The Old 52

With the most recent announcement that 4 original DC titles are getting the ax (Superboy, Birds of Prey, Batwing, and All-Star Western) in August, the remains of the “New” 52 are all but gone. Of all the books DC publishes now, only 21 original titles remain. That’s less than half of the books that were launched. While their are exceptions (Suicide Squad and Teen Titans are getting relaunched, JLI was scrubbed for story purposes, etc) it is still rather alarming to think that the original New 52 has dwindled this far. While DC has added solid replacements such as Earth 2 and Harley Quinn, those serve as the exceptions to DC’s line. The ongoing series’ and the once that have survived are the 21 I have noted above. Of all the books launched to replace books, very few of them exist. Of the Second Wave only Earth 2 survives, with Worlds Finest now joining Batman Inc, Dial H, The Ravagers, and GI Combat. Of the Third Wave, we Phantom Stranger is joining Talon, Sword of Sorcery, and Team 7. The next few launched were JLA and Katana, also now gone.

While I will give DC credit for trying new things, with only 23 books on the shelf that have proved to be tried and true, a problem has emerged. Only time can tell if some of DC’s more recent gambits such as JLU, Infinity Man, Constantine, JL 300, and the Superman-Batman/Wonder Woman books will test as well as Earth 2 and Harley Quinn have thus far. To truly succeed and gain back market share, DC is going to need to be bold, but also smart. I posted previously how I felt Marvel’s Hawkeye strategy was effective, and should be emulated. DC needs some help adding titles that can survive in the long run. And with characters like Cyborg, Captain Marvel, and even Lex Luthor gaining increased popularity, DC has the characters to do it. Once again, I’m all for them trying new and bold things, but they need to balance that with books that can and will sell. I may not know exactly what those books look like, but I’m pretty sure all of us out there have many ideas that DC could utilize. For that we’ll have to wait and see what we get to replace these books come October.

What are your thoughts on the matter? What do you think DC has done right and how do you think they could improve for the future?

Until the next time, Rn

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Ravingnerd Reviews: Mr. Freeze #1

Mr. Freeze was not another issue I had no particular interest in. I had mixed feelings about Snyder’s redesign, but ultimately like the direction the character appears to be taking in the New 52 given his interactions in Batman, Outlaws, Birds of Prey, and the Night of the Owls. Bringing on the team of Grey and Palmiotti was a brilliant choice as the two rarely do poor work. So with all that in mind, here is what I liked about the issue:

1. The dialogue is cold, calculating, and spot on for Mr. Freeze. Absolutely incredible.
2. His eerily red glasses seem to have text scribbled across them, and on closer inspection “Kill Batman” is scrawled across his eyes. And at another moment they say “Say Grace”. This was not only fascinating, but clever.

Rating before reading: 6
Rating after reading: 6

This book falls just short of great for two primary reasons. Jason Masters’ art is fine, but it isn’t exceptional. The innovative text scrawled across the lenses was incredibly clever, but the art itself seemed to lack a lot to be desired. It was hard to determine what was going on in a few of the panels, and it just couldn’t match up to the writing. Granted that’s pretty hard to do, given the team.

The second thing this book falls short on is content. Not only do we see him awkwardly try to assert himself as the father of his step-mom and step-siblings, but we get too much flashback to his story in Batman Annual #1 from last year. Multiple panels are just rehashed from that, without so much as a reminder that this is a flashback. It prevents the comic from seeming especially fluid, and wastes space playing catch-up. I understand the reasoning was to let us know the new Nora status quo, but it could have been done much simpler and far better without the pages of flashback. That also draws negative comparisons between Batman Annual artist Jason Fabok, and that of Masters’ art.

So while the scripting and dialogue are almost spotless, the plotting and the art take away from what the book could be. Given slight adjustments to the plot, we would have been given a smooth narrative all about how cold and callous Mr. Freeze is. And while we got close, this issue didn’t quite get there.

Stay tuned for my chilling double feature!

Until the next time,

Rn

Ravingnerd Reviews: Katana #1

It’s been quite a while since I made a post, the less busy I am, the harder it seems for me to be able to commit to a blog. But here I am now, to deliver one last piece of rhetoric before we count the votes for last week and go head long into this Marvel VS DC Monday.

Now, I’m sure you have all heard mixed stories about Katana #1. If you have still not picked it up, or have not found a reason to pick it up, I’m here to discuss just what I loved about this issue. And there was so much about it I loved.

1. The art is vivid and beautiful. I really enjoy it.
2. Though set in America, the story showcases many Japanese themed locations. All of which are wonderful.
3. We meet more artifacts. Katana wields the Soultaker. And her enemy wields an awesome ribbon sword.

Rating before reading: 7
Rating after reading: 8

The comic not only shows that Katana is a bad ass, but shows why. We get to read her internal monologues. We see what she is thinking, and why she does what she does. The result is, we get to see some of the best characterization out of this character we’ve seen this side of the New 52. We see a smart, capable, and deadly woman. While not a huge fan of having heroes kill, it works for Katana. She’s a ninja and a samurai. Pretty sure she’s supposed to kill people.

I know I haven’t said much of anything, but I enjoy watching characters get their chance in the sun light. Especially when it’s a character that has so much to offer. Katana #1 is every bit as spectacular as I had though it would be. The brilliant internal monologues only made the issue more stunning. It stands out as not only reason for fans to love the character, but for fans to be excited about JLA as well.

Very soon all of these thoughts and more will be compiled in our weekly Marvel VS DC Monday’s post.

Until then,

Rn

The Fourth Wave of America

As most of you know, two thirds of DC’s 4th wave were revealed today. Previously we had 3 unannounced mystery titles, and now we have just one. The most surprising aspect of the reveals was that they both had direct ties to the new JLA (also launching in february).

Katana #1 will be written by Catwoman Scribe Ann Nocenti and will spin directly off of Birds of Prey. Whether this means she is leaving the team for good has yet to be seen, but it could be very likely given her new stint on JLA. The Katana solo series will be set in Japan as we not only learn more about the character but as we watch her gain a rogues gallery and confront her past.

Vibe #1 was the most shocking and easily the most unattractive teaser to come out of DC in quite a while. Like Katana, VIbe’s series will tie directly in as Paco’s life is turned upside down when his powers become apparent to the government. It appears that Detroit will serve as America’s Cardiff in a Doctor Who style spacial rift. Vibe’s unique set of powers allows him to sense the activity of the rift when no one else can. This comic will be helmed by the creator of Arrow.

Finally news more along the piss-your-pants-out-of-excitement came out. Ann Nocenti will be leaving Green Arrow. So that Jeff Lemire can hop on board with art from Andrea Sorentino. Lemire promised a return to classic GA believing that this would help bring back disillusioned fans back to the character.

We all knew JLA was going to be important, but who knew it would be this important. Will the last title also tie in with JLA or do you expect something else is in the works?

Until the next time, RAO BE PRAISED Lemire is on GA.

Rn

What to Expect from DC’s Third Wave

I know that I’ve been on a New 52 kick as of late, but honestly, it’s all I think about. Well that and everything else nerdy. Most readers were surprised by some of the titles launched in the New 52, and again questions abounded in the Second Wave. I have compiled my thoughts and taken some of what my followers would like to see and discuss the probability and logistics behind them. So here you have it!

Captain Marvel/Shazam. I know that DC is now naming him Shazam, but I will always refer to him as Captain Marvel. He was the first, the best, and the most iconic character to bear that name. While only a back up feature in Justice League currently, Geoff Johns has said he will tie into the DCU and Justice League as a whole more in the future. This is complimented by the appearance of Black Adam in the teaser for Trinity War (which I am excited about). Despite the need to make him more prevalent in the DCU I doubt that he will star in his own solo series, and if he will, it will not be in the Third Wave. Cap has always had a hard time connecting with modern audiences, so while he had the longest running series from the 40’s-50’s, he has never made a huge come back in the modern market. I wouldn’t however doubt his appearance in DC Universe Presents. That would allow the best “next step” for the character, testing the market that would hopefully lead to his own solo series come the Fourth Wave, which is sure to happen (at least it should happen).

Cyborg. I have discussed numerous times how much I’d like to see a Cyborg series, and when talking to my followers, they all seem to agree that a Cyborg series should happen. The fact that DC needs to solidify his importance in the DCnU more, and the fact that all of DC’s diversity heroes were eliminated in the first cut, so while half man half machine, Vic Stone is an African-American. Not only that, he is high-profile, allowing DC to add back some much-needed diversity and give the only member of the big 7 without a solo series, a solo series.

Milestone Characters. Speaking of diversity, where’s Icon? Seriously the only Milestone characters we have seen were in the Static Shock title, and we know how well that went. Perhaps if you added an Icon series within the Edge or Dark Universe and tie it in with a struggling series like Stormwatch to refresh the quality of the older series, but confirm importance and continuity of the new series. It’s just a thought that a few of my followers have, one that I could easily get behind.

Wildstorm. Speaking of struggling titles: Stormwatch, Grifter, and Voodoo are the only Wildstorm titles still in the fold, and none of them have really done all that well. While Stormwatch is the most high-profile of the three, it is far from well done. The best answer I can imagine for this problem, would be to launch a new Wildstorm title, like The Authority, fold the contents of Stormwatch into it, and link it to the DCU. The problem with at least Stormwatch and Grifter is a real lack of link. There has yet to be a justification for why Stormwatch should exist when there is the Justice League, provide me a legitimate answer, get a solid writer that can stay with it for more than 6 issues, and let it do well. While this might be less about adding more Wildstorm content, I want them to make the existing Wildstorm content better. This could be done by changing the name, and tweaking it some, I think.

The Outsiders. Let’s face it, the Bat-Titles are some of the best selling franchises on the market. They almost always score within the top 50 every month, most within the top 25. Adding the Outsiders seems like the next logical step, in my mind. It would give characters like Metemorpho (or Element Woman, whichever), Black Lightning, and many other heroes a home within the New 52. You could have characters like Katana join the team, and set up an efficient force. One that not only Bat-Fans, but normal readers would probably come to enjoy.

Justice Society. While Earth 2 is busy introducing them, it will not be an on going series about the team. DC could further expand the multiverse by adding a JSA title, as either a spin-off or replacement for the Earth 2 title. The most ideal option would be to have an ongoing Earth 2 title not focusing on the team with a second one focusing on the JSA team. A special shout out to @Kapellusch for this great insight.

More Multiverse content. Why stop at Earth 2? DC could easily re-boot fan favorite characters like Ted Kord and Wally West, in another universe. While Earth 4 isn’t an appealing title, fans would read a title with Wally West or Ted Kord in it. In addition to this, The Crime Syndicate is an integral part to DC comics. All of the Earth 3 content could easily be rebooted, and an Earth 3 title does sound appealing, because any DC fan knows what that means. A reality in which our greatest heroes are all villains, fighting off our greatest villains (who are heroes), each other, and the governments of the world. It would make for some dark, edgy, but brilliant material.

The Losers. DC seems to want to have military/soldier combat in the line up, with Men of War and Blackhawks being replaced by G.I. Combat. The Losers is a fan favorite, that has generated positive media buzz, and one that could buffer DC’s soldier/military line up stronger than any other title.

Well, those are just some of my thoughts, if you have your own, I’d love to hear them. Disagree with my list? Let me know! Have your own thoughts/insights as to the Third Wave of DC, post it here! I’d be happy to discuss it.

Until the next time, live long and prosper.

Rn

For those of you who have searched and read my predictions here, I suggest you follow the link below to another post updating with more likely and rumored DC Third Wave titles. And refer back to here as we get closer to September, as I will have more in depth DC coverage than most major sites, including Comics Alliance, Comic Book Vine, and often Newsarama.

DC’s Third Wave: More Thoughts
https://ravingnerd.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/dcs-third-wave-more-thoughts/

Battle Between the Green and the Black

My informant conducted research and determined that Captain Marvel (Shazam) only has mental immunity while at the Rock of Eternity, this being said, J’onn J’onzz would have a handy victory.

Today two of DC’s most proficient experts will clash.

DC’s (and comics in general) ranged combat master Green Arrow has served on almost every version of the Justice League. Not only is he a master archer, he is also one of the most proficient swordsman and hand to hand fighters in the DCU.

His opponent, is the master of Stealth and one of the deadliest assassins in the DCU, Katana. Her skills with the sword are unparalleled. In addition to this, she is considered to be one of the DCU’s most respected martial artist, proficient in hand to hand combat and acrobatics. This is only aided by her mastery of stealth.

The winner is up to you. Green Arrow or Katana. Leave a comment here, on facebook, or twitter with your grounds as to why.

Until the next time, live long and prosper.

Rn