Sunday, June 05, 2011

The DCNu - What Have They Created?

I may stop talking about this one day, but probably not for a long time.

I can’t stop commenting or thinking about what DC is doing. On one hand I think, wow a bold move and one that DC needed to do badly. DC has lost the buzz on most of their titles and the mid-list books they had were weak. This idea has merit and is a good thing to do. The problem is after taking a few breaths and reading the tea leaves I see this as another do this now type of thinking from Didio, where he seems to make a decision and goes full speed ahead, never once trying to chart a course. One idea works for everything. Didio has a history of having some great ideas and never having a good plan to execute against the idea. It is almost as though he has a child like mentality and a lack of patience that is probably catching in his enthusiasm. The problem is he needs to have someone who can help actually sit down and plan this out and I have yet to see DC being able to deliver against some good ideas.

The evidence that the execution of this idea came about quick comes from stuff like Batman Incorporated being forced to be wrapped up in about 8 issues when it was to be 24 issue story of Batman’s battle versus Leviathan. Other books you can see how the plug pulled on them with little time to bring things to a conclusion, Giffen had great fun poking editorial with the last Doom Patrol issue. Plus plans for other books have been cut off mid stream. Thousand of things point to a whole different set up was moving forward and all of a sudden Didio was given the green light to re-launch the entire DCU.

Instead of calling in all the writers and planning something this massive I think Didio, Johns and Lee have been doing this on the fly to a degree and now just starting to tell people what will be what. We are not getting a brand new start, which is why DC keeps saying it is not a reboot. We will be coming into a new DCU or DCNu that will have a fast and loose history that will be filled in over time. On one hand this makes life exciting as readers try to figure out what is what, but it is also rife for disaster as writers will not know what is what either. Batman’s writer may have him facing the Penquin for the first time and in book “B” Batman will refer to the Penquin as a long time nemesis. Has Ollie had a relationship with Black Canary, who is Tim Drake, how long has Hal Jordan been Green Lantern, is Billy Batson Captain Marvel, what happened to the original Aqualad, is there a new Aqualad, what is the history of the DCNu?

Add to that Johns love of the Silver Age and Didio’s insistence that whoever the character was in the Silver Age he has to be the character forever and this has the air of the One Year Later jump with a touch of Heroes Reborn thrown in. I believe Heroes Reborn was under Harras and One Year Later was Didio. Remember Didio has had great idea, after great idea and then over edited tons of books into mediocrity or under executed against them.

The feeling I get is this was green lit and is being cobbled together way too fast. I know thereis an urgency to right the ship but no need to throw out good ideas. Heck Batman Inc. could just be a different reality and allowed to continue. Readers can separate different versions of characters. As another example of how fast this has come about look at Batman and Robin. Pumped up to the nth degree about Tomasi and Gleason being the new team and we got one arc and now that is gone. This type of planning scares me, especially when so many of Didio’s grand ideas have crashed and burned. Remember getting Superman out of his own titles and we got a year of Mon-el being degraded from a great hero to whiny, emo boy hero. One Year Later was a cool concept that crashed and burned as writers seem to have no clue how to go about it with each book. There were hints in Superman that his ship did crash back in 1938 and then no mention was made of it.

The other issue I have with this is the thought process is by wiping the slate clean, to a large degree, the books will be better. This will certainly get fans to pay attention and maybe try some DCNu books, but ultimately the stories have to be good. Using that as segue let’s see what the lineup looks like so far.

New York Times bestselling writer Brian Azzarello, author of The Joker and 100 Bullets, teams up with the immensely talented artist Cliff Chiang (Neil Young’s Greendale) for WONDER WOMAN #1, an exciting new series starring the DC Universe’s greatest superheroine. The cover for issue #1 is by Cliff Chiang.

This surprised me and since no one can get Wonder Woman right I love giving Azzarello a shot at WW. It will not be your usual take and Cliff Chiang’s art will make the book look great. I’m sad that all the good stuff that has occurred with JMS’ run is already out the window, but this seems like it could be a winner. WW is the toughest character to get to work.

Geoff Johns, one of comics’ greatest storytellers, reunites with GREEN LANTERN and BRIGHTEST DAY collaborator Ivan Reis to bring you a thrilling new take on the fan-favorite hero of the sea in AQUAMAN #1. The cover to issue #1 is by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

On one hand this could be great as Ivan Reis is a brilliant artist and Johns made Aquaman a truly powerful character in Brightest Day, my question on this book who the heck is he? What type of history will he have? Is he the same guy from Brightest Day or a tabula rasa? This is the type of stuff where it may make a story more exciting by jumping into the middle of the story or history of the character, but as a fan I have no clue as to what the character is at all. Jumping in for five or six characters this way is okay, but the entire DCNu is something I have no investment in and asking me to play along with the whole thing is ridiculous.

Rising superstar Francis Manapul, fresh off his acclaimed run on THE FLASH with Geoff Johns, makes his comics writing debut in THE FLASH #1, sharing both scripting and art duties with Brian Buccellato. The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but what happens when he faces an all-new villain who can? The cover to issue #1 is by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato.

Again, I have the same complaint as with Aquaman. Is Barry going to be married? Is he in the middle of his career or what? As for the creative team, that is fine if they can deliver a monthly book. Hopefully the editor will help with any writing issue Francis may have, but many, many artists have made terrific writers.

Welcome to a major new vision of the Nuclear Man as writers Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone team up with artist Yildiray Cinar to deliver THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #1. Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond are two high school students, worlds apart – and now they’re drawn into a conspiracy of super science that bonds them forever in a way they can’t explain or control. The cover to issue #1 is by Ethan Van Sciver.

This is another character in the DCNu that is fine starting over from ground zero. Firestorm has been a loser for a long time and even his success was marginal. I think having Gail Simone as a co-writer is a great way to help along an aspiring writer who was known for his artwork. I like the idea of teaming someone with experience with a neophyte to get them up and running.

Sidebar: The handwriting is on the wall that Bruce will again be the only Batman again and I believe he will be aged backwards as it was obvious lately that Bruce was probably in his forties, at least late thirties. Somewhere it is stuck in most publisher’s minds that the super hero should be 29 or younger.

Batman writer Tony Daniel will team up with artist Philip Tan (GREEN LANTERN: AGENT ORANGE, THE OUTSIDERS) for THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1. Carter Hall’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archeologist who specializes in alien ruins – but will the doctor’s latest discovery spread an alien plague through New York City? No matter the personal cost, Carter Hall must don his cowl and wings and become the new, savage Hawkman to survive. The cover to issue #1 is by Philip Tan.

Here I have three problems. First Tony Daniel’s writing has been very weak. Second Phillip Tan has yet to be able to produce enough art to be the artist on a monthly title. Third DC has screwed this character’s history so much that starting over from the beginning makes sense, but again in a shared universe is he now a rookie hero and others are seasoned or what? I still bet no Bible for this DCNu’s continuity exists and it is being made up as they go along. What was the point of doing so much with this character in Brightest Day?

It again shows planning is optional. I can just picture Didio giving broad strokes to people. I imagine him saying we are blowing up the DCU and starting over. Johns and Lee will be doing the JL and this will be our lynchpin book. Superman is now younger and just came to Earth, Batman is Bruce Wayne without a sidekick and has been in Gotham for only a few years, Green Lantern has been a GL and a guardian of our world for awhile and Geoff will handle the details, Aquaman is the lord of the Seven Seas and Geoff will let you know what you need to understand about him later, Wonder Woman is just coming to man’s world and has just arrived on the super hero scene. Cyborg is a great hero that has been sponsored by the government as well as his own brilliant engineering. He will be out black Iron Man and a lynchpin super hero. Thing Tony Stark in the MU, but now it will be Cyborg. Okay everybody go out and tell great stories and have fun. Later ….. little Paul Levitz sees an iceberg and runs to tell Dan. Dan says nothing can stop this ship and to go away, Dan is the boss now.

Oliver Queen is an orphan who grew up to fight crime as the Green Arrow, a billionaire playboy who uses his fortune to become a superhero – able to fight the most powerful super-villains in the universe with nothing but a bow and arrow. JT Krul will write GREEN ARROW #1 with art by superstar artist Dan Jurgens. The cover to issue #1 is by Brett Booth.

JT has been unimpressive and really Ollie. We could not replace Ollie? When the Silver Age started many characters were different people. Ollie could have been Native America, black, Hispanic, Asian or at least any other pasty white guy, but now he is generic super hero formula with generic super hero art. This should be just awesome (where is the sarcasm font?).

A team of internationally-drafted superheroes fight each other and their bureaucratic supervisors as much as they do global crime in JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1 from writer Dan Jurgens and artist Aaron Lopresti. The cover to issue #1 is by Aaron Lopresti.

JLI by Dan Jurgens, are you kidding me. Dan is a decent writer, but not for a book that lives and dies on humor and characterization. This book screams for Giffen, Winick or a radically different take. Jurgens is too vanilla.

The world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors – uses his brains and fists against science gone mad in MISTER TERRIFIC #1, the new series from writer Eric Wallace and artist Roger Robinson. The cover to issue #1 is by J.G. Jones.

I love this character and hope this book works. The JSA has a ton of untapped potential with their lineup of characters. Of course the fast and loose history of DCNu makes me worried about what this character’s back story will be and does the JSA still have a role to play?

Captain Atom has all the power in the world, but no hope of saving himself. Charged by nuclear energy, possessing vast molecular powers, he has the potential to be a god among men – a hero without limits. But the question is this: Will he lose himself in the process? JT Krul and artist Freddie Williams II take the character in a bold new direction in CAPTAIN ATOM #1. The cover to issue #1 is by Stanley “Artgem” Lau.

This book has marginal written all over it. Freddie needs an inker and JT Krul needs some ideas.
The anthology series gets a new look in DC Universe Presents, a new series that will focus on multi-issue story arcs each featuring a different superhero from the DC Universe’s rich cast of characters, told by some of comics’ most exciting writers and artitsts. DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #1 kicks off the first arc of the series: a Deadman story by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang. The cover to issue #1 is by Ryan Sook.

Good Luck. I love anthology stuff; no one else will support it.

Of course Justice League by Johns and Lee and I have many doubts about that book. First Johns has been writing for events too much and lately he has fallen out of favor with me. I also doubt Lee can produce a monthly comic anymore. Still if they just tell good stories and not try and make this a book everyone has to acknowledge it could work as long as it is its own thing.

Finally the GL side of the DCNu
Geoff Johns has been charting the adventures of Hal Jordan and the GREEN LANTERN Corps since GREEN LANTERN: Rebirth, collaborating with such major artists as Ethan Van Sciver, Darwyn Cooke, Prentis Rollins, Marlo Alquiza and Mick Gray.
This fall, Johns reunites with artists Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy, as the series begins anew with GREEN LANTERN #1 with cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. Together they will continue to thrill readers and expand the Green Lantern mythos.
Change is coming. But set aside your fear. It’ll be worth the wait.
Additional titles include:
When deadly conflicts emerge across the universe, it’s up to Guy Gardner, John Stewart and an elite Green Lantern strike force to keep the peace.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1 will be written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna. The cover to #1 is by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy.
Who are The New Guardians?
The power of Rage, Avarice, Fear, Will, Hope, Compassion and Love combine to be the most powerful (and colorful) team in the corps under the leadership of Kyle Rayner. Beware their power . . . and their volatility!
GREEN LANTERN: THE NEW GUARDIANS #1 will be written by Tony Bedard and illustrated with cover by Tyler Kirkham and Batt.
Going solo. Atrocitus and his Red Lantern Corps return in their own series, battling against injustice in the most bloody ways imaginable. This Lantern Corps takes no prisoners, they are judge, jury and executioners!
RED LANTERNS #1 will be written by Peter Milligan with art and cover by Ed Benes and Rob Hunter.

Now this sounds like the least impacted of all DC titles, which is okay except now Hal becomes the senior hero of the DCNu and everyone else is a rookie. I hate that concept and I’m so tired of Hal Jordan, but he did get a movie, which looks W…E…A…K. Also do we need a Red Lantern book, as a supporting character this works, but as an ongoing? At least it has Peter Milligan who could make something like this work.

It also feels like DC has thrown out all previous continuity except for Hal Jordan and the GL Corps. Many of the characters may look the same, but we will not know if any of the history is the same. The writers will be able to shock us by having Blue Beetle fighting in the JLI and then in issue #4 the helmet comes off and the Blue Beetle is actual Jamie’s sister, as the scarab never went to Jamie. We as fans as suppose to think what a shock, but given how DCNu appears to being setup anything can be thrown at us, logical or not. Which is a substitute for good story telling and a cheat as we are only shocked because we are reliant on what we know and our assumptions can only be based on past history, that no longer exist. Finally there is certainly a f**k you feeling to this, that all the history and back story that I know as a long time fan was considered unimportant. In order to be successful DC needs new fans, but they need the old fans to hang in also.

Could be worse, could be rainning - from Young Frankenstein


  1. I'd agree wholeheartedly with your final paragraph, except for those last two sentences.

    But yeah, this whole thing smacks of a good idea that probably needed a little more thought put into it.

  2. What DC's doing with the history doesn't fundamentally as long as it won't be confusing. What bothers me is there's no fresh names in there.

    DC's supposed to be reexamining who's writing every title and there's no fresh blood in there. We're getting a brand new take from who, exactly? The same people who have been writing DC for the past 5 years? Azzarello on WW is interesting, but even he's been floating around DC for the past few years. Get some new blood in there.

  3. You know not even half the creative teams have been announced yet. Reserve judgment until they are before you complain about "fresh" talent.

  4. Hey Shawn, is this a subtle way of letting us know that you'll be getting your first DC comics writing gig? :)

    We'd all enjoy that! Seriously.

  5. I would write Nightwing for Free. FREE I tell you.

    I'd also write Superboy but it is important that Scott Lobdell gets his 3 DC titles in because he was Bob Harras' bitch during the 90s. Yes, sarcasm. See? I don't like all of the announcements either. It's just not as bad as some....believe it to be.