Category Archives: New Readers

The Future of The Avengers, with Charts

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Yesterday, Marvel released the first issue of the fifth volume of “The Avengers,” written by the earth-shattering team of Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opeña. Creative teams truly don’t get much better than that. I could literally gush on and on about how great this book is. It’s like Morrison’s JLA reincarnated as an Avengers book, only better looking. Overall it’s a stellar first issue that gives us an Avengers story far more epic in scope and wonder than that of this past summer’s blockbuster film (and that movie was no slouch in the epic department). To combat the escalating threats of the Marvel Universe, Captain America and Iron Man decide to make the Avengers bigger. By the end of this issue, the team consists of an astonishing 18 members. Some of these are Avengers mainstays, others are obscure characters being brought in for the first time, and some are new creations entirely. All in all, it’s a bit daunting for the uninitiated. Hickman attempts to alleviate this with some nifty graphics which give each hero a symbol and a relationship towards each other. When examining this chart we can glean much about where Hickman might be taking us in this ‘Avengers World.’ Click on, but beware, there be mild spoilers here. Continue reading

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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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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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Thoughts on the New 52 #0 Issues: Week 2

Last week saw the release of 14 #0 issues at DC. Of course I’m not crazy enough to read all of them, but here’s a few I did read. If you’re interested in hearing about the other books, there’s a great podcast I’ve discovered called Pop Culture Hound. The guys there are reviewing every one of the #0 issues this month, and a lot of the books I read this week were due to their recommendations. Here’s Week 1 and Week 2. Now click on for my thought on the New 52 #0 issues.

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Thoughts on the New 52 #0 Issues: Week 1

This month marks one year since DC’s launch of the New 52 and to celebrate, DC is turning the clock back. This month, (almost) all the New 52 books will tell stories that take place before the beginning of the New 52 and are renumbered to #0 to signify this. While I’m not going to go crazy and read all of the books like I did for the launch of the New 52, an event like this does make me want to read a few books more than I normally would. Here are some thoughts on 7 of the books released this week.

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The Road to the New JLA

This past week at Fan Expo in Toronto, Canada, DC Comics made a surprising announcement. Geoff Johns, super-scribe and CCO of DC Entertainment, will be going the way of Brian Michael Bendis by taking on new Justice League book in addition to the original one launched at the start of the New 52. Justice League of America, launching in 2013 with art by David Finch, will feature an extremely eclectic and a (imo) very exciting cast of characters. The team as been foreshadowed in several books and the implications it brings for the future of the New 52 are vast. Today I’ll be talking about the clues we have been given thus far and speculating on what might still be to come. Also, with the upcoming #0 issues celebrating the 1 year anniversary of the New 52, I’ll include a list of titles that you should check out if you want to follow the major story lines leading up to JLA and more exciting stories in the DCU.

The new faces of the Justice League of America (Image from mtv.com/geek)

When the New 52 was announced, we learned that Geoff Johns and Jim Lee would lead the way with a modernized version of DC’s legendary super-team, this time known only as “Justice League”. The team followed the pattern set by Grant Morrison’s “Big 7” team from the 90’s, which is widely considered to be the greatest incarnation of the Justice League ever created. The major difference would be that Cyborg, most well know from his position on the Teen Titans, would take the place of JL mainstay Martian Manhunter, who would find a place on the new Stormwatch. Justice League International and Justice League Dark were also announced along with Justice League to round out an Avengers style family of team books.

Since that time, Johns has been planting seeds of things to come. Before JL’s first issue, DC released a promo image that featured characters that were to be included in Justice League later on, outside of the main seven. At the time of this writing, only one of those characters, Green Arrow, has made an appearance in the book. Said appearance took place in Justice League #8, and featured Arrow trying to earn a place in the League. While he didn’t accomplish his goal, a secretive meeting with Justice League liaison Steve Trevor hinted that Arrow might be heading up his own team in the future.

Pictured on the left of the Justice League, from top to bottom: Deadman, currently a member of Justice League Dark; The Atom, who has only appeared in the FCBD special; Element Woman, a new character from Flashpoint who as since only appeared in the FCBD special; Firestorm, who has had some interaction with JLI. On the Right of the Justice League, top to bottom: Green Arrow; Hawkman; Lady Luck, a new character that has yet to make an appearance in the New 52; Mera, wife of Aquaman.

The next tease we got came from DC’s Free Comic Book Day 2012 offering, “The New 52 #1,” also written by Geoff Johns. The final four page splash, illustrated by Justice League artist Jim Lee, depicted the League fighting amongst themselves and various other DC heroes, many of which were depicted in the aforementioned promotional image. A new Green Lantern was also shown for the first time. This was when readers learned of the upcoming event known as the “Trinity War”.

Notice any similarities between the characters depicted in this teaser and the ones shown in the promo?

Since then, we have learned that Justice League International was to be cancelled, with an annual issue written by Geoff Johns and Dan Didio acting as the capstone. Also, Martian Manhunter recently left Stormwatch. This all sets the stage for the formation of the Justice League of America, which seems to be the team that was hinted at in Justice League #8.

Now, let the speculation begin. There is going to be a lot revealed this Wednesday with the release of three books written by Geoff Johns; Green Lantern Annual #1, Justice League #12, and Justice League International #1. The GL Annual will reveal the fate of Hal Jordan and set the stage for the coming of Baz, the new GL revealed in the FCBD special and featured in Justice League of America. Justice League #12 wraps up the current story arc and that book and is said to have major ramifications for the team and entire DCU. These threads will be picked up in the JLI Annual as that team appears to be dismantled, making way for the JLA. Now, looking at the teaser images shown above, we see that Hawkman, Green Arrow, Baz, and Vibe are accounted for in JLA. Deadman is a member of Justice League Dark, but is the only member of that team to be featured, suggesting a major role in coming events. Johns has said that Shazam will be joining the main Justice League in the coming future, which makes it strange that it appears to be Black Adam that is featured in the Trinity War teaser. Could that just be a coloring error, or is there a missing link we don’t yet know of? That leaves Mera, Element Woman, and The Atom as the only characters to not currently be featured on a team. It makes sense that Mera would join Aquaman on the Justice League. Element Woman and the Atom have not made a true appearance in the New 52, and could end up on either Justice League team, but I feel that if they were to be in JLA they would’ve been featured in the initial teaser image. Lady Luck is an absolute enigma, having not been depicted or even mentioned by Johns since before the New 52 even began. I’m very interested to see if the lack of information about the character has to do with an upcoming plot, or if the character was discarded along the way as new ideas were introduced.

Common speculation is that the three Justice League teams might be the “Trinity” referred to in “Trinity War” and that the story will involve the three teams fighting against each other. However, one of the only clear fights shown in the teaser is Hawkman vs. Green Arrow, both of whom are members of JLA, debunking this theory. It is more likely that the Trinity refers to either the trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, or that of the Trinity of Sin introduced in the FCBD special.

There’s a long way to go before we get to the Trinity War. DC has heavily hinted that the event is set to take place September 2013, marking the two-year anniversary of the New 52. Next month, DC will be celebrating the one year anniversary of the New 52 with #0 issues, special issue in each series that are perfect jump on points for new readers. If you missed out on the New 52 when it began and what to get into, now’s your chance. Here’s a list of books that you should definitely be following in order to keep up with the all the major developments in the DCU:

  • Justice League
  • Justice League Dark (Issue #9 onward)
  • Green Lantern
  • Phantom Stranger (coming in September)
  • Justice League of America (coming 2013)

It would also be a good idea to check out this week’s Justice League International Annual #1 and FCBD DC The New 52 #1, which is free here on Comixology. Another book that might be good to follow is Team 7, another book launching alongside Phantom Stranger that will focus on a black ops government in the early days of the New 52. The group includes Steve Trevor, who Johns has said will be a major character in upcoming stories, as well as characters like Black Canary, Deathstroke, Grifter, and Amanda Waller. If you don’t have a comic store nearby, all these issues can be purchased at comixology.com and can be read on your computer, along with any iOS or Android powered device. It’s an extremely exciting time to be a DC fan.

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The New 52: Zero Issues and the Third Wave

Oh man I love news like this. Today DC announced that they would be releasing #0 issues for all New 52 books in September, in conjunction with the one year anniversary of the New 52. These “0” issues will act as a kind of prequel to the #1 issues released last year, providing back-story and important revelations for the New 52. If that wasn’t exciting enough, DC also announced that they would roll of the third wave of New 52 books that month as well. Similar to the second wave, these 4 books will replace under-performing titles in the New 52. DC has already announced the cancellation of Justice League International and is likely to announce the other three in the near future. Much like I did after the announcement of the second wave, I’ll give my thoughts on the new books as well as my initial interest level.

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A Great Place to Start: Green Lantern

Green Lantern is without a doubt one of my all time favorite characters. Which Green Lantern? All of them! The concept is just so rich, with the opportunity to tell small earth based stories or huge cosmic epics. I know the Green Lantern movie probably left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, but the film is an extremely poor representation of what the character has to offer. Here are a few great places to start reading Green Lantern. Continue reading

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A Great Place to Start: Superman

Superman, the hero that kick-started the Golden Age of comics has become one of America’s greatest pop culture icons. As a character, he represents everything we aspire to be. He is good, just, and altruistic. Some even argue that his story draws parallels with biblical characters like Moses and Christ, although that’s a conversation for another day. I always get annoyed at people for writing Superman off as an outdated boy scout. People complain about him being too good, or having too much power to be identifiable with. I think that is a load. For all the power the character has when he is distilled down to his most basic, it is his humanity that defines him. I will agree that Superman isn’t an easy character to write well, as seen with DC’s current struggles with the character in the New 52, but when he is written well it’s always amazing. If you’ve never been a big Superman fan, due to writing the character off or just not knowing where to start, here are some great Superman stories that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Superman for All Seasons-This is a story by the Batman: The Long Halloween team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Like that book this story progresses over a year’s time, this time focusing on the four seasons rather than holidays. This book’s strength lies in the importance of Clark Kent’s time growing up in Smallville. There’s a really great small town feel in this book that instantly makes me feel at home.

All Star Superman-If I could recommend just one Superman story to every person in the world, it would be this story. Over 12 issues, writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely distill every single aspect of what makes Superman such a good character into one concise story. You could jump into this story with the most basic knowledge almost any American has about the character and do fine. All Star Superman does not take place in the main DC continuity and is a complete story from start to finish. If this book does not stir some kind of emotion in you somewhere, then I say you have no heart. Read this book.

Kingdom Come-This is an absolute classic. In an alternate future, a cataclysmic event brings Superman out of a long retirement. His wife, Lois Lane, was killed years ago by the Joker leaving this Superman bitter and disillusioned with humanity. This is a big story involving dozens of DC characters, but at its heart it is a Superman story. This is the second graphic novel I ever read and I was able to get through fairly easily even with the large cast. This book will likely act as a springboard into other DC characters, I know it was for me. This is a story about a Superman who has doubts and has experienced great loss, making him extremely easy to identify with.

Superman: Earth One-DC launched its Earth One initiative in 2010 with this original graphic novel. Predating the New 52, Earth One is a line of graphic novels that re-envisions DC heroes for a contemporary, bookstore audience. Many have called this book Superman for the Twilight crowd and while I would not categorize Superman: Earth One as anything like Twilight, I can see where they are coming from. In this story you’ll get a revamped telling of Superman’s origin and see him become a hero for the first time. While this isn’t the best Superman origin story in comics, it’s a great starting point for new readers, especially with vol. 2 coming in November of this year.

Superman: Red Son-This story asks the question, “what is it that really defines Superman?”, by tweaking his origin just slightly. Instead of landing in Kansas as baby, Red Son tells the story of what Superman would be like if he had landed in Soviet Russia. That’s right, the Superman is real, and he’s Russian. This is a fun twist on classic DC characters and it leads to some really great character moments.

These are just a few great Superman stories for a new reader to latch onto. I would also recommend tracking down Action Comics #775, a single issue that’s already a decade old. It contains a story called “What’s so Funny about Truth, Justice, and the American Way?” that is a great treatise on why the morality of Superman is still relevant even in a postmodern world. It’s also collected in Justice League Elite Vol. 1. All the stories that I picked where out of continuity, one and done stories, but there are some great in continuity stories as well. If you want to dig a bit deeper, check out Superman and the Legion of Superheroes and Superman: Brainiac by Geoff Johns.

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A Great Place to Start: Batman

One of the reasons I started this blog was to help new readers get into comic books. I admit, sometimes I get so caught up in what I’m reading and what I’m excited about that I probably don’t do the best job of that. So, in an attempt to do better I’ll be doing a series of posts called “A Great Place to Start”. The title comes from these cheesy commercials a college from my hometown runs, where people just walk around whispering “it’s a great place to start, pass it on” in each others ears. It’s a silly commercial, but I like the idea here. If you see something here that you think sounds interesting, go check it out. I’ll try to only post things that I’ve read or know a lot about, so that I know the book or series is new reader friendly. I’ll also include links to Amazon so you can find the book quickly and easily. If you do find something you like, pass it on to your friends.

This week, I’m going to be focusing on a character everyone knows about, Batman. Batman is probably one of the most accessible comic characters out there due to the media saturation the character has received. Almost everyone knows at least the basic origin and idea behind Batman and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne. Here are some great Batman stories that can be easily enjoyed with little knowledge about Batman.

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