Forever Evil, DC’s massive post-summer event, improves on an awful first issue with a passable second one, but its problems still linger.
Like just about everyone else alive, I (for no discernible reason) am absolutely convinced that I know better than the myriad writers and editors at DC Comics, that my take on the New 52 would have been flawlessly executed, that all the mistakes they made – and I don’t think it’s any great revelation that massive, avoidable mistakes were made in the course of this enormous, ambitious project – could have been turned around if only they would have trusted me.
Which is stupid, of course. The comic marketplace is a vastly different place than it was even ten years ago, and outside of seriously stepping out of comic shops and back into supermarkets (with the resulting drop in price and increase in age-restricted content that implies) they were never going to get their comics into many new hands… and I’m pretty sure that isn’t a feasible goal anyway. No, they did a lot right, including the very necessary move to increase digital publication.
But one possible mistake they made that I think would be very fixable is in how they handled some of the relaunches. Angry fans can and will claim that DC never gave their favorite canceled title a shot – though the relative dearth of this sort of outcry thus far suggests that DC picked the right titles to cancel quickly, and I’d bet the next cancellations will be met with similar silence – but, realistically, they were treated exactly the same as the rest of the New 52, given promotion, in-house ads, equal shelf space, etc…. DC treated Men of War and Batman roughly the same – and that, in my opinion, is the problem.
In a complete reversal of what normally happens to me when a Geoff Johns comic comes out, I’ve actually taken flak from some readers for not bashing on Justice League enough. In fact, I’ve been fairly supportive of what he’s been trying to do, even if I see what he’s trying to do with the comic as being fairly flawed. Despite that, I still maintain that the first two issues of Justice League are solid, enjoyable reads, confidently introducing us to the world and to the characters while setting up a threat big enough to unite them all. Justice League #3 brings that threat very firmly to Earth, but loses the sense of characterization that drove the first two issues.
Geoff Johns has really impressed me with this relaunch. I know I’m in the minority, but I found Blackest Night and Flashpoint to be borderline incomprehensible messes, poorly paced and largely lacking in fun. I was beginning to worry that the guy who did such a fantastic job reinventing Wally West and his Rogues would never again produce something that I’d enjoy. But Justice League #1, Green Lantern #1, and Aquaman #1 were all enjoyable books, free from many of the problems that have turned me off his work lately. Though I decided against following Green Lantern (which seemed destined to continue to get involved in endless crossovers), I stuck by Aquaman and Justice League. Earlier this month, I called Justice League #2 an improvement over the opener, and while Aquaman is still enjoyable, it doesn’t improve over Johns relatively solid introduction in the same way.
When Justice League #1 was released (over six weeks ago), it was met by many comics fans with a resounding ‘meh’. Awkwardly paced and somewhat lacking in any sort of ‘league’, some particularly pessimistic fans were predicting failure for the relaunch based on its opening issue. And then the issue sold an insane number of copies, and the story became “this is a wildly successful start to the relaunch, sales-wise” rather than “this was a mildly successful start to the relaunch, creatively-speaking.” But still, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee has perhaps the biggest soap box in comicdom right now to prove that superheroes are viable in the mainstream, so how does their sophomore issue fare?
Looking into issue 50-54. Issue 50 is a collaboration between McKeever, Johns, Wolfman, and Dezago. This is also Johns’ last work on Teen Titans and after this issue, McKeever takes over by himself for a while.
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.
Continuing on with another Retrospective with issues 20-26, and while last retrospective contained some of my favorite story arcs, this one has one of my favorite moments. Part of this ties in with Identity Crisis.
I’m continuing my Retrospective for the Teen Titans with the Teens Titans/Legion of Superheroes crossover and issues 16-19 (collected in trade as The Future is Now). Handling a lot with these issues, so I’ll try to keep it from being too long. I do want to state though that these issues are some of my favorites of this Teen Titans group and Johns is joined by writer Mark Waid for the Legion cross over.
I’m a fan of the Teen Titans, especially the latest incarnation that went from 2003-2011 and as this relaunch makes it seem their entire history may be erased, I wanted to give them a farewell starting with issues 1-7 (also collected in trade form as “A Kid’s Game” or the soon to be released Teen Titans Omnibus 1). Like usual, beware of spoilers.
By now, the internet has been flooded with reviews for the book that launches a whole new status quo for the DC Universe. And, as many reviewers have commented, this is not your dad’s DCU and you’ve never seen this Justice League before.
So what could I possibly add to the digital cacophony, especially since I had to wait a few extra days for my comics to travel halfway around the world to Australia?
Instead of offering yet another review of Justice League #1, I have decided to focus on what is, for me, the most important part of any story – the characters.
So, it’s finally over – Flashpoint ends today, and with it, the DC Universe as we know it. But every ending is just the beginning of something new, so I’m going to briefly discuss – since lebeau has already handled both books already – the beginning of the DCnU as well, including how DC’s same day digital release process treated me. As always, spoilers ahead…
What can I say about Flashpoint that hasn’t already been said before? It’s a lost series, a book that doesn’t know what it wants to be. It certainly isn’t an adventure story – every time a team is formed to deal with a problem, they collapse or fail immediately. Every attempt to become epic quickly backfires, every attempt to become post-apocalyptic is thwarted by the mundane. In service of a more fully realized story, this dedication to defying expectation might be noble; in Flashpoint, it just feels like padding to keep a simple story running for the proper number of trade-worthy issues.
After Flashpoint #2, I was legitimately concerned for the series. The last issue was scattered and uneven, trying to do a bunch of different things and failing at just about every single one of them. The book was torn between being a big action book and a big ideas book, and it was failing at both. Flashpoint #3, however, brings us right back on track, telling a clear, focused adventure story. Spoilers below…
Spoilers! Continue reading
So at the start of the summer I stopped reading comic books. It wasn’t a concious decision. The first couple of weeks I was just too enthralled in FIFA madness (wtf U.S.A?) and I just kind of fell off the wagon. Anyway, I have started to catch up. I thought a cool opportunity resulting from playing catch up would be that I could read five straight consecutive issues of Brightest Day. To my incessant complaints that this series is borderline incoherent (not to mention st00pid) many have argued that it will read better in the trades. If this experiment is any indication… Nope. This story really makes no f!ing sense.
By now, many comic fans have heard the news – Geoff Johns announced on Twitter (and was backed up by Cully Hamner and others) that DC is trying to develop a live-action BLUE BEETLE TV show, and they have the test images to prove it. Now, as Johns assures us, this is in no way a done deal. These images aren’t final, no real casting has been done – it’s purely in theory mode.
But given that Blue Beetle was, for its 3 year run, consistently one of the strongest titles published by any company, this is worth getting excited about. If you want to see more images, or read Johns’ full announcement, head on over to Superhero Hype…
– Cal Cleary
*spoilers* Continue reading
*Spoilers* Continue reading