Sunday, July 27, 2008

25 Things That Made Me Happy in San Diego this Week

Okay, today I was planning a Bronze-age comic reinterp in my usual style, but gosh darn, all this interesting news from San Diego and elsewhere just has me brimming over with happiness and excitement that I must share (unoriginal though that might be)!

1. Wonder Woman Animated Feature
Oh, my Zeus; she actually LOOKS kind of Greek. Excellent. Not only it is an original story rather than an adaptation (yay!) but it's got decapitation (YAY!!). Remember, when making an animated feature... adaptation bad, decapitation good.

2. Secret Invasion Heroclix Set
Wizkids is really working the theme on this set, with figures that may or may not be Skrulls, depending on which dial they happen to have. Besides, it has a number of Aquatic figures, most of which I've already acquired multiple instances of, to adapt for my Aquaman games!

3. Gaiman on Batman
Sure, it's only two issues. But it's some kind of retrospective on the various eras of Batman, which is timely, and it's Gaiman back on comics. And mainstream comics to boot (because it doesn't get more mainstream than Batman). If Morrison on Batman is one of the Signs of the Apocalypse, than Gaiman on Batman is a Sign of the Rapture.

4. Johns on Superman
From the encompassing revamp of Brainiac to the Silver Age insanity of a city of Kryptonians, John's is breathing life back into the Superman story. When things like this used to happen, I used to fret, "I wonder how long before I can forget this misstep happened!" Currently, I have enough faith in Johns et al., that my feeling is more like, "Ah, an interesting new element to expand the Superman mythos!"

5. Decisions
No matter what they do with this, it will say more about real-world politics and how politics might play in a superhero universe than all of Marvel's Civil War put together, which was, in the final analysis, just another excuse to have Marvel heroes fight one another, instead of villains. Besides, it will no doubt have Ollie Queen making an ass of himself, and Superman being more noble than everyone else. That's what they do.

6. Submit
No, I'm not big on Grant Morrison, and I'm even smaller on Kirby's Fourth World, but the absurdity of the Black Lightning/Tatooed Man combo is not something I can resist.

7. XS
I am really enjoying the Legion right now under Jim Shooter's pen, but there are elements of the previous version of the Legion that I still miss. XS, Impulse's cousin, is one I miss a lot, and no one who read her guest-star appearance in his book can ever forget it. She's going to play in part in Whatever Is Being Done With The Lightning Rod From The Lightning Saga, and I hope she's still around in the Legion after that.

8. Batwoman's crotch shoots fire!
It just works on so many levels. I really don't think she should have a superpower, but if she does, that's definitely the one.

9. El Diablo
I'll say it; the original El Diablo wasn't good, and isn't fondly remembered (or remembered at all). But that doesn't stop DC, which just looks at that sort of thing as a challenge to its creativity! In fact, taking something that was never very good to begin with, and turning it into the Next Hot Thing (JSA; Blue Beetle; Booster Gold) is one of things DC does best. Diablo had a very memorable guest-appearance in the new Jonah Hex series, and he brings to the table a unique combination of mysticism and cowboyism, the kind of odd mash-up that DC excels at.

10. Batman versus Catman
I really didn't think I'd live to see this. Growing up, Catman was just this legendary character from the Batman Encyclopedia. He's been back in style for some time, and his face-off with his original foe is long overdue. Batman deserves an anti-Batman and no-one is currently filling that role (adequately).

11. Ragman
In the Robin solicit, a conflict with Ragman is mentioned. Ah, you forgot he's from Gotham, didn't you? He is. And now that he's free from his previous engagement (Shadowpact), I think he'll be a welcome addition to the Gotham cityscape. A low-rent mash-up of Batman and Spectre adds to the mix in The City That Never Shines.

12. Dr. Polaris
Dr. Polaris coming up in Blue Beetle is great on several levels. First and foremost, it's Dr. Freaking Polaris, people. His versatility is amazing; he can be a serious serious threat, a scenery-chewing Republic villain, a wild-eyed crazy person, a scientific genius, even comic relief. Or any combination. He's a utility player. Second, pitting him against Blue Beetle is smart. Jaime needs villains, and Blue Beetle is sort of connected to the Green Lantern dynasty as kind of a "Kid Lantern", so putting him with a long-standing and currently underused GL villain works well for all involved. Third, it sounds like someone's going to be using Doc P to full potential, not just as a boxing opponent, but a behind the scene chess-type foe as well. Because that's where the real money is (as we learned in The Dark Knight film).

13. Supergirl/ Silver Banshee
Face it, we all know Supergirl's needed an intervention for some time now, and it looks like she's finally getting one. Even her brief appearances in Geoff Johns' Superman has made her more likable by a hundredfold. Making Cat Grant her bane, tying her in more closely to Superman's story (she's going to have a Supertriangle; see below), and giving her foes to fight (like Silver Banshee) are all big steps in the right direction. Besides ... I have always loved Silver Banshee's look. Particularly the earrings.

14. Starro
Starro is guest-starring in Booster Gold (THE place to be seen nowadays; what the Batman TV series was to Hollywood stars, Booster Gold is to the DCU characters). Starro takes over Rip Hunter, I believe, and hijinx ensue. I love Starro. Every night as I go to be a say a loving "good-night" to my giant Starro heroclix figure on the pillow next to mine. Oh, and, you know what I really really really want? A starro eye-pillow/nightmask. Really.

15. Earth-2
Without proper access to the multiverse (I mean, as resource, not just as a plot point), DC's been squirming around for years like a one-legged centipede. This upcoming Earth-Two/Power Girl storyline in JSA sounds like it will really bring back the Earth-2 we remember to represent the Golden and Silver Ages, and maybe even another Earth to represent the Bronze Age. Long overdue (especially since we get told at least once a year that the Multiverse is coming back).

16. Wonder Woman the Movie
No, they aren't making a Wonder Woman film, but they are telling the story of what happens in the DCU when someone does decide to make a WW movie. This is kind of innovative, yet commonsensical storytelling I've come to expect and eagerly anticipate from Gail Simone. Like most people, I've been underwhelmed by this Claw the Uncared For detour and I'm anxious to learn more about the impact of a person like Wonder Woman on our world (that means the DCU), not the mystical travismorganverse (which is also where Phil Jimenze wandered off-track).

17. Billy Batson
I love all-ages books, both conceptual and (usually) in practice. I'm delighted that DC didn't just let the Jeff Smith Captain Marvel experiment drop, but is putting out a Cap book based on it. Captain Marvel really does do better in his own special world, and I hope that adults readers don't spurn the book because of its more abstract artistic style (which many readers nowadays associate with juvenility but which I associate with universality).

18. Unknown Soldier
I'm not a fan of DC's war stories per se, but I'm a big supporting of (re-)expanding its line beyond standard cape-action. They began with their old Western line, and are trying their darnedest with their War line. The War That Time Forgot, for example (or, as we call it at my store, The Book That Everyone Forgot). Updating the Unknown Soldier by placing him in Uganda is inspired. Ours is a world of many theaters of war, rather than One Big War in Europe, and DC seems to be taking advantage of that storytelling opportunity.

19. Archie Heroes
Okay, I knew that DC had acquired the Archieverse heroes, but to actually ... use them? In the DCU proper?? In the Brave & the Bold title??? Genius. Like the Borg, DC continues to find and assimilate new species, adding their individual strengths to the collective.

Some of these guys are just so perfect. The Black Hood, a cursed superhero identity that kills its wearers in an on-going legacy of heroic doom? Hey, it's like the Flash! The Comet, the first superhero killed in the line of duty, and his brother, Hangman? This kind of Golden Age doomed legacy stuff is like dessert to Geoff Johns! Besides, admit it; you want a hero named Flygirl.

19. Milestone
The Great Experiment for Black comics creators in the 1990s, Milestone, was an imprint of DC Comics, but now its characters are coming back as part of the DCU proper. This is fabulous in several ways. One, it adds some solid characters who are black and who aren't just a legacy of some other hero. And one of them is Static (Shock); I loved that show. Two, it brings their fictional city, Dakota, with them. As the head of the DCU's tourist bureau, I believe strongly the DC should have almost NOTHING but fictional cities. After all, every time you use a "real city" in a comic, it's a fictionalize version of it anyway, so why constrain yourself when you don't gain realism from it anyway? Three, it adds to whole expansive Borginess of the DCU; resistance is cute, but it's ultimately futile. If you want your characters to survive, the best chance is to have them be part of the Biggest Comic Book Sandbox of them all.

For those kids too young to remember, all the Superman titles used to be united in one loose storyline, and on each issue a small triangle appeared containing a number that guided you as to the proper order for reading them. This era was perhaps the height of my interest in the Superman titles, because the coordinated titles really gave the creators a chance to fill out Metropolis and its characters. It was the kind of myth-building that hadn't been done since the Silver Age. The return of the Supertriangles and other evidence make it clear that the central Superstory is going to be broader and wackier than it has been in some.

22. The Haunted Tank in Iraq
Really. I mean, just say it, out loud: "The Haunted Tank, in Iraq". What more do you need to know? DC's making some bold attempts to update its war titles with new relevancy, and I think it's great. I hope the readers reward the efforts.

23. B&B Animated
Judging from the trailer, this show will rock, and anyone who insists on bitching that "*sigh* it's just not Batman the Animated Series, though, is it?" can suck it up and shut it up. Move on; that was 16 years ago. We're not in the dark Iron Age any longer, we're in the bright Platinum Age, and I, for one, consider that a very high quality problem.

24. New GA/BC writer.
It's not because I don't like the current writer. I don't, of course, but that's not the point. The new writers are going to put Connor Hawke back on the table and return the action squarely to the desperately-in-need-of-fleshing out Star City. That's mythbuilding stuff there, on top of the new focus on what makes the title unique: it has two big stars, and they're married to each other.

25. The Flash
Barry Allen's coming back. Big time. And he's going to kick your butt. It's clear that the new creative team for this project "gets" Barry, and why this is his time. They also seems intent on making all the Flash stuff cohere as part of a bigger "Flashiverse", with Barry as the pivot point. I'm beginning to think the all stripes of Flash-fans are going to be able to have their cake and eat it, too. We're not going to be asked to choose which Flash we want; they're simply going to expand the world to make it big enough for all of them, exactly as was done when Jay Garrick became part of New Earth.


ticknart said...

The Achie/Red Circle/!mpact heroes are going to be part of DC? Really?

You're not just jerking us around, are you?

Ever since !mpact died with Crucible my brother and I have been throwing ideas back and forth as to how we'd use 'em. Especially The Fly and The Blackhood, the two best characters from that group.

Scipio said...

Oh, it's true alright.

Patrick C said...

I didn't even realize I wanted the Milestone heroes back until I read the announcement.

I'm just not sure how another Superman-level hero will fit into things.

And how weird would it be to see Blood Syndicate standing shoulder to shoulder with the JLA, JSA, and Teen Titans as they faced Darkseid/Anti-Monitor/some other universe-spanning villain.

Harvey Jerkwater said...

The Brave-N-Bold trailer is excellent. My seven year old nephew is going to adore this show. And that is how it should be. Kid-friendly, brightly colored Batman is a good thing, dammit. We have no shortage of dark and brooding Bat-movies and teevee shows. Give the kids some fun, dagnabit.

"Decisions" still sounds like a painfully bad idea. I'd love to be proven wrong.

Stephen said...

b and b animated is awesome. as dr. polaris facing blue beetle. love to see him build up a sweet rogues gallery

dannyagogo said...

I'm a big fan of the water-themed characters in the new Hercolix set. I've 8 Atlantean Warriors!!

On Saturday, 4 Atlantean Warriors, Namor, Tempest and Starro-Slave Aquaman almost conquered all in a fun game again 3 friends. They were lots of fun to play!!

Anonymous said...

what the Batman TV series was to Hollywood stars, Booster Gold is to the DCU characters

I've only read the first six issues (courtesy of the inevitability of TPB collections and the NCC public library system), and some of those appearances seemed somewhat forced. The plot device used to get Jonah Hex into the story was hard to believe as anything other than what it was, a deus ex machina to get Jonah Hex into the story. And the bad guy's plan for erasing the Flash from continuity? I almost expected Booster to offer him some Hostess fruit pies to forget the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

"all the Superman titles used to be united in one loose storyline, and on each issue a small triangle appeared containing a number that guided you as to the proper order for reading them. "

Huh. I just got done re-reading the 1987-1989 Supertitles, ending just about where that era began, and the stories stand up better than I expected them to. Much better.
Okay, there WERE some truly awful wince-making Wolfman moments here and there, but overall it was a good era for Superman books.
But there was this one comic ... does anybody remember The Adventures of Superman #427, April 1987, by Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway. Superman spent half the issue talking to himself out loud, and even THAT isn't the most irritating thing about this comic. And I'm not going to tell you what is, because ... well, I'm just not, is all.
I mean ... like... was that a different era, or what?

Patrick C said...

I loved the triangle era of Superman! I finally gave up on it once the electric Superman Red/Blue fiasco was over. Superman Forever seemed like a good jumping off point. And I've stayed away until the Legion arc on Action, and now I'm getting Superman AND Supergirl. My pull list is starting to look like it was 10 years ago, it's crazy.

kenaustin said...

I really figured you'd be excited about the Smallville news, being a Legion fan and all.

Doctor Polaris said...

I am pleased that someone recognizes my importance to the DC Universe. I thank you.

And know that versatility is strength. Never forget that! Diversify! Not only am I a medical doctor and a physicist, I am a super villain. There is nothing I cannot accomplish...

Nick said...

I'm way, way more excited than I should be my the return of the triangles.

It takes me back to my days looking through the spinner rack at the local mini-mart, looking for the most recent issue of MOS.

I was DEVASTATED the day it turned out the cyborg superman was the villain.


Anonymous said...

Look, I'd love to see stories featuring the Archie Heroes (for a moment I thought you meant Pureheart the Powerful and Cptain Hero). Flygirl looks great, and for some reason I have an intense, homoerotic memory of the Jaguar.

And I enjoyed Milestone quite a lot, and would love to see all the characters return.

But in the DCU? On New Earth? That place is already suffering from such massive superhero overcrowding that it begins to look like issues of Normalman. Superheroes date superheroes, marry superheroes, are the children and grandchildren of superheroes, mistake superheroes for other superheroes, and can't swing a cat without hitting a superhero. Nobody has room to breathes, and they particularly don't have room to develop. Every issue is massive overload guest-star city. And there's no coherence to the shared universe at all.

I'm particularly disappointed, from a storyline point of view, to imagine the whole Milestone universe shoved into a corner of the DCU. One of the points of Milestone was to create an entire fictional setting that had its own tone, its own history, its own iconic (you'll excuse the expression) characters. The character Icon is, basically, Superman seen through the unique Milestone lens. He and Superman do not belong in the same universe. (Any more than Superman and Captain Marvel ever had.)

Put them in a parallel universe? Sure. Have them, very rarely, cross the dimensional barriers and interact? Oh, if you MUST. But shmush them all into the same universe, along with the Fawcett characters, the Charleton characters, Earth-1 and Earth-2? That's just more of a mess than we already have.

I grew up on The Lord of the Rings and Star Trek. I loved them both. But I never wanted to read a story by JRRT in which Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to help Sam's daughter fight the son of Sauron. That's not Middle-Earth; that's fanfic.

Nothing the matter with fanfic, of course, but there should be something more essential on which it is based. All comics today are becoming nostalgia-driven, post-modern fanfic. Really, it's all too easy - just keep throwing characters at the wall and see what sticks. Result: big messy wall. And nobody's minding the store.

Mixed metaphor, I know. But mixin's all the rage these days.

Anonymous said...

I never understood The Adventures of Superman #427 either. I used to think that i was missing the issue that explained what was going on. I still think I am, but unfortunately that issue was never published either through editorial fiat or the writer losing interest.

SallyP said...

Great Googally Moogally! There's so much to be excited about that I hardly know what to do.

I'm definitely getting that Wonder Woman DVD in February. I getting Neil Gaiman on Batman, and I'm getting Batman vs Catman (although I secretly am rooting for Catman) Oh heck, I'm OPENLY rooting for Catman.

With all the crap that they have in Previews, why they don't have a Starro Eye pillow/nightmask I DON'T know, but I too would love to have one.

Nice to have the Haunted Tank back, and finally, Dr. Polaris as well!

A hearty woohoo.

Anonymous said...

The only sad thing is that it's 15 years too late for Fly Girl to be re-imagined as an ethnic urban hero whose power only manifests itself when she dances to specific Big Daddy Kane tracks. That would make me happy.

I'm looking forward to see if they do anything with The Web, whose main shtick seemed to be that his wife was major b****.

I almost expected Booster to offer him some Hostess fruit pies to forget the whole thing.

I'm confused. You write as though that would be a bad thing....

Anonymous said...

El Diablo: It's only because we're friends that you're getting away with implying that the JSA was "never very good to begin with" without a tac-nuke aimed at your store.

Batman vs. Catman: Mumblin' McFarlanes, how the hell big is that cape???

Anonymous said...

Jeff Parker will also be writing an Agents Of Atlas ongoing for Marvel. When that comes out, my Marvel purchases will double!

Roberts said...

I almost expected Booster to offer him some Hostess fruit pies to forget the whole thing.

I have to agree that that would be incredibly awesome.

I also second the excitement about Agents of Atlas.

Randell said...

This can't have effect in actual fact, that's exactly what I think.
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