I have mixed feelings about my relationship with DC Universe Presents, particularly with the opening arc focusing on everyone’s favorite undead acrobat, Deadman. That sounds really stupid. Let me explain. No, there’s too much – let me sum up. On the one hand, I really like that writer Paul Jenkins had an ambitious idea for a self-contained story, with little by way of action and absolutely no big-name characters. On the other hand, the plotting was fairly haphazard, the stakes were never properly established and the story’s fumbling reach for profundity fell short. All of which makes this a tough book to review, but an interesting book to contemplate.
I didn’t know what I’d have to write about when I picked up DC Universe Presents #2. I wasn’t even sure I was going to get it. I thought the first issue was okay, but it didn’t wow me. In fact, I couldn’t imagine what the series as a whole would look like. Quantum Leap with super-heroes? Not a terrible concept, but not one I was excited about. But with DC Universe Presents #2, writer Paul Jenkins has taken a quick shift into the bizarre and unpredictable, and the book is stronger for it.
With part two of “Warkiller”, Simone continues to move her pieces in place. The Olypmian rules a Themyscira undergoing rapid, inexplicable change – women are spontaneously impregnating on an island now rocked by storms, while Hippolyta is prisoner to her former, mad guard Alkyone, now wife of Achilles and Queen of Themyscira. And while Ares’ physical form might have been destroyed by Diana, truly killing a god proves vastly more difficult than that, resulting in an uncomfortable visitation from the God of War.
“Warkiller” doesn’t have the snappy pacing of “Birds of Paradise”, nor the epic action of “Rise of the Olympian”, but it has nonetheless been been fairly satisfying. Simone continues to lay groundwork for a massive overarching story throughout her run here with the massive changes to Paradise Isle, and at times, that’s part of the problem: both this issue and the last have, by and large, felt like set-up. Simone has a deft hand for character-based drama and comedy while Bernard Chang continues to gain skill and confidence, so it was certainly entertaining set-up, but the pacing definitely feels off.
– Cal Cleary
Wow! It’s already come and gone. I thought I’d just give my report on my experience. But don’t expect to see any pictures of fat, sweaty guys, dressed in 300 “costumes.” No, my Comic Con involved laughter, love, and chatting with the talent.
Nicola Scott’s Scandal Savage! Hey, it’s signed by Gail Simone too!
19 sketches in two days, for a total of 80 dollars. Not too bad, right? I think I did good.
And you have to get stuff signed!
Now, the only signature I need on my Sinestro Corps War hardcovers is Ivan Reis.
Green Lantern symbols provided by Geoff Johns.
And she put a Wonder Woman star over her “i”. How precious! Terry Dodson and Bernard Chang have pretty signatures too.
The war is on. Which artist will win?
So, I was standing in line for Jamal Igle at the DC Booth, when Greg Rucka shows up next to me! We talked. I said I was sad since I didn’t have anything for him to sign. He went into his magic bag and pulled that out. Sweet, huh?
So, there you have it, friends. I had a hell of a time, and you got to see my reward for fighting through the unkempt masses. Thanks for reading!
Rise of the Olympian, part 6
Gail Simone’s 8-part Wonder Woman arc Rise of the Olympian is beginning to wind down, and while her run has by-and-large been something of a roller coaster of quality, Olympian has remained solid throughout. Unfortunately, it is the epic scope of Olympian is responsible for #31, perhaps the worst issue of the arc and one of the least impressive of her run on the whole.
In this issue, we learn quite a lot. Why can Genocide handle the lasso? Where did it come from? How are the Olympians operating? What the hell is up with Athena? The answers are interesting, but all that and more coming in a 22 page package is a little too much. The exposition almost completely overwhelms the chilling atmosphere the arc has excelled at thus far.
That said, the issue isn’t bad. Bernard Chang, taking over for Aaron Lopresti, has improved vastly over his last arc on the series and previous work I’ve seen by him. Though his art is less ‘pretty’ than Lopresti’s, in some ways in suits the rather somber story better while not being such a noticeable divergence from Lopresti’s own style.
Also featured is a confrontation between Diana and the Olympian, and it is extremely well-handled. The running internal monologue of Diana reveals a keen strategic mind, but we’re never overwhelmed by faux-cleverness. Simple solutions like wrestling an enemy who’s too fast to punch combined with Chang’s dynamic portrayal of the fight give the issue’s ending a punch that the rest of the issue lacked as we gear up for the big finale. I’m excited, and Simone has done a good job building suspense and revitalizing Wonder Woman’s supporting cast, but on the whole, it seems like the issue was sacrificed to make sure we had all the pertinent information going into the climax.