Tag Archives: New 52

Therefore I Geek Podcast Episode 11, Comic Roundup with Borderless’s Mazz and Santana

***** SPOILER ALERT *****

This podcast will be discussing plot points which may be considered spoilers. Consider yourselves warned.

Deadpool's Wedding

Deadpool’s Wedding

In which, Andrew and Tracy are joined by Santana Perez and Anthony Mazzola to talk about the hottest new releases this summer.  Our heroes cover everything from the Marvel summer event, Original Sin, to the latest Image comics, such as Mark Millar’s MPH, as well as writing styles, complex characters, and favorite art.  Santana and Mazz say funny things, and Tracy laughs a lot.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Comic Reviews, Podcast

New 52 in Review: Week 5

Friends, we have made it to the end. Welcome to Week 5, our final week looking back on DC’s New 52. This final week held up pretty well. While there are a few cancelled titles, they held on long than most titles did.  Full of vintage characters, from Aquaman to Hawkman, this was a week packed with heroes from the Golden and Silver Age.  For the most part it was pretty good for these guys, but not all of them did well.

All-Star Westernsciencefiction.com

For decades now there has been a small but loyal group of people who love westerns. Be it in movies, books, or even comics, the wild spirit of the west captures the imagination of the romantic in many fans.  All-Star Western features the adventures of Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham (founder of the famous Arkham Asylum) in an Old West Gotham City. While I don’t count myself a western fan, I can see how this book would be fun. The Old West is a great setting for both drama and great action adventure, two things at which comics excel.  All-Star Western has also included groups of one to three issue mini-stories after the main story focus on side characters and help expand DC’s Old West universe.

Aquamantalkingcomicbooks.com

“I don’t talk to fish”. That’s my biggest take away from Aquaman.  In all seriousness, though, Aquaman has actually turned out to be a pretty good series. Aquaman isn’t exactly known for being a real heavy hitter and he is often mocked for the perceived lameness of his abilities. What this book has done best is address those naysayers in issue #1 and move on as if it never happened. He has gotten some good stories in this volume, including a crossover series with Justice League (despite essentially being a retelling of a previous Aquaman story). It also helps that the creative team (Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis) running the show is the same that helped rejuvenate Green Lantern a few years ago.

Batman: The Dark Knightsciencefiction.com

Batman: The Dark Knight works with some of Batman’s lesser villains and introduces a new one in the form of White Rabbit. The second story arc featured Dark Knight Rises villain Bane. Unfortunately this title has been plagued by repeated creative team changes, mostly in the writing department. Originally David Finch was supposed to be on the book full time, but it quickly became apparent that this wouldn’t be the case, as guest writers began appearing with increasing frequency. Personally I think second-tier books like this are a great chance to have fun with characters that don’t often appear in main books. These books could be something really fun and special if DC Editorial would just let go of the reins a little bit.

Blackhawks CANCELLEDtucsoncitizen.com

I’m really getting tired of series about super secret special ops teams. The cancellation of Blackhawks after eight issues tells me that I am not alone in this feeling. In its eight issues, Blackhawks took some pretty weird turns. Plot points included sentient techno-organic machines, nanites, satellites, and the maiming of one of the team. This book lacked any treads to ground the characters, who are supposed to be human, in reality.

The Flashsciencefiction.com

There is something about The Flash that DC Comics fans love. I don’t quite get it, but I have tons plenty of respect for it. Once again, fan favorite Barry Allen has taken up the mantle of The Flash. This series starts off with a less experienced Flash who is still getting to know his powers, especially his connection to the Speed Force. The series has also tapped into Barry’s past, adding new depth to the story of his mother’s death. Given that Flash was the major focus of Flashpoint, it’s no surprise that Flash is now one of the key players in the post-Flashpoint reboot.

The Fury of Firestorm CANCELLEDFury-of-the-Firestorm_Full_1

The Fury of Firestorm is a different take on Firestorm, which is traditionally a combination of two characters, Ronnie Raymond and Prof. Stein.  This time around, Ronnie combines with fellow high school student Jason Rusch to become the Fury. This happens only after both of them are turned into Firestorm and they fight each other for a while. While I didn’t read this book, I’ve always appreciated Firestorm and his powers. Being able to create anything by just rearranging atomic structure is not only cool, but historically writers have taken this as an opportunity to include some real science into the comics by using actual chemical equations. The Fury of Firestorm made it to issue twenty, although it went through some creative team changes along the way.

Green Lantern: New Guardiansdc.wikia.com

This book is everything that has gone wrong with Green Lantern all wrapped up in one neat little package. Green Lantern: New Guardians is jam packed with the entire spectrum of colored rings, Guardians, and Kyle Rayner, all of which are the least interesting parts of the Green Lantern franchise. This was the one new Green Lantern series I was not looking forward to. So far the series has dragged itself along from crossover to crossover without really doing much of any consequence.

I, Vampire CANCELLEDcomicmegastore.com

A title based on an old backup story, I, Vampire managed to make it to issue nineteen before being cancelled. For what it is, that’s a pretty respectable run. A 600 year old vampire named Andrew Bennett is battling his former lover, Mary, Queen of Blood and her army of vampires in Gotham City, leading to a team-up with Batman. Eventually, Bennett accidentally releases Cain, the first vampire, and he takes over Mary’s vampire army. This lead to a small crossover with Justice League Dark and was used for the series wind down. Fortunately for I, Vampire the cancellation was announced in advance so the series was given a chance to actually end instead of just stopping mid-story like so many other books do.

Justice League Darksciencefiction.com

Justice League Dark is another example of how to use lesser characters to great effect. Justice League Dark is a team of supernatural specialists assembled after Enchantress managed to take down the Justice League (Superman never was very good against magic). This is a title I keep hearing good things about. Working from the shadows has allowed this team to crossover and intermix with several other titles and characters, as well as pickup a couple characters that couldn’t support their own titles. Most recent, Justice League Dark participates providing the sparks behind the “Trinity War” event. Justice League Dark has also become the home of long time Vertigo character John Constantine (Hellblazer), who is now the leader of the team.  

The Savage Hawkman CANCELLEDwww.ebay.com

Hawkman is one of those characters that has gone through a couple, vastly different origin stories. My personal favorite is the one in which he is the resurrected ancient Egyptian pharaoh Khufu. The Savage Hawkman uses the other, much more common one of Hawkman being from the planet Thanagar. The one common thread is that Hawkman is either a museum curator or an archeologist, and I like that. Billionaire playboys are a dime a dozen in comics, but nerd academic heroes are much fewer and farther between. This time around, however, Hawkman is unaware of his alien origin and DC didn’t even explain it until the first anniversary zero issue. Unfortunately for this Golden Age hero, he got cancelled after issue twenty. Fortunately, Hawkman lives on in Justice League of America.

Supermandc.wikia.com

I’m not much of a Superman fan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize something good when it comes around. Friends of mine who are Superman fans are enjoying this book, and for good reason. Writing by comic veteran George Perez provides a solid story in which the Man of Steel can exist. The only complaint I’ve heard about the series is that they have been focusing on Superman’s alien nature, and, while this is a legitimate take on him, a number of people, don’t see this as the best approach to the character. The second story line brings in a connection to the Daemonites, which is making me think that I should do a little more research into who these guys are.

Teen Titanswtfdccomics.wordpress.com

The only surviving title of the Young Justice group, Teen Titans is a long standing title that has managed to hold its own. Featuring several returning cast members like Superboy, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash as well as two new heroes, Teen Titans starts off with the old standard, assemble the team. These can be lots of fun, especially if you’re already familiar with the team because then you can see what they do that’s new and different with the characters in order to get them to join (or sometimes not join) the team. As the sole surviving series in its family, Teen Titans must be doing something right.

Voodoo CANCELLEDsciencefiction.com

We now have (or had) a superhero who’s day job was “exotic dancer.” For those of you who don’t read between the lines, that means stripper. With elements like this, I’m not really surprised that Voodoo only made it to issue twelve. While I’m trying not to beat a dead horse here, this is the final example, from the first wave at least, of a second-tier (or more realistically third or lower) character who was given a book and just didn’t have the following to support it. There were plenty of books that deserved a slot in the first wave, and didn’t get one because of books like this. Voodoo is a Wildstorm character who is half human, half Daemonite who is working as a spy for the Daemonites. After learning she is really a clone, Voodoo turns on the Daemonites, but then turns back when she’s offered a promotion. If it weren’t so close to actual human nature, it’d be terrifyingly stupid. For now it’s just regular stupid.

Well thanks for joining me for the last six week while we took a look back at everything DC’s New 52 has been doing. I’ve had tons of fun writing this and it exposed me to some stuff I originally missed. As it stands I have several trades on order at one of my local stores so I can catch up. In the end, if you were a Batman, Superman or Green Lantern book, the last two years treated you pretty damn good. On the other side however, if you were a lesser known character, a more experimental book, or in the Young Justice group, you got beaten down hard. I’d like to think that DC has finally figured out what works and what doesn’t, but the flow of news out of there is not convincing. Sure it has slowed down, but it seems that every time there is a big announcement, it’s because of some miss-step by DC Editorial.

Leave a comment

Filed under Andrew Hales, Comic Reviews, Comics

New 52 in Review: Week 4

Welcome, my friends, to week four of our look back at the New 52.  All in all, this turned out to be a week of survivors.  Most of the books stuck around, and those that were cancelled hung on for at least the first year, and most well beyond that. What this week wasn’t short on, though, was controversy. More than one of this week’s books had some serious bad buzz at the time of launch.  So enjoy today’s post and judge for yourself.

BatmanBatman_Vol_2_1

If there is one title from the New 52 that stands head and shoulders above all the rest, it’s Batman. Written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo, this has been an insane and amazing ride. Starting off with “The Court of Owls” and “Night of the Owls” story lines Snyder and Capullo show that maybe Batman doesn’t know Gotham quite as well as he thinks. “Death of the Family” marked the return of Joker, more twisted and insane than ever before (and with his face strapped on after it was cut off). The end result of all of this has been a slow breakdown of Batman and his relationships. Currently Snyder is exploring Bruce’s pre-Batman life and I can’t wait to see what else is coming.

Birds of PreyBirds_of_Prey_Vol_3-1_Cover-2

An all-female team, Birds of Prey has always been a solid second-tier book, and this iteration is no different.  Unfortunately, due to her return as Batgirl, this team is missing Barbara Gordon as Oracle. Filling in for Batgirl is Katana, who later would spin-off into her own series (again with the minor characters…). For the first twelve issues the team faced off against classic Batman villain, Poison Ivy.  I love Ivy, but it did seem a little cliché to have an all-female team fighting a female villain.  The team line up got a shake up with a new creative team at issue eighteen.

Blue Beetle CANCELLED

I’m just not a fan of this particular Blue Beetle. I really tried to read the last volume of Blue Beetle and just didn’t enjoy it. Since the New 52 title uses the same character and basic story, I decided to take a pass on this title. Now if they had done a new Ted Kord story, maybe with some Booster Gold stories, I’d have signed on to this book in a heartbeat, but that’s just me.  This Blue Beetle follows Jaime Reyes, a high school kid who gets powers from an ancient scarab beetle. It takes something special for me to get interested in high school-aged characters and this didn’t do it.

Captain Atom CANCELLEDCaptain_Atom_Vol_2_1

I’m going to be really honest here, I didn’t realize there was a difference between Atom and Captain Atom.  I kind of wish I had known this sooner because Captain Atom might have been fun for me.  I enjoy science based superheroes and Captain Atom certainly fits the bill.  He’s the basis for Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen and you can see that in his stories. This volume of Captain Atom changes up the origin story a little and then follows Nathaniel Adam as he figures out how his powers work. There are fears that he might be giving off radiation or be otherwise dangerous (ala Dr. Manhattan) and is denied membership in the Justice League because of it. The series only lasted twelve issues.

CatwomanCatwoman_1_Cover

Catwoman started off the New 52 with bang. Issue #1 ended with a fairly racy sex scene between Batman and Catwoman.  Aside from the general outcry over the sexual content, there was also considerable discontent with the overall hyper-sexualized nature of Catwoman.  The lack of strong female characters has been a complaint with a number of New 52 titles, and to be honest, DC’s detractors have a pretty valid point. The next several issues after #1 were pretty good, but the series has been going downhill since the end of the first story arc. I love the character, but I won’t be surprised if this book disappears in the near future.

DC Universe Presents CANCELLEDDC_Universe_Presents_Vol_1_1

If you’ve read my reviews the last couple weeks, you’ll notice a pattern emerging regarding second (or third) tier characters getting their own books and those books not doing well and getting cancelled.  In my mind DC Universe Presents was the ideal location for these characters to have their stories told. Unfortunately, anthology books like this don’t tend to sell well, seeing as people may only buy them for a few issues based upon what character is being featured. I didn’t realize how awesome anthology books could be until after DC Universe Presents was cancelled. The series started off with several multi-issue stories about characters like Deadman and Vandal Savage, by the end they were reduced to doing a series of one-shot issues about characters. I’m disappointed that I missed some of the issues and will be looking for them in trades.

Green Lantern CorpsGreen-Lantern-Corps-New-52-1-Cover

Green Lantern Corps is one of the first four comic series I started reading monthly and I’m sad to say I’m seriously behind on this book. Overall Green Lantern books are starting to wear very thin. They seem to have gotten away from the outer space adventure stuff that made them great and are too wrapped up in crossover after crossover trying to support a universe full of multi-colored ring corps. I’ve lost a lot of my interest in this title, but I’m still getting it in hopes that it will turn itself around. All the elements are there, if only they can be put together. Outside of the non-stop crossovers, Green Lantern Corps did have an interesting story revolving around John Stewart being tried and convicted of murder. The story line also finally got rid of the Alpha Lanterns, who I felt never really quite fit in the series.

Legion of Super-Heroes CANCELLEDLegion-of-Super-Heroes-New-52-1-Cover

Legion of Super-Heroes is a title I’ve never had much interest in, though it does have a long standing history in DC Comics.  Instead of being rebooted with the rest of the DCU, Legion carried on, and instead the writers introduced the idea that the Legion had lost contact with the past, presumably due to the events of Flashpoint.  Why DC would make this particular choice beats the hell out of me, but in conjunction with Legion Lost they ran with it.  When the series was cancelled after issue twenty-three, it was revealed that the Legion in fact inhabited Earth-2 and therefore all of the previous twenty-three issues had no bearing on the standard DCU of Earth-1. That’s a lame way to end things, just saying.

NightwingNightwing-New-52-1-Cover

I have previously lamented how Dick Grayson was only allowed to be Batman for a short time and that his time in the cowl was cut short by the arrival of the New 52. Dick has now returned to his old, post-Robin persona in Nightwing. Regularly linked with the storylines going on in Batman, Nightwing has gone through some pretty crazy thing. Starting when Dick inherits the circus his family performed in, he soon discovers that the circus was a recruiting ground for The Court of Owls’ Talons and that he was slated to be the next Talon.  While not on my weekly pull list, this is one book that has certainly kept the New 52 interesting.

Red Hood and the OutlawsRed_Hood_and_the_Outlaws_Vol_1_1

Only tangentially related to the Batman books, Red Hood and the Outlaws features two former sidekicks, Red Hood (Jason Todd, formerly Robin) and Arsenal (Roy Harper, formerly Green Arrow’s sidekick) and Starfire.  If Catwoman caught some heat for being overly sexualized, then Red Hood and the Outlaws is a five alarm inferno.  This book caught nothing but grief when it first came out for how Starfire was over sexualized and lacking in personality.  Wonder Woman proved that strong women can be sexy, but this falls short of a strong and sexy heroine. Combined with rough writing, this book has just had a tough time. Thankfully for the sake of the book, Jason Todd has a pretty good cult following, and unfortunately, some comic fans like vapid, sex kittens for female leads.

SupergirlSupergirl-Cover

A traditional fan favorite, Supergirl is back in her own title, kicking off with a brand new origin story. Certainly not an uncommon occurrence in the New 52, but this was one of the better ones. It was clean, simple, and well done. Supergirl is very much the outsider in this book. She finds herself on an alien world (Earth) and is immediately attacked. When her younger cousin, Superman, shows up and tries to get her to stand down she attacks him, believing him to be in imposter. Eventually Supergirl decides she wants to leave Earth, not believing that Krypton has been destroyed, but ends up the victim of scientific experiments involving Kryptonite. This is a book I’ve checked out digitally, and I’m intrigued enough to pick up a few more issues.

Wonder Womanwonder-woman-1

In the grand scheme of things, I haven’t been reading comics all that long, around seven years.  In that time however I’ve seen at least two volumes of Wonder Woman get cancelled as well as a disastrous TV pilot.  Until the New 52, it was not a good time to be a Wonder Woman fan.  But that has all changed. With writing by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang on art, Wonder Woman has been blowing people away. I’ve heard such great stuff about the series that I’ve gone out and picked up the trades, which is something I would never have expected. So far Wonder Woman has been a great mix of Greek mythology (the Old Gods) and Jack Kirby’s Fourth World New Gods (at least one Kirby creation is coming out on top). This is one of the few DC books that truly has a strong, female character. Definitely worth checking out, if for nothing more than the interactions between Wonder Woman and Orion.

2 Comments

Filed under Andrew Hales, Comic Reviews, Comics

New 52 in Review: Week 3

Welcome to the halfway point of our look back on the DC New 52. This week has not fared as well as the previous two weeks, with seven of thirteen titles cancelled. It did do better in that these titles lasted longer, but in the end, they were still cancelled. This has become a very light week for my comic reading, since only Batwoman, Batman and Robin and Green Lantern made my personal cut, though there are a few others I probably should have checked out.

Batman and RobinBatman-and-Robin

Originally Batman and Robin was a book featuring Dick Grayson as Batman with Damian Wayne as Robin. With the New 52, Dick was replaced with Bruce while Damian stayed on as Robin. This combination allowed the book to explore the father and son relationship between Bruce and Damian. Given Bruce’s back story, it makes for an interesting series of stories. With the recent death of Damian in Batman Incorporated, DC has been putting in a new companion for Batman in each issue, expanding on their relationship with Bruce. These other characters include Carrie Kelly (Robin from The Dark Knight Returns), Jason Todd, Batgirl, and Catwoman.

Batwomanbatwoman1_2

Batwoman has been less about the story, which I have often found difficult to follow, and more about a crazy art tour de force. With artist J.H. Williams III also involved with writing the book, Batwoman has really pushed comic books as a medium, presenting a story that has unified writing and art seamlessly. Unfortunately, the creative team behind Batwoman recently announced they would be leaving the book. It seems that DC editorial was refusing to allow them to go ahead with a lesbian wedding in the book. DC claims that it had nothing to do with the characters being lesbians, but most of us have our doubts and are disappointed to see this particular creative team leave.

Deathstroke CANCELLEDdsk_cv1_ds

Deathstroke is yet another title given to a character that really couldn’t support a standalone series. Surprisingly the series lasted twenty one episodes. I couldn’t have cared less about this series’ existence as I have no love of the character and no any interest in reading another story about a hyper-deadly mercenary with questionable loyalties and morals. This has all been done before, and done better.

Demon Knights CANCELLEDDemon-Knights_Full_1

A recently cancelled title, Demon Knights collected several medieval characters into a team, which turns out to be the precursor of Stormwatch. The series opened to strong critical support, but just never quite caught on with the general comic book reading public.  It combined some of DC’s darker characters including Etrigan (yet another Kirby creation to fall by the wayside), Madame Xanadu (also a member of Justice League Dark) and Vandal Savage, an immortal cave man.  This was a title I kept hearing good things about and just never got around to picking up and now I’ll have to get it in trades.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E CANCELLEDFrankenstein-Agent-of-SHADE

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. always struck me as an odd title.  Certainly DC is no stranger to comics involving classic horror characters, but I honestly had no idea what this book was about.  This particular version of Frankenstein’s Monster bears a striking resemblance to the old school movie monster and works for a government agency that investigates paranormal and superhuman activity.  After issue nine the writer was changed from Jeff Lemire to Matt Kindt before the series was cancelled after issue sixteen. Frankenstein later joined the cast of Justice League Dark.

Green Lanterngreen-lantern

The Green Lantern books are the one corner of the DCU that went completely untouched during the New 52. We pick up at issue one right where issue sixty-seven left off, with a down and out Hal Jordan with no job and no money. With Geoff Johns still running the show, Green Lantern has done very well. A new Green Lantern, Simon Baz was introduced in the one-year anniversary zero issue and has been playing a major role since.  Johns recently finished up his epic run and has handed the reigns over to Robert Venditti.  It’s still unclear where Venditti will take Green Lantern, given how tightly Johns wrapped up the story, but I’m game to keep reading and see what happens.

Grifter CANCELLEDGRIF_Cv1

Hey, look!  It’s another Rob Liefeld title that got cancelled. Ok, in all fairness Liefeld didn’t take this over until issue nine, but the number of comics he’s written that have been cancelled still makes me laugh. Grifter was originally a character from Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S. (This is where the “wild” in Wildstorm came from.). Yet another character who is a black ops soldier turned mercenary, it seems to me that Grifter just lacked something to make it really unique, despite its cult following.

Legion Lost CANCELLEDLegion-Lost-New-52-1-Cover

A companion book to Legion of Super-Heroes, Legion Lost follows seven members of the Legion of Super-Heroes that find themselves trapped in the 21st century, unable to return (at least right away). What then ensues in a fairly convoluted and complicated plot involving a lot of minor characters, time travel and hidden agendas (Are you noticing a pattern forming around cancelled titles?).  Eventually the characters end up back in their own time, but of course that doesn’t last. I mean, if it did, then it wouldn’t be Legion Lost for very long.  The series made it sixteen issues, which is longer than I would have guessed for a series like this.

Mister Terrific CANCELLEDMister_Terrific_Vol_1-1_Cover-2

Yet another secondary character who ended up with their own book, Mister Terrific met an early end when it was cancelled after only eight issues. While I think the character is cool, I can see some of the issues too. The character is yet another genius multi-billionaire who decides to become a superhero. While an interesting character, this stereotype is more than a little played out and nothing special to make him stand out, there was just no way for Mister Terrific to compete. The good news is that when the book ended, Mister Terrific was sucked through dimensions and is now a part of Earth-2.

Red LanternsRed_Lanters-001-001_Crypt_Preist-CPS

There are many titles from the first wave of the New 52 that got cancelled that probably shouldn’t have. Red Lanterns is one of the few titles that should have been cancelled a long time ago, but is still hanging around. The only reason I can think of for this series to have survived is the constant crossovers with the rest of the Green Lantern titles. I dropped this book after issue three, which is the second fastest I’ve ever dropped a book. The attempted tonal shift for the Red Lanterns in this book turned me off at record speed.

Resurrection Man CANCELLEDresurrectionman1

This is one of the crazier and more unique titles from the New 52.  Resurrection Man is all about Mitch Shelley, a man who gains new superpowers every time he dies and is resurrected.  It was written by British writing team Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning—whose work on Marvel’s Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy is among my favorite writing. I understand why weird titles like this don’t really work, especially coming from the Big Two, but I really love books like this. There is just something about bizarre stories that turn things on their heads that really appeals to me.

Suicide SquadSuicide_Squad_Vol_4_1

Suicide Squad is a bizarre mix of characters most people didn’t care about:  Harley Quinn, and a made-over Amanda Waller. To be very honest, most of the things I’ve heard about this book involve people being ticked off over the changes made to Amanda Waller.  Historically, Waller has been a short, heavyset, black woman who is tough enough to make Batman stand down, but in the New 52 Waller was transformed into a much more attractive, taller woman who tries to maintain her edge. This is one the reasons it is a bad idea for publishers to change a character for no reason. There is usually nothing wrong with making some changes, but at they should be done for a point. Suicide Squad has been filled with some pretty quirky and mildly nonsensical stories, but they provide a nice distraction from time to time.

SuperboySuperboy1Cover

Carrying on a Post-Crisis concept, Superboy introduces Kon-El, a clone hybrid of Superman and Lex Luthor.  Originally written by Scott Lobdell, writing duties were taken over by former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco.  The story centers on Superboy from his beginnings as a young man with the powers of Superman, but lacking Superman’s moral compass, since he’s been raised in a lab.  Superboy is a consistent fan favorite, and as such has continued to support yet another ongoing series.

Leave a comment

Filed under Andrew Hales, Comic Reviews, Comics