for many years after being shot and crippled by the Joker in the famed story The Killing Joke. Allegedly, this story was never supposed to be "cannon" but many writers took to it, so it became law, if you will. Everyone, including myself, came to love Barbara in her new role, which makes this return as Batgirl bittersweet to some. One thing instills me with hope with this drastic change, Gail Simone.
Catwoman Judd Winick (W) Guillem March (A): Not a fan of Selina as a solo character or Winick as a writer.
Birds of Prey Duane Swierczynski (W) Jesus Saiz (A): Duane comes with a high pedigree, but not enough for me to care.
Nightwing Kyle Higgins (W) Eddy Barrows (A): Like that Dick is back in the role of Nightwing, but even if Superman got to be Batman, even for a little while, going back is a step down.
Red Hood & the Outlaws Scott Lobdell (W) Kenneth Rocafort (A): An interesting concept with a cool team (Jason Todd, Starfire & Roy Harper) but Lobdell is a bit of a wild card in writing comics in 2011.
Batwing by Judd Winick (W) and Ben Oliver (A): The Africian Batman from Grant Morrision's Batman, Inc. book (to be relaunched 2012) in the hands of Winick is not something I want to read.
Animal Man Jeff Lemire (W) Travel Foreman & Dan Green (A): Lemire is hit or miss for me but Buddy Baker is a great fit for him!

Swamp Thing Scott Snyder (W) Yannick Paquette (A): A HUGE fan of the Alan Moore Swamp Thing run and in the hands of Snyder, I'm very excited for this one!
Justice League Dark Peter Milligan (W) Mikel Janin (A): Milligan is another writer who has fallen off a bit for me, but this is another cool concept.
Demon Knights Paul Cornell (W) Diogenes Neves & Oclair Albert (A): Etrigan leading a book is nifty, but I just can't bring myself to care.
Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE Jeff Lamire (W) Alberto Ponticelli (A): I might try this one in trade.
Resurrection Man Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (W) Fernando Dagnino (A): A HUGE fan of Abnett & Lanning, wished they'd be on a LEGION book, but I'll take this instead.
I, Vampire Josh Fialkov (W) Andrea Sorrentino (A): No clue how/why this book exists...
Voodoo Ron Marz (W) Sami Basri (A): The first of several Wildstorm (the formerly Image universe of characters that Jim Lee brought with him to DC) being woven into the relaunch. Pass.
Legion Lost Fabian Nicieza (W) Pete Woods (A): Was a fan of Nicieza's work at Marvel in the past, but he's always been an also ran writer to me.
Legion of Superheroes Paul Levitz (W) Francis Portela (A): One of the few books keeping the same writer in the relaunch. To me, this could have used a shake up.
Teen Titans Scott Lobdell (W) Brett Booth (A): I didn't want to include the art on this book, but these are the silliest redesigns of the relaunch.
Static Shock John Rozum & Scott McDaniel (W) Scott McDaniel & Jonathan Glapion (A): From the Milestone Universe that DC tried to integrate into the main universe a few years back with little success.
Hawk & Dove Sterling Gates (W) Rob Liefield (A): I like Sterling Gates, but these characters on their own do not appeall to me one bit. And no comment on the art.
Stormwatch Paul Cornell (W) Miguel Sepulveda (A): The second of the Wildstorm books being added into the DCU. This time, Martian Manhunter is the leader. Probably has the best chance of being good and lasting.
Blackhawks Mike Costa (W) Ken Lashley (A): Another book that makes me long for JSA.
Sgt Rock & the Men of War Ivan Brandon (W) Tom Derenick (A): I've never been able to really get into straight war comics, this is no different.
All-Star Western Justin Grey & Jimmy Palmiotti (W) Moritat (A): The relaunch of Jonah Hex, glad this is getting incorporated into the main DCU.
Deathstroke Kyle Higgins (W) Joe Bennett & Art Thibert (A): A favorite character of mine, giving a shot based on the strength of the lead.
Grifter Nathan Edmondson (W) CAFU & BIT (A): The final of the Wildstorm cross overs. Again, seems like a very 90's concept to me.
OMAC Dan DiDio & Keith Giffen (W) Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish (A): A big DiDio supporter, but not as a writer. Love Giffen, but I can see his name disappearing from the co-writer credit very quickly.

Blue Beetle Tony Bedard (W) Ig Guara (A): Glad to see this character get a solo title and not lost in the shuffle.
Suicide Squad Adam Glass (W) Marco Rudy (A): King Shark & Deadshot should be in a Secret Six book written by Gail Simone. Accept nothing else!
Action Comics Grant Morrison (W) Rags Morales (A): Morrison's lone book in the relaunch. If this is half as good as All-Star Superman it will be unreal!
Superman George Perez (W) Jesus Merino (A): Glad to see Perez is just handling the writing chores as if he was doing both, this book would never see the light of day.
Supergirl Michael Green & Mike Johnson (W) Mahmud Asrar (A): Writers from Smallville taking the reigns of a book that hasn't had a steady creative team (longer than 12 issues) in nearly six years. Good luck!
Superboy Scott Lobdell (W) RB Siilva & Rob Lean (A): Lobdell on a third book in the relaunch?

So there you have it. My pull list has changed from 14 DC titles to 16 DC titles and two maybes. I'm a DC loyalist and this isn't going to send me running to the hills like so many others. If you are not a regular comic book reader, this is as great a time to give something new a try!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Comics Rapture

Hunker down, this is going to be a long one!

August 31st is the day it all changes. Or was that June 1st?

Anywho, the news has begun to officially trickle out that come September, DC Comics is relaunching 52 of their super hero titles with new number ones. Currently, DC publishes 56 super hero books which includes 20 Flashpoint tie ins, the impetus for this change.

Quickie for Flashpoint: Professor Zoom does something that changes the entire world as we know it! Only Barry Allen (the Silver Age Flash) knows our world existed. When he mentions the Flash or Superman to the other heroes, they have never heard of these people. When he confronts Batman about what's going on, Batman is now Thomas Wayne, Bruce's father? Essentially, it's the DC version of Age of Apocalypse, a Marvel Comics X-Men storyline from the late 90’s. And I'm quite alright with that.

Once this storyline is said and done on August 31st, the DC Universe will change as we know it forever! People are going to be younger! Men will have collars and women will have pants! The comic book reading world will be in an uproar! For a variety of reasons:

- By restarting everything, all my old comics mean nothing! Such a silly statement. My comics mean a lot to me, especially the good ones. If I read an out of continuity story like Thor: the Mighty Avenger, does that make it any less valuable than his in continuity appearances in Avengers? If it stinks it does! Is there a chance that some of these relaunches could stink? Certainly. That will have no bearing on the past stories I have read.

- Renumbering everything from one is a cheap stunt! Everything in comics is a cheap stunt and has been since the mid-80's. In this day and age, just having a great story is not enough. If it was, Secret Six would sell over 100,000 issue a month. Renumbering happens quite a bit with all companies and, as sad as it is, a number one issue sells better than a number twenty-one. The true test will be how the following issues sell and if they just go back to the old numbering in four months, a year or whenever. You ask me, do away with issue numbers all together, just include a cover date and the storyline title on the cover and call it a day.

- Digital comics will kill the Local Comic Book Shops! Another part of this big relaunch by DC is going "day and date" will all these books as well. That means, the same day you can purchase Justice League #1 in your local comic shop, you can also purchase it online through comixology, iTunes, or however people get comics online. While this is a huge move, the easier it is for people to get the most of your product is a no-brainer, but the death of the brick and mortar stores? Probably not in my lifetime.

I freely admit I am a DC apologist (but not a Marvel hater) and when it boils down to it, I follow a creator more than a character in most cases than not. However, every form of entertainment is constantly changing, for better or for worse. At this point, it seems the majority of people are already calling for impending doom. This is before we've even read one since issue from the relaunch and only seen one fifth of the creative teams.

This move by DC is very. very risky. The pay off could be huge. Or it could be a monumental failure. I highly doubt any critic, pundit, expert or otherwise can say as of this point, it's just too soon to tell. My feeling on this is their will be no middle ground, this is the definition of "all in" by DC.

As of June 14th, we will know the creative teams on all fifty-two new books. Eleven have already been announced, many other are purely speculation at this point. Once all are announced, I will have another blog entry with my thoughts.

I'm hoping on the side of success.

Or at the very least awesome stories.