I’ll be looking at the One Year Later stuff now with issues 34-49. And I’m going to say now that some of these issues have to be Johns’ worst in this series.
I’ve been doing these for a little while now and they always seem to be popular. So until people stop reading them, I’ll probably keep doing them. For those who are new, here’s what you can expect. I go through the latest DC solicits and add my (sometimes snarky) commentary.
I actually skipped the November solicits because Blackest Night took over the majority of the DC books. One of my problems with Blackest Night (and I have many) is that the story is already getting repetitive. We’ve seen the same couple of scenes repeated ad infinitum. When you go through the solicits and every book has the same basic premise (Hero A comes into contact with Dead Person B!) it gets boring. I couldn’t stand the thought of writing up all of those Blackest Night tie-ins, so I took a month off.
December is really no different. So I’m going to be more selective about which books I include in this write-up. And some books will no boubt be lumped together. That way, I don’t bore you with the same entry 15 times. (I’ll only bore you with it once – ba dum dum.)
Now that I’ve set the comedic bar at a level I can reach, let’s look at what DC will be offering in December:
Blackest Night Books
BLACKEST NIGHT #6
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert
The secrets of Nekron are revealed as darkness consumes the DC Universe.
Everything else: TOP SECRET.
BLACKEST NIGHT continues! John Stewart comes face to face with his greatest failures, the planet Xanshi and his wife and fellow Green Lantern, Katma Tui. Plus, what does Fatality truly want with John?
These solicits are a little light on details. But that’s a good thing in my book. My concern is that from the details that are included in the solicits, it sure doesn’t sound like a whole lot has happened from Blackest Night 0 up to Blackest Night 6. Doesn’t it sound like we’re in pretty much the same place we’ve been in from the start of this thing?
Also, did you see that Ed Benes is drawing GL 49. You know what that means? Fatality butt floss on every page! Plus, zombie cleavage I would think.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #43
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and cover by Pat Gleason & Rebecca Buchman
Red rain falls! As the Black Lanterns continue their reign of terror and chaos on Oa, things go from bad to worse when a horrible loss for the Green Lantern Corps results in Guy Gardner becoming so enraged that he becomes a Red Lantern! And hell breaks loose as the Central Power Battery faces an attack from the newly arrived Black Lantern Corphans!
I split this one out from the other BN books for a couple of reasons:
- Something happens!
- An angry Guy Gardner is a good thing.
Yes, it kinda sucks that they went and spoiled this development a full 3 months before it happens. But at this point I’m pretty glad to see any sign of forward plot movement from Blackest Night. So I’ll take what I can get.
Also, I’ve seen a lot of Guy fans complaining about this already. Come on, guys! You know this isn’t going to last any longer than when Kyle got possessed by Parallax. And that was the single coolest thing to happen in the Sinestro Crops War storyline. So you should just be grateful that Guy is getting a spotlight.
Turing into a Red Lantern sure beats the one-panel “death” Jeph Loeb gave Guy in “Our Wolrds at War”. It pretty much guarantees Guy’s going to be around at the end of Blackest Night. But those close to Guy (whose deaths might push Guy into a rage) better watch their backs.
Blackest Night Mini-Series
BLACKEST NIGHT: THE FLASH #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Scott Kolins
The Flashes of Two Cities – Barry Allen and Wally West – battle the undead Rogues. Will the legendary speedsters be able to handle the Black Lantern Rogues’ revenge? Plus, witness the resurrection of Barry’s greatest enemy, the Reverse Flash in this hyper-speed miniseries event reuniting the fan-favorite FLASH creative team of Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins!
BLACKEST NIGHT: JSA #1
Written by James Robinson
Art by Eddy Barrows & Ruy José
The mystery men of yesterday are back and they seek the hearts of their new counterparts! It’s Mr. Terrific vs. Mr. Terrific, Dr. Midnite vs. Dr. Midnite, Sand vs Wesley Dodds! Can the new generation of heroes survive the rise of the Black Lantern JSA? Find out in this all-new miniseries from original JSA co-writer James Robinson and rising star artist Eddy Barrows (BLACKEST NIGHT: SUPERMAN)!
Fan-favorite writer Greg Rucka returns to chronicle the adventures of the Amazing Amazon in the DC Universe’s darkest hour! Black Lantern Maxwell Lord has risen and he seeks revenge and retribution for his murder at the hands of Diana. Look for unexpected changes to await Wonder Woman in the course of this series as she plays a major role in the War of Light against the Blackest Night.
I had pretty low expectations of the first batch of BN tie-in mini-series. And so far, they have met or exceeded by expectations. BN: Superman actually had a pretty strong first issue. But it seems like you can skip all three and not miss anything. And Tales of the Corps was an embarrassing money grab. DC should be ashamed of that one.
This crop of tie-ins seems a little more promising to me. I was a fan of the Johns/Kollins run on Flash and I liked the first 2/3 of their “Rogues Revenge” mini-series. So while “Rebirth” isn’t to my liking, I expect I’ll like BN: Flash okay as long as Johns can keep the retcons to a minimum.
The stand-out to me promises to be BN: Wonder Woman. I know Rucka was upset he never got to deal with the fallout from the death of Max Lord. Now, it looks like he’ll get that chance even if it years a few years late. Plus, you’ve got Nicola Scott. Nicola Scott + Wonder Woman is worth my $3 every time.
ADVENTURE COMICS #5
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Jerry Ordway; co-feature art by Francis Manapul
Concluding the 2-part BLACKEST NIGHT tale of Superboy-Prime! The Black Lanterns have forced Prime to face his deepest and darkest fears, but what – and who – are they? And how will Superboy-Prime strike back after this devastating attack?
Plus, Conner Kent faces off with Superman’s greatest enemy in an exciting co-feature by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul. That’s right: Superboy confronts Lex Luthor!
I’m truly torn on this one. On the one hand, I’ve been enjoying Adventure Comics so far. On the other, I’m really sick of Johns’ take on Superboy-Prime. The end of Legion of Three Worlds totally crossed a line for me and I was hoping not to see the character again for a while. But Johns just can’t seem to stay away from him. On the upside, I’m looking forward to the Conner/Lex confrontation.
BOOSTER GOLD #27
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art and cover by Dan Jurgens& Norm Rapmund
Black Lantern Ted Kord is out for blood in this BLACKEST NIGHT tie-in issue! Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes joins forces with Booster Gold in an attempt to take down Black Lantern Ted Kord once and for all. But the battle will have consequences for the Blue and the Gold, and Booster and Beetle’s lives will be forever changed!
This is another tough one. This issue definitely fits into the “Hero A comes into contact with Dead Person B” formula I talked about earlier. And there’s no way I won’t be sick of that by the end of the year. And DC has already gone to the Ted Kord well at least one time too many since killing him off in Countdown. But still, I really like Booster Gold. I feel like Jurgens does a great job with the book and I’d like to see it get some attention. Hopefully Jurgens can rise above the formula and deliver one of the better tie-ins to this event.
TEEN TITANS #78
Written by J.T. Krul
Art and cover by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson
An unexpected BLACKEST NIGHT team-up! Ravager has sworn to kill her father Deathstroke. But what happens when they’re forced to fight side-by-side against their dead friends and relatives? Will they kill each other before the Black Lanterns do?
Remember when Titans was the goose that laid the golden eggs? Well, DC totally killed that goose. (I think that goose may even be a Black Lantern!) This franchise is in a tail spin and DC doesn’t seem to know what to do to pull out of it. I’ll give you a hint, DC, a Deathstroke/Ravager issue is NOT the answer.
On the upside, I don’t see Sean McKeever’s name anywhere on this comic book. Therefore, I will buy it on principle.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #40
Written by James Robinson
Art and cover by Mark Bagley & Rob Hunter
The JLA can’t escape the BLACKEST NIGHT! Faced with the continuing threat of the Black Lanterns, Zatanna, Vixen and the rest of the team confront their pasts when fallen friends and foes return for blood!
I can’t be the only one who finds Bagley’s cover to be hideous, right?
I recently posted an article about the new JLA line-up. Interesting to see Vixen and Zatanna featured so prominently after not being included in the official line-up. I guess the rumors that Robinson’s team will be super-sized are true.
As I said in my article, I really can’t muster up any excitement for Robinson’s JLA after 3 issues of Cry for Justice.
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea
While Black Mask and his Ministry of Death struggle to maintain control of Gotham City, The Dark Knight sets his sights on Kittyhawk – a young thief pivotal to the outcome of Black Mask’s gang war. But will a powerful adversary thought long dead spoil all of Batman’s plans? Guest-starring Oracle and the Penguin!
Not too much to say here. I’m having some trouble keeping up my enthusiasm for Batman with the back-and-forth writing from Winick and Daniel. I mean, these are two of my least favorite writers in comics these days. Black Mask and Penquin both feel over-used these days. And I’m enjoying them more in Dini’s Streets of Gotham.
DETECTIVE COMICS #860
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by JH Williams III; co-feature art by Cully Hamner
Batwoman’s origin story concludes here! In “Go!” part 3, Kate Kane becomes Batwoman and goes after a terrorist cell in Gotham, but all does not go according to plan. Plus, in the present, Kate confronts her father about her supposedly dead sister!
In the co-feature, the Huntress joins The Question in her quest to track down the leaders of the human trafficking ring. But finding them – and bring them to justice – will be harder and more dangerous than either hero thought!
Confession time: I’m a behind on this title. But I love the art on the book. Rucka’s writing hasn’t completely won me over to Batwoman yet. But maybe I’ll feel differently once I catch up. I am looking forward to seeing the Huntress and the Question though!
BATMAN: STREETS OF GOTHAM #7
Written by Paul Dini; co-feature written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Dustin Nguyen & Derek Fridolfs; co-feature art by Jeremy Haun
Paul Dini returns to STREETS OF GOTHAM as Batman and Robin uncover a sinister plot involving dozens of Gotham City’s young runaways. Is Arkham Asylum escapee Humpty Dumpty at the center of the scheme – or is he just the tip of an even more dangerous iceberg? Guest-starring Abuse and Zsasz!
And in the Manhunter co-feature, now that Kate has finally tracked down Two-Face, she’s ready to confront him for the hit he ordered on Gotham’s former D.A. But their confrontation is not going to go the way she planned!
I haven’t gotten around to writing up a review for Streets of Gotham, but I have been keeping up with the book and mostly enjoying it. I wasn’t thrilled with the 60′s-TV show-worthy bad guy, The Broker. But if you’re going to do the character, last issue was about as good of a story as you could possibly tell. I am enjoying watching Dini re-invent Mr. Zsasz. And I am enjoying the build-up in the Manhunter back-up to the inevitable showdown beteen the former DA of Gotham and the new sheriff in town.
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett & Trevor Scott
Cover by Phil Noto
It’s Bat vs. Bat in “Core Requirements” part 1! As Gotham City burns, the new Batgirl comes face-to-face with Batman and Robin, who are anything but happy about her running around with a bat-symbol on her costume. Batman confronts Oracle as Damian confronts Stephanie in the ultimate Bat-family feud.
My favorite thing about this series so far is the Phil Noto covers. And I think this is Noto’s best cover yet. But the first two issues were pretty mediocre. And it’s not promising that the solicit for this issue reads an awful lot like the one for the first issue.
In all honesty, if the next issue is a marked improvement over the first two I am unlikely to be here for issue 5.
GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #7
Written by Paul Dini
Art and cover by Guillem March
Catwoman takes charge as the other Sirens fall victim to their most dangerous challenge yet!
Does the text for this solicit even matter?
Hey, I like Catwoman’s boobs as much as the next guy. Depending on who the next guy is, I may like them more. I’ve got a healthy collection of Jim Balent’s boobtastic run on Catwoman to prove it. But even I got sick of this bad girl retread after the first couple of issues.
Can this book really be written by the same guy who is writing Streets of Gotham? Maybe there are two Paul Dini’s. One of them worked in animation and wrote Detective Comics and Streets of Gotham. The other guy wrote Countdown and this.
It’s the best explanation I can come up with.
SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN #4
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank & Jon Sibal
While everyone wants something from Metropolis’ first Super Hero, Superman must fight his first Super-Villain – someone who wants everything – the Parasite! Meanwhile, Lex Luthor turns his attention toward The Man of Steel…
Geoff Johns and Gary Frank continue their bold reinterpretation of the origin of The Man of Steel for the 21st Century!
Geoff Johns can hand in a blank script for all I care. I’m on board this mini-series for Gary Frank’s art. As I said in my review of the first issue, the art pushes all my Superman fanboy buttons.
ACTION COMICS #884
Written by Greg Rucka; co-feature written by James Robinson & Greg Rucka
Art by Pere Pérez; co-feature art by CAFU
When Lois tries to run the story that will clear Flamebird and Nightwing once and for all, she finds herself blocked at every turn. With the world’s anti-Kryptonian sentiment escalating to a near-frenzy, not even being General Lane’s daughter will keep her safe!
Plus, to the shock and horror of Flamebird, the problems with Nightwing’s uncontrolled aging reach a critical juncture! and in part 6 of the new co-feature, Captain Atom squares off against his old adversary Major Force just as some troubling memories start to resurface – one word: Monarch!
I’m not loving the Anti-Krypton story that seems to be taking hold of the Superman books post Codename: Patriot. It just feels like watered-down X-Men. Are you really going to cover any new territory here? I don’t think so.
As I mentioned in my review of the latest issue, the Captain Atom back-up is just getting tiresome. The word “Monarch” does nothing to improve my outlook on that subject.
Written by James Robinson
Art by Fernando Dagnino & Raúl Fernandez
Part 2 of Man of Valor! Metropolis gets a chance to see the new Mon-El in action. But now the stakes are raised even higher and the action escalates as Mon finally goes mano-a-mano against the Parasite! This is a battle that’s been brewing since Mon’s emergence on Earth and now it explodes into the streets and skies of the city.
Plus, with Mon-El’s secret identity publicly known, how will the Science Police react to him now that they know he’s been living among them all this time? All this plus the return of Natasha Irons and the fate of Steel!
I’ve actually enjoyed most of Robinson’s run on Superman. But even I have to admit that the pace has been somewhat slow. Some issues have felt like padding. But this issue looks like it will finally advance some long-dangling plot threads. And that’s good – as long as they aren’t tied up as sloppily as the Codename: Patriot finale. That was a stinker.
SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #10
Written by Greg Rucka & James Robinson
Art by Pete Woods
New Krypton is a planet so fresh, it’s experiencing countless things for the first time. Its first spring. Its first blooms. Its first birth of a child. And now its first homicide. When an important figure in Kandor is murdered, the suspect seems obvious to everyone but Superman. But can he make Zod or the Council believe this is more than an open-and-shut case? And can he uncover the real killer in time to save the life of the accused? It’s a dark mystery, but R.E.B.E.L.S. star Adam Strange arrives in time to help find answers…even though the truth may blow apart the civilized trappings of Kandorian society in the process.
This action-packed arc leads all the way to the series’ final issue, which itself sets the stage for huge happenings in the DC Universe next summer!
The other Superman books have their charms. But I can certainly understand why fans would be disappointed in them some times. World of New Krypton, on the other hand, always delivers. Next to Secret Six, it is the book I look forward to the most from month to month. I’ll be sad when it’s over!
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Matt Camp
Uh-oh! The Silver Banshee is back in Metropolis! This time she’s after an artifact that could finally break her family’s eternal curse. When Inspector Mike Henderson gets involved, Supergirl is pulled into the conflict! Meanwhile, Lana Lang’s mysterious condition takes a turn for the worse. Will the Girl of Steel be able to save her only two human friends? Join fan-favorite writer Sterling Gates and guest artist Matt Camp (SUPERMAN: SECRET FILES 2009, Zero Killer) to find out!
I hate to say it, but the usually reliable Gates/Igle team has hit a bit of a speed bump with the last couple of issues. Crossovers into Codename: Patriot and Hunt for Reactron have pushed the book slightly off track. Hopefully, now that those crossovers are in the past, the team can get back to delivering very good (maybe even great) Supergirl stories.
Hey! Where’s Igle?
WORLD’S FINEST #3
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle
The Toyman has crafted the ultimate killing machine to protect himself from the Kryptonian menace, and Oracle has sent Supergirl and Batgirl to stop it. But when Supergirl faces off against the Kryptonite Man while the new Batgirl takes on Catwoman, they both find themselves in over their heads.This looks like a job for…
Oh, here he is.
This solicit sounds good enough to me. So, I’ll use this space to address something that has been bugging me. With no Birds of Prey book, I’m not sure what Oracle’s role is in the DCU. She just seems to be all over the place. Is she running The Network, mentoring Batgirl, or just setting up random operations like this one? I don’t know. But I’d really like to see her concentrate on setting up a regular group of operatives like what she had in Birds of Prey.
I really miss that book!
GREEN ARROW & BLACK CANARY #27
Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art by Renato Guedes & Jose Wilson Magalhaes and Mike Norton & Bill Sienkiewicz
First up: “Five Stages” part 3! Cupid and Green Arrow team up against Black Canary and Green Arrow (?!) just as the mysterious soldiers of Cobalt make Star City their own battlefield!
And then in the co-feature: Just where did this mysterious second Green Arrow come from? And how is Cobalt connected to his recent past?
Every month, when the solicits come out, Green Arrow/Black Canary is one of the first things I look at. It’s not because I am anxiously awaiting hints of what is to come on the book. It’s because I desperately hope that DC will replace Andrew Kreisberg.
Every month, I am disappointed.
And then I see Cupid on the cover and I can barely contain my fanboy rage. Please, DC, do something about this book!
The Justice Society struggles to pick up the pieces after the team’s devastating break up! Regrouping at a new, temporary home base, the smaller team reflects on the recent infiltration of their ranks and how they can protect themselves from another such attack in the future! And why is the new Dr. Fate acting so weird?
An all-new ongoing series! The Justice Society spin off group struggles to pull itself toward some semblance of order after the JSA’s devastating split! New home base, new training methods, new villains – all bringing the JSA All-Stars face-to-“face” with one of their greatest villains again – for the first time! Join writer Matthew Sturges (JUSTICE SOCIETY, JACK OF FABLES) and artist Freddie Williams II (ROBIN) for a new chapter in the JSA legacy.
Well, the cast is definitely big enough to support two books. So, this seems like a no-brainer to split the team. I don’t know if I’ll follow both books or not.
POWER GIRL #7
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art and cover by Amanda Conner
A blast from the past! The alien Vartox has come to Earth to claim a wife—and her name is Power Girl! PG may have wanted a boyfriend, but not quite like this! The fan-favorite team of Palmiotti, Gray and Conner craft another winner!
I’m a big fan of Amanda Conner’s art. And I feel she is the perfect artist for Power Girl. But the writing team of Palmiotti and Gray always leaves me feeling underwhelmed. This book is a great book to thumb through at the comic shop for the art. But reading it sometimes feels like a chore.
I appreciate the light tone and the art. I just wish the writing were a little more interesting.
SECRET SIX #16
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Peter Nguyen & Doug Hazlewood
The supremely powerful and infinitely dangerous Black Alice returns and she’s decided she wants to be a member of the Six – even if someone has to die to make room!
Of all the books coming out in December, this is the one I’l looking forward to the most!
And yay Black Alice!
Boo no Nicola Scott!
WONDER WOMAN #39
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan
This is it! The secret behind Wonder Woman’s new power and the true meaning of the Olympian are revealed right here!
It’s an all-out action issue as Diana faces an old foe with a hideous new face!
I’m still hoping Gail Simone can make me love her Wonder Woman as much as I love Secret Six. This issue sure sounds like a winner. You know I’ll be there.
(But odds are Seventh Soldier will beat me to the punch when it comes time to write a review.)
Written by Mike Johnson
Art by Angel Unzueta & Wayne Faucher
Spotlight on Donna Troy! What happens when a young twenty-something woman feels like she grew up too fast and deprived herself of a twenty-something kind of life? As Donna ponders this, the Fearsome Five continue their Titans revenge streak. They picked the wrong time to do it…
Seriously, if you’re not going to do anything with this book, just cancel it and spare us all the trouble.
So, this is the new Justice League, huh?
First reaction: I don’t love the art. Mark Bagley’s DC work has been solid. And I applaud any artist who can meet deadlines these days. But I haven’t loved his work at DC and this image is no exception. The characters always seem a little “off” to me. And what’s up with the weird size discrepancies?
Honestly, I don’t much care who is on the JLA. It’s all about execution to me. I’d rather have a good book filled with 3rd stringers than a crap book starring the Big 7. But, the line-up is more important to the JLA than it is to almost any other team in comics. People have certain expectations of the JLA that they don’t have for the Titans for example.
With that in mind, I thought I’d run through the new line-up and share my thoughts. In alphabetical order we have:
The Atom:Ray Palmer is the first of Robinson’s “pet characters” to make the list. Ray’s been on the League plenty of times before. Even when he wasn’t a member, he was one of the first reserves to get the call to action. No doubt that he has a place on the team. Unfortunately, Robinson has written him really poorly in “Cry for Justice”. I really don’t want to see more of the same here. Also, a part of me really wishes DC would have given Ryan Choi more of a chance.
Batman:Sure, Batman belongs on the League. Okay, so this is not Bruce Wayne. Doesn’t really matter. Dick’s lead the JLA before (in the Obsidian Age storyline). Being Batman means being in the JLA. This one is a no-brainer.
Congorilla:If any new member is going to raise eyebrows, it’s Congo Bill. When people heard he was going to be featured in “Cry for Justice”, they scratched their heads. Most people took a wait-and-see attitude. Robinson swears he’s going to make all of us love Congorilla. I’m still waiting for that to happen. Based on what I’ve seen so far, there’s no way I think he belongs on the Justice League. But as Robinson’s pet character, he makes the cut.
Cyborg: Really? Cyborg? Okay. I mean, if Steel isn’t available, sure. I guess. I’m not sure why Cyborg needs to make the step up from Titans to the League. But I have no problem with it… except… well, more on that later.
Donna Troy: Hey, what do you know? Another Titan. I really don’t have a problem with Donna on the League. I’m not sure why Wonder Woman is unavailable. But I guess we’ll find out in due time. The problem is that this line-up has 4 Titans on it (5 if you count Ray Palmer who was a Teen Titan in the 90s). It just seems like over-kill. It’s okay to have a Titan or two on the roster, but they shouldn’t be the dominant force.
Dr. Light:First of all, the name is most commonly associated with a villain. One of the most hated villains in the DCU to be specific. On the other hand, she’s got the power level to be on the League. And as an Asian woman, she adds some diversity to a mostly white team. I’ve never been a fan of the character, but I’ve got nothing against her.
Green Arrow: Much was made of Roy Harper taking on the name Red Arrow and taking Ollie’s place on the League. So in a way it feels like a step backward to bring Ollie back this soon. Then again, with so many Titans on the roster, something had to give. There’s no doubt that Ollie belongs on the League. But there may be a few reasons why he doesn’t belong on this League.
- He’s married to Black Canary. Black Canary led the last incarnation of the League and was fairly humiliated when Hal told the League why they sucked and stormed off. Ollie should be standing by her side, not Hal’s.
- When you have Ollie on the League, there are certain characters you want to see him interact with. And almost none of them are here. No Black Canary. No Hawkman. Just Hal Jordan. And…
- Robinson’s take on Hal and Ollie’s banter has been one of the most painful things about “Cry For Justice”. I doubt he’s learned how to write either character any better.
Green Lantern:See point 3 under Green Arrow. Also, Hal Jordan is dangerously close to being over-exposed in the DCU these days. It would have been nice to see another GL featured here. With Hal getting the main book, Kyle and Guy in GL Corps, I would really like to see John Stewart on the League.
The Guardian:Like Congorilla, the Guardian is anything but a household name. In and of itself, that’s not a problem. But this team is sorely lacking heavy hitters. The only reason the Guardian is getting the nod is that Robinson likes him. And I’ve enjoyed Robinson’s take on the character in Superman. But Superman already stars Mon-el and the Guardian. Did we really need to have both characters here too?
Mon-el:The Superman family’s pretty darn big. I’d rather have Supergirl or Steel fill in for Superman while he’s off planet. For story reasons, I understand why Supergirl wouldn’t make a good fit. Kryptonians aren’t real popular these days. And Steel may not be in fighting shape after the ass-whooping he got from Atlas a couple months ago. So, I guess Mon-el makes the most sense. But I really don’t care for that “S” they added to his costume.
Starfire:Another Titan. I’m not sure I understand what Starfire is brining to the table. Sure, she’s powerful. But so are a lot of other characters who could have brought a little more of a “JLA” feel to the book. On her own, I can see it. But with all the other Titans floating around, will this book still feel like the JLA?
Which brings me to my next point. What’s going to happen to Titans? Surely these four characters’ aren’t all going to be pulling double duty on both teams. Rumor has it Beast Boy is also leaving the Titans for Teen Titans. So, it seems likely that book may be headed for cancellation.
If Titans does get cancelled, it’s no big loss. The book has stunk from day one. (Honestly, Billy’s blasting of Titans 1 is the most read article on this blog of all times. And not just because he included screenshots of all the naked pictures of Starfire!) But I thought Wally West fans were being told they could read about their favorite character in Titans. Now I have to wonder if Wally still has a home.
Which brings up another point: the team is lacking a Speedster. With both Wally and Barry running around, it seems like at least one of them should be on the League. With Barry getting the main book, it would have been nice to see Wally here – as long as he wasn’t one more Titan.
There’s a few other surprising omissions. Vixen was confirmed as being on the team at one point. Maybe she’ll show up later on. Who knows? also, after all the hub-bub around McDuffie not getting to pick his League, you have to wonder why DC was so quick to throw aside the members of that version of the team. Zatanna, Firestorm, the recently returned Plastic Man… what happened to those guys?
There’s still some story left to tell. And maybe it will all make more sense when we see how Cry for Justice leads into the main title. I’ll be interested to see why Starman, Supergirl, Captain Marvel, etc didn’t make the cut.
I’m a huge fan of the Justice League. It’s my favorite team in comics. And I really want the book to be good. This line-up could work, but it doesn’t really excite me. My main reservation about the book is the creative team.
I like Robinson’s work on Superman. But man-oh-man do I hate Cry for Justice. There’s no reason to think his take on the main JLA book will be any better than his mini-series. So, my expectations have been lowered to zero for that reason alone.
Couple Robinson with the capable but “off” artwork of Mark Bagley in the DCU and a line-up I just don’t care about and you’ve got a recipe for another lack luster Justice League.
This is one case where I would definitely like to be proven wrong.
First, I want to thank geist0 for the link to his article about the number of potentially redundant characters running around the DCU these days. You can read his original article here. In the article, geist0 suggests that all of these characters shouldn’t be running around the DCU at the same time.
It’s a difficult situation. And as a big fan of some of those characters, it’s one that’s near and dear to my heart. So, I’m going to borrow/steal his topic and ramble on for a few paragraphs. Thanks again, geist0!
I started reading comics in the early 90s. It was a strange time to get into comics. Superman had just died. And suddenly, every character in comics was getting replaced with a newer, hipper, edgier version. Most of these replacements were never intended to go the distance. But some of them had pretty good runs.
I remember when Kyle Rayner first replaced Hal Jordan. I’ll admit, I was won over really quickly. I grew up on Hal, but was never really attached to him as anything more than a cool costume and cool powers. But I could relate to Kyle. We were about the same age and we were both struggling to find our places in the world.
In those early days, I was always afraid someone was going to pull the rug out from under Kyle. DC frequently hinted that Hal Jordan might return as Green Lantern. Each time they pulled that stunt, it worried me a little less. Eventually, I accepted that Kyle would have a good, long run as Green Lantern.
I always figured one day he would be replaced. But to tell the truth, I didn’t think Hal would ever be back as GL. DC had gone to great lengths to make that seem impossible. First they turned him into a sympathetic villain. Then they gave him a redemptive death. And finally, they turned him into the Spectre! It just got cazier and crazier.
Probably my favorite book at the time was Mark Waid’s the Flash. I came on board at the same time as the late, great Mike Wieringo. But I quickly caught up on back-issues to the beginning of Waid’s run. Wally was my Flash and I loved him. I related to him just as much as I did Kyle.
I came to know Barry Allen too in flashbacks or the occasional time travel story. I liked Barry in his role of patron saint of Flashes. And I was fine reading about his past adventures. But it always confused me that anyone wanted this guy back as the Flash. Wally was just so much more interesting to me.
Another phenomenon of the 90s was the creation of new teen heroes. The third Robin was getting his own mini-series which eventually let to his own series. One of the replacement Supermen became Superboy who also got his own series. And a new Kid Flash (but don’t call him that!) showed up in the form of Bart Allen/Impulse.
Yep, I loved all these guys too. Even with Superboy’s ridiculous costume. They were just a lot of fun. To tell you the truth, I miss fun comics. There’s still a few of them around, sure. But it seems like they are fewer and fewer in the post-Identity Crisis DC. (And yes, I still miss Young Justice.)
Well, nothing good lasts forever. Although sales on his book are still solid, the Connor Hawke Green Arrow book was canceled to make room for Kevin Smith’s relaunch featuring Ollie Queen. While I enjoyed Smith’s take on Ollie’s return, I read each issue waiting for the inevitable. I figured Connor would have to be bumped off to make room for Ollie.
To me, the smartest thing Smith did in his relaunch was to keep Connor alive. He even made room for him as a supporting character. It seemed like the best of both worlds. To my surprise, the DC Universe was big enough for two Green Arrows plus Arsenal.
Later on, Judd Winick took over the book. One of his largest contributions to the GA mythos was transforming Mia Dearden from a wayward teen into the new Speedy. As the Green Arrow family grew, you started to wonder how many archers the DCU really needed.
Meanwhile, Kyle Rayner’s run as Green Lantern came to an unglamorous end. Hal Jordan’s return was the next big thing at DC. And once again I read each passing issue with a sense of dread. Surely, Kyle was a goner.
To my surprise, Kyle stuck around. DC didn’t seem to know what to do with him. But they kept him around nonetheless. The Green Lantern book belonged solely to Hal. There was no room for Kyle even as a supporting character. Instead, he would be part of the ensemble cast of the Green Lantern Corps.
And then, he wasn’t. Instead, he was turned into Ion and given his own on-going series. Then the series that had been previously announced as on-going became a 12-issue maxi-series. The maxi-series just kind of ended in an unsatisfying non-conclusion that set things in place for Kyle’s next transformation.
In the Sinestro Corps War storyline, Kyle was stripped of his Ion power and possessed by Parallax. I had a bunch of reactions to this. One was that it was a pretty cool, unexpected twist. But I also knew right away that Kyle would be forced to kill someone as Parallax to even the score. Kyle fans could no longer hold Hal’s crimes as Parallax against him. The score would be evened up.
Then things got weird. Unfortunately, Kyle got dragged into the mess that was Countdown. The less said about Countdown, the better. But dammit, I don’t know when to shut up.
When I saw the teaser art for Countdown, the thing that excited me the most was the shot of Kyle standing next to Donna Troy. In the early days, the Kyle/Donna relationship was one of the things that sucked me in. And thanks to John Byrne, that relationship ended suddenly. Byrne wanted sole use of Donna. So she was ripped away from Green Lantern.
For years, I waited to see some kind of resolution to the Kyle/Donna relationship. I didn’t need to see them back together, but I wished DC would give them a better parting. But with Donna’s death and resurrection, DC just never got around to it. So, when I saw that image on the Countdown teaser, I thought I would finally get the resolution I was seeking.
Instead, Donna had a weird and uncharacteristic crush on badboy Jason Todd through most of Countdown. And when Kyle showed up, everyone started acting weird. Kyle seemed jealous of Jason in spite of the fact that 1) there didn’t seem to be anything going on between Donna and Jason and 2) Kyle and Donna had broken up years ago.
Anyway, Kyle finally settled down in Green Lantern Corps. He gets treated pretty well there. But he’s definitely been marginalized as a character. Personally, I’m just happy to have him around in a book I can read without wretching.
Connor and Kyle are one thing. Wally West is something else entirely. Wally has been the Flash for a long time. Barry Allen died over 20 years ago. His death was considered one of the few constants in the DC Universe. Anyone else could be brought back. But bringing back Barry was considered a sacrilege.
Besides, Wally had gotten very popular as the Flash. Mark Waid had a long and popular run which was briefly interrupted by a year-long run by Grant Morrison. And when Waid finally left the book, a young upstart named Geoff Johns took over the book. Johns stepped up with a long, popular Flash run of his own.
Little by little, the seeds were sown for Wally’s downfall. Mark Waid ended his run with a wedding. In interviews, he said he did so to keep DC from killing off Linda Park – a character he had grown to love. Later, Johns had the couple get pregnant. At first, the storyline seemed to end in a miscarriage. But through the magic of comics, Johns ended his run with the Wests having twins.
Suddenly, the former Teen Titan seemed older than most of the other superheroes in the DCU. He had more responsibilities than Superman. The once relatable Wally West was starting to seem like dad. Or worse, Reed Richards.
DC’s solution was to more or less move Wally and the Wests off stage for a while. In Wally’s place, we got an age-accelerated Bart Allen as the Flash.
(Age-acceleration is never a good idea. Remember I said that. It will come back later.)
DC has said that they never intended Bart to be the Flash for long. But surely they never imagined the backlash that followed. Bart’s run was a disaster. Bart was quickly killed off and Wally was brought back from the Speed Force limbo he had been sent to.
Fan-favorite Mark Waid was brought back to write the new adventures of the Flash. But Waid had a problem. What do you do with the twins? His solution was to age-accelerate them to a more acceptable age. Suddenly, Wally seemed a lot like Mr. Incredible.
No one wanted to read about Wally as a suburban dad and Waid was more or less booed offstage. Wally’s book ended again and the once-unthinkable happened. Barry Allen was brought back.
There was a time when I would have been outraged by such a move. Barry’s death should never be reversed. Wally has earned his place as the Flash. But by now, DC had screwed up Wally so badly that I almost welcomed Barry back.
We’re merely two issues into Barry’s return. So, who knows what the future holds. So far, I’m a little underwhelmed (read my review of issue 2 here).
Back to the original question. How many Green Arrows (or Flashes if you will) are too many? Some people feel like having a bunch or archers or speedsters (or Kryptonians) running around dilutes the concept. It’s hard for me to argue against that.
But, we’ve also seen what happens when DC limits itself to one version of each character. When DC enforced a 1-Kryptonian law after the John Byrne reboot, the old Superman concepts slowly crept back into continuity anyway.
During the Kyle years, there was a decree in place that Kyle would be the last and only Green Lantern. Guy was stripped of his ring and given ridiculous new powers. Alan had to change his name. But eventually, the whole Corps came back.
DC EIC Dan Didio came very close to killing off Dick Grayson based on the idea that he was just a watered-down Batman. Thank goodness Geoff Johns talked him out of that one.
My point is, I don’t think having these characters around is inherently a problem. What I do see as a problem is when DC tells bad stories just to keep them around. (See Kyle Rayner in Countdown.)
Recently, Judd Winick ended his run by revamping Connor Hawke. It was the kind of hatchet job Winick’s critics expect of him. Everything that made Connor unique was stripped of him. The peace-loving vegetarian who was raised in a monestary started wolfing down meaty chili and beating thugs to a pulp on rooftops. Suddenly, he couldn’t shoot an arrow to save his life. But he had a kewl new healing factor to make up for it.
And then he was written off stage. DC butchered the character only to write him off stage anyway. Why?
Needless to say, I’d have been happy if they just sent Connor back to the monestary without the extreme make-over. He’s got a built-in way to be moved on and off-stage as DC sees fit. This one seemed like a no-brainer.
But what about Wally? Didio has said in interviews that he sees Wally’s future being bright just like Kyle Rayner’s. What? Look, Kyle’s got a pretty good thing going all things considered. But in no way is this a fitting treatment for Wally. Wally should not be marginalized to a supporting role in Titans (a book in desperate need of a new creative team).
I’d rather see Wally written off stage for a while. Let him live with his family. (No getting rid of them now!) He can come back in a dramatic fashion for the big Flash stories and DC events.
But, here’s my concern with the “off stage” solution. I don’t trust DC to handle it elegantly. When a character moves off stage in the DC Universe, they become cannon fodder for those “event” stories DC is addicted to these days.
In order to justify it’s existence, every event story needs at least one “shocking” death or resurrection. It’s sad. But as long as people keep buying these things, DC’s going to keep killing off and resurrecting characters in a morbid, vicious cycle.
So, what’s the answer? Do we need two Green Arrows a Red Arrow and a Speedy in the DCU? Is the world better off if Connor Hawke or Mia Dearden are killed off in some bloody fashion? Can we trust DC to keep them off stage until a story warrants their return?
I don’t know. But I love a lot of these characters. And I can only hope that DC does right by them. Unfortunately, DC’s track record tells me to expect otherwise.