Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Opinioning Your Solicits


DC's October solicits are out, and I'm moved to express my opinions on this brave new world that DC is offering us.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #2
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
You’ll find out when Batman and Superman throw down. Batman will need all his intellect, cunning and physical prowess to take on The Man of Steel.

Frown. Really? They start off fighting? Is this Stan Lee Imagines the First Meeting of Batman and Superman....?

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #2
The United Nations’ new international team of heroes must learn to work together – and fast – if they’re going to discover the mystery behind the giant alien Signalmen who are appearing all over the globe. Can Booster Gold lead his team to victory, or will they fall?

I see the words "Booster Gold lead his team", and I approve.

AQUAMAN #2
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
An entire town...devoured! As Aquaman and Mera discover the grisly truth behind a town’s disappearance, the Trench infestation spreads inland! Plus: Another gruesome Trench power revealed – and it’s not for the squeamish!

I've always thought of Aquaman as more of an underwater Weird Western book, than a traditional superhero yarn, so this works for me. This seems to get Aquaman's function: he protects the land from the seas, and the seas from the land.

WONDER WOMAN #2
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Hera, Queen of the Gods, does not take her vengeance lightly – and if Wonder Woman is so foolish as to stand in the way of her whim, then Wonder Woman is her enemy. But it’s Hera’s daughter Diana should truly fear – the goddess of discord is coming to Paradise Island, and murder always follows in her wake!

Comics have seldom given Hera more to do than sit beside Zeus and smile supportively, occasionally shrugging and saying, "Well, my husband's like that some times!" Happy that someone has cottoned to the fact that Hera was the Big Bad in many of the ancient heroic myths. Using poor old Hades and that dullard Ares as villains seems pretty silly to anyone who knows them from their appearances in classical literature. But Hera? Now THAT is a foe.

THE FLASH #2
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO
The Fastest Man Alive learns he can make his brain function even faster than before – but as much as it helps him, it also comes with a steep price. Plus: The mystery behind Barry Allen’s friend Manuel Lago deepens as Barry investigates his kidnapping at the hands of Mob Rule!

Finding unique and varied applications of Flash's "only one" power is a classic part of the character's rich history. I already like this twice as much as yet another "No Really The Rogues Are Serious" story.

CAPTAIN ATOM #2
Written by J.T. KRUL
Losing control of his powers, unable to stop the sensory overload in his mind, Captain Atom wants nothing more than to find a quiet place to regroup. But how can he shut out the signals floating in the air – especially when they’re crying out for help?

Sounds like Captain Atom's got a little old-style Airwave action going on here. Works for me much better than his traditional ill-defined energy blasts and occasional time-skipping.

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #2
Written by ETHAN VAN SCIVER and GAIL SIMONE
Three innocent high school kids are caught in the crosshairs of an international special forces team with orders to murder them in cold blood...until two of those teenagers summon the terrifying, living nuclear monstrosity known as the Fury of Firestorm! Do not miss this disturbing look into the future of super powers in the DC Universe!

I like 'terrifying living nuclear monstrosity' much more than "presto-chango Carnivale dancer". First of all it makes sense of the title "Fury of Firestorm"; Firestorm never seemed very furious to me, just mostly stupid. Like Aquaman, Firestorm might benefit greatly from an approach that takes its clues from other genres (like horror) rather than just superheroics.


MISTER TERRIFIC #2
Written by ERIC WALLACE
An electrifying new villain joins the DCU! Meet Brainstorm, the man determined to bring Los Angeles to its knees – beginning with billionaire Michael Holt. But even if he can break this new enemy’s hold on an unsuspecting city, how can Mister Terrific defeat a foe even smarter than himself? Luckily, the last time he faced a problem he couldn’t solve, he perfected infinite fractal mechanics!

A re-imagined Brainstorm? Perfect choice for Mister Terrific.

GREEN ARROW #2
Written by J.T. KRUL
Super Hero executions will now be televised! After taking down members of a “celebrity” gang – privileged, decadent teens who buy their powers and stage fights with unsuspecting victims – Green Arrow finds himself in the crosshairs of the entire team! It’s Ollie Queen vs. a dozen thrill killers while the world watches – live!

I can't tell you how excited I was when the first words I saw under the title "Green Arrow" were "super hero executions will now be televised". Sadly, I think his won't be among them. But this sounds like they are taking a smart tack for GA; putting him in old-style 70ish Batman-situations (the kind you don't want to put Batman in nowadays). Besides, they got rid of that ridiculous beard, so I'm it.

THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #2
Written by TONY S. DANIEL
When the alien creature known as Morphicius starts draining the life force from Carter Hall, a.k.a. Hawkman, he learns that there’s more to his new victim than meets the eye. The mysterious properties of the Nth Metal protect Hawkman – but in the process, they are also making Morphicius powerful! With innocent lives in the balance, can Hawkman turn the table on his enemy, or are Morphicius newfound powers too powerful to stop?

Well, this sounds remarkably Silver Age. Which actually works for Hawkman, I think.


DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #2
Written by PAUL JENKINS
Ever since he died and became Deadman, Boston Brand has served the deity known as Rama Kushna, inhabiting bodies to complete missions that she dictates. But for the first time, Deadman may have a clue how to gain some control over his “life.” But the cost may be the souls of the bodies he inhabits!

Good to see Deadman's classic schtick returned to him, but with a twist.


MY GREATEST ADVENTURE #1
Written by AARON LOPRESTI, KEVIN MAGUIRE and MATT KINDT
The adventures of Garbage Man and Tanga from WEIRD WORLDS continue – and now, these offbeat heroes are joined by the Robotman, who has a disturbing knack for self-destruction!

Yes, that qualifies as off-beat.

ACTION COMICS #2
Written by GRANT MORRISON
In his weakest moment, Superman is taken down – but by whom? And if the world wasn’t ready for a man with super powers, they’re utterly unprepared for the rage of a Superman cornered! The cornerstone character of the new DCU continues his debut adventure!

Believe it or not, I'm actually interested to see what Grant Morrison will do with Superman when he writes him forward, rather than with a retrospective eye toward Super-history. Sure, I may hate what Morrison winds up doing, but for now I'm still kind of looking forward to it... .

SUPERMAN #2
Written by GEORGE PEREZ
The all-new adventures of Superman continue! Everyone can see the new villain who’s attacking Superman – except The Man of Steel! How can he stop a threat that none of his super-senses can detect? Meanwhile, a Daily Planet reporter starts digging up some dirt on Superman, including a secret that could ruin him forever!

This sounds like some Bronze Age style fun for the Man of Steel. Although with George Perez writing it, it may just be that Superman's super-senses are blocked by extensive narration boxes and expansive word balloons.

SUPERBOY #2
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL
Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. has put a lot of effort into creating their Superboy, and they intend to make sure he performs to their standards. And what better opportunity for him to demonstrate his raw power than to throw him into an alien prison riot? Good luck, Superboy... you’re going to need it!

It's a traditional Superboy-from-a-test-tube story. But I'm heartened to see that it's not Project Cadmus (with no mention of Guardian, the Newsboy Legion, or DNAliens). Jack Kirby requiescat in pace.

SUPERGIRL #2
Written by MICHAEL GREEN and MIKE JOHNSON
Get ready for a super-smackdown as Supergirl fights her cousin, The Man of Steel! What could cause these two to come to blows? Can the teenage Supergirl hold her own against the adult Superman? Well, let’s just say she’s got a trick or two up those fancy new sleeves of hers...

Again with the hero-on-hero smackdowns? Who put Stan Lee on retainer? Still, better this than a Supergirl who can barely stand up to The Gang.


PENGUIN: PAIN AND PREJUDICE #1
Written by GREGG HURWITZ

In this exciting new miniseries from novelist Gregg Hurwitz (You’re Next) and rising star artist Szymon Kudranksi (Spawn), the painful and dark past of one of Batman’s most devious foes is examined. How did young Oswald Cobblepot go from being the apple of his mother’s eye to the leader of underworld gangs and adversary of The Caped Crusader?

I'm much less interested in the Penguin having a proper origin story (the Golden Age one didn't need one), than I am in the commitment to portraying the Penguin as a actual foe, rather than just a supporting character. I approve.


BATMAN #2
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Bruce Wayne is back in the cowl, hunting a new and deadly killer in Gotham City – a killer with a vendetta against Bruce Wayne! But who is this mysterious killer in an owl skull mask? And is he the key to unlocking one of Gotham’s oldest and most terrifying secrets? Be there for
their first brutal encounter!

Is this my long-hoped for confrontation between Batman and Owlman?
One can only hope. I would love to see Owlman make the stuck-up stuffy Batman go-go ga-ga dancing the Batusi.


BATWING #2
Written by JUDD WINICK
He is called Massacre, and he brings death. What does the soldier in service of Batman Incorporated do when he’s met his match? When he’s been brought so low and been wounded so badly? What does he do when lost Super Heroes begin turning up as victims? Batwing fights back!

"Massacre"? Sigh. Maybe they should just hire Judd to write '90s retro comics and leave it at that. At least whatever damage he does will be to Batwing and not Batman proper (and by 'he' I mean Judd, not Massacre). P.S. What's with the capitalization of Super Hero lately? I feel like it's a Saturday morning in 1974.

DETECTIVE COMICS #2
Written by TONY S. DANIEL
Batman sets his sights on the Gotham Ripper, who in turn has his sights on Batman. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne explores a budding romance with television journalist Charlotte Rivers, who’s visiting Gotham City to cover the gruesome slayings – while also trying to uncover Bruce’s own mystery. But time is running out as both Commissioner Gordon and Batman work to uncover the true identity of this new serial killer.

Hm. Pardon me if the originality of a "Ripper" and a Report Girlfriend After the Hero's Secret Identity do not exactly wow me.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #2
Written by DAVID FINCH and PAUL JENKINS
Something sinister surges through Arkham Asylum, and Batman finds himself bombarded by his greatest foes in this second sensational issue from superstar creator David Finch!
Bigger, meaner, and more powerful than ever before, the inmates of Arkham Asylum run rampant as the entire Bat Family struggles to keep the walls from falling down, unleashing Gotham City’s worst criminals on the unsuspecting population. And you won’t believe the jaw-dropping final page! Just keep repeating, “It’s only a comic book. It’s only a comic book...”

Hm. Pardon me if the originality of a "Arkham is Worse Than Ever with a Mass Breakout Imminent" story does not exactly wow me. Really, DC; have you considered just crowd-sourcing for story ideas? You'd get better ones (or at least more original ones).


BATMAN AND ROBIN #2
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Batman’s fears about Robin’s tendency to dish out more pain than necessary are growing! And who is the man named NoBody, visiting Gotham City to say hello to his old friend Bruce Wayne and find out where he went wrong in his battle against crime.

Ah, I hear I was hoping they'd take the chance to make Damien a decent human being, rather that a pompous midget-like murderer. Pity.


BATGIRL #2
Written by GAIL SIMONE
The nightmare-inducing brute known as Mirror is destroying the lives of Gotham City citizens seemingly at random, and an explosive confrontation between Batgirl and Mirror leads Babs to question wearing the cape and cowl at all!

Babs "Batgirl" Gordon versus a monstrous villain with a puzzling M.O.? Sign me up.

BATWOMAN #2
Written by J.H. WILLIAMS III and W. HADEN BLACKMAN
Horror! A terrifying new villain stalks the innocent children of Gotham City! Intrigue! A threatening government agency is hot on Batwoman’s trail. Romance! Kate Kane’s new relationship is heating up! Can Batwoman stop the new evil rising from the damp back alleys of Gotham’s barrios? And overcome the many challenges she faces as both Batwoman and Kate Kane?

Horror, intrigue, and romance? Sounds like they've gotten a good balanced planned for Batwoman's book. I'm not horrified; I'm somewhat intrigued; we'll see whether I fall for this iteration of Batwoman.

THE HUNTRESS #1
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Look out! By the end of this hot new miniseries, the Huntress will have the largest price on her head in DC Universe history. What will the Huntress do that warrants such a death mark? And who puts it there? The jaw-dropping events will be revealed as the Huntress heads home to Italy and embarks on a mission that defines her life.

Love Levitz. Don't love the Huntress/mafia angle. It does make her unique; I can't say it's not a good take on the character. Just not my speed.

NIGHTWING #2
Written by KYLE HIGGINS
When a mysterious assassin targets Dick Grayson, Nightwing must work fast to uncover the killer’s plot before he strikes again. But as Haley’s Circus continues to perform in Gotham City, Dick finds himself torn between two lives: His old one as a circus performer and his new one as a Super Hero. And they may be more connected than he ever realized!

Not big on the whole "previously unknown connection" between a hero's two identities. That the street Hush and Conduit were born on, you know. And again with the Super Hero (tm); there's something up there. Did Marvel lose their part of that trademark and no DC owns it proper or something...?

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #2
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL
Red Hood is already globe-trotting in an effort to find the ancient assassins behind the slaughter of those who taught him some of his darkest skills... and if Roy and Kori are going to be of any help, well, they’ll just have to tag along – whether Jason wants them to or not!

I'll say this, DC; If you're going to have characters I don't really care about, I actually do appreciate it when you clump them all in the same book, rather than allowing them to mess up books I want to read. So, in that sense... thanks for this.

BIRDS OF PREY #2
Written by DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI
An explosion in a secure Gotham City airport terminal hurls Black Canary and Starling headlong into a nightmare involving stolen pharmaceuticals, terrorists for hire and killers in stealth suits who can appear – and disappear – at will. When Canary calls in backup, Starling’s not so sure a vengeful samurai who talks to her dead husband in a sword is the best choice.

I am oddly psyched about Black Canary having what seems to be sidekick and having no connection to Green Arrow. It's like DC actually intends for her to stand on her own like the Golden age character she is! And points for making fun of how ridiculous Katana is.


CATWOMAN #2
Written by JUDD WINICK
She’s a thief who lives to steal just for the thrill of breaking the law. He’s The Dark Knight, obsessively driven to battle evil with every ounce of his strength. They should keep each other at arm’s length, but...they just can’t seem to help themselves! Don’t miss this issue – things are gonna get messy!

I'm just happy Catwoman's ersatz heroic persona has been abandoned. And for Catwoman, Judd's kind of wise-assery writing might just be fine.

GREEN LANTERN #2
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Renegade Green Lantern Sinestro sets a course for Korugar with one purpose: To free his homeworld from the scourge of... The Sinestro Corps?!

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #2
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Guy Gardner and John Stewart lead a squadron of Green Lanterns to fight a mysterious force that is marching across the space sectors and devouring not only their natural resources but their entire populations. Worst of all, those responsible have a vendetta against the Green Lantern Corps!

GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #2
Written by TONY BEDARD
By their rings betrayed! Who – or what – has the might to tear power rings from each of the seven Lantern Corps, murdering their former bearers in the process? And why have the rings all chosen Kyle Rayner as their new master? As members of each Corps target Kyle for death, we learn more about the shocking fate of Ganthet!

RED LANTERNS #2
Written by PETER MILLIGAN
On a war-torn world where invading forces fight insurgent forces, the innocent always suffer the most. When a child screams with red-hot rage at the madness around her, she is answered by her weapon of retribution: Atrocitus.

More Lantern stuff. I know Lantern fans are all agog over the Dramatic Change in the Status Quo. But Lanterns fans are continually agog over the latest Dramatic Change in the Status Quo. I'm not really among them.

THE SHADE #1
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
James Robinson returns to the world of his acclaimed STARMAN series with a new 12-issue series starring the antihero known as The Shade! An attack at the Starman museum kicks off a globe-hopping, centuries spanning quest that will irrevocably change The Shade’s life, and ultimately shed light on his true origin! Artist extraordinaire Cully Hamner (RED) kicks off the series, and upcoming issues will feature art by such luminaries as Darwyn Cooke, Javier Pulido, Jill Thompson, Frazer Irving and Gene Ha!

While Robinson certainly made the Shade a rich and interesting character, it seems to have cost us a good villain in the process. I'd been hoping for a more villainous Shade this time a year; perhaps we'll get it, but with Robinson writing that seems unlikely. Much more intriguing is the existence of a Starman Museum. How exactly does that reconcile with DC's stated goal of re-establishing Superman as not just the greatest hero but the first one as well? We shall see.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #2
Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Madame Xanadu continues guiding the world’s darkest heroes in their struggle against evil. But will John Constantine, Zatanna, Shade the Changing Man and the others be able to join forces in time to defeat the dangerous Enchantress before she destroys the world as we know it?

Thumbs up for a "Magical Justice League", though these particular characters do not interest me much. But I've always loved Enchantress as a dangerously unbalanced threat to mankind.

SWAMP THING #2
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Alec Holland thought he knew the history of the Swamp Thing – but he was wrong. The creature’s roots run deeper than he knows, and the Parliament of Trees intends to make him understand the responsibility he wants so desperately to avoid! With this issue, the mythology of the Swamp Thing branches out in ways you never saw coming – don’t miss it!

Swamp Thing stories got a little, well, fetid for me when they started being about nothing but Swamp Thing himself. I hope this story is just a necessary touch point for new readers, rather than the on-going direction of the series.

ANIMAL MAN #2
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Maxine’s new abilities continue to terrify Ellen and Buddy Baker, and things take a turn for the worse as Buddy begins a startling transformation of his own that will lead him on a journey into the heart of The Red. Meanwhile, The Hunters Three arrive on Earth and set their sights on the Baker family. The Hunt is on as DC’s most surprising new series continues to take ANIMAL MAN in shocking new directions.

Color shift my Swamp Thing comment from green to red and it covers this.

FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #2
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
It’s all-out war as Frankenstein and his new field team, The Creature Commandos, uncover an age-old conspiracy at the heart of Bone Lake – one that will see them suit up as the world’s first “Necronauts,” traveling between worlds and through “dead space,” toward the mysterious Monster Planet. Meanwhile, the horrifying origins of the Commandos are revealed – and the S.O.M.B.I.E. makes its first appearance!

More DC genre mash-up: Weird War meets Mystery in Space. And what's with all the acronymic spy-agency stuff? I give 'em this; DC's not playing it safe.

RESURRECTION MAN #2
Written by DAN ABNETT and ANDY LANNING
Mitch Shelley’s past remains a mystery. So when he goes looking for answers, will he find them? Not likely, when he has to contend with the bounty hunter femme fatales known as The Body Doubles.

If I had made a list of all characters I might have imagined could possibly survive the Universal Reboot in order of decreasing likelihood, it would have included Vibe, the Penny Plunderer, Doiby Dickles, Celeste Rockfish, Actor John Ostrander, and Itty the Lasma far above the Body Doubles. The New DCU is nothing if not unpredictable.

I, VAMPIRE #2
Written by JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV
True love becomes divine hatred between the Queen of Blood and Andrew, as her vampires begin their attacks across the country. Their past behind them, they find themselves ready to battle to the death... If those feelings really are all gone. Surrounded by swarms of bloodthirsty vamps, Andrew must confront his immortal beloved in a blood-soaked battle he can’t win.

Again, no fan of the current vampiremania, but I applaud DC for reminding us, "Yeah, we had vampires before you did."

DEMON KNIGHTS #2
Written by PAUL CORNELL
The siege that will reverberate through history to the present-day DCU begins as the Demon Etrigan and his unlikely lover, Madame Xanadu, face the Horde! What five (mostly) noble souls would be crazy enough to join them? The cover gives but a hint, and the point could well be moot by the time this issue’s done. For the Horde is armed with the magic of Mordru – including some decidedly different dragons!

I myself don't like the Medieval sword/sorcery schtick, but I love that DC is diversifying its offering beyond the superheroic by using pre-existing characters.

STORMWATCH #2
Written by PAUL CORNELL
The moon is alive! Following the events of SUPERMAN #1 where [TEXT REDACTED], the covert team of sci-fi Super Heroes known as Stormwatch must not only battle the Earth’s moon, but find a way to hide its monstrous metamorphosis from the rest of the Earth! How? Uh, they’re working on it. Meanwhile, the recruitment of Midnighter goes poorly, and we learn why the Martian Manhunter is a member of the team. Written by Paul Cornell (Doctor Who)!

Well, this sounds like wacky good fun, and I applaud the inclusion of Martian Manhunter is wackiness. Also, I suspect that "the recruitment of Midnighter goes poorly" is delicious understatement... .

DEATHSTROKE #2
Written by KYLE HIGGINS
Deathstroke’s tactical prowess is put to the test when the man who hired him attempts to renege on the contract. Pitted against a salvo of new assassins, including the vicious Road Rage, Slade must take his giant sword to the 405 freeway and proclaim himself the most vicious killer in the city of Angels!

If you can't say anything nice, they say... . So I'll just say that the one thing I've always loved about the Marvel Universe is that Deathstroke's not in it. Though I'd be much happier if he were.

GRIFTER #2
Written by NATHAN EDMONDSON
The police are looking for him. Government operatives are hunting him down. And Cole Cash can hear the voices of an alien race in his head. Escaping New Orleans will require quick thinking and a violent streak straight out of Cole’s Special Operations background – and just like that, his life will be turned upside down, figuratively as well as literally.

Interesting choice of Wildstorm character to incorporate into the DCU. Smells like a new Kate Spencer Manhunter; a cult favorite with little larger impact.

SUICIDE SQUAD #2
Written by ADAM GLASS
80,000 ordinary people vs. the Squad! Well, they’re not really “people.” Not anymore. With an entire sports stadium on lockdown following the outbreak of an unknown virus, Deadshot, Harley Quinn and the rest of the Squad must sneak past a military perimeter and fight their way through the infected to retrieve... “it.” What is “it”...? Brace yourself for a stomach-churning reveal as the most brutal version of the Suicide Squad soldiers on! Plus: Bring a body bag – it’s the team’s first Squad fatality!

I'm no fan of the Suicide Squad, but that's a darned interesting set up!


VOODOO #2
Written by RON MARZ
Is she a hero? Is she a villain? Voodoo is on the run in the new DC Universe, trying to stay one step ahead of her pursuers, using all of her considerable skills to complete a mission that will put the entire Earth in danger. DC’s sexy, edgy new series goes into overdrive with one of the most unexpected opening scenes ever!

Having trouble being enthusiastic about this decade's Vixen.

O.M.A.C. #2
Written by DAN DIDIO and KEITH GIFFEN
Brother Eye gives Kevin Kho the ground rules to their new “arrangement.” New players are introduced to the game as Sarge Steel and Checkmate begin their hunt for the One Machine Army Corp, but O.M.A.C.’s appearance may be short-lived when he faces the incredible threat of Rocker Bonn, the Amazing Man!

This ... will not go well.


MEN OF WAR #2
Written by IVAN BRANDON and JONATHAN VANKIN
In the split second after a heavy-weapons blast the air goes silent and still, just as it does in the ghostly realm of Circe. How will Rock and his team of men – battle-hardened, but still human – survive a villainess who can walk on the very wind?
Plus, Navy Seals Ice and Tracker go where no boots are on the ground, but when their mission is compromised, how will they tell friend from foe?

It's the return of Weird War! I love you DC, sign me up. Besides... a Navy Seals comic?! I love Navy Seals! Sign me up!



BLACKHAWKS #2
Written by MIKE COSTA
While the Blackhawks deal with a potential public exposure, Lady Blackhawk is keeping dangerous secrets of her own! And the first clues of a vast conspiracy throughout the DC Universe begin to take shape. The action ratchets up for DC’s newest team of high-tech military operatives.

Glad to see military/espionage comics getting a facelift, and using the Blackhawks to do so is smart; I'll be interested to see whether the team is still international. DC's smart not to put all its eggs in the superhero (oh, I'm sorry: "Super-Hero") basket, and I hope it works.

ALL-STAR WESTERN #2
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
What happens when a psychologist and a sociopath have to work together to track down Gotham City’s first serial killer? They’ll soon find that crime in the big city runs deeper than its foundations, and it’s all mapped out in the mysterious Crime Bible – that is, if they don’t kill each other first.
Plus: No zombie is safe in the Wild West when Lazarus Lane summons the demon known as El Diablo!

First: Gray and Palmiotti can pretty much do no wrong. Second: this is Weird Western, folks, DC's insane chimera genre, that's the granddaddy of things like Cowboys versus Aliens. Eat it up!

TEEN TITANS #2
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL
A strange creature haunts the streets of Los Angeles... and because of this creature’s age, both Red Robin and N.O.W.H.E.R.E. are racing to find her – but neither side is prepared for the horror known as Bugg! Meanwhile, Superboy is on a collision course with the team, and Kid Flash plots his escape from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. with the most unexpected of allies!

"Bugg" = "uggh". I think there's been enough "horror" in Teen Titans, thank you very much. DC; you have a great model for the Teen Titans. It's called Teen Titans, and it's on TV; you should watch it some time.

STATIC SHOCK #2
Written by SCOTT McDANIEL and JOHN ROZUM
Static finds himself the target of dark forces as Virule and the Slate Gang unleash their deadly trap! Will Static’s debut end before it has even started?

I loved Virule and the Slate Gang when they first came out, but their sophomore album was kind of a disappointment. Seriously, though, Static is a welcome additional to the DCU. He's got much less "baggage" than Black Lightning, so I'm trying to adapt to DC picking the electric boy over the electric man. You know who would be a perfect pal for Static? VIBE. Make it so, DC.


BLUE BEETLE #2
Written by TONY BEDARD
Jaime Reyes was trying to save his best friend when an alien weapon attached itself to his spine. Now, if he wants to live to see tomorrow, Jaime must defeat a team of Super-Villains who want the weapon for more nefarious purposes.

Hard to tell, since this is Yer Basic Story of Jaime. But I trust Tony Bedard. And now we're capitalizing Super-Villains, too, it seems.


HAWK AND DOVE #2
Written by STERLING GATES
Hawk and Dove continue their investigation of the enigmatic Alexander Quirk! Who is he? What does he want? A secret laboratory might hold the answers, but it might also spell the end for Hawk and Dove! To top things off, the monster watching our heroes from the shadows finally makes his move – and he’s got a terrifying new partner!

Enigmatic foes with secret labs? Stalker monster partners? Sounds fun. Certainly more fun than Hawk&Dove stories about, well... Hawk&Dove, which seem to be all their stories have been about for years now.

LEGION: SECRET ORIGIN #1
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
The architect of today’s Legion of Super-Heroes, Paul Levitz, delivers a science fiction odyssey on a scale you’ve never seen in a new, 6-issue miniseries!
The broad strokes of the Legion’s origin are well known, but you’ve never seen the secret machinations that went on behind the scenes! Why was the organization known as the United Planets formed? Who tried to kill R.J. Brande the first time? And what great power could leave entire planets desolate and lifeless? Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad may have founded the Legion, but the story starts here!

Clever, really. The LSH's origin has to be retold, of course.... but that's been done A LOT. Coming up with a 'secret origin' to what was always a slapdash happenstance is a good idea. As for "what great power could leave entire planets desolate and lifeless", I'm guessing it's something Paul Kupperberg wrote.


LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #2
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Taken hostage on a hostile world, the Espionage Squad is outmatched by a rebel leader that only one Legionnaire could possibly stand against – but Legion leader Mon-El may be outgunned as well! And just what does Brainiac 5 see in Glorith’s magic that could be a game changer for the Legion?

Heh, that drips off Levitz Legion goodness. Basically, if you don't like Levitz on the Legion, you don't like the Legion at all.


LEGION LOST #2
Written by FABIAN NICIEZA
Trapped in time with two teammates already dead and unsure if they’re infected or can ever return home, the lost Legionnaires must confront the horrific reality about the pathogen released by the terrorist Alastor when they are forced to confront the very first Hypersapien!

Dead Legionnaires. Good to seem some traditions will continue!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Haikuesday with Actor John Ostrander

Now, I know I've been kind of harsh on poor Supergirl supporting character, actor-neighbor John Ostrander.

But that's mostly because every time he speaks it's so irksome that I feel like signing up for the Red Lanterns.

Yeah, I wish I could forget about you, too, Actor John Ostrander!


And he speaks SO DARNED MUCH.

Because he's an actor, you know.


He's a confluence of character cliches and verbal ticks that are all among the Sure Signs of Bad Comic Book Writing, including the Wacky Neighbor, the Comic Relief Victim, the Person Who Is His Profession, the Mouthpiece of False Street Talk, etc. The character Actor John Ostrander would be high on the list of anti-character witnesses in the
Trial of Paul Kupperberg for Crimes Against Prose and the Comic Book Reading Public. Although I'm sure Paul is a wonderful person. Who works for Archie, now, by the way. Not that there's anything wrong with being a minion of the red-headed devil who destroyed America's original patriotism-themed superhero, the Shield.

Anyway, fair play dictates that credit must be given where credit is due. Even when it's to an odious toad like actor-neighbor John Ostrander.

And you have to give credit to a supporting character who, even though his life is threatened, manages to use his fear-induced stutter as a means for sputtering out ...

a haiku.


A- act-u-al-ly,
I was hoping you'd forget.
N- no ... no such luck.


Didn't notice it the first time, did you?

What haiku can YOU compose to damn or praise John Ostrander or Paul Kupperburg?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Supergirl: the Gang Returns!



When last we left Supergirl she was fighting ...
THE GANG!

And lest you forget who they are, the Absorbascon is proud to present:

THE GANG: WHO THEY ARE AND HOW THEY CAME TO BE!

You know, if this weren't really poorly drawn, really badly written, and eight times longer than necessary, this would be a great one-page origin.


Apparently, in Chicago you can get super-powers by just studying hard, lifting weights, and staring at yourself in a mirror. You know what else you can get by studying hard, lifting weights, and staring at yourself in a mirror? Straight As and election to student council, followed by a scholarship to a good school, getting you out of a life of poverty and violence. But that's not THE GANG's style, apparently. Why do things the easy way?

At this point, the Gang has already defeated Supergirl once, entirely by way of a Jedi mind trick from Ms Mesmer, and her Hypnotic Third-Nipple.

It's ... it's nip-notic!

She runs into them a second-time at (duh duh DAH!) her own apartment building, where they attack her actor-neighbor, John Ostander, who's just an actor, for cryin' out loud...



Just shut up, John Ostrander! I'm sure you're a lovely man in real life, but I want to club your Earth-1 version to death like a baby seal.


...and where they promptly kick her butt again.
This one I'm not even going to bother making a joke about.


Um .. yeah, Supergirl. You really do.


"I need this abuse--?"
Why has Supergirl started talking like her alter kocker landlady Mrs. Berkowitz? Has her history as a continuity pinball left her a super-Zelig, instantly blending into whatever new life-of-the-month the writers give her? Just how suggestible is she?

In fact, Supergirl is
very suggestible, since in mid-fight Ms Mesmer gives her another mind-whammy. Without, it seems, even talking to her or looking into her eyes or spinning her third nipple or anything else traditionally mesmerizing.


I didn't realize mesmerism was a ranged-combat action.


She convinces Supergirl to see her greatest fear, namely:


That she's Linda Danvers.


It's okay, Supergirl; being Linda Danvers is my greatest fear, too.

Naturally, Supergirl is emotionally crippled and runs away, terror-stricken. And who can blame her? If you discovered you were Linda Danvers you'd be emotionally crippled, too. Pretty much by definition.

I guess Supergirl falling for this magically perpetrated mesmerism makes sense, character-wise. After all, she spent most of the Silver Age hypnotized into debasement and penury by Superman's repeating the phrase:
"You're my secret weapon!"

  • "You must live in a broken-down rural orphanage because you're my secret weapon!"
  • "You must wear a ratty pigtailed poop-brown wig because you're my secret weapon!"
  • "You must not use your super-powers and obey me because you're my secret weapon!"

Lord only know what else Super-perv hypnotized her into!

Stolen, by the way, from this amusing Supergirl site.


Anyway, Supergirl is now crippled with the fear that anyone who sees her knows she's Linda Danvers, so she flies off to abduct her parents from a classy restaurant, because she certainly can't show up at a classy restaurant dressed as Linda Danvers. Shudder!


I don't know what the other Top Ten Things Supergirl Should Never Say are,
but high on the list is
"Sorry about the super-speed snatch."


The Danversezes convince Supergirl she's off her rocker (who would know better?).


"I couldn't make a mistake about my street clothes, could I....?"


Well, my answer would be "yes" judging from this picture of your street clothes:


*Linda Lee's outfit by L.Ingalls of Walnut Grove, Minnesota!


Meanwhile THE GANG drags Actor John Ostrander to their high-tech headquarters on the south side of Chicago.



Bet that 'straight As/student council/scholarship' plan is sounding better all the time, huh, Gang?


Actually, beneath this windowless hovel lurks their evil den of inadequacy.



Whoa. With furniture from the Central City "Horizon-Ass" collection. I bet on winter nights, they all curl up together in that seven-foot wide orange armchair, just like puppies. And is that a coffee table or a dissection slab?

My favorite is the potted plant on the coffee table of their basement lair. Priceless.


Next time:
John Ostrander's acting skills versus
the Brain's mastery of salon-quality hair-care products.