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DC Comics: All the Single Ladies

September 12th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Recently, DC Comics’s problems have reached sitcom levels in terms of errors and misunderstanding. The most interesting of these recent incidents is easily the Batwoman situation. J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman had announced their leave of Batwoman at #26 due to the same 11th hour editorial changes that have annoyed countless other creators into skipping town on DC, but claimed the straw that broke the camel’s back was that they could allow Batwoman to get engaged to her girlfriend, but they couldn’t get married. That created a backlash at DC for what appeared to be an anti-gay marriage stance.

While it made for some good schadenfreude, it didn’t really seem to make sense. DC heavily hyped up Batwoman’s debut for being a crime-fighting lesbian. There’s supporting character in the pages of Vibe who’s both gay and married. Hell, Marvel and Archie Comics have both made a killing off doing a gay marriage issue. Then what’s the problem?

The truth, as it turns out, is much stranger. In a twist on the old line, “I’m not racist! I just hate everyone equally,” DC Comics appears to simply hate marriage, whether it be straight or gay.

At first it just seemed like a stealth coincidence. With the New 52 reboot, it made sense that Clark Kent would no longer be married to Lois Lane and that Barry Allen would no longer be married to Iris West. They’ve been given the chance to rebuild towards those stories and retell them with a modern touch. Meanwhile, Wally West is no longer married to Linda because he simply doesn’t exist. But there are other married couples in the New 52, right? Aquaman and Mera are together and Animal Man has two kids. No, DC can’t be against marriage to the point of scorched earth, right?

As it turns out, this is what Dan Didio had to say at Baltimore Comic-Con the other day. “Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests. That’s very important and something we reinforced. People in the Bat family their personal lives basically suck. Dick Grayson, rest in peace – oops shouldn’t have said that – Bruce Wayne, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon and Kathy Kane. It’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s equally important that they set them aside. That is our mandate, that is our edict and that is our stand.”

Which is kind of a weird thing to say, since Tim Drake was able to make “having a family” work for fifteen years. Then they fixed that and made him just as insufferable as Batman around the time when even DC realized that Batman was too insufferable and needed to be fixed.

It also seems to ignore police officers and firemen and other real life heroes, but… yeah.

So DC is only against the Batman-related characters being married, right? Except word’s been going around that Aquaman and Mera aren’t officially married. Sure, she’s his “queen” and they live together, but Johns has made sure not to mention that they’re husband and wife. It’s said that this will be explained in a future issue.

Well, at least we have Animal Man and Ellen Baker, right? Except they’re in the middle of a messy separation based on the death of their son Cliff. This whole part becomes really suspect based on the background. Lemire’s Animal Man started off feeling like a strong successor to Grant Morrison’s defining run and even made direct references to it early on. The latter part of Morrison’s run had a point that killing loved ones and generally crapping on the heroes for the point of drama is kind of a stupid thing to do.

How strange that years later, Morrison and Animal Man would both play the “kill the hero’s son” card at the same time. You have to wonder, though. Animal Man plays up the idea that heroes shouldn’t be married because their family will pay for it (even though unbeknownst to the main cast, it’s not Buddy’s fault, but because of his daughter’s fate as champion of the Red. Long story) and it’s being pulled towards Buddy being on his own. You have to wonder how much of that decision is based on editorial interference.

The comparison to Marvel is obvious. After all, they made huge waves with their Spider-Man marriage controversy. The One More Day incident is something I still don’t agree with, but I understand. Here’s the thing, though. That’s just one character. Yes, there are plenty of marriages that don’t work in Marvel, but right now, there’s still such pairings as Reed Richards and Sue Storm, Black Bolt and Medusa, Northstar and Kyle and Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Hell, I’m pretty sure Absorbing Man and Titania are still together.

While the editorial fuckery is a major problem with DC, I think one of the other major problems is the company-wide edicts (such as my new favorite, “Batman never sits. EVER.”). Despite Marvel’s problems, they’re pretty good about giving you variety. For every gritty Avengers Arena there’s something fun like Superior Foes of Spider-Man. You have options.

DC isn’t giving much in terms of options these days and this Villains Month bullshit epitomizes it. Everything is dark and everyone is horribly dying. They had something going with Blue Beetle, but then they canceled it, brought it back and retold it as something needlessly darker and it got canceled twice as fast. They’re trying to push Harley Quinn as a madcap romp, yet they just released a comic of her murdering legions of innocent children for the hell of it. Because THAT’S somebody I want to cheer for and laugh with.

In the end, I think about a scene from 52. Tim Drake, trying to get over how insufferable DC made him, was training with some monks and one asked him a riddle. Something like, “A duck is sitting inside a glass bottle. How did it get there?” After thinking about it, Tim realized it was because the monk telling the riddle put it there. The duck was fictional, just like everyone in the DC universe. You know why marriages don’t work for superheroes, DC? Because YOU say they don’t. The actual creative team thought it was a good idea and could work, but what do they know?

They know to look for work elsewhere, I suppose.

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Guide to the Injustice Roster: Explaining Comics to People Who Don’t Read Comics Part 5

April 10th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

SHAZAM

Alias: Captain Marvel, Billy Batson, Captain Thunder
First Appearance: Whiz Comics #2 (1940)
Powers: The wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. Able to summon lightning by saying, “Shazam”
Other Media: Old-timey film adaptations, had his own live-action show in the 70’s, an animated series, was on Legend of the Superheroes, guest-starred on Justice League, Batman: the Brave and the Bold and Young Justice.

I might as well get the name thing out of the way because I’m sure it’s confusing as hell for people out of the Shazam loop. The magical wizard is Shazam. The superhero is Captain Marvel, only sometimes they call him Shazam, like in current comics and this game. It’s for silly legal reasons that I’ll get to, but for the sake of simplicity, I’m just going to call him Captain Marvel throughout this thing.

It’s a little sad that your average Joe doesn’t know who Captain Marvel is because during the 40’s, he was THE top superhero. Published by Fawcett Comics, his adventures sold more than Superman and Batman. He was the first superhero to get his own movie (which featured him taking out a bunch of enemy soldiers with a gatling gun. Times were different back then). Elvis Presley based his on-stage wardrobe on Captain Marvel’s sidekick Captain Marvel Jr. Captain Marvel was the man.

Only he really wasn’t a man, but a young boy named Billy Batson. Chosen by the wizard Shazam for his purity, orphan news reporter Billy was bestowed the power of becoming Captain Marvel upon saying the word, “Shazam!” Powered by the gods, Captain Marvel fought the likes of Dr. Sivana, Mr. Mind and many others. What made the character work was that he was just a kid. It was pure power fantasy. The idea that you could become this great superhero no matter your age.

So what made him so much better than Superman in the nation’s mind? Well, to be brutally honest about early Superman comics, Captain Marvel was interesting. Superman was a novelty act. He was in God Mode, going through the motions, taking out criminals who were no threat to him. Watching him beat up wife-beaters or throw around mobsters was fun in its own way, but even the mad scientist characters didn’t work all that well. It was usually, “Haha! Let’s see what happens when I pour molten lava over Superman! Nothing? Well, shit. What if I send my giant robot forces? Torn apart with ease? Damn it.”

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Guide to the Injustice Roster: Explaining Comics to People Who Don’t Read Comics Part 4

April 5th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

THE JOKER

Alias: Red Hood, Jack Napier, Joseph Kerr, Oberon Sexton
First Appearance: Batman #1 (1940)
Powers: Genius in both planning and improvisation, master chemist, completely unpredictable, unmatched tolerance for pain
Other Media: Yeah, pretty much.

“Frighteningly sick in the head… yet strangely compelling company.” – Lex Luthor when asked about the Joker

Despite all those above aliases, there’s never been a true name to go with the Joker’s pale face. His origin has always been up in the air and he rather likes it that way. The most famous non-movie take on the Joker’s backstory is the classic 80’s tale Killing Joke, where Joker spent time reminiscing about being a failed stand-up comedian who in one day senselessly lost his wife and unborn child and then got knocked into a vat of chemicals by Batman. Joker later admitted to Batman and the reader that he always remembered the actions that led up to him becoming the Joker differently every time and no longer truly knew who he was. All he could tell was that – much like Batman – he had one bad day and it caused him to snap. The difference was that while Batman had dedicated himself to making sense of the world, Joker dedicated himself to knocking down the whole house of cards and reveling in it.

Joker’s appearance was based on actor Conrad Veidt’s creepy portrayal of Gwynplaine from the 1928 film the Man Who Laughs. In his initial appearances, Joker was just as creepy and violent as he was in the movies. It wasn’t until the Comics Code Authority stepped in that he became more like Cesar Romero in the 60’s Batman TV show. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that one time in the 50’s that Joker dedicated his time and energy to committing crimes based on colossal mistakes. That led to a comic where they mentioned the word “boner” like a hundred times and it STILL makes me laugh like an idiot.

“And I’m worried about the boner he’s readying for YOU!” – Commissioner Gordon to Batman

Remarkably enough, Joker appears to be the one character who was never affected by any of the DC reboots. He always just kept being the Joker and any different depictions fell into the idea that he’s just a versatile nutjob who is as likely to poison a troop of boyscouts as he is to steal a child’s straight A report card and call it a day. Even Batman scribe Grant Morrison explained that his boner crime days were just another step in the psycho’s evolution.

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Guide to the Injustice Roster: Explaining Comics to People Who Don’t Read Comics Part 1

March 28th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Lately on the Something Awful forum, there’s been a thread about the upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us game. A good percentage of the people who read and write in that thread aren’t comic fans, but are simply interested in the new game. That leads to a lot of questions based on various discussions. Questions like, “Who is Black Adam and why is everyone excited about him being in the game?” “Wait, what happened to the Green Lantern with the funny crab mask?” “What’s the deal with Flash, again?” “Hold on, Black Adam gets his powers from saying ‘chocolate egg cream’?” and mainly, “What the hell are any of you even talking about?”

For the hell of it, I started writing up profiles for each of the 24 announced characters. A guide that explains what each guy is about in a way that gives their backstories and notable moments, while spotlighting the stupid and cool aspects of their histories. I did a couple and it went over really well, so I’ve been trekking on. It’s actually been a complete blast to write.

So I figured, what the hell, I might as well repost them here. Send your non-comic reading friends and be edutained.

INTRODUCTION

Before I get to the game’s cast, let’s take a quick look at the DC universe itself.

DC’s continuity is a complicated mess. Originally, back in the 30’s and 40’s, DC hit the scene with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and other Golden Age heroes. Popularity died down a bit except for the first three (early Wonder Woman sold a lot through the years due to being a thinly-veiled fetish comic) and during the late 50’s/early 60’s, DC reintroduced a lot of their ideas. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were more or less the same concepts, but Green Lantern went from being a magical dude in a cape to a space cop in spandex and the Flash went from being a dude dressed as Mercury to a masked man with lightning bolt ears. Eventually, they figured out a storyline reason for this. The Golden Age of DC takes place on Earth-2 while the “modern” stuff takes place on Earth-1. This is discovered when 60’s Flash teleports himself to Earth-2 to meet the original Flash. This also meant that Earth-2 Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were all about 20 years older than their modern counterparts.

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Crossover Celebration Part 4: Mortal Kombat vs. the DC Universe

November 11th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Ever since Marvel and Capcom released X-Men vs. Street Fighter, nearly everyone said that there needed to be a fighting game that pit Mortal Kombat against the DC characters. Many were joking, but a couple were dead serious. Some of the laughs were directed at how ill-fitting it would be, despite being the natural follow-up to the Marvel vs. Capcom stuff. Marvel and Capcom at least felt right together. Marvel feels more down-to-earth and many of its more popular characters are more street-level, making such matchups as Wolverine vs. Ryu seem natural. Mortal Kombat has a stigma of blood and guts while the public sees DC as the more squeaky-clean of the big comic companies.

The night prior to the 2008 New York Comic Con, this image was released to the public.

And I didn’t get any sleep because oh my God. They were really going to make this?! Really?!

The more I thought about it and the closer the game came to release, I started to come around to the idea of these two worlds mixing it up. DC has gotten far darker and bloodier over the years and Mortal Kombat – despite its many problems – is still home to a pretty strong sense of mythological identity. There have been bad games, bad movies, bad comics, bad TV shows and more, but there’s still an allure to the franchise outside of the blood and guts. When they make it work, it really goes the full mile. Like the latest game, for instance.

It’s noticeable how the two sides don’t exactly match up so well head-to-head. Sub-Zero and Batman aren’t really all that alike. There are only a few pairings that truly work in that aspect. Like even though Deathstroke and Baraka are rivals in the game, Deathstroke has more in common with Kano as a one-eyed, top-notch assassin. Then there’s the perfect pairing of Johnny Cage and Booster Gold, making it a huge shame that neither shows up in the game at all.

The other big pairing that works perfectly is Mortal Kombat’s Shao Kahn and DC’s Darkseid. As far as I’m concerned, the two share the same level of threat, badass and stature. They each hold onto their own realm as feared tyrants and wish to extend their grasp, blocked only by easily-twistable rules. Darkseid has his truce with the people of New Genesis while Shao Kahn must fulfill the rights of Mortal Kombat in order to move forward. It was only natural that they’d make these guys the main villains of the crossover.

Still, there were questions. How would these two sides clash? Why would they fight when the rosters are mostly good guys? How can you have Kano beat up Superman and act like it’s a thing that makes sense? Hell, forget about the Mortal Kombat guys! How is Joker vs. Superman supposed to make sense?!

Luckily, Midway put the how and why in some good hands with DC writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. The team known for breathing life into Jonah Hex and Power Girl would write the game’s Story Mode. Meanwhile, the collector’s edition of the game would feature a piece of cover art by big-time comic artist Alex Ross.

Seeing Scorpion and the gang in Alex Ross style is still so surreal.

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Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Six Months Later

March 5th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Considering the… *ahem* …recent events on 4thletter, now’s as good a time as any to talk about DC Comics and their New 52. Sales were in the toilet for most anything that didn’t have a bat or a glowing ring in it, so DC decided to shake things up and reboot. Only they said it wasn’t a reboot. Yet it was. I was intrigued by the balls of this move and bought every single #1, deciding to give every one of them at least a chance.

As time went on, I naturally started to drop titles almost every week. Some comics were awesome. Some were terrible. Some were okay enough at the start and picked up. Some were okay enough at the start and fell downward. Some were merely okay and not good enough for me to keep buying, as much as I didn’t hate them. Then some I really enjoyed got canceled or put with a creative team that I have no intention of following.

All 52 books have reached their #6, so with the honeymoon over (I know I’m one of a hundred bloggers who had to have used that term), here’s my look back at the reboot. We’ll go in alphabetical order, like the cool kids do.

Action Comics is something I’m staying with right now, but my interest is noticeably waning. The first couple issues blew the doors off the hinges, but everything since has been the usual Grant Morrison weirdness hypnotism. It’s like this joke wrestler Chris Jericho made about the Ultimate Warrior’s ridiculous interviews from the 80’s. “I’m not sure what that meant but it… sounded cool, so YAY!” I have enough faith in Morrison to keep me entertained and if anything, I’m just going to blame this on the recent inclusion of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Never cared for those guys.

All-Star Western is like a guilty pleasure of mine, but not in the usual way. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading Jonah Hex’s badass team-up adventures with the wimpy Dr. Arkham depicted through beautiful art by Moritat. It’s just that it’s $3.99 and it comes with a backup story involving another wild west hero that I promptly skip most of the time. The Hex stuff is so good that I’m willing to pay that extra buck regardless of whether I even glance at the last few pages of the floppy.

Animal Man is easily top three, if not the best of what DC has to offer. It’s the kind of thing that Lemire should always be proud of. If he continues to play his cards right, this run will sit next to Morrison’s Animal Man run as the iconic go-to read for the character instead of yet another follow-up to a classic run that doesn’t measure up. It accepts its ancestry, but goes in its own direction. It’s also an encyclopedia of nightmare material that continues to give me the jibblies. Like this thing.

There it goes again. The jibblies.

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Fourcast! 101: Catching Up

December 19th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

-I’m traveling, and I totally forgot to post this earlier today.
-We did a catch-up review show that basically turned into us talking about how DC’s New 52 shook out.
-Esther ain’t too fond of Mr Terrific and Batwoman.
-But she’s digging Batgirl and Wonder Woman.
-I like WW so much I barely have anything to say about it.
-I’m also digging Green Lantern and Justice League.
-Pazow!
-There’ll be another next week!
-See you, space cowboy!

Subscribe to the Fourcast! via:
-Podcast Alley feed!
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DC’s New 52: Are You Ready For The World That’s Here?

August 30th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

This is the week that DC throws everything at the same wall simultaneously and prays that at least 75% of it sticks. This means there are 52 new(ish) books hitting store shelves in September. You can check the list here. I went through and pulled out what I’m willing to pay cash money for and which I’m open to the idea of maybe someday reading.

Figure this might as well be an open thread for the New 52 in the comments too, huh? Discuss amongst yourselves. Do people still say that? Talk about your hopes and gripes or whatever for this New 52, unless they have to do with Wonder Woman’s pants (or lack thereof), in which case, please don’t.

TOP BILLING

GRIFTER #1
Written by NATHAN EDMONDSON
Art by CAFU
Cover by CAFU and BIT
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The DCU’s most wanted man stars in his own series!
Cole Cash is a charming grifter few can resist. And yet he’s about to be branded a serial killer when he begins hunting and exterminating inhuman creatures hidden in human form – creatures only he can see!

Can the biggest sweet talker of all time talk his way out of this one when even his brother thinks he’s gone over the edge?

I like Grifter, and Nathan Edmonson’s the writer behind Who Is Jake Ellis? with Tonci Zonjic. That book gives him a lot of leeway (Zonjic is a problem and the script is pretty good, too). CAFU I’m not as keen on. His art can be a bit pedestrian and stiff, which isn’t really what I’m looking for in… well in anything ever, really. See that Thunder Agents book? Hopefully this isn’t that.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
1:25 Variant cover by DAVID FINCH
RETROSOLICITED • On sale AUGUST 31 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US RATED T • Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Comics superstars Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make history! In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World Greatest Heroes!

This spectacular debut issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of the issue.

It’s Jim Lee, stupid. Lee’s great, still one of my favorite guys. Seeing him on some new familiar faces will be interesting. And Johns’s only competitor for big action writing is Mark Millar, and Johns has twice the heart that guy does. I think this’ll be a pretty good read.

STATIC SHOCK #1
Written by SCOTT McDANIEL and JOHN ROZUM
Art and cover by SCOTT McDANIEL and
JONATHAN GLAPION
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static!

A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and a new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs!

As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City’s underworld?

John Rozum and Frazer Irving’s Xombi? Yeah, best DC comic of the past year. Maybe the past two or three years, frankly. It beats the pants off the Rucka/JHW3 Batwoman, Morrison’s Batman… pick your favorite comic and I’ll call it crap to drum up interest for this book I really want to do well. I trust Rozum, but I go back and forth on McDaniel. The past few years have seen me sour on him, but his art for this book looks to be in something of a new style, or at least a twist on his old style. I’m open to seeing where this one goes, and believe in it enough to put a few bucks on it.

WONDER WOMAN #1
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The Gods walk among us. To them, our lives are playthings. Only one woman would dare to protect humanity from the wrath of such strange and powerful forces. But is she one of us – or one of them?

Wonder Woman is boring, but Azzarello is the truth, and Cliff Chiang is, too. Probably gonna be the best book of the relaunch.

But yo, those booty shorts they’re making her wear? She looks stupid without pants, and being in her underoos don’t make her more of a Wonder Woman than any other take on the character. Fans are terrible, and that was a stupid thing to bend on. Ugh.

DEFINITELY MAYBE

ALL-STAR WESTERN #1
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art and cover by MORITAT
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T+
Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant – and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex’s special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Find out in this new series from HEX writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with lush artwork by Moritat (THE SPIRIT)!

All of these guys go a long way with me. Moritat just recently knocked The Spirit out of the park. Gray and Palmiotti did real well on Jonah Hex for a bunch of years. This sounds like more than that, swapping Jordi Bernet with Moritat. Good deal.

Problem: the price tag. Four bucks? Ehhh. Prices of DC books drop after a month, so I may pick this one up then.

AQUAMAN #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The superstar creators from BLACKEST NIGHT and BRIGHTEST DAY reunite to take AQUAMAN to amazing new depths!

Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily. Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges… The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them, The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!

I want to like Aquaman.

MAYBE MAYBE

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1
Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Art by MIKEL JANIN
Cover by RYAN SOOK
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The witch known as The Enchantress has gone mad, unleashing forces that not even the combined powers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg can stop. And if those heroes can’t handle the job, who will stand against this mystical madness?

Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna and John Constantine may be our only hope – but how can we put our trust in beings whose very presence makes ordinary people break out in a cold sweat?

Is this going to be the Mixtape Milligan, or are we gonna have to sit through another Carter IV? I’m a little iffy on Mikel Janin’s art, too. It looks too CG. It’s not terrible really, but it definitely looks like 3D models posed and placed on a background. Drives me crazy.

The thought of the Mixtape Milligan writing John Constantine in the DC Universe is pretty funny, though.

GREEN LANTERN #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and CHRISTIAN ALAMY
Cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
Variant cover by GREG CAPULLO
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.

The red-hot GREEN LANTERN team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke introduce an unexpected new Lantern.

Sinestro might be just the shot in the arm this series needs. Mahnke drawing aliens and mayhem is always fun, too.

BATMAN #1
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art by GREG CAPULLO and JONATHAN GLAPION
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
Variant cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Be here for the start of a new era for The Dark Knight from writer Scott Snyder (AMERICAN VAMPIRE, BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and artist Greg Capullo (Spawn)! A series of brutal killings hints at an ancient conspiracy, and Batman learns that Gotham City is deadlier than he knew.

Snyder’s run on Detective Comics was incredibly unsatisfying (imagine biting into a really nice piece of cake and slowly appreciating every bite, only then Dan Didio rushes into the room and tells you that you gotta wrap it up so we can relaunch the cake, so you rewrite your icing so that the is-he-or-isn’t-he-a-serial-killer-creep mystery turns into “oh he just chopped off all of someone’s limbs and is giving crappy speeches out of B movies about the nature of evil” showcase, aren’t you glad that two good artists were wasted on this comic book?), but had a solid start. Capullo’s cartoony style looks pretty cool, too. Hopefully this is a good Batman story?

BIRDS OF PREY #1
Written by DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI
Art and cover by JESUS SAIZ
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
One is wanted for a murder she didn’t commit. The other is on the run because she knows too much. They are Dinah Laurel Lance and Ev Crawford – a.k.a. Black Canary and Starling – and together, as Gotham City’s covert ops team, they’re taking down the villains other heroes can’t touch. But now they’ve attracted the attention of a grizzled newspaper reporter who wants to expose them, as well as a creepy, chameleon-like strike team that’s out to kill them.

Don’t miss the start of this hard-hitting new series from mystery novelist/comics writer Duane Swierczynski (Expiration Date, Cable).

I dunno, I like Swierczynski’s novels and his comics are sometimes pretty okay. He definitely did well on Iron Fist. Maybe this’ll be good? Despite my prejudice against the very idea of pro-active covert ops superheroes, I mean.

MISTER TERRIFIC #1
Written by ERIC WALLACE
Art by ROGER ROBINSON
Cover by J.G. JONES
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors – uses his brains and fists against science gone mad in this new series from Eric Wallace (TITANS) and Roger Robinson!

Michael Holt is the head of a successful high-tech corporation and an institute that recruits and encourages the finest minds of the next generation to excel. As Mister Terrific he inhabits a world of amazement few others know exists, let alone can comprehend.

I talked myself into really wanting this, and then DC went and replaced the artist on the next few issues (which is crap, the series just started) and everyone I know who has read Eric Wallace comics reminded me that he’s writing one of DC’s dumbest books (perhaps #2–Outsiders is pretty atrocious) and that maybe Final Crisis: Ink wasn’t as good as I thought it was.

I hope this book is good.

O.M.A.C. #1
Written by DAN DIDIO and KEITH GIFFEN
Art and cover by KEITH GIFFEN and SCOTT KOBLISH
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The all-seeing Brother Eye satellite has unleashed a new beast upon the DC Universe in this smashing new series! Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known only as O.M.A.C.!

Yeah, crap, I–so Didio is trash as a writer, right? We’re talking bad, not incomprehensible bad but “writes comics that aren’t worth reading” bad. Bad enough that I completely wrote off his pet series. But the thought of Keith Giffen drawing Kirby, which is sure to be great–yeah, you know what? Never mind. As much as I want to see Giffen’s Kirby, this is probably going to be awful. Sorry for making you read these sentences. Maybe they’ll publish it unlettered.

PARTING SHOT

RED LANTERNS #1
Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Art and cover by ED BENES and ROB HUNTER
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
Atrocitus and his Red Lantern Corps return in their own series, battling against injustice in the most bloody ways imaginable!

Ed Benes is comics poison. I like Milligan, but this comic will be unreadable. I just wanted to remind you not to buy Ed Benes comics, no matter how tempted you may be.

There are others I might be open to trying. Maybe Levitz’s Legion will convince me to finally like that series (probably not, even Waid and Kitson couldn’t make me stick around). Flash will be pretty, I’m sure. Oh yeah, I like Mahmud Asrar, the artist on Supergirl, and that writing team is pretty solid. Simon Bisley is going to be drawing a bit of Deathstroke, so I’ll probably roll through for those issues. Nobody beats the Biz, right?

Right. I don’t even really know what people mean whey they say something is metal, but I bet that’s it.

I just don’t feel a driving need to check out anything past the ones I already want to buy, and that’s… that’s not good, is it? The rest of my list is basically “Would buy it if I got bored and heard good things about it from friends and if the price were cheaper” and “Would buy it if I got bored and somehow ran out of the other comics I read,” then.

But before this, I was buying exactly one DC Comics (Xombi) and now I’m buying four. That’s in addition to Hellblazer and American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest. So four definite and eight possibles on top of that? Probably a pretty good run for someone like me.

Anybody else want to talk out their New 52 interests?

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Fourcast! 89: Don’t Call It A Reboot!

June 27th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

-DC’s doing a reboot thing.
-Maybe you’ve heard about it?
-Here’s the list of upcoming books.
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music.
-Here comes a new challenger!
-See you, space cowboy!

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Fourcast! 82: Fourcast! Uncut

March 28th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

-We’re freestyling a show this time.
-No set subject, just talking and seeing where it takes us.
-It is surprisingly coherent, but impossible to describe.
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music.
-See you, space cowboy!

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