The Changing Face of DC and the New 52

A few months ago, Bleeding Cool ran a rumor regarding DC’s upcoming 2013 plans. While part of this rumor dealt with the now virtually confirmed “Villains Month” due in September. The other half dealt with a proposed plan to cancel several lower performing books, up to 16, and replace them with up to four weekly books. These proposed series would include the Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and Justice League franchises. While there’s been no further word on the rumor, I believe that there are several signs that this is in fact the direction that DC will be taking in the near future. Today I’ll be discussing these signs, the merits of such a course of action, and how something like this might look if implemented. Continue reading

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DC: What the 52? Week 2

I’m back with another batch of would-be surprising covers to critique. While this week’s haul doesn’t feature quite as many high-profile books, there are still some really great moments.

In my mind, a good “WTF” cover should feature something completely unexpected, a good bait and switch, or something genuinely exciting. Using that criteria, I’ll be ranking each cover on the following scale:

What??? (Bad)
Meh (Average)
o_O (Good)
What!!! (Awesome)

Batgirl

Batgirl #19

Ummm, since this is pretty much like any normal cover ever, I’m gonna say no.

Verdict: What???

Batman

Batman #19

Not particularly surprising, and smacking of the kind of fake out we saw in “Action Comics” last week. I do like the composition and the Batman shadow though.

Verdict: Meh

Batman and Red Robin

Batman and Robin #19

Literally no one was expecting this. Not a soul. This might have taken the cake for biggest surprise, if DC hadn’t spoiled it in a news article, as they are prone to do.

Verdict: What!!!

Constantine

Constantine #2

That is one terrifying incarnation of the Spectre. Considering the character’s sole New 52 appearances have been in the lackluster “Phantom Stranger,” it’s good to see him interacting with the rest of the DCU.

Verdict: o_O

Deathstroke

Deathstroke #19

Bugh, I just can’t care.

Verdict: What???

Demon Knights

Demon Knights #19

I haven’t been keeping up with this book, so I don’t know anything of the prophecy the cover speaks, and therefore my view on this reveal may be a little uninformed. Let’s just settle on average.

Verdict: Meh

Green Lantern Corps

Green Lantern Corps #19

GLC has been teasing the return of Mogo for a while, so this is hardly a surprise. Also, First Lantern fake outs we’ve become accustomed to may mean this is one big fake out anyway.

Verdict: Meh

Ravagers

Ravagers #19

I’m not a fan of the Lobell-ized “Young Justice” section of the DCU, but I love that they’re reintroducing elements from “Doom Patrol.” Now, if we can just get a “Doom Patrol” book in the New 52, hopefully not written by Scott Lobdell.

Verdict: o_O

Suicide Squad

Suicide Squand #19

A great reveal featuring a character no one ever expected to see again.

Verdict: o_O

Superboy

Superboy #19

Whatever you want to say about Scott Lobdell’s writing skill (or lack thereof), the guy definitely knows how to make waves. Taken at face value, this is a major change for the entire Superman family.

Verdict: What!!!

Team 7

Team 7 #7

Guys, I’ve got “Trinity War” fever, so any appearance by Pandora is huge to me. Add in the New 52 debut of Mr. Majestic and this bomb is positively nuclear.

Verdict: What!!!

Threshold

Threshold #5

Not quite sure how this will mesh with Morrison’s take on the character in “Action Comics,” but the appearance of Brainiac in “Threshold” is a brilliant surprise.

Verdict: o_O

And there you have it. Not too terribly much to get excited about, but here are my top 3 picks of the week:

1. Batman and Red Robin
2. Team 7
3. Superboy

Check back here next week for round 3, with titles like “Justice League,” “Vibe,” and “Wonder Woman!”

DC: What the 52? Week 1

To my shame, I’ve had to neglect my ramblings on Earth 53 for a few weeks. To rectify that, I’ll be spending the month of April looking at DC’s “WTF” gate fold covers. Originally announced back in January, all New 52 books published in the month of April will feature gatefold covers that, when opened, reveal a surprising moment that the publisher hopes will elicit a “WTF” response. While the publisher has thankfully dropped the “WTF” moniker (very poor taste IMO), there’s still the promise that these covers will be surprising and enticing.

Well, let’s just see about that.

In my mind, a good “WTF” cover should feature something completely unexpected, a good bait and switch, or something genuinely exciting. Using that criteria, I’ll be ranking each cover on the following scale:

What??? (Bad)
Meh (Average)
o_O (Good)
What!!! (Awesome)

With all that out of the way, let’s take a look at the covers themselves. Continue reading

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Future of the Green Lantern Corps Revealed!

We’ve known for a few weeks now who would be taking over the Green Lantern family of books after Geoff Johns and crew’s exodus in May, but all other information was cloaked in secrecy. Today, with the release of the June 2013 solicitations, we get our first glimpse of what is to come, and I’m ready to weigh in on the future of Green Lantern.

Green Lantern 21

Green Lantern #21
Written by Robert Venditti
Illustrated by Billy Tan
Hal Jordan becomes the leader of the most feared and hated group in the universe: The Green Lantern Corps! New faces, new threats and a new beginning for the GREEN LANTERN monthlies!

Even with all this Black Lantern business, it looks like Hal will be alive and green at the end of Johns’ run. The solicit hints that the Guardians of the Universe will finally be out of the picture, with Hal taking the lead of the entire GLC. That’s a pretty tall order, but one with exciting story possibilities. It also sounds like the Green Lanterns aren’t too popular with the rest of the universe, which is an interesting change of pace. Robert Venditti has proven that he can do sci-fi well in “X-O Manowar,” and Billy Tan’s early art work shows a lot of promise. I’m not nearly as interested in this book without Johns at the helm, but I’m cautiously optimistic. A lower profile will hopefully let the other Green Lantern books share in the spotlight.

Verdict: Surprisingly, this is the GL book I’m the least interested in at this point. I’ll at least give the first issue a shot.

GLC 21

Green Lantern Corps #21
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Illustrated by Bernard Chang
It’s nonstop action as the Green Lantern Corps faces attacks on Oa and Earth…and Guy Gardner is presented with a choice that could change the balance of power between the different Lantern Corps forever!

There’s not a lot to glean from this cover or solicit, other than the fact that Guy will be in the book. However, Fialkov has talked a lot about his plans for GLC and Red Lanterns, and I am very excited for both. Fialkov plans on casting GLC and Red Lanterns as opposing forces of justice in the universe, one that is reactive and one that is proactive. Fialkov has a big crime background, and I believe his refreshing take on the Green Lantern mythos might just be what the franchise needs. If I were to predict which of the Green Lantern writers had the best chance of rising to Geoff Johns’ level of success with the franchise, it would definitely be Fialkov.

Verdict: GLC is my second most anticipated book in the new Green Lantern line. Which leads me to…

Red Lanterns 21

Red Lanterns #21
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Illustrated by Bernard Chang
It’s recruitment time for the Red Lanterns, and no one in the universe is safe…especially with the most volatile Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, suddenly in their corner! But why has Guy turned his back on his own Corps?

Yes! Red Lantern Guy Gardner! Insta-buy! But in all seriousness, I absolutely cannot wait to see what Fialkov brings to this struggling book. If Fialkov can make a book like “I, Vampire” one of the best books in the New 52, I can only imagine what amazing things he’ll do with a group of cosmic powered, napalm vomiting monsters. One thing though, if you’re going to pull the Red Lantern Guy card, make it permanent. This is the third time in as many years that he’s donned the ring. Oh, and more Dex-Star, less Bleeze and Rankorr, thanks.

Verdict: I can’t believe it, but my current least favorite Green Lantern book is my most anticipated one coming this June.

New Guardians 21

Green Lantern: New Guardians #21
Written by Justin Jordan
Illustrated by Brad Walker and Drew Hennessy
The Templar Guardians have been locked away for millennia, but they have a VERY clear idea of what they need to do next — and of all the Lanterns in the universe, they need Kyle Rayner’s help. So it’s a shame he wants nothing to do with them! But once he sees the strange anomaly lurking at the edge of the universe, he may have no choice but to get on board with their mission…

Calling this book “New Guardians” finally makes sense! I’m really excited to see Kyle sticking around as the White Lantern, and I’m really excited to learn more about these “Templar” Guardians. I’m not familiar with Justin Jordan’s work, but he gets massive praise for “Luther Strode.” However, I do know that Brad Walker is a fantastic artist. Depending on the direction this book goes, it could be the perfect continuation of the awesome massive cosmic shenanigans that Johns was known for. I fully expect it to be an improvement on Bedard’s so-so run. Oh, and that Albuquerque cover is fantastic.

Verdict: After Fialkov’s books, this is my “New Guardians” is most anticipated Green Lantern title.

Larfleeze 21

Larfleeze #1
Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis
Illustrated by Scott Kolins
Larfleeze, the breakout character from BLACKEST NIGHT, last seen in the pages of THRESHOLD, is back in his own solo, ongoing series—and he’s not sharing it with anyone! In his debut solo adventure, Larfleeze meets Laord of the Hunt, a pan-dimensional cosmic entity that believes all living things are prey—and he’s out to turn the universe into his own private hunting reserve! And the only thing worse than Laord is the deadly beings he can summon!

I really don’t know what to make of “Larfleeze.” Coming from the writing team behind the cult classic “Justice League International,” I expect this book to have a completely different tone from the rest of the line. Giffen has said that he plans to keep this book separated from the rest of the Green Lantern books, which makes it perfect for those who are tired of the relentless Green Lantern crossovers. While I expect his book to be witty and hilarious, I don’t really know if it’s a strong enough concept to make me want to read it on a monthly basis. That said, I loved Giffen’s “O.M.A.C.” and “Doom Patrol,” so if “Larfleeze” can capture the magic of either of those books, then I’ll be absolutely smitten.

Verdict: ??? Too soon to tell, ask again later.

It saddened me to learn of Johns’ departure, I think this is the exact kind of shake-up the Green Lantern line needed to stay interesting. While “Green Lantern” proper is probably going to take a hit without Johns, the other books seem more interesting than they have in years. It looks like each of the four Earth Lanterns will have a book to call their own (Hal in GL, Guy in RL, John in GLC, Kyle in NG, oh, and Baz in JLA), something  fans have clammored for since the line began to expand. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, a bright new day is dawning for the Green Lantern books, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I only hope that the franchise will continue to get the same level of attention and recognition as it has received under Johns’ tenure.

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Preview: Time Warp

time-warp1-cropped

So, I don’t usually make a big fuss about preview pages, but this teaser for the upcoming oversized anthology, “Time Warp,” from Vertigo is too incredible to not call attention too. For real, take a look at these pages:

From writer Damon Lindelof and artist Jeff Lemire, a story about Rip Hunter and dinosaurs. Seriously.

LindelofLemire_timewarp

From writer/artist Matt Kindt, a story that looks like a (more) futuristic Hunger Games.

Kindt_timewarp

From writer Ray Fawkes and artist Andy MacDonald, some kind of weird/space mech story. I’m not familiar with MacDonald at all, but his art is just fantastic. It’s perfect for cosmic, and those mechs remind me vaguely of Kirby’s Celestials. Let’s get this guy on a “New Gods” book, K?

FawkesMacDonald_timewarp

Not sure to what to make of this page from writer Dan Abnett and artist I.N.J. Culbard, but it has a kind of exaggerated Darwyn Cooke vibe that I love.

AbnettCulbard_timewarp

And if those names weren’t enough, the issue also features work from Peter Milligan, Toby Litt, Simon Spurrier, Tom King, Gail Simone, Mark Buckingham, MK Perker, Victor Santos Montesinos, Jorge Corona, Rafael Albuquerque, Tom Fowler. The main cover from Eduardo Risso is great, but I would definitely love to get the Jae Lee variant:

TWARP_Cv1_var_02

Seriously, how great is that thing? This is the fifth of these anthology series that Vertigo has released over the past two years. Show DC and Vertigo that we want more of this kind of thing by picking it up on March 20th, and hope that one of the stories inside becomes an ongoing series or mini. Vertigo needs fresh blood. The $7.99 price tag may seem high, but it’s a steal for an 80 page book, and a way better deal that the $3.99 you plop down monthly for 20 pages of “Savage Wolverine.” Yeah, I’m talking to you.

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New Green Lantern Teams Announced

Well, that came a lot sooner than expected.

New Green Lantern

Just a little over a week since the announcement of the end of Geoff Johns’ groundbreaking “Green Lantern” run, along with the mass exodus of all Green Lantern family creative teams, DC has officially announced their new blood. Here are the new teams, revealed exclusively through MTV Geek:

Green Lantern – Written by Robert Venditti, Illustrated by Billy Tan

Green Lantern Corps – Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, Illustrated by Bernard Chang

Green Lantern: New Guardians – Written by Justin Jordan, Illustrated by Brad Walker

Red Lanterns – Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, Illustrated by Alessandro Vitti

Larfleeze – Written by Keith Giffen, Illustrated by Scott Kolins

As you can see, Bleeding Cool’s initial reports were right on target. All current Green Lantern titles remain, along with the new “Larfleeze” title, which will likely spin out of the back-up feature in “Threshold,” although it could also be possible that Larfleeze could take over the title entirely.

Overall, I’m very excited for these changes. Check back soon as more information comes to light and I go in-depth on my thoughts on the new creative teams.

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Rumor Control: New Green Lantern Writers [UPDATED]

UPDATE:

This morning, Bleeding Cool added a small wrinkle to the rumors reported yesterday. The site is now reporting that sources indicate Peter Tomasi, current writer of “Green Lantern Corps” and long time collaborator of Geoff Johns, will be taking over the main Green Lantern title in June. That same source reports Joshua Hale Fialkov writing both “Green Lantern Corps” and “Red Lanterns,” which stacks up against comments recently made by the writer, where he announced he would be writing two interconnected titles. No word on “New Guardians” or writers Justin Jordan, Robert Venditti, or Keith Giffen.

Tomasi’s work on GLC has left a lot to be desired of late, but his run on Vol. 2, pre-New 52, rivaled Geoff Johns’ own work in quality at times. With a strong artist (Patrick Gleason comes to mind) and the right cast of characters, Tomasi could do a very good job. Although it would be nice to get entirely new blood on the franchise, I can understand DC’s desire to leave one of the old guard in charge of the flagship title.

ORIGINAL STORY:

I’m expecting to get a lot of blogging mileage from the Green Lantern books over the coming months.

I’ve got a heavily vested interest in the Green Lantern family of books, so from the moment Geoff Johns and the rest of the crew stepped down from their posts I began to speculate on who might step into replace them. I figure we’ve got less than a month (when June solicits roll out) before DC pulls back the curtain, but Bleeding Cool is looking to beat them to it.

Coming out of the recent DC creative retreat, Bleeding Cool is reporting that the four writers coming on to the Green Lantern titles in June are Joshua Hale Fialkov, Robert Venditti, Justin Jordan, and Keith Giffen. Having four rumored writers seems to suggest that none of the current books will see cancellation, although there’s the possibility that current books could be replaced by new titles. Bleeding Cool does not attribute any writer to a particular book, and qualifies that one or more of these rumored replacements could be wrong, but that’s not going to stop me from going into full on speculation mode. Here’s what I think about these four writers, and which books they should be attached to. Continue reading

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…And Geoff Johns Takes Everyone With Him

Continuing off of this morning’s news that long time “Green Lantern” writer Geoff Johns would be stepping down from the series, it seems that all the writers of the various Green Lantern family books are leaving the titles, leaving the state of the franchise very up in the air.

In my opinion, this would be the perfect time to clean house, getting rid of the completely unnecessary “Red Lanterns,” merging “Corps” and “New Guardians” into a single book, and perhaps launching a “Tales of the Corps” style book that tells anthology style stories revolving around the various Corps. However, none of the titles are marked for cancellation, so we will probably see a major creative shuffle coming in June. It’s nearly impossible to speculate on what this new landscape will look like, but it sure is fun. I for one have always wanted a Morrison penned Lantern book, too bad he’s on his way out the door. Out of DC’s current stable of writers, I really can’t think of many writers I would trust with filling such big shoes as Johns is leaving behind. Snyder doesn’t really seem like the right fit, and Lemire is attached to far too many books as it is.

Actually, I think the person I’d like to see most on a GL book is Joshua Hale Fialkov. Let’s make that happen.

Unless we’re also talking Marvel writers. Can you just imagine a Jonathan Hickman “Green Lantern?” I know it’s impossible, but I can dream.

Check out an updated cover for “Green Lantern” #20, as well as the covers for the other Green Lantern group books below.

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Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern Comes To An End

After spending the last 9 years building a new mythology from the ground up and making the Green Lantern a truly A-list character, Geoff Johns is wrapping up his run this May with issue #20. Johns’ run on “Green Lantern” will always be special to me, as it was his ‘Sinestro Corps War’ arc that cemented my enjoyment of DC Comics and graphic story telling as a whole. I predicted Johns’ imminent departure a few months back, and made a few bolder predictions as well. Check out that post here.

gl_20_cvr_02

Cover to “Green Lantern” #20, the last issue penned by Geoff Johns.

The issue, drawn by Doug Mankhe, will be a whopping 64 pages. Major thanks to Geoff Johns for all the time he has spent with this series, and to Mankhe for making it so darn good-looking. It’s been one of heck of a ride. Now begins the anxious waiting for the announcement of a successor. Whoever it is, I hope he or she brings the same unbridled creativity that Johns brought, along with a fresh new look at one of my favorite comic book franchises.

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Rumor Contol: R. B. Silva On A New Justice League Book

Over the weekend, sleuth-site Bleeding Cool took note of some interesting photos on artist R. B. Silva’s Instagram. The artist posted several pictures of artwork for what seems like a new Justice League team. Several photos feature the hashtag #justiceleagueinternational, but with the one exception the team depicted is very American. Check out some of the photos and a bit of speculation after the jump. Continue reading

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