52 Put down!
As we ebb closer and closer to the end of the month and the end of DC Comics as we know it, I guess I should finish ripping apart the 52 preview they released last month. Now I know there are those of you out there who feel I should wait and pass judgment after the books are released and I read them, but in this economy there is no way in hell I could afford to collect 52 new titles not to mention that from what they have chosen to reveal so far leaves me fuming no less. It has been said that this re-launch is for introducing new readers without bogging them down with all of the vast history that DC has to offer, but I see it as spitting in the face of everyone who has ever bought a DC book-ever. It’s as if none of us count, we don’t matter because there’s not enough of us. Imagine if your friend who you’ve shared s many stories and adventures with suddenly decides that you’re not cool enough to hang out with anymore so they change their style and try to make friends with some new kids in the neighborhood who’s not even paying attention to him. Secretly you hope they diss him and he changes back to your old buddy so you can go back to having the same adventures you used to have.
I left off the last review of the preview just before the section on Green Lantern. I’ll gloss over the Lanterns because honestly I never cared for them to begin with. And it’s not because a magic ring powered by will is stupid, or because everything green Lantern has ever used it to construct has been even dumber, it’s because he’s a cop. I’ve never been that big a fan of police dramas (Law and Order S.V.U aside Ice-T is the man). To me the Green Lantern Corps was just some goose-stepping fascist para-military force enforcing some out-dated intergalactic police state across the cosmos. Not to mention that they have already made it clear that not much will change with the Lanterns because Geoff Johns is in control and he’s okay with ruining Grant Morrison’s six years on Batman but wouldn’t dare touch his precious space baby. This irritates me to no end BTW!
Which brings me to the next irritation and possible the only book that has the potential to be half-way decent; Justice League Dark. Despite having the worse name this side of I, Vampire (more on that later), the book features some of the “magic” based Dc characters. Deadman, Zatanna, Xanadu (Olivia Newton John I suppose-I’ve never heard of her), and then there’s the Vertigo boys who for the first time in a long time will be introduced to the no-swearing, no nudity, boring side of the DCU; Shade the Changing Man, and John Constantine. While I’m least happy about Shade being brought over I will always have fond memories of the Chris Bachalo, Peter Milligan stuff from when I was in high school and comics were really good. I know the character has been drug kicking and screaming into this mess and most likely been reduced back to his 60s roots as an uninteresting alien. Although Milligan is handling the writing duties on this which may make it the only non-Grant Morrison book in this re-launch that I will actually purchase. I really fear for old Hellblazer, because god knows he’s suffered enough with that God awful Keanu Reeves film still hanging over his head like a floating corpse. He seemed to be doing alright on his own over in Vertigo where his stories fit, and he had lived for so long. But Geoff Johns doesn’t like Vertigo because he’s not creative enough to create any characters of his own, so he will do whatever he can to destroy them.
Artistically everything I have seen makes this book look great though; the same can also be said for Swamp Thing, Animal Man, and Frankenstein which come next in the preview. All of these belong in Vertigo, and deserve to be given a mature imprint and license to tell more adult oriented stories. I like Yanick Paquette so I won’t be too harsh on Swampy, but I do want to know how a creature called Swamp thing is going to work in the desert! I mean I know he’s an Earth elemental, but since there throwing everything out and starting from scratch how those Allan Moore stories are going to fit in. I mean has he traveled through time and become Jesus cross or not? I haven’t kept up with Animal man since the end of his Vertigo run back in the 90s so I don’t know what to expect from this book. Other than Travel Foreman being one of the most unsung new artist around and the light buzz around Jeff Lemire. I wonder if he will still be the peace-loving vegetarian Animal man I used to collect oh so long ago. Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. however is just there I could take it, or leave it. I would prefer to see the character in the hands of Grant, but that’s probably the only thing that could entice me to buy it honestly.
Now before you think I’m going soft let me get to the next outrage! The most undeserving, waste of paper I have ever had the misfortune of laying eyes on. DC’s useless and obvious attempt to pander to the Twilight set; I, Vampire, the dumbest name on what looks like the dumbest book in the entire “re-launch” I mean did I miss something? Was this book ever apart of the DCU? If so how, and if not why now? Where does the story Andrew Stanton fit in to this new universe? According to the preview he has; “kept mankind safe from the horrors of the supper natural world-for hundreds of years”. Seriously!?! Then why do we need Frankenstein, Swamp Thing, or the damn Justice League Dark? The writer claims he wants’ to “push the limits of what it means to be a vampire”. I guess that means making his vampire look more like the Werewolf from Twilight. I’m really sick of this young, hip, shirtless vampire craze. Vampires who are all sexy and sullen and just trying to save everybody, I mean they’re undead creatures of the night, when was the last time they’ve actually been bad-ass blood suckers?
Speaking of which, when was the last time the fucking Resurrection Man an interesting character? I mean the idea is great, a guy who keeps dying and coming back with a brand new super power. Sounds nice, but it’s never been fully taken advantage of. I picked up a few copies of the original series in the late 90s, but it never struck me as a must read. I would much rather have they kept the recently resurrected Xombie who much like the Resurrection Man is a product of nano-technology. I was reading that book and quite enjoyed it, but I guess my dollars don’t matter if DC can pick up a few more with by bringing back the never popular Resurrection Man. Speaking of never popular-Jack Kirby’s the rhyming yellow Jekyll and Hyde; Ertigan the Demon!
Going under the book title Demon Knights this waste of paper is set in the DCU’s “Dark Ages” whatever that means. I mean is it a medieval fairy tale all of a sudden? I have never liked this character and I doubt this reboot will change that. I have the same problem with a Demon being a hero as I do with a vampire being cast as one. The teaser promises “surprising heroes and villains-will have no choice but to join the fray” So I guess if this is set in the Dark Ages we’ll see the Shining Knight and Vandal Savage, but how many people are clamoring for a Demon comic book? How many people would rather see The Spectre brought back? I mean if you’re going to tell the story of a man struggling with a powerful supernatural force tethered to him, isn’t that the one you’d rather read? That’s the problem with this whole re-launch, DC has so many characters to choose from with so many good stories still left In them and it just seems like they picked the ones they wanted to use out of a fucking hat! I mean, not counting the big guns of course.
The next little book featured is one I’m having a lot of trouble accepting. When DC bought the rights to Jim Lee’s soul they also acquired his creative stable of books that were previously free from corporate corruption over at Image. There are a lot of mixed feelings in the comic book community in regards to Image Comics. I lost interest in most of the title once I graduated high school, but I always loved Wild C.A.T.s, and the Authority. I stopped collecting Spawn around issue 25, I stopped getting Savage Dragon with issue #50, but I have every reboot of the C.A.T.s down to the short live ill-fated Grant Morrison try. I liked the idea of a group of “heroes” that weren’t out there trying to save the world from every jack-ass in a mask and cape, but tasked with one singular mission. Yes they got off that mission somewhat, but the idea of them being aliens fighting a war and half-breeds trying to find their place between their alien home-world and Earth was intriguing to say the least. I loved Jim Lee’s original art on the series, and loved Travis Charest even more. I was stoked about Allan Moore’s run on the series and miss it when it was at its apex as one of the best most original super hero comics on the market.
With that said I also miss the Authority. It’s the only book that I really enjoyed Warren Ellis on and the place where I discovered Mark Millar. It was in its day the best written superhero book. It took the concept to the next level after the C.A.t.’s started going south. It made perfect since the way the dimension hoping pseudo super heroes took things to their obvious next level and started putting the world’s governments on notice. They battled thing that needed to be fought like genocidal Southeast Asian dictators and corporate controlled puppets here at home. I enjoyed the fact that Apollo and Midnighter, the Superman and Batman of the Wildstorm Universe, were gay lovers. And that the team leader was a guy who wore no shoes and talked to cities. I was with that book right up until the end.
While there were some duds in the Wildstorm universe that I didn’t care for like; Wetworks and Deathblow for example. I was in on the ground floor for most of the line. One book I could take or leave was Storm Watch. The creative teams that jumped on and off that book never moved me and the concept of a U.N. backed super team that policed the worlds super powered populace was as unattractive to me as the Lantern Corps. So of course leave it to this Geoff Johns helmed reboot of everything to include a rebirth of Storm Watch. This time refashioning the team to consist of The Authority’s Jack Hawksmore, Apollo and The Midnighter alongside perpetual DC loser John Jonnz, the Martian Manhunter that seems do only be able to hunt bad stories. The green Super Man in the purple cape is actually the least of the problems with this series. Taking into account that they are supposed to be establishing Superman as the new universes first Super Hero how does he coexist in a world with Apollo who is basically a gay blonde version of him? And is Apollo going to remain gay? I mean they’ve dressed the Midnighter up in some sort of spiked fetish gear so I assume he still is, but how will he react to Batman. Whereas he was based on the character, Midnighter never had a problem with killing in fact he was a bit more Wolverine in that respect and now that Batman has taken on Wolverines powers of appearing in every single book, it’s only a matter of time before these two cross paths. Of course curiosity will more than likely get the best of me and I will be forced to pick up the first issue. Although I already hate myself for doing it before it even happens.
This leads into the resurrection of Voodoo and the Grifter, who are being shoehorned into the new DCU for some ungodly reason. If there were ever two Wild C.A.T.’s that I disliked; it was the stripper with the alien inside and the gun toting blonde Gambit hack with half Deadpool’s mask! Grifter becoming interesting when he was Cole Cash in the later more espionage oriented versions of the Covert Action Team, but essentially no one has ever been able to truly establish what voice the character should be aping, he has always been a mesh of different popular characters and never had a distinct enough personality of his own to warrant his own title. The most interesting thing about him was his love affair with the white haired baddest bitch on the planet-Zealot. So far there have been no signs that she’ll be tagging along for this series, so why should we? The blurb in the preview mentions he’ll be hunting inhuman creatures that only he can see. I can only assume this means Voodoo’s cousins the Daemonite. But does this mean the Kherubims will be involved and if so how do they fit in a world where Superman exist? It’s easy they don’t! Because they have been here flying around with super powers for hundreds of years, but Superman is the first hero the world has ever seen?
All of this annoys me but one thing that seems to annoy everyone else is the new and improved Harley Quinn taking up residence in the revamped Suicide Squad. Now dressed like a 19th century prostitute in her underwear and wielding a sledge hammer and medieval knife the Jokers former sidekick and beard is now her own woman hanging out with several of DC’s bottom rung like a guy who is a less than successful Deathstroke and another guy who’s a giant Shark somehow capable of breathing air. This is a book that never lived up to its name and if DC was smart it would have used it over the years to clean house rather than relying on constant Crisis’s every time their considerable continuity became an issue. If there was any room in Geoff John’s head not being occupied by his ego he would have been able to use concepts like Storm Watch and the Suicide Squad to fix this mess pronto. Assuming you want to get in (and get rid of) some of the vast list of villains in the DCU, just run’em through the Suicide Squad and kill them at the end of each issue. And when DC finds that this stupid re-launch cost them more readers than they gained just use Storm Watch and the bleed to shift back into the old universe and let us all get back on without lives without looking at this stupid, stupid Deathstroke book.
All I will say about this Simon Bisley drawn figure sporting the worst costume for a stealthy assassin , and carrying the biggest sword this side of Conan the fucking Barbarian is that if any psychopathic, murdering DC character deserved his own book in this new universe-it’s Lobo1 ‘Nuff Said (oops wrong company). The next two pages are crammed with irrelevance. All-Star Western-really? Was anyone dying for a cowboy comic? O.M.A.C? Was any one asking for this Kirby concept? Men of War and Blackhawks redone to fit in to a world where America is involved in its longest most senseless war ever and thousands of young people are actually being killed every year? Seriously DC we read comics to take us away from the fact that real war is out there looming in the distant on our television news every single day. It’s not pretty and it’s nothing to take lightly. Using the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in comics should wait until we’ve done with them. I have no idea who on Earth would want to buy these books.
Someone may want to buy this hideous Teen Titans based on the name and the love people have for the original characters, but for some reason DC chose to stuff those in the back behind the miscellaneous books already doomed for cancellation. Oh I see why! Teen Titans looks like something Marc Silvistri threw up after he hear that robin had wings and Superboy would have a bar code tattoo! Not that the bar code that is the worst idea but he also can seem to only have time to tape the familiar S symbol to his tank top! Now earlier in the preview we see Superboy in his own title being constructed like he is a machine, but DC has sworn that he is a clone of Superman and Lex Luther like he has been for the last 15 years. Kid Flash is here using the ( now line wide) standard of lighting bolts to signify that he’s a fast one, although for the Jr. speedster it only seems to apply to his head. Which I guess is to show he’s quickly looking around trying to figure out what the hell is going on with this team. There’s some spider chick that vaguely resembles Maxine Manchester a.k.a Ladytron of the aforementioned Wild C.A.T.s. There seems to be a female version of the New Mutants Sunspot rising up out of nowhere in particular, and a small gold woman reading her Ipad in the distance. Wondergirl is also there, but not the original one, that annoying Aryan version that I can never remember her name. Oh and did I mention Robin is there with wings hovering somehow as if he’s a hummingbird! Which just brings up the $6 million question again; that if old Bat’s is new to the game how the hell has he gone through so many sidekicks already!
All of this makes about as much sense as anything else going on with this re-launch so DC decides to take it right over the cliff by introducing not only a hero from the Milestone world where diversity is king but also the concept that New York and Gotham City both exist as two separate places! Now I’m not sure if this is something DC has recently reconciled, but no one ever really mentions the fact that New York exist in any of the titles that I read, and when I was growing up it was widely understood that the DCU was geographically different from our real world. Gotham existed in place of NYC and Metropolis existed in place of Chi-town. Does this now mean that America has not only flying illegal aliens telling people what to do but enough major cities to reboot the economy and lift us out of the second great depression that we are currently in the middle of? And is so how does this reborn Static confront the fact that he is no longer the blackest version of Spiderman in the Big Apple?
Then we come to the worst of the worst. As if much of this re-launch has the stink of the worst of the 90s and it is only fitting that they bring back the most shining example of what was wrong during that time. I speak not of foil covers and giant impractical weapons, but the father of bad anatomy and clichéd teeth grimaces Sir Robert Liefeld! Yes ladies and gentleman I’m sure you have heard the groan of a thousand fan boys by now. Rob is back and he’s back on the book that put him on the map when he was just 15 years old. The absolute envy of anyone who has ever dreamed of being a comic book artist but was told he or she didn’t have the skill it took. The man who never had the skill yet was given the keys to the kingdom time and time again at a impossible young age and yet refused to learn proportion, or even how to draw an ankle much less a foot! It looks like nothing has changed either. He still refuses to draw a background or lines in between teeth. I may never get to draw a major publication comic book as long as I live but I will sleep well at night knowing that Rob Liefeld has a job. Because as long as he does I know in my heart that it’s not because I’m not good enough, it’s because I don’t know who Rob does. Just goes to show you kids it’s all about whose dick you suck and nothing about talent!
The last three books are of no real consequence to me, Blue Beetle (not Ted Kord) is competing with Static for best ethnic Spiderman wanna-be, while the heroes from the future are apparently without a GPS again and trying hard to remain relevant in a world where their past has been altered so much their entire existence has been made irrelevant three times over. Starting in just a few weeks we will be treated with the first of these dreaded titles Justice League #1 and from there we will be bombarded with 51 more title over the course of September. How DC expects people to collect 52 books in a month during this market is in itself ridiculous. Even if you wanted to you would have to be rolling in dough to keep up. Of the 52 I will probably pick up 2 possibly 3. But like I said earlier, I really want the new kids to ignore my old friend so that he comes back to me and we can have the old adventures again. Until then count me among the butt-hurt fan boys decrying this re-launch each and everyday!
p.s. Make Mine Marvel!