She Used To Love Y.O.U.

June 19th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

NRAMA: And so you were left with a handful of continuity issues as result – – why didn’t the Guardians call a 1011 when all the other New Gods died? Why didn’t Superman recount his experiences in Death of the New Gods when he was talking about the New Gods to the JLA? How did the villains capture J’onn? Obviously, if you dealt in all the minutia of every storyline since Identity Crisis or earlier, you’d go nuts – so what was your personal line in the sand that you used in writing Final Crisis in regards to what “mattered” and what didn’t?

GM: What mattered to me was what had already been written, drawn or plotted in Final Crisis. The Guardians didn’t call 1011 when Lightray and the other gods died in Countdown because, again, Final Crisis was already underway before Countdown came out.

Why didn’t Superman recount his experiences from DOTNG ? Because those experiences hadn’t been thought up or written when I completed Final Crisis #1. If there was only me involved, Orion would have been the first dead New God we saw in a DC comic, starting off the chain of events that we see in Final Crisis. As it is, the best I can do is suggest that the somewhat contradictory depictions of Orion and Darkseid’s last-last-last battle that we witnessed in Countdown and DOTNG recently were apocryphal attempts to describe an indescribable cosmic event.

To reiterate, hopefully for the last time, when we started work on Final Crisis, J.G. and I had no idea what was going to happen in Countdown or Death Of The New Gods because neither of those books existed at that point. The Countdown writers were later asked to ‘seed’ material from Final Crisis and in some cases, probably due to the pressure of filling the pages of a weekly book, that seeding amounted to entire plotlines veering off in directions I had never envisaged, anticipated or planned for in Final Crisis.

The way I see it readers can choose to spend the rest of the year fixating on the plot quirks of a series which has ended, or they can breathe a sight of relief, settle back and enjoy the shiny new DC universe status quo we’re setting up in the pages of Final Crisis and its satellite books. I’m sure both of these paths to enlightenment will find adherents of different temperaments.

Grant Morrison, 2008

Oh, Grant. This sounds like trouble in paradise. Let’s see what wrong, okay? We’ll talk you through this.

I met her last week, this insane tart
We been swimmin’ in each other with the same heart
I mean, I think we might be sections of the same part
And we don’t separate at all until the day’s dark

–El-P, “Oxycontin Pt 2”

I remember back when you and Marvel broke up. It was explosive– Marvel turned around and undid some of your plots and twisted others. Joe Q didn’t take it well at all. He just couldn’t understand that your first love had looked in your direction and batted her eyes. Guys make strange decisions for love. These things happen.

Your first move when hooking back up with the DCU was to see about getting her some nice things. Some new stories, a new character or two, and most of all, self-awareness.

Remember that, Grant? You wanted your girl to look her best and able to stand on her own two feet. What followed was Seven Soldiers, Batman, and 52. You got Final Crisis kickstarted. You know what? It worked. Your girl was strutting down the street, all eyes on her like it was the Silver Age all over again.

Then, the troubles started. Batman ended up late enough to need a four issue fill-in. All-Star Superman’s schedule went a little rocky and you caught some heat for it. 52 went off without a hitch… almost. It would’ve gone perfectly without Bulleteer, who kept showing up in the series and flying around.

“Wait,” you said. “Guys, really. She can’t fly. She wouldn’t join a superteam. What’s going on?” No one knew. It just happened.

Weird things kept happening. Your Batman run featured a fairly ill-received crossover. It seemed to go nowhere. Your big Final Crisis plans involved the New Gods being put on ice for up to a year to heighten the tension of the first issue. Instead, they were, in your own words, “were passed around like hepatitis B to practically every writer at DC to toy with as they pleased.”

You weren’t happy about that, were you? It’s like your girl is being unfaithful to you. So, you went to get back at her. You went to Virgin Comics and helped them create a new cartoon. That’s big bucks right there, plus better exposure than comics. You started writing movie scripts. Yeah, that’s right– we know about you and We3.

Your relationship is looking a little sour, Grant. It’s a rough patch, you say? I’m not so sure.

You see, your girl, your sentient DC Universe? It woke up, took a look around, and decided you weren’t treating her right. No more lobster for dinner. You might bring home some Popeye’s, but that was about it. The champagne was replaced with box wine. And man, what happened to all the fun you two used to have? Seven Soldiers was over. You kept saying that Final Crisis was coming soon, but it always felt far away.

She got fed up, Grant. She left you.

And we made love to the thought that life’s ill
And how it’s crazy that through all of this swill
How you can bump into the beautiful while jumpin’ from sills

–El-P, “Oxycontin Pt. 2”

She found somebody else. Who was it?

It’s your homeboy Geoff Johns, Grant.

Think about it. He went from Infinite Crisis, which was a little rough to say the least, straight into 52. 52 was where he met you, wasn’t it? What came after 52? Oh… it was the Sinestro Corps War. That’s the beginning of a mega-arc that basically sprang out of what, an eight page story from twenty years ago?

That’s continuity at work, Grant. The DCU is whispering her secrets into Geoff’s ears and telling him exactly what to do. Remember that?

It’s cool, Grant. You’re still amazing. It’s just that you’re destined for bigger and better things. I heard that you’re all topsy-turvy for Vertigo. That’s good for you, man. Keep it moving. You’re technically going back to your ex, but she was good to you, wasn’t she? You guys parted amicably, I think. Maybe it’ll work out this time.

Don’t let the DCU get you down. She’s found a good man in Geoff. He’s going to treat her right, so don’t worry about that. You just do you. Go ahead and get Final Crisis done and out of the way so that you and JH Williams III can get the Vertigo series jumping off. Impress her as soon as you get her, Grant. You don’t want to get your feelings hurt, man.

You can do it, man. You’re a handsome dude with big ideas. You’ll be fine. Keep it 100, man, and you’ll have everyone out there, not just Vertigo, checking for you.

(You know I’m back, right? You can find this re-debut simulcast on Funnybook Babylon, my Black Comics Cartel family.)

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

April 22nd, 2008 Posted by Gavok

The weekend of chunky guys dressed like Colossus and hot women dressed as Slave Leia has come to an end. I myself had a great time, spent with hermanos from this very site and a whole bunch of guys from Funnybook Babylon. Sadly, Thomas “Wanderer” Wilde deemed himself “too broke” to consider joining us and Hoatzin would have probably involved a gigantic plane ticket paid in rare diamonds, since he’s from Europe. I don’t know. I really have no grasp on how that type of thing works. Besides, Hoatzin seems to have vanished from our planet. What happened to that guy?

This one movie sent the other movie into space.

Day One

Last year I got to New York the day before the con started, which allowed me enough rest and whatnot. This year I had to come in the first day of the event and kill time until David Uzumeri came in from Canada, since he was in charge of dealing with the hotel. I walked straight from the Port Authority bus terminal to the Javits Center, which tired me the hell out.

After getting my swanktastical press pass, I met up with hermanos and Joseph of FBB. They were at a panel starting up that was a screening for a new Will Eisner documentary. Since I was tired from all that walking, I decided to stick around and watch it. I found it interesting in the sense that I honestly didn’t know all that much about Eisner, which is almost a sin if you’re a comic fan. The four of us (David U. showed up towards the end) mostly agreed that while it had some fantastic stuff in there, such as taped conversations between Eisner and guys like Kirby, the sum of it was incredibly dry.

Shortly after, we went to the panel on online journalism, with guys from Newsarama and CBR there. It wasn’t as good as the comic blogging panel from last year and mostly focused on arguing over criticism vs. getting press releases. Once that was done with, I was rested up enough to do some wandering.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Guest Post: The Fourth World Is Not Enough

March 3rd, 2008 Posted by david brothers

(I need a breather after the marathon that was Black History Month, so here’s a guest article for you from Steven “HitTheTargets” Bush. Of course, when I say “breather” I mean “I have to do some hardcore work on Pop Culture Shock.” Anyway, enjoy!)

As a general disclaimer, this is all speculation. It’s based on current events throughout DC universe, so you might be lost if you’re not familiar with things going on in the lead up to Final Crisis.

Thanks to Death of the New Gods we now know the reason for damn near everything that’s happened in the DC universe since the end of Identity Crisis. No, it wasn’t Maxwell Lord’s fault. No, it wasn’t Alexander Luthor’s handiwork. No, it was not even Great Darkseid’s doing. For you see, the intricate, Rube Goldberg-esque plots these fine fellows hatched were themselves all part of another entity’s subtle cosmic master plan. A white beachball with black splotches called The Source (Yes, that The Source) has taken credit for organizing everything done by everyone, including the ones who organized everything that everyone else did. A cunning plan not entirely unlike a Matroska doll that takes years to open and can’t be explained by DC’s editors because that’s what the internet is for. I’m here, on the internet, to explain what I believe to be going on with the birth of the Fifth World.

Here’s a quick primer for anyone not up to speed on the World that’s coming:

Who? The Source, aka The Voice, The Creator. It made everything, it is everything. Looks like a beachball. What? The Fifth World. The point of this article is to figure out what it is. When? May 2008. Countdown ends and the Final Crisis begins. In story terms, creating the Fourth World was hella tiring, and The Source just now woke up. Where? Earth, of all places. It’s been referenced as the birthplace of the Fifth World several times. Why? It’s a mulligan. The Fourth World is like a sequel without the original cast & crew, so The Source wants a do-over. How? Making Nth Worlds is basically what The Source does. So the question here is not how it does that, but how it does that right. In short, The Source needs its groove back.

Of course, the true architect of the Fifth World is Grant Morrison, with help from Geoff Johns & Dan Didio. The story of Final Crisis is the story of the Fifth World’s birth.

At this point, I should probably lay out everything we know about how the Fifth World will come to be. As mentioned, the problem is that while The Source can normally make Worlds no prob’, right now he isn’t one hundred percent. A long time ago The Source created the Old Gods, then they got uppity and slapped the black outta him (seriously, they zapped him and a black beachball popped out), so he killed ’em all and created the New Gods. But he was missing half of his essence, his being, and they just didn’t measure up. Now he wants to become whole and do it proper, but there’s one problem: the black ball fell through dimensions and the Crisis on Infinite Earths created some kinda… solid… dimension… thing. Um… Yeah… OK, how about this? It fell in a lake, and CoIE froze the lake. That works. So The Source does what we’d all do in that situation; it manipulates Alexander Luthor, Conner Kent, Rip Hunter, and Mr. Mind to create 52 unique universes, thereby thinning the ice or something like that. The Source is currently on the final step of its plan; harvesting the souls of the New Gods in order to power the merger itself and then to act as raw material in the creation of the new World.

Okay, so let’s say black & white reunite, and The Source do the voodoo he do. Bang! Fresh squeezed Fifth World. What I think will happen here is basically that The Source will take the existing New Gods and raise them up as a new, complete mythology rather than just being superheroes from space. To elaborate, let’s look at the Greek gods as portrayed in the DCU. They’re home is cut off from access to all but the most powerful magicians, they each have power enough to rival high level beings like the Oans, and they never directly interact with mortals, instead sending out champions like Wonder Woman or Hercules. Yes, Granny Goodness did appear in the form of Athena and magically depower all the Amazons at the end of Amazons Attack, buy she did it with power stolen from the real deal. By contrast, the New Gods more closely resemble Marvel’s Greek gods. They live in another world but all it takes is a spaceship with inter-dimensional capabilities to get there, they’re powerful enough solo to match most Earthly powers but not any cosmic beings like Galactus, and Ares himself is a member of the Avengers. Boom tubes seem to float around Earth’s black market and the Guardians have Green Lanterns there just like any other space sector. Although he does have the Omega Effect, Darkseid is more or less even with Superman in a slugfest. Mr. Miracle, and Barda have a permanent home in the suburbia, and along with Orion have been JLA members.

If you regularly follow rumors in the comic book industry, superpeople ascending to an even higher existance may sound slightly familiar. There was at one time a rumor saying that Earth’s superheroes would be elevated to the level of gods, with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman as the ruling trinity. And even though Earth is the birthplace of the Fifth World, common sense tells us the writers would never fuck with the status quo like that. But we know for sure Earth is more than involved, it’s where everything happens. My guess is the reason for this reinvention is to bring the Fourth World saga closer to home. If the new mythology is centered on Earth, writers and readers will be more interested in exploring it than if we stick it in some far off corner of space. I’ve heard a lot of mentions of “sides” of the DCU: the magic side, the space side, the political side, the criminal underworld. I think Final Crisis will be introducing a God side.

The best clue to the exact relationship of Earth and the Fifth World is in Morrison’s Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle. Shilo Norman drops into a black hole and winds up in a world where the New Gods possess human bodies. From what we’re shown, the gods of New Genesis are only dimly aware of this and live in squalor, although Shilo briefly “awakens” Metron. The Apokolipsian gods are still themselves, they just seem to be using humans as host bodies or avatars. I suspect this is a glimpse at the Fifth World. A higher plane centered around New Earth where the New Gods will reside, now as truly godlike beings. If they have reason to act on Earth, it’s in the form of living fictionsuits. The Gods of New Genesis are stuck here though, giving Dark Side free reign.

An interesting thing to note here is that the Mister Miracle issues of Seven Soldiers have very little to do with the Sheeda invasion. They’re there to prepare him for his role as the champion of New Genesis after the advent of the Fifth World and Darkseid’s triumph. Darkseid allows the Sheeda to attack in exchange for Aurakles, forcing Shilo to exchange himself for demi-god. That’s it. That’s his role as a Soldier; freeing Aurakles to let him fight the Sheeda. After doing that, Shilo is shot in the head and the very last page of the Seven Soldiers #1 shows his hands breaking out his grave, now in the art style used to represent the gods in their real, otherworldly form. In his role as New Genesis’s chosen one, Shilo is to truly reawaken the good Gods and prevent Darkseid from achieving total domination. In short, the book is a prelude to Final Crisis and only connects to the Sheeda story when Darkseid takes advantage of their presence in order to destroy Shilo, the one person who can threaten him.

The explanation for why the Dark Side rules and the good gods are powerless is found in the lead up to Final Crisis. That’s right, Countdown. It may not be very good, but its raison d’etre is to foreshadow the events in Final Crisis while reflecting goings-on in the DC universe as a whole. Every subplot is connected to Apokolips (Even Piper & Trickster somehow) For reasons unknown, Jimmy Olsen is acting as a soul-catcher, of sorts, and has within him the gods killed in Death of the New Gods. Since these god-souls are essential to The Source’s goals, Jimmy manifests convenient superpowers whenever his life is in danger. Meanwhile, Darkseid plans to unleash a biological weapon on Earth, I surmise specifically to get at Jimmy, in what will be called the Great Disaster. Here’s the tricky bit: The weapon doesn’t exist yet. Darkseid has manipulated Karate Kid into visiting Brother Eye, and given Eye some New God tech to bring the whole gang to Apokolips. There he will combine the Kid’s virus with the Soul Fire Serum. The Source is countering this by sending the Challengers of the Beyond after Ray Palmer, who knows how to stop said virus, and then sending that group to Apokolips. I can’t be sure exactly what happens next, but presumably the state of the New Genesis gods post-Fifth World is a result of the mutated virus’s ability to fatally expand consciousness and Ray’s cure, which would only be partially effective against the new strain.

Assuming any of this is right, it’ll be awhile before we really get to see it. Final Crisis begins in May and runs for seven oversized issues. Like Infinite Crisis’ introduction of New Earth and 52’s debut of the new Multiverse, FC will probably only show the barebones of the Fifth World, letting other writers expand and explore the new mythology. Morrison did use a pantheon scheme in his Justice League and I’d imagine that sort of thing would make a comeback in a major way in a story about actual Gods, so perhaps we’ll see who’s who among the New New Gods. The possibilities beyond that are wide open, as you’d expect not only from Grant Morrison, but also from a true life mythology. I look forward to these new story opportunities giving rise to Legends.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


4thletter exclusive

August 18th, 2007 Posted by Hoatzin

DC comics has just released the third teaser for their epic universe-spanning Countdown event to the men at 4thletter. This one appears to be a mishmash of villains and heroes, and has some surprise apperances by characters not many of us were expecting. What does it all mean for Countdown, Final Crisis and the future of the DC universe? Who knows, but it’s bound to be exciting! Just click the thumbnail for the full image:

4thletter exclusive

Now, like with the previous two teasers, this image should not be interpreted literally. There’s obviously a lot of hidden meanings and metaphores going on here, so if you have any theories on what it could all mean, share them!

 And remember, you saw it here first.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Hello all

August 2nd, 2007 Posted by Hoatzin

First impressions are important. I’ve spent several hours pondering about how to start my introductory post on 4thletter, and in the end I decided to just take the easy route. Hi, I’m Hoatzin, 4thletter’s newest staff member, but call me Paul if you like. I am Dutch. I like comic books. But only when they are good comics. I also draw, badly, but I’ll leave that for another article. For now, just to get an idea of what type of comics I like, I’ll leave you with some random thoughts on this week’s comics. And yes, I do basically read every single Big Two book that’s being published. Thank you for noticing.

Action Comics 853 – Despite my usual enjoyment of Kurt Busiek’s comics, the fact that this is a Countdown tie-in really hurts the book. Although Busiek does a better job at making me care about Jimmy Olsen’s plight to become a superhero than Countdown, the general storyline is still pretty lame and predictable.

All New Atom 14 – Pointless fan-pandering is rampant in part three of the Hunt for Ray Palmer, with the (temporary) return of Ted Kord in a book that does not feature any characters that should care about him. But Donna Troy is soooo amaaaazing.

Black Canary 3 – Oliver Queen is a moron.

Countdown 39 – A Sean McKeever issue, so at least the dialogue is decent, but the pacing remains glacial, none of the plotlines and characters are compelling and the artwork is once again fairly atrocious. The character introduced as last issue’s cliffhanger panel does not actually show up until the last two panels of the second to last page of the main storyline and the cliffhanger page after that is hilariously pointless. The only reason I’m still reading this book is because it will lead into the Grant Morrison-penned Final Crisis.

Detective Comics 835 – Dini is apparently busy with Countdown, so it’s a filler issue, but a surprisingly solid one at that. John Rozum (creator of Milestone Comics’ cult-hit Xombi) re-invents the Scarecrow as a genuinely terrifying enemy in part one of what promises to be a very interesting two-part story arc. The dark tone of the book is perfectly complimented by Tom Mandrake’s excellent atmospheric artwork.

Fantastic Four 548 – Dwayne McDuffie continues what has so far been an entertaining run on the book. I disagree with the numerous complaints that McDuffie has been overplaying Black Panther; T’Challa is essentially Marvel’s Batman, always ready with a plan and quick on his wits, so his portrayal in the book has been perfectly in-character.

Justice Society of America 8 – After the (terrible) Lightning Saga crossover, Johns has decided to take a breather with two more low-key issues focusing on two of the lesser known JSA members. Last month was a one-shot focusing on the new Commander Steel, this month is a story about Jesse Quick, the new Liberty Belle. It’s a welcome change in pace, but the issue itself is a mixed bag. Jesse’s characterisation is well done, but her relationship with Rick Tyler is obnoxiously written. Johns should also either give Zoom a rest or do something new with the character, because at this rate he’s growing stale really fast. I still fail to care about Damage and his clichéd damaged (ha ha!) past. This issue also has fill-in art by Fernando Pasarin, and although it’s decent, it’s nowhere near as good as Eaglesham’s. Despite all this, it’s not a bad read overall.

Metal Men 1 – The surprise book of the week for me. I was unfamiliar with Duncan Rouleau’s writing prior to this, so I don’t know how it stacks up to his previous work, but this was definitly an entertaining read. There’s a lot of content crammed into 22 pages and most of it is interesting. The banter between the Metal Men is amusing and they each have distinct, defined personalities, Will Magnus is a nice sketch of a character so far and the mysterious ongoings are intriguing, especially the last page cliffhanger. The artwork is another high point. It’s cartoonish and vibrant and the coloring is lovely, with inventive panel layouts and lots of energy. It’s not perfect; at points it gets overly busy and some of the computer effects are annoying, mainly the copy-pasting of specific elements, but it’s a nice break from the conventional look of most current DC books.

And now that I’m halfway through my books for the week, I’m going to take a little break. More thoughts (in particular the new Supergirl and World War Hulk issues) later!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon