Thursday, 23 June 2011

Comic Book Ramblings: My Thoughts on the DC Relaunch, Part 1


Well this month's big comic book news as everyone already knows was DC Comics' planned Relaunch in September 2011. 
After DC's big Flashpoint Event all DC's current books will be cancelled and replaced with 52 new books issued #1. They will also release the books for Digital download, which I think is a good idea. Nowadays you don't find to many kids in comic book shops & with comic books are totally non-existent on newsstands, it's hard for someone to find them if interested.
DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee has took it upon himself to redesign all DC's major characters, much like he did with Wonder Woman's costume in 2010. Making the characters younger looking & more updated. 

I wanted to wait until all DC's books were announced before I gave my opinions on them.

1st up: DC Justice Line
Justice League by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee

Justice League
It's a DC Dream Team! I love Geoff Johns as a writer. From his work on JSA and Teen Titans, I know he can write team books.  Jim Lee is one of my favorite comic book artists of all time. Back to his amazing run on Marvel's Uncanny X-Men in the 1980s to Image Comics' WildCATS in 1990s. DC really wants to make the Justice League their Flagship title again. One of the big problems I foresee for this title is if Jim Lee can get the artwork out on time on a monthly schedule. He hasn't worked on a book since All Star Batman & Robin, which was notoriously late, some say because of writer Frank Miller. Plus as DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee has other responsibilities to tie him up. I give Jim Lee 6 months (enough time to finish one story arc) before they replace him as artist. From what I know the story is set in the past, telling the formation of the Justice League. Pretty much same founding members, minus Martain Manhunter. He's been replace by a beef up former Teen Titan Cyborg for some reason. That doesn't bother me too much. I always thought that Martian Manhunter was just another Superman-clone, so why have him on the team anyway. Yes I know he's a powerful telepath & stuff. But I guest adding "Super-Cyborg" (he's totally buffed in this picture) is their way of diversifying the team by adding a "token black" superhero. Another thing I notice is the removal of the "America" from Justice League of America to just plain Justice League. I guest this is away to make the book more appealing to a international market (Yes, not just Americans read comic books people).

Justice League International by Dan Jurgens, Aaron Lopresti, & Matt Ryan

Justice League International
Written by the man who drew the Death of Superman, Dan Jurgens. It's not the first time Jurgens took on the Justice League. Back in 1990s, around the same time of the Death of Superman story he worked on Justice League America.
JLI membership will include Batman, who will be a member of Johns & Lee's Justice League (which will be set in the past for the 1st story arc). So will this Batman be Bruce Wayne or one of the members of Batman, Inc.? Superhero from the future Booster Gold is on the roster. Loud mouth Green Lantern Guy Gardner joins the group, as if Earth needs more Green Lanterns to protect it. Leave him inthe GL Corps in space as Earth's rep. The Sexy duo of the Brazilian superspy Fire & the quite Norwegian Ice add for the Fanboys as something to look at. From Africa supermodel turn superhero Vixen. I always like her. She was created in late 1970s & was supposed to be DC's 1st Black Female hero to get her own series, but sadly it was cancelled before it reached press during infamous "DC Implosion".
Old Cold War hero, the Russian Rocket Red added to capitalize on Marvel's Iron Man popularity. I remember this character from the Green Lantern Corps in the late 1980s. But the addition of the Great Ten's August General in Iron as China's rep is intriguing. One of Grant Morrison's best ideas I think. He's appeared in the Great Ten mini-series & in the pages of Checkmate.

Fire & Ice

The Original Cover to unpublished Vixen #1

August General in Iron

Aquaman by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, & Joe Prado.

The creators of  Blackest Night & Brightest reunite to take on Aquaman. I've been a fan of Aquaman since the old Superfriends cartoon series & writer Peter David's amazing run in 1990s. Johns loves to take on characters that others have giving up on. Who thought the JSA would be so dame good? I Hope they can put the King of the Seven Seas back on track as a major player in the New DCU. But Aquaman hasn't had any luck with past series & they usually end up cancelled. I don't like to say it but I think this one will go also.

Wonder Woman written by 100 Bullets' Briam Azzarello & art by Chiff Chaing.

Wonder Woman

The Gold bracelets have been replace by silver ones to match DC's Silver Age themed relaunch. I Hope they don't screw up Wonder Woman any more than they have so far. I've loved this character since the old 1970s Lynda Carter TV series & George Perez's 1980s reboot. But I'm afraid like so many past creative teams they'll just mess her up more. Last years J. Michael Straczynski reboot was horrible, but it did get Wonder Woman's name in the headlines, which is what I think is all that Warner Bros. wanted. Chaing's great artist, so at least the book will look good. My question is can Azzarello write for an Amazon? I'll wait & see like everyone else. DC will always have a Wonder Woman comic no matter how much it sucks just to keep the character in the public eye.

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

Perez's 1980s Wonder Woman 
The Flash by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato, art by Francis Manapul.

The Flash
Barry Allen is DC's pick as the New DCU's Flash instead of Jay Garrick, Wally West, & Bart Allen.
Barry Allen has always been the Flash to me, although I was a big fan of Mark Waid's 1990s run & Geoff Johns' run respectively. I was thrilled when they decided to used Barry Allen as the lead charcter in the 1990 Flash TV series instead of Wally West. But the Flash hasn't been good since Geoff Johns left the book, so I hope that the new teamI will do good. Fingers crossed.
The Flash 1990 TV series
Captain Atom by writer J.T. Krul (of Green Arrow & Teen Titans) & artist Freddie Williams II (JSA All-Stars).
Captain Atom
DC has tried to incorporate Captain Atom  into the DCU since purchasing the character from Charlton Comics in the early 1980s. They have transformed him into a villain for Countdown to Final Crisis as the Monarch (after a failed attempt doing this for Armageddon 2001) which didn't help him at all. Anyway, DC already has a nuclear superhero in Firestorm. This will be one of the series to get the axe by the end of the year I think.
Old School Captain Atom

The Fury of the Firestorm by Ethan Van Sciver, Gail Simone, & Yildiray Cinar

Jason Rusch & Ronnie Raymond are together in the Firestorm Matrix. Arist Van Sciver with the help of Simone trys his hand at writing. Would rather see him as the artist, but another one who's known for not hitting the deadline. Maybe as a writer he'll do better. Originally Atomic Robo writer Brian Clevinger was announced by DC.

Green Arrow by writer J.T. Krul, art by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund

Green Arrow
Got to say the redesign looks an awful like the Smallville TV series costume. I wonder if that was directed by DC marketing? I liked what DC did with him this year with the whole outlaw thing & the forest in the middle of Star City, reminds me of Robin Hood, which I think is what they were trying to do. Is this new team going to continue the same theme? Dan Jurgens has always been one of DC's big hitters. Hey, he's the man who killed Superman on the page, besides the lawsuit that is (more on that when I get to the Superman line).
Smallville's Green Arrow

The Savage Hawkman by writer Tony S. Daniel & artist Philip Tan

One of only two known surviving members of the JSA in the DC relaunch confirmed. With talks about doing a Hawkman movie in the future by Warner Bros. I see why they add him to the list of books. DC will want to get him more recognition with the general public like with Green Lantern. I always thought of Hawkman as a cross between Conan and Flash Gordon, with a touch of Indiana Jones.  

Frank Frazetta's beautiful Conan

Flash Gordon

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

Mister Terrific by Eric Wallace (Titans) & artist Roger Robinson

Mister Terrific
The second JSA survivor to get his own series. Like the character in the JSA, but don't see him able to carry a title by himself. Another title I see getting canned by the end of the year before the Mr.T jokes start craking.

                               "Hey! I Pitty the fool who don't read my Comic Book!"

                                                              Mr. Terrific

DC Universe Presents

DC Universe Presents

The last book is a planned anthology series that will spotlight the DCU's new status quo with different creative teams. First up is a 5 part Deadman series by Paul Jenkins & Bernard Chang. I Think this was originally planned to be just a mini-series with Judge Dredd writer Simon Spurrier, I guest they need material fast for this title. Even though Deadman has just come off his stint in the Brightest Day don't think anyone will pick this up just because he's in the book. So if DC wants to keep this book they are going to have to put characters the people want to read about. I hope they got some good creative teams planned for the future of this book, cause I see this one getting can too.

Classic Neal Adams Deadman

- Raja Devilman74   

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