Monthly Archives: November 2012

Wrath of the First Lantern

With yesterday’s release of solicitations for February 2013, DC has stealthily revealed the next story in Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern epic. Following Rise of the Third Army, Wrath of the First Lantern will delve deeper into the mysterious character first introduced in Green Lantern Annual #1.  USA Today has an interview with Johns on the next arc that you can read here. Surprising, DC hasn’t made much noise about the announcement of what seems to be a crescendo in Johns’ run. Since the end of Blackest Night I’ve wondered how much longer Johns plans to stay on Green Lantern. After 8 years and over 100 total issue of shepherding the character to true A-list status (at least among comic fans), one can’t help but wonder how many more stories he has to tell. Well, I’ve stopped guessing how or when Johns is going to end his GL run, but based on the new solicits, last week’s issue of Green Lantern, and Johns own words on the Wrath of the First Lantern story, I have pretty good idea of what’s coming next.

Green Lantern is getting rebooted. Continue reading

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More Exciting Announcements for DC’s February Books

Earlier this week DC announced Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino would become the new creative team for Green Arrow starting in February with #17. This was awesome news for as I really like the character, but haven’t enjoyed the Green Arrow book since the launch of the New 52. Today, Comic Book Resources is reporting a few more exciting announcements regarding DC’s February books. Again, they have piqued my interest for books that I want to like, but to this point haven’t.

First up is the news that Keith Giffen will be taking over the art duties on Paul Levitz’s Legion of Super Heroes. Giffen’s name is as synonymous to the Legion as Levitz’s, as the pairing of the two led to the classic “Great Darkness Saga.” I absolutely loved Giffen’s pencils on O.M.A.C., though I’m not sure if the Kirby look fits as well with the Legion as it did here. Mostly, I’m hoping that Giffen’s creative input will make the book a more engaging and enjoyable read. I really liked Levitz’s work on the Legion volume leading up to the New 52, but the tail end of that run and the New 52 volume have been very boring in my opinion. Hopefully the chemistry between Levitz and Giffen will lead to the kind of epic stories expected from the Legion.

Giffen returns to the Legion of Super Heroes with issue #17 and brings a Jack Kirby flair.

The second announcement is regarding Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato’s Flash book. The duo has revealed that Issue #17 will feature the first appearance of the Reverse Flash in the New 52. If you’ll recall, it was the machinations of the Eobard Thawne incarnation of the Reverse Flash that led to the Flashpoint event that in turn led to the New 52. While Manapul and Buccellato have said that this will be a completely new incarnation of the character, with a completely new look and motives, the implications of the return of the Reverse Flash are very exciting. After the character’s appearance in #17, Manapul will take a two issue break from the Flash, returning in issue #20 to kick of the Reverse Flash story in full. The co-writers are being extremely secretive about the new villain’s identity. It’s been a long time since there’s been a good mystery in my super hero comics, so I really hope they play this for all it’s worth. Could this finally be the return of Wally West, as a villain?! The possibilities are endless! I really enjoyed the first arc of The Flash, especially the art. However, I ended up dropping the book due to monetary restraints. This news, plus the awesome looking recent Rogues stories, are definitely tempting me to revisit the book.

Hot off the heels of their “Gorilla War” arc, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato bring the Reverse Flash into the New 52 in The Flash #17

With three new series and three awesome new directions for existing New 52 books, February looks like it will be a very exciting month for DC comics readers. I especially can’t wait for the release of solicits next week to see what else they might have in store. Keep checking back here for more exciting comic news!

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Uncanny Brotherhood of Evil Mutants? (or “Marvel Takes My Money”)

A few days ago, Marvel released another NOW! teaser with the word “UNCANNY” and the creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo. It was pretty obvious to all involved that this would be the next volume of Uncanny X-Men. I had kind of hoped that Marvel would let the Uncanny X-Men name rest a bit with the book having already been cancelled and relaunched last year, as well as the launch of All New X-Men in its place. By my count there are already 10 X-Men books in the new Marvel landscape (not counting Wolverine’s solo book and Uncanny Avengers), so the I think it would be best to leave Uncanny alone until they decide to resurrect Professor X five years from now. However, Bendis gets what Bendis wants, and what he want is two bimonthly $3.99 X-Men books. That’s right folks, for only $16 a month (plus tax) you can read the weekly adventures of everyone’s favorite muties by BMB. Now, I’m only being a little bitter as I HATE Marvel’s pricing/shipping policies with books like this. As interested as I am in All New X-Men, I refuse to buy it for this reason. However, I’m a huge fan of Bachalo’s X-Men work, so I was at least a little interested in seeing what this new volume of Uncanny will be about.

Well, now I know. Take my money Marvel, you insufferable #%@#^@#.

Today, in a post on Bachalo’s blog titled “Uncanny,” we get the first glimpse of the new Uncanny X-Men. And guess what, it’s the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants led by none other than golden boy Scott Summers.

Now I might be  jumping the gun a bit, but based on the turn Cyclops’ character has taken post AvX and the inclusion of Magneto and Emma Frost on the team, this is pretty much the only conclusion I can come to. And I love it. I’m firmly in the “Cyclops was right” camp of AvX, so I can wait for him to carry on his agenda and lead the new mutant population to greatness. This is the perfect evolution of the post-Schism status quo and it should be a great companion to Wolverine & the X-Men. I just hope Bachalo can stay on as the regular artist and that Bendis wont mess it up.

Final thoughts? Cyclops and Magneto’s new suits are fantastic. Oh, and I predict Toad and Husk will defect from the Jean Grey School over to Cyclops’ team. On a day in which DC does something incredibly stupid, Marvel does something brilliant.

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John Constantine is Dead. Long Live John Constantine.

This February DC Comics is cancelling Hellblazer, the longest running title under their Vertigo imprint, with issue #300. Hellblazer stars mystical British con-man John Constantine, a character created by Alan Moore during the course of his run on Swamp Thing. After the end of Moore’s run, writer Jamie Delano took over the character in what would become the flagship book for DC’s fledgling mature readers imprint. The book features Constantine aging in real-time over the course of its 20+ year run, something that is completely unheard of in modern comics. The character has been written by several incredible writers over the years, including long runs by Delano, Garth Ennis, Brian Azzarello, Mike Carey, Andy Diggle, Denise Mina, and Peter Milligan, as well as a few issue written by superstars like Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison. Peter Milligan, who took over the title with issue #251, will close out the Hellblazer saga. Hellblazer has been known for its complex stories, extremely dark themes, and for the strength of its lead character.

However, this is not the end of John Constantine. Starting in March, DC will launch Constantine #1, a new book set in the main DC universe written by Robert Venditti with art by Renato Guedes.

John Constantine, by new series artist Renato Guedes.

This is a controversial move to say the least. Constantine was created as a DC universe character, one that interacted with the likes of the Justice League and other heroes before the shift to Vertigo. Once Hellblazer became entrenched in Vertigo, the title existed in a closed universe, although Constantine would occasionally interact with characters from other Vertigo books. It was essentially the same case as Nolan’s Batman movies, wherein Batman doesn’t interact with other DC properties. In 2011, Constantine returned to the DCU proper in the pages Geoff Johns’ Brightest Day and the New 52 relaunch’s Justice League Dark. This lead to their being two portrayals of Constanine, the mainstream, reader friendly version in JL Dark, and the “true” version in the pages of Hellblazer. Many fans (myself included) feel like the New 52 version lacks many of the qualities that makes the Vertigo Constantine so compelling and complex. I for one just started reading through Milligan’s run on Hellblazer on Comixology due to my excitement for the upcoming issue #300. While I was very dissatisfied with Milligan’s portrayal of Constantine in Justice League Dark, I really like his Hellblazer stuff, confirming that both Constantines aren’t created equal. Even Jeff Lemire, a writer I adore, hasn’t been able to develop the “new” Constantine into a character that I have any real desire to follow.

I don’t have much experience with Venditti’s work. I’ve read the first few issues of the relaunched X-O Manowar and really enjoyed them, but that’s a completely different animal. Venditti is an American writer, and it is generally agreed upon by fans that Constantine works the best when he is written by a British writer. I will be very surprised if Venditti is able to accurately capture the unique voice of John Constantine. I am very familiar with the art of Renato Guedes, and while I am not a fan of his work on Superman during the New Krypton era, his recent work on books like Secret Avengers and Green Lantern has been fantastic. If he can bring that kind of talent to Constantine, then at the very least it will be a good-looking book.

Overall I count this announcement as one step forward, two back. Constantine is already heavily featured throughout the “Dark” books of the New 52, so a solo book is hardly necessary. That slot could’ve been filled by any number of other books fans are actually asking for. Likewise, Hellblazer is the longest running book under Vertigo and its cancellation is a major blow to the imprint. Vertigo has lost many major books within the past year, with long running series like Scalped and Sweet Tooth finishing up and American Vampire about to go on hiatus. Fables, which will take the mantle of longest running Vertigo book, and its various spinoffs are still going strong. There are a few very exciting limited series in the pipeline, such as Lemire’s Trillium, Snyder’s The Wake, and Gaiman’s Sandman prequel, but the imprint is left with very few stable ongoing series. The only book that comes to mind is Paul Cornell’s Saucer Country, which while being very interesting isn’t getting much attention. I hope that this is not a sign that the long running and highly respected imprint will soon be dismantled, especially in a time when interest creator owned properties are at their highest. Perhaps DC is prepping a new imprint to house all creator owned books, regardless of age-range. This, in my opinion, would be the only acceptable for the death of Vertigo as we know it.

Constantine #1 is set to launch in March, meaning DC still has one more book to announce for February or else there will only be 51 New 52 books released that much. Crossing my fingers for that New Gods book. Keep checking back for more news and info.

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First Art from JLA Spin-Off Books

MTV Geek has been slowly leaking interviews with the creative teams of Green Arrow, Vibe, and Katana, as well as the first cover images. Overall, I’m a lot more excited than I was after the initial announcements. Head over to geek-news.mtv.com to check out the interviews.

Green Arrow by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino

It honestly doesn’t get much better than this. Jeff Lemire is one of the best writers in the industry and is known for crafting emotionally driven stories with down to earth characters. Who better to tap to write DC’s Emerald Archer? Add in Andrea Sorrentino, whose work on I, Vampire was some of the best art in The New 52. His dark and gritty art style is perfect for a street level hero. I’ve always though Green Arrow was a really great and underutilized character since my first introduction to him in Dark Knight Returns. I’m absolutely loving Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye series at Marvel, but I’m a DC guy at the end of the day. Here’s hoping Lemire and Sorrentino can make Green Arrow the première archer in comics.

Vibe by Andrew Kreisberg and Pete Woods

Oh, what’s that? They’re tying Vibe’s origin into the Darkseid invasion from the first Justice League arc. And Geoff Johns is co-plotting the first issue? And David Finch drew the cover? Well, you got me DC, I guess I’ll check this out. I’m a sucker for D-list super hero characters, plus this seems like it will tie in very heavily to Johns’ Justice League stuff. However, it’s going to take A LOT to get me to stick around after that first issue.

Katana by Ann Nocenti and Alex Sanchez

I’ve got to admit, this series does sound pretty cool. The New 52 version of Katana has a pretty cool hook (she claims her sword devours souls, but she could just be crazy) and a book about ninjas and samurai with mystical weapons would be totally awesome. However, based on her work in the New 52 Nocenti isn’t a name that inspires that much excitement for me, and I’m completely unfamiliar with Sanchez. There’s a lot of potential here, and I would love for this to be DC’s answer to Marvel’s Iron Fist.

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The New 52 Wave 4 Brings the JLA, Spinoffs, and Creative Shakeups

With the cancellations of G.I. Combat, Legion Lost, Grifter, Frankenstein, and Blue Beetle, it was just a matter of time before the other shoe dropped and replacement books would be announced. We already knew that Keith Giffen’s new book, Threshold, would take the place of G.I. Combat and that Justice League of America by Geoff Johns and David Finch would launch in February. Today DC has announced two more books launching in February and it seems that this wave of books is clearly centered around JLA, with two members of the new team getting their own solo series. The first is Vibe, written by the creator of the Arrow TV series, Andrew Kreisberg,  and drawn by Legion Lost artist Pete Woods. The second is Katana, written by current Catwoman and Green Arrow writer Ann Nocenti and drawn by Alex Sanchez. It’s pretty surprising that Vibe and Katana are getting solo books over a character like Martian Manhunter or even Cyborg, who is the only member of the main Justice League team without a solo book. I also wonder if the Vibe and Katana books will be actual ongoing books, as it seems like it would be better to test the waters with a miniseries. In fact, launching JLA with miniseries starring Vibe, Katana, Stargirl, and Martian Manhunter would probably be a lot of fun.

DC also announced that Justice League of America will have 52 variant covers. Each variant cover will represent one of the 50 U.S. states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. Books like Walking Dead #100 and Uncanny Avengers #1 having as many as 20 incentive variant covers, and if DC was following the model of those books then 52 variants would just be absurd. However, retailers can order any amount of each cover as they want, without having to meet incentive levels, making this a truly fun and easy variant gimmick. Who won’t want to pick up their state’s variant cover?

The biggest news isn’t a new book, but a major creative team shift. DC superstar writer Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, the amazing artist of I, Vampire, will take over the book staring with issue #17. Green Arrow has fared poorly since the launch of the New 52, so this a great news for fans of the character. Here’s hoping this book will rival another book about a hero with a penchant for arrows that I and seemingly all of comic-dom is loving. Robin Hood-types are definitely in this year. DC hasn’t released any art work for the newly announced series, but Jeff Lemire tweeted this teaser image by Sorrentino:

Now, by my count their is still one book that needs to be announced to for February to get back to that magic 52 number DC has committed themselves too. With solicitations due next week I expect more announcements to be made as the week goes on. Keep checking back as more news surfaces about these books!

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