Tag Archives: DC Comics

Rebirth Round 1

11 Nov

We are now in the fifth month of DC’s Rebirth initiative.  The New 52, which had opened to financial success, had alienated many longtime DC readers.  Though I was extremely disappointed in the line overall, I stuck with the New 52 and enjoyed many individual titles, from each launch period.  After five years, though, DC decided the best way to reconnect with their fans was to begin to bring back much of the classic DCU, while not destroying the foundation of the reboot.  Sales have been stellar, pushing DC into the number 1 spot for the last several months.  But is this a better foundation of titles than the New 52 or are we setting up for another big fall a few months down the line?

Personally, I have enjoyed almost all of the titles and have tried the vast majority of the titles that have been published.  Batman, DC’s regular benchmark title, has lost Scott Snyder who dominated the New 52, month in and month out.  And yet, in spite of this, the new Rebirth Batman title has also been a huge success for DC.  The story of the Gothams was high octane, superhero melodrama.  And though I didn’t enjoy the Night of the Monsters crossover as much, the Suicide Squad story seems to have returned the title to its rightful spot in the DC pantheon.  Detective Comics, a title that floundered from writer to writer in the previous series, has similarly experienced great success.  The initial storyline, based around a secret military unit based off of Batman’s tech and training, was exciting and created a new status quo for the Bat-Family.  And its second solo storyline looks to continue this excitement.  And for those of us who loved Scott Snyder’s Batman can take heart as his All Star Batman title has been his typical, crazy but fun ride.  The only complaint I have about it is that it is a rare title that only ships once a month.

The Superman titles are similarly experiencing some of the most fun stories they have seen in a while.  Specifically, the Superman title might be the best it has been years.  Having “my Superman” back and experiencing the trials of father-hood have been fantastic.  And though Kon-El, by Karl Kesel, will always be my Superboy, Jonathon has been a joy to read about.  I especially loved the two part love letter to the New Frontier, which just wrapped up.  Dan Jurgens has been writing Superman over in Action Comics.  Hopefully, everyone is familiar with Jurgens’s Superman work.  And though I don’t think it has been as exciting, it has been reestablishing Superman’s role in Metropolis.  He has placed the “real Lois” back at the Daily Planet, and he is now playing with Geoff Johns’s idea of Lex Luthor being the replacement of Darkseid. It boggles the mind.

I hope to have more to say about the relaunch over the next few days.  Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern titles, and more have similar successes to look at.  Meanwhile, DC Entertainment has diversified their publishing line with a renewed focus on the Hannah Barbara characters and new line called Young Animal which reminds me of the classic Vertigo concept.  But the bottom line is, even though DC upset many fans over the last few years, Rebirth really seems to be living up to its name.  The price drop for almost all of DC’s titles to $2.99 and the 2x monthly shipping seems to be working.  The company seems to be sitting at the best spot it has been in years.  Keep it up!    

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Scribblenauts Unmasked

23 Jul

So if you have read my blog EVER, you probably realized I like comic books. Specifically DC comics. I like them a lot. In my life, I have spent a small fortune on them. I also like video games. And if you were to ask my wife, she would probably say I spend a small fortune on them also. So when the worlds collide, few things excite me more. Enter: Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure.

Now, I must confess, if you have been researching this game at all, you may expect me to have first hand experience. Alas, I have yet to make it to a San Diego Comic Con, and haven’t actually played it. However, I am a research junkie (part of my real job). Pus, I have played Scribblenauts Remixed and consider myself knowledgable about the basics of a Scribblenauts game. Therefore, here is my preview!

For those who haven’t played a Scribblenauts game, it is an insane but fun filled concept. You are Maxwell, a rather odd looking kid with a really cool gift. He has a notebook that creates anything he writes. And I must say, having played the game for a bit, it does a great job at that. The game doesn’t typically do personal nouns well, but other that that, it does almost any noun and adjective you can think of. You want to create a schoolbus? Bam! It’s there. Want to create a school of fish? You got it. Want to have real fun? Create a wormhole and it will suck it all away! Yes, sadly, I burned ants with a magnifying glass as a child:(. No, I am not proud of it.

Now, they have decided to team up with DC and the new game allows users to create 2000 specific DC items. There are the obvious things. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League are all here. There are the expected baddies also. Darkseid, Luthor, and Joker headline. But there are also less famous characters. The L.E.G.I.O.N. is here in all of their 90s glory, as are the Secret Six. And then the game gets into the truly obscure characters: Infectious Lass (Legion of Subs) and Brother Power, a living mannequin. Even better, though, you can create entire teams by just typing the team names.

During the game, you will travel around and help solve puzzles for the various characters in the game. Many are civilians but some have been shown to involve the actual DC properties. You can create your own characters in a hero creator, which I plan on using frequently. And as you play, you score “rep” which will count as in game currency which can be used to unlock new stages belonging to one of three main branches (Superman, Batman, and the Justice League) or you can use it to purchase new costumes for Max and his sister. These costumes have the powers of the original character. Me? I want Ambush Bug’s costume. According to the developers, when you are attacked while wearing it, the real Ambush Bug will pop up and break the fourth wall, because that is just what he does!

Now, I have to admit, the game cannot create EVERYTHING from the DCU, like it is being advertised. In one interview, the dev admitted the Green Team didn’t make the cut because they were too recently updated. In another video, they admitted that many Vertigo concepts wouldn’t make the cut, because they were creator owned and specifically this game focused on DC proper concepts. But overall, the game is unbelievable in what does include. This is a game where you can attack Kingdom Come Superman with black Kryptonite. It is a game where the Green Lantern Corps can fight the war of light against the varied other recently added Corps. And quite frankly, it is THE place to create G’nort and have him chase Dex-Starr. I cannot tell you how much that excites me!

The End of the Secret Six

29 Jun

Catman of the Secret Six

Thanks to the recent push of digital comics, I recently tried out a “new” book DC prints. DC recently ran the lead into the Infinite Crisis for 99 cents and I decided to try out the six issues of Villians United. I never really cared for anyone in the book I knew of with the exception fo Deadshot . So imagine my surprise when I realized the book was mindblowing. And now, while attempting my best to buy the series as cheaply as possible, I discover the book is being cancelled with the run up to the DCnU. So should you try it even knowing it’s about to be cancelled?

Before I explain the best parts of the book, let me start with the things I wasn’t expecting to like. For one thing, I am a fan of the “true blue” DC heroes. I like Superman, Green Lantern, and Batman when they exemplify the best we can be. I like to see Superman as the classic untarnished hero. I never appreciated what happened to Hal Jordan long ago, and was thrilled when DC retconned the story to clear his name. The thought of reading a book about a series of villians was not appealing. Now, I admit I enjoyed the old Suicide Squad, but I always liked how Rick Flagg led the villians and forced them to do right. This book doesn’t have that. Each of the characters are true reprobates and honestly one of my favorite stories from the series is the “Cat’s in the Cradle” storyline where Catman sinks further into evil. The story made him much more real to me. Likewise, the thought of reading a book about a crazed, oversexed delusional doll of a man wouldn’t normally be my choice of reading material. Yet, honestly, the thought of losing Ragdoll is killing me. Gail Simone writes him perfect.

The other big thing holding me back from trying the book from day one were the character choices. I liked Deadshot from his days in the Suicide Squad and yet I always saw him as a poor man’s substitute for Deathstroke. Yes, I know he predated Deathstroke but he never seemed to make it nearly as big as Slade, and suddenly Deadshot was supposed to be a leading man in the book? Catman was almost always nothing more than a joke villian. Ragdoll was the child replacement of a somewhat disturbing 1940s era villian, who from all I heard was even more disturbing. Bane was the pathetic 90s era villian who was famous for one story, beating Batman and then being beaten everyother time he appeared. That left us the ladies, Scandal and Banshee, both new villians. Scandal’s father was the classic Green Lantern villian Vandal Savage. Banshee is probably somehow connected to the Silver Banshee, a useless Superman villian. Later on, they also added Black Alice, an emo teenager whose family was always having problems.

Somehow, though, Gail has made each of these characters so much more. Catman is suddenly good enough to go rounds with Batman and it actually makes sense. When he states that one day he or Batman will kill each other, I almost believe him. Deadshot is able to go toe to toe with Deathstroke and I can buy it. The new Banshee is much more interesting than the Silver Banshee. Bane is actually a well rounded character for once. Seeing his very weird affection for Scandal is touching and makes me wish the Bat writers could make him this interesting. The team is actually a truly unique part of the DCU that will be sad to lose come September.

So should you actually pick this series up? You have to know that it is not anything like what DC normally publishes. The characters are sexual deviants. Deadshot is technically seeing a dead woman. Ragdoll is a self-mutilated person, seemingly willing to spend time with anything. And don’t get me started on his relationship with his sister. These are all things I wouldn’t recommend normally, but if you have seen one American Pie movie, you have seen much more disturbing antics. The book is also exceptionally violent by DC’s standards due to the fact that it is led by a bunch of remorseless killers fighting people they may actually be worse than. Still, the artwork in the book has always been very good. Gail’s writing is definitely the show stealer though. These villians come across as much more real characters than many of the good guys in any comic book universe I read. Seeing Catman’s initial reaction to a “get out of hell free card” to seeing Deadshot finally repay “the Wall” for all the stuff she has put half of the DCU through, the book always pays off. There have been the occasional stories that aren’t quite brilliant, but I have yet to read any that aren’t worth reading. Give this book a shot and hopefully DC will get the hint. And although I have always loved the Suicide Squad, and am happy to see it getting a new book, I now actually will miss the replacements more than the originals. Never thought I’d say that.