Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The New 14-26

Since I can actually post on the week of a batch of new number ones coming out I thought it might be fun to rundown all the new comics and give my general expectations for them (and yes, I am at least trying all the new comics). While it may be Wednesday here, that doesn't mean I can read my comics early. You all will probably see them long before I will.

Batman and Robin #1: Since the Batman world wasn't much upset by the relaunch, I don't anticipate seeing much of a change in the quality of Batman and Robin. Tomasi can still write, and we all know Patrick Gleason can draw. The big question is whether or not father and son will work well as Batman and Robin.

Batwoman #1: Many people have been waiting for this book for a long time. Assuming it keeps up with the pretty art and brings along a decent story to go with it, Batwoman should do fine.

Deathstroke #1: I can already tell you that I probably won't stick with this one for every long. I've never been a big fan of Deathstroke, even as an "anti-hero." I understand why they're giving the book a shot, and I applaud them for continuing to try and diversify their offerings. If nothing else, Joe Bennett can also draw.

Demon Knights #1: This is one of the new books I've been most excited about. I love the idea of exploring the DCU in different times and places, and when better than Medieval Europe? If Paul Cornell brings his a-game this will be a fantastic book.

Frankenstein #1: I love Lemire's Flashpoint Frankenstein mini, but the preview for Agent of S. H. A. D. E. makes me wary. We're not being given the same characters and the art isn't half as good. But Lemire usually seems to know what he's doing, and I'll still give it a try.

Green Lantern #1: See Batman and Robin above. DC does seem to be operating on a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. (and what does that tell us about everything outside of the Batman and GL books?) Geoff Johns' Green Lantern saga continues, for better or worse.

Grifter #1: This book is one of the biggest wild cards for me. I don't know anything about the character or the writer. So all I know is that the book will be beautiful. Funnily enough, this sense of not knowing makes me pretty excited to read this book. As well as I know the DCU, that's a rare experience.

Legion Lost #1: I'm actually really looking forward to this book. I'm very much intrigued to see how the members of the Legion deal with living in the present. They clearly won't fit in, even among the super-hero contingent. A good fish out of water story can be a lot of fun.

Mister Terrific #1: Here's another book that's a bit of a cipher. We know who Michael Holt was, but we don't really know who this Michael Holt is. Still, I think it's a great idea to get him out of the JSA's shadow and let the man shine on his own. The character has a lot of potential.

Red Lanterns #1: Peter Milligan writes some weird stuff. The Red Lanterns are kind of weird. I don't know what else to say about this book.

Resurrection Man #1: I never thought I'd see another Resurrection Man #1. As my affection for Resurrection Man is well known, I'm very much looking forward to this comic. If the team can capture at least a fraction of what made the original comic so good it will be a winner.

Suicide Squad #1: I'm not really expecting much from this book, honestly. It could turn out to be a nice surprise or it could end up being one of the first books cancelled. It's anyone's guess.

Superboy #1: Superboy is apparently being completely rebooted with a new history and everything. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I've never ready anything by Scott Lobdell so I have no idea what to expect. I did like the preview, though.

Whew, that's a lot of books! DC really is cranking them out. I wonder how many will survive past the six month mark?


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New is Old Again

Yesterday I talked about my favorite book of the relaunch. But what was my least favorite? That might be too easy... While there were certainly going to be good books there was no question that there would be some bad comics in the relaunch. It's a bit more fair if I discuss the comics that were the most disappointing.

I think that answer to that is, sadly, Batgirl. Now, you know I love Gail Simone deeply, and it pains me terribly to say that. I don't thing it's a bad book by any stretch of the imagination. But I just don't think it's what I wanted from a Batgirl book.

The first Batgirl comic starred Cassandra Cain, and it was about her trying to figure out how she could fit into a world that she wasn't trained for while at the same time trying to create a family out of the misfits that inhabit Batman's world.

The second Batgirl comic starred Stephanie Brown, and it was about putting a girl in a batsuit and letting her have as much fun as you possible can while dressed like that. And boy, if we didn't get that. I still think the most recent run of Batgirl was one of the best (and most overlooked) books DC was publishing prior to the New 52, and it's a real shame that Bryan Q. Miller isn't writing anything for DC now.

So what is this third Batgirl comic about? I'm not entirely sure yet, and I think that's some of the problem. This version of Barbara Gordon doesn't really seem to be having any fun yet, though she is certainly dealing with a number of issues. Indeed, right now The Killing Joke is looming large over everything that happens in the book.

That may simply be because this is the first issue. But honestly, we didn't see this much of a focus on The Killing Joke in Barbara's entire stint as Oracle in Birds of Prey. It was made clear that it happened and then everybody moved on.

I have enough faith in Gail Simone to expect that the book will improve. She's undoubtedly got to get some of this stuff out of the way so she can move forward with the story. But if this comic becomes a lot of looking backward at bad Alan Moore stories, then I may have to drop a Gail Simone comic for the first time ever.

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Old is New Again

My favorite comic of the relaunch so far? No contest: it's Action Comics #1

What we're seeing here is a real return to a character's roots. We're always hearing writers say they are taking so and so back to his or her roots by stripping away their supporting characters or wiping their memories of whatever.

But Grant Morrison is really doing it. He's taken us back to the Superman of the 1930's. How exactly has he done that? By giving us the Superman of the 2010's.

This is a Superman who is fed up with the establishment. He doesn't care what the corrupt cops or greedy businessmen say or do. He's going to take them out because it's the right thing to do. It highly effective during the Great Depression when people were losing their jobs and homes while the rich and powerful walked away with bags full of money. And it's equally effective during the "Great Recession" where people are losing their jobs and homes while the rich and powerful walk away with bags full of money.

So who are the villains? In this Action Comics #1 the villains are the establishment. Superman doesn't fight to defend the bullies and the crooks. He fights to defend the little guy, the person who -- and this is key -- has nobody else standing up for him.

This was at the heart of Superman in the beginning and I'm glad to see it back. We hear that woman cried every night because she was being beaten by her husband. What did Superman do? He did what nobody else would. Neighbors probably heard her crying. The cops probably knew what was going on. But nobody did anything. Not because they couldn't but because they wouldn't.

But Superman can. And more importantly he does. He's not invincible, this Superman. But that doesn't mean he's afraid. He stands up for the oppressed and forgotten. The never-ending battle continues.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 08, 2011

I Might Not Exist

I'm beginning to think that maybe I don't exist.

They say that most of Batman's history is still intact, but what about the Knightfall storyline? I have a hard time believing that it no longer exists, consider it introduces Bane and he's apparently going to be in a movie next year. So I hear. They didn't ask me to appear.

But there seem to be a lot of situations where characters still exist while at the same time stories don't. And vice versa. So do I exist or not? I'm beginning to think that if I do, I'm still never going to be mentioned ever again.

That doesn't really seem fair, because after all I was Batman and I did beat Bane. How many people have really beaten Bane? It's just not fair to retcon that out.

I guess it doesn't matter, though. No matter how the DC Universe changes they still can't take away the fact that I once starred in a comic that lasted for 100 issues. Not many people can say that.


Broadened Horizons

I have largely remained in the confines of super-hero comics for as long as I've been reading comics. This is not because I am particularly opposed to non-super-hero comics (though they are my preferred genre). The reason why I've not ventured much outside of super-heroics is that I like immersing myself in a shared universe. I enjoy the DC Universe as a whole and so have stayed within its borders (though there have been the occasional exceptions, such as Jonah Hex).

But things seem to be changing with the "New 52." Or perhaps, as Scipio has noted, they are going back to their roots in the Golden Age. Rather than trying to ghettoize non super-hero stories in the Wildstorm or Vertigo imprints, for example, they are now firmly in the DC Universe. A year ago Men of War would have been a Wildstorm book, while Swamp Thing most certainly would have been in Vertigo.

But now that they're in the DC Universe, for good or ill I feel safe giving them a try. And that's a good thing, as they're both very entertaining books (Swamp Thing, incidentally, is probably the scariest thing I've read in years).

Will this diversity of genres help DC sell more books? I sure hope so. I do know that for every person out there with an iPad there has to be at least one DC Universe book that speaks to their interests. DC just has to make sure they know that.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

In Time

I can already see the surprise on your faces. You thought you were rid of me? You believed that the dawning of the "New 52" meant that Doctor Polaris had been wiped from the pages of history? Any who believed that I count as fools of Hal Jordan's caliber.

As I have discussed before, certain things have and always will remain constant. A reboot cannot take away the things that really matter. After all, has it not always been the case that Barry Allen is pathetic, single, and lonely? To imagine him in a stable relationship -- let alone a marriage -- is sheer folly.

Ha! For a moment I had you convinced, didn't I? You truly believed that I -- Doctor Polaris -- had succumbed to the same mind altering effects of the Flashpoint as the other villains and heroes. I am not so easily duped. I can only surmise that I retain a memory of the previous timeline due to the residual magnetic chronal resonance in my bloodstream. Or whatever other form of pseudo-scientific claptrap the Flash might decide to think up.

But I digress. What I am trying to tell you is that after a point you begin to forget that things were changed to begin with. Some may bemoan Superman's portrayal as an orphaned socialist crusader who cannot fly. They are indeed fools, for they are ignorant of the earliest history of the Man of Steel.

Change is constant, but after a while it stops feeling like a change. You will get used to Superman being a bachelor in the same way you got used to him being married. In time.

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 04, 2011

It Lives!

No my friends, your eyes do not deceive you. I am indeed here, alive, and blogging. It has been exactly a month since I posted on the blog here and oh, an eventful month it has been.

I had the trouble of moving out of my old apartment and into temporary lodgings while preparing for the more long stay in Japan (which I am at this very moment). All of this (plus the temporary interruption of my comics) has led to a bit of a whirlwind.

That said, I do hope to be able to continue blogging here. I should be able to get comics again very soon, but right now I don't have the Internet at home (never mind the secret location from which I now transmit this message). But I may only be able to post once, twice, or mayhap three times a week.

So watch this space, friends. I suppose that the advent of a new era of DC comics is an appropriate time for me to get back into the swing of things again here.