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My 950th Blog Post + Future Plans (FEEDBACK HEAVILY REQUESTED)

So, it’s been a while since I’ve come on here and spelled out my future plans. The main reason for that is because I realized it was basically the equivalent of making a New Year’s resolution that you know you’re unlikely to make stick… … …So, here we are, talking about my future plans, because fuck it, I couldn’t think of anything else to do for the 950th blog post. lol

And yeah, this makes 950, which is absolutely insane to me, even if some of them are reblogged articles. I started this blog basically just to share a few random thoughts and rant about whatever struck me at the time, which is admittedly what I’m still doing, but never did I think I’d still be at this six years later. And it’s been a crazy time. I’ve talked about the Zelda timeline and tried to theorize where it all falls into place…only to then have it all spelled out for me via a book Nintendo released. I did my own internet review show…and retired from the biz around the fall of Blip. And I think I’ve had like three or four different girlfriends while working on this blog, meaning if I ever refer to her in past blog entries, people nowadays are gonna be confused as to which one I’m talking about. And, of course, the strangest thing to happen to me while doing this: The fucking cupcakes. That said, I think in terms of stuff I’ll never live down, that’s been replaced by a little incident at Mekeninzo’s apartment involving hot sauce. For those who say peer pressure can’t make you do anything, I give a hearty “Fuck you”. XD

Anyway, what’s my point to all of this? Well, just that’s been a crazy six years… … …and somewhere along the way, I got caught up in trying to be a big fucking deal. I think it was when my view counts starting going through the roof (at least compared to how I usually was), and I became more insistent on getting more articles out to get more views. I did take breaks, but those were more based on stuff going on in my personal life than letting myself not let more views get to me. Honestly, in hindsight, I think this was a mistake, and that I should really go back to just posting when I feel like posting, not when I start to see views drop. Getting a lot of views is good, but the thing is, sometimes the views were going up and down in overly dramatic ways regardless of if I was doing anything or not. Although, before you ask, the articles written by N. Harmonik weren’t part of that. That was more because she’d done so much work for me that I felt she deserved the chance to get her own thoughts out on stuff. That said, I will admit that she DID tap into fanbases I wasn’t a part of, and thus raked in her fair share of views, so I won’t lie, the idea of having her and some of my other friends who have been of help and support over the years do more articles is something I’m considering.

But, back to MY future plans, the stuff I personally am planning to do. You might be wondering where the next DC Rebirth One Year Later blog post is, for example. Well, if you couldn’t tell, I left a pretty blatant hint at the end of the last one that the next one would revolve around the Titans books. Well, basically, I decided I wanna wait for the current story arcs the books are doing to be over before tackling my thoughts on them. So, instead, I think the next one will deal with The Flash…much to my dismay. Not gonna lie, not a fan of this book, and I’ll explain why when I get to it.

 

I’m still in the process of writing the new version of The Intangible Starslip, which is currently up to Chapter 11. Not sure EXACTLY how long it’ll be, although I do know how I’m planning to end it. It’s just the how and when I get to that point that’s causing it to be so long. As for what I do with it after that…well, Mekeninzo was talking to me about it the other day, and eventually the conversation turned to if and when I was planning to physically PUBLISH it. At the time, I played it cool and made it seem like a plan I’d always had, but the truth is, I have no idea how I’d even go about that. I’ve never published ANYTHING. It’s been a goal of mine, sure, but it was one I saw happening in the far off future, not right now. Still, if it’s possible for someone like me to get written work out there…maybe? I dunno, lemme know what you think below.

Oh, and in regards to my 1000th blog post, yes, I know what I’m gonna be doing. And no, it’s not Bible Black again. I know there were probably some people wondering about that. However, it will be what some people will consider a controversial subject. I’m not gonna outright say what it is, although those who are in my more immediate circle of friends already know, but I will give the following hint: It’s a story that I like to personally think of as Fifty Shades of Grey done RIGHT. Again, you’ll see what I mean when I get to it.

And yes, I swear to God, at some point, I will finish Power Rangers Guardians of Gaia. XD Much like Starslip, I DO know how I’m going to end it, it’s just getting there that’s the problem, made worse by everything else that’s gotten in the way.

Anyway, that’s pretty much all I wanted to say. Leave your thoughts on my plans in the comments below (PRETTY PLEASE), I’ll see you all back here the next time I post something. Ja né!

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My Thoughts On Batman #26 (WARNING – SPOILERS AND ANGRY RANT) #PoisonIvyLeague

…Have you ever written an article and then something happens that’s related to it and it makes you wish you’d waited a few days before writing it? I’ve officially had this moment. A few days ago, I wrote an article talking about Tom King’s Batman as part of my DC Rebirth One Year Later series. Well, the newest issue is out, and…yeesh, it’s like it went to whole new depths of stupid for me to rant about. In fact, this is so bad, you can consider this the newest entry of How To Drop The Ball In Comics, just minus a lot of the deep analysis on how this had potential and shit. So, here we go.

So, first off, Poison Ivy randomly murdering people. And already, I know I’m gonna get it for this, but I’m not a fan of this. I know that Ivy DOES kill people, but the thing is, she only kills when she feels it is absolutely necessary. Here, she kills a bunch of people because they’re trying to kill Riddler for the Joker, and Riddler mentions that Joker will “scorch the Earth”. This cannot possibly be Ivy’s only motivation for getting involved in the War of Jokes and Riddles, because she has no evidence of this outside of Riddler’s word, and she has no real reason to trust anything he says to her. Furthermore, after the two page spread of her killing these guys, we get a splash page of Batman going over the people she killed and how killing them further ruined their families in the most horrific ways, including one guy killing himself because he was originally set to marry one of the men she killed, meaning SHE JUST PUSHED A GAY MAN TO SUICIDE!

Look, here’s the thing: I get it. A lot of the problem involving fan interpretation of Poison Ivy (and other characters for that matter) all stems from the fact that various writers and editors come and go, and the ones that replace them don’t always have the same game plan as who came before them, or even with each other. Add onto that the number of different spin-off universes, Elseworlds comics, TV shows, movies, games, etc., and it CAN be hard to get a for-certain context for how a character is supposed to be, and Ivy is one of the worse cases in that regard. It’s why I don’t necessarily blame any fans for thinking she’s different from what other fans think, outside of situations where people online outright argue and send threats to each other just on the basis of having different viewpoints. THAT is just childish to me. On the other hand, though, not only is Tom King not a fan, but rather one of said writers who isn’t on the same page as those who prefer Ivy in a more heroic light or as an anti-hero, but there’s also the little matter of THIS:

Um, lie much? Blatant-ass lie, right there. Regardless of whether you think Ivy should be a straight-up villain or not, that’s a lie.

Getting beyond my issues as a Poison Ivy fan and member of the Poison Ivy League, though, there is another issue I have with this story that I never really realized until I saw the spreads of Riddler and Joker’s groups of villains. See, I was trying to find any kind of rationale, motif, explanation, etc. for why Ivy is involved in the War of Jokes and Riddles beyond Riddler’s line in this comic, and then I saw those spreads, and a thought occurred to me: What in the name of all that is sane do ANY of these other characters care in the slightest about the blood feud between Riddler and Joker? Why would Mr. Freeze be on Joker’s side? Victor Fries’ motivations all stem around either curing his wife’s illness or getting revenge for his current condition. What the fuck does ANY of what’s going on have to do with either of those things? What do any of these characters give a monkey’s nutsack about Riddler and Joker trying to kill each other? The ONLY possible explanation I could come up with is fear of reprisal from Joker for people sided with him, or wanting to see him dead for people sided with Riddler. In other words, the motivation is the further propagation that all the other rogues of Batman are inferior in some way to Joker, even though I could list at least half a dozen who could kill him easily. Lovely.

And just as an aside, why in God’s name would you ever make a story where Joker is one of the main villains, and he never ever smiles or laughs? That takes away ALL fun from a story involving Joker whatsoever. And yeah, I get that most Joker stories as of late haven’t been very fun to begin with, but holy fuck, give us SOMETHING, DC.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this issue, and my continued belief that Tom King was the wrong person to put on this book. Lemme know your own thoughts as well. Ja né!

DC Rebirth One Year Later – Batman

Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. And, with this one, I’m not looking forward to it. I COULD put it off to the end, but…no. I should do this now. And I could sugarcoat how I feel about it, but the truth is, and I have to give my honest opinion on this, Tom King’s Batman, while having its good points, is probably the most disappointing book of DC Rebirth. And now, I’m not just saying that because I was a big fanboy of Scott Snyder’s run. I’ve pointed out in the past when I thought Snyder’s run with Batman disappointed or fell short in some way, so I will not pull any punches here, either. So, let’s take a look at Tom King’s run on Batman.

First off, while there was the occasional head-scratching moment, I actually did like the opening arc, I Am Gotham. Batman interacting with and having to bring up to speed essentially Gotham City’s version of Superman and Supergirl is an interesting scenario, one that we don’t see very often. And here, Batman’s seniority over Gotham…erm, the man, not the city. He calls himself Gotham. The girl is named Gotham Girl. For simplicity, though, I’m just gonna call them Henry and Claire. Anyway, Batman’s seniority over the two makes perfect sense: They’re new. They haven’t been heroes for very long, and while they’ve lived in Gotham for a while, they don’t know it as intimately as Bruce does. So him taking lead and mentoring them makes sense. It’s also interesting to see how their backstory could have been like Bruce’s, but Batman was there to save them from that fate, leading them to a different scenario. And because they come off as genuinely good people, it’s all the more tragic what ultimately happens to them, with Henry turning bad and Claire being forced to ultimately bring him down, all while going more than a little bonkers herself.

The arc also had some awesome moments…even if a couple were complete horseshit. Let’s be honest, people, Batman surfing a plane out of harm’s way and flipping Solomon Grundy one-handed were both completely improbable. But then, that’s symptomatic of a problem I’ll get into later. Other moments, however, like the confrontation with Henry after he’s been driven mad, complete with Alfred in a Batsuit (which was both cool and hilarious), and Batman actually doing the one thing no one would’ve expected and CALLING THE JUSTICE LEAGUE, were pretty damned badass.

After that…Oy. I don’t know what to say, folks. King had me, and then he lost me. I think what did it most for me was the I Am Suicide arc. First off, lemme make this clear: The suggestion that Catwoman would kill over 200 people is absolutely stupid. The thing you need to understand is that Catwoman likewise has a no kill rule. Granted, when I found out the people she supposedly killed were terrorists who took out the orphanage she once stayed in, I felt such actions would’ve at least been understandable, but I still didn’t really buy it. I knew it was one of two things: Character derailment, or a deliberate twist in the making. Turns out, surprise surprise, it was the latter…and kind of the former. See, it wasn’t Selina who killed those people, she was just covering for the person who actually killed them: Holly Robinson. So, in other words, instead of Selina’s character being turned into a Goddamn murderer, it was Holly’s. Um, yay? Am I supposed to feel happy about that?

Besides that, though, the crowning moment of stupid had to be when Bane broke Batman’s back AGAIN, but then Batman proceeded to somehow pop it back to normal and walk it off… … …I will repeat that. Bane broke Batman’s back for the second time, and then Batman managed to somehow fix it on his own, with no medical equipment whatsoever, and then went back on his mission like it was no big thing. And I remember watching a video where Tom King was very excitedly talking about this sequence of events, also fanboying over this moment that he wrote, and all I could think of was “…Tom, you DO know that Batman is human, right?”

Yeah, that’s something that’s been bothering me for a long-ass time now, and it really got highlighted in that one sequence of events. To put it bluntly, hardly anyone writes Batman nowadays to have actual human limitations. We constantly have seen him defy what should be humanly possible for going on two decades now. Granted, some of us online have guessed that Batman might be a low key metahuman, but the thing is, when you look at the founding members of the Justice League, Batman is supposed to be the ordinary man who doesn’t possess superpowers of any kind, and is equipped with human-made tech, meaning he doesn’t even have the advantages of a Green Lantern. However, the truth is that, if he tried to accomplish half the stuff he did with the actual limitations of a human being, even one at the peak of human physical conditioning and mental prowess, he’d have been dead a LONG time ago. Now, that’s not to say that his position on the Justice League is completely unjustified or anything. It’s important on a team like that to have multiple heroes of different power-sets and power-levels, so as to deal with any kind of situation that might get thrown at them. But again, if Batman isn’t going to be written as having human limitations, and is CONSTANTLY the one who has to be at the center of attention and bailing the rest of his team out, then it kinda ruins the idea. And, I’m sorry, but seeing Batman somehow fix his broken back on his own is absolutely stupid, as are him surfing a fucking jet liner away from Gotham City, flipping Solomon Grundy with one hand, surviving a beating from Professor Zoom, walking out of a fight with Darkseid with barely a scratch on him, that bullshit he pulled in Batman R.I.P. with the coffin, and probably most insane of all, surviving the mother fucking vacuum of mother fucking space for 24 mother fucking seconds! And no, I will not get over that!

…Okay, the entire sequence at Batburger was stupid as shit, but I WILL admit to laughing my ass off the whole way through. 😛

And then there’s a moment I absolutely detest as it pertains to what it does to the character of Batman: When Bane returns to get his revenge on Bruce, the latter decides that the only way to ensure victory over Bane is to force Bane to run the gauntlet of the rest of Batman’s rogues gallery. How does he do this? HE LETS THEM ALL OUT OF THEIR CELLS AT ARKHAM AND PUTS THEM BETWEEN HIMSELF AND BANE! Now, on the one hand, this is a clever subversion of how Bane first defeated Batman, by arranging to have the Arkham inmates escape, let Batman tire himself out physically and mentally by catching them all, and then attack him when he was at his weakest. It’s the thing a lot of people forget about Bane: That while he DID beat Batman in a one-on-one fight, it wasn’t exactly a fair fight. He essentially beat him in a chess match that Batman didn’t even know they were playing until his king was in check and all of his other pieces had been taken off the board. So yeah, clever subversion. On the other hand, though, HE LET HIS WORST ENEMIES GO FREE FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING THEM MEAT SHIELDS! AND HE ARMED THEM!!! This is downright villainous behaviour! Yes, he’s doing this not only to save himself but also Alfred and Claire, but my God, Batman, did you even take two seconds to think about all the ways this could’ve gone horribly wrong?! What if your other rogues had killed Bane?! You would’ve been an accomplice to murder, and then you would’ve had the much harder task of rounding them all up!

Oh, but as it turns out, small chance of that, because not only does Bane curbstomp his way through ALL of Batman’s worst nightmares (sans Joker for reasons I’ll get to in a later article), he then proceeds to beat the living hell out of Batman, and Batman just BARELY manages to win in the end! So we’re supposed to believe that Batman has the means with which to take on Superman and Wonder Woman in one-on-one fights, people with Godlike strength, and possibly even beat them in said fights, but he can’t handle one roided-out jock who just fought a bunch of other guys! What a fucking load of bullshit!

Anyway, having mentioned the thing with Zoom earlier, let’s talk about The Button, which is actually where things started to pick up a bit for me. I’mma leave the bulk of what happens in that book out for when I talk about The Flash, but for now, let’s just discuss the biggest thing to happen in that book that directly affects Batman: Meeting his father from the Flashpoint timeline. Having somehow managed to arrive there, despite there being no real reason they should have been able to that they could figure out, Flash and Batman meet up with Thomas Wayne, AKA Flashpoint’s Batman. The meeting between the two is sadly short-lived as Flashpoint is slowly erased from existence, but Bruce relays to Thomas that he has a son, making Thomas a grandfather, and while Thomas has a chance to escape death, he stays behind. As he does, though, he has the following advice for Bruce:

…Yeah, I won’t be doing the fail thing here, because holy shit, is this some powerful stuff. And while I have my doubts that Bruce will ever truly quit being Batman, as well as something else I’ll get into in a bit, this DOES have significant follow-up, as Bruce, deciding to find happiness, finally mans up and does something he should’ve done YEARS ago…

Now, I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I have been waiting for this moment for-fucking-ever! Outside of Earth 2 or otherwise Elseworlds stories, this moment has never happened. DC has teased it for decades, but they never pulled the trigger. Well, it seems like the trigger is now officially pulled. And, speaking of Earth 2, one thing of note in Bruce and Selina’s interactions in this book is that they remember two different versions of their first meeting: The Golden Age version, and the one from Frank Miller’s Batman Year One story. Hell, the diamond in the ring Bruce uses to propose is actually the same diamond she stole during their meeting in the Golden Age version, suggesting that this is the actual way they met in this timeline. This COULD be interpreted to mean that, when the ten years of history taken from the DCU are restored, Batman’s Golden Age roots will be brought back, and possibly even his marriage to Catwoman and her giving birth to Helena Wayne, AKA Huntress. These things could finally be made canon to the mainstream DC Universe. There is a great opportunity here to do this. Of course, that would also mean that, when Batman was starting out, he killed people, but I could buy the idea that the no kill rule was actually something he developed over time as a means of keeping himself more grounded. It wouldn’t be the worst thing they did with the character.

On the other hand, though, for reasons I hope I’ve made clear in this article, I don’t know that I trust Tom King with this. Characterization of these two has been passable at best and downright insultingly bad at worst in this book. Oh, and I don’t care if you think them calling each other Bat and Cat is cute or not, it got annoying REAL quick. But just beyond that, I don’t know that I trust DC to actually DO this. I’ll talk more about this later on, but in Nightwing’s book, Dick recently found out he was gonna be a father, and it was a huge deal to me and a lot of readers. Granted, some people hated it because the mother was neither Barbara Gordon nor Kory, instead being a reformed crook he’d met as Robin named Shawn, but it was still a huge deal: Dick Grayson was gonna be a father. This was major character development for him. However, sadly, it was a fake-out. Turned out Shawn got a false positive. And, if current events and future solicits for his book and Batgirl’s are to be believed, it looks like this relationship is doomed to failure. What makes that worse is that even those of us who loved the idea of Dick becoming a father and wanted it to be true…kind of knew they weren’t really gonna do this, because DC pulls this crap ALL THE TIME. I’m STILL amazed that they not only got Lois and Clark back together, but gave them a son to boot. So yeah, there’s a great opportunity here for Batman, his stories, and his legacy in the future, but I don’t trust DC to actually do it. If they do, GREAT. I honestly hope this happens and it’s done right. But I’m not necessarily holding my breath, either.

And that leads me to where the book is going. Well, right now, it’s The War of Jokes and Riddles, a flashback story narrated by Batman to Selina after he proposed to her that takes place during some sort of war between Joker and Riddler. Apparently, Batman did something terrible during this event, and is telling all of this to Selina because he wants her to know before committing herself to marrying him. Of course, there are a couple of problems with this. One, this story has Joker and Riddler being in a state of mind that makes them very morose, AKA wildly out of character and uninteresting. And two…well, if the final pages of the opening issue are to be believed, Bruce is telling Selina all of this after they had sex. Man, and I thought Zayn from One Direction made pillow talk sound unappealing.

But, then there’s one other thing I gather Tom King will get to at some point. Basically, at the end of the I Am Gotham arc, we got some narration from Claire that took place in the future, wherein she is not only married to Duke Thomas, but also apparently killed Batman… … …Okay, I’m just gonna get this out of the way right now: Can we please get a writer on the main Batman book who DOESN’T try to boost sales by teasing killing Batman off? And both Morrison and Snyder were quick to reveal that said deaths of Batman were fake-outs. Why should I have any reason to believe that isn’t the case here? Goddammit, DC, get Tom King off this book pronto and get someone who understands the character and won’t resort to trying to kill him off to write it. Sorry, King, but you’re just not the man for this book. But I do legitimately hope Mister Miracle works out great for you.

Anyway, that’s it for Tom King’s Batman. Leave your comments below on how you felt about the book, and be sure to check back in next time. And, rest assured, if there’s trouble, you’ll know who to call. Ja né!

DC Rebirth One Year Later – Superman/Action Comics

I’m afraid someday soon — too soon — you will have to pick it up and embrace the “S” for yourself. It’s not about our powers, or strength, or heat vision. It’s about character. It means doing the right thing when no one else will, even when you’re scared… even when you think no one is looking.

Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. This time, however, I’ve opted to look at two books. Why? Well, because of a certain major event that occurred as part of a crossover between the two. Plus, it saves time. So, let’s look at Action Comics AND Superman. And, as always, SPOILERS AHEAD.

So, to start off, a little background is probably required. During the events of Convergence, we saw the pre-Flashpoint Superman and his wife, Lois, bring their son, Jon, into the world. At the end of that story, the three went back to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths to try and stop it. As a result of that, they somehow wound up on the Earth 0 of the New 52, AKA Prime Earth, AKA the mainstream world where the vast majority of DC books takes place on nowadays. Because there already was a Clark Kent and Lois Lane in this world, and said Clark Kent was this world’s Superman, they decided to lay low and take on new lives as the Smith Family in Hamilton. It was also eventually revealed that, due to his nature as a human/Kryptonian hybrid, Jon had superpowers like his dad. However, eventually, pre-Flashpoint Superman made his presence known during the event wherein the New 52 Superman was dying, ultimately promising him before he died that he’d look after the world in his absence, which is pretty much where we pick up in Superman: Rebirth #1 and Action Comics #957.

Let’s begin with something that is both a positive and a negative: Jon, AKA the new Superboy. Remember what I said about Wonder Woman’s brother Jason apparently going to be the central character of an upcoming arc in her book and how, and I quote, “what the hell kind of sense does it make to have a book where the title character is not the MAIN character”? Yeah, well, that’s kind of a thing in the main Superman solo book: A LOT of the story is built around Superboy and his emergence as a young superhero. Now, on the one hand, I actually rather like Jon. I think he’s a sweet kid and a fine addition to the Super Family. And his presence is one of the areas where Peter Tomasi as the writer actually is a huge benefit: The guy knows how to structure a father/son story. But, at the same time, I’d be lying if I said he didn’t hog some of the spotlight. There is SO much time devoted to building up this character in a book that is supposed to be about Superman. Now, on the one hand, you can argue that it IS still about Superman, since a lot of it also directly relates to how Clark deals with having a super-powered son. But at the same time, there’s even an arc that’s about Jon’s first meeting with Damian Wayne, AKA Robin, and building a partnership with him, even though we knew ahead of time that there were already plans for a book starring those two as a team. Honestly, what I think would’ve worked better was if THIS book was Action Comics, and Action Comics was Superman, since Action Comics focuses more directly on Superman. Plus, it would fit a sort of theme, with Action Comics and Detective Comics being used to not only star Superman and Batman, but also be devoted to building up their supporting casts.

One element of Action Comics that’s a bit on the odd side in terms of whether it’s a positive or a negative is Lex Luthor. As established during the New 52’s Justice League book, Lex is trying his hand at being a superhero nowadays. And unlike past endeavors, wherein it was ultimately all about some evil scheme, here, he actually means it. Granted, he fully admits (while being tied in the Lasso of Truth) that a big part of it is his ego, which is likely why he ultimately attempts to take on the mantle of Superman after the New 52 Clark dies, but the rest of it is also about doing right by his sister. He wants to be a better man than he was. But, with all of that said, given his past track record, plus the fact that the people of Apokolips chose him to be their new leader in the wake of Darkseid’s death and rebirth as a baby, plus the fact that he’s still kind of a dick, the audience is ultimately left just waiting for that moment when he turns evil again. And I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t awaiting it myself. I believe Lex Luthor WANTS to be a better person for the sake of his sister, but I also know that this is Lex frigging Luthor, and that pull is ultimately going to catch up to him at some point or another. Plus, this IS DC Rebirth, where a lot of the emphasis seems to be getting characters back to what makes them who they are, so Lex’s eventual downfall seems pretty much inevitable at this point.

And now we should probably talk about Superman Reborn, the crossover event told in Action Comics and Superman. First off, again, DC could not resist doing a big crossover event before they were at least a year into these new books. Granted, the current Action Comics book takes up the old numbering and adds in the issues from the New 52 Action Comics to that final sum, so it’s not really a “new” book, but still, it’s a little absurd. But regardless, this is the story where we got resolution on the apparent new Clark Kent who appeared in Action Comics #957, and Lois and Clark’s investigation into him. There were a LOT of theories as to who it could be, from the New 52 Superman being depowered, to Superboy Prime taking over his life. However, it ultimately turned out to be Mr. Mxyzptlk, having escaped imprisonment by Mr. Oz at some point and assumed Clark’s life as revenge for the fact that he never came to save him. This also gave resolution to what was going on in the Superwoman book, but I’ll get to that at another point. The end result of the story is that it was revealed that, by nature of the New 52 Earth 0 being the same as the pre-Flashpoint one, just minus 10 years of history and with elements of the WildStorm and Vertigo Universes imprinted onto it, both the New 52 and pre-Flashpoint Supermen were actually one and the same, just split apart a la Red and Blue Superman…somehow. I think we’re supposed to assume that Convergence allowing for a pre-Flashpoint Superman to exist with his memories of the past timeline is responsible for the split, but it’s still weird and will make your head explode if you give it too much thought. Anyway, the point is, this finally validates once and for all that the New 52 Superman WAS Superman, just different due to how events in his life played out. In the end, Jon is somehow able to unite the red and blue energies of the two versions of Superman and Lois Lane to bring them back and restore the history that had been taken from them at the birth of the New 52.

The end result of Superman Reborn was a soft reboot, reintroducing elements of the pre-Flashpoint timeline, and drastically changing certain events from both timelines (and outright retconning others). Again, I think the implication is that merging the two versions of the characters basically returned the 10 years stolen from them, and that how their lives are now is more or less what would’ve been had Doctor Manhattan not taken their history away from them during Flashpoint. The resolution also gave Superman a new costume…which I thank GOD for. I HATED the original Rebirth costume. I think it was the lack of red boots that did it, which was especially dumb since some artists occasionally either forgot they weren’t there anymore or just outright ignored their absence. Seeing this one, with the red boots back and a yellow pentagon added to the belt, was very refreshing, and I think is a step in the right direction for how a modern Superman should look. And speaking of costumes, the new timeline also makes it clear that Superman DID wear the old school tights for a while, which is good. As for how and in which ways this new timeline was different and the same, that was all gone over in the ensuing issues of Action Comics, with Superman going over the records of his life at the Fortress of Solitude. Which, I totally get. If I found out my entire history was somehow dramatically altered, I’d want a refresher course on it too, just to make sure there’re no holes in my memory or anything like that. Fortunately, DC’s actually gotten a little better at establishing which events in its past are and are not canon, and this is a good example of that. It doesn’t cover EVERYTHING, though, particularly how this new timeline affects characters outside of the Super Family, and I hope they go over all of that in full soon.

Believe it or not, one thing I actually have mixed feelings about in the wake of Superman Reborn is the fact that, apparently, Superman and Wonder Woman never got together in this timeline. Now, I know what you’re gonna say: “Jyger, didn’t you spend like 4 years bitching about the fact that Superman and Wonder Woman were in a relationship?” Well, the thing is, yes, I DID bitch about that, and I DO prefer Lois and Clark together. However, I could still see there being a brief attraction between the two when they were younger and before they got into relationships with Lois Lane and Steve Trevor which would eventually evolve into a close friendship. If that happened, fine, but as far as I know, they were NEVER together. So why does that bother me? Well, it’s like I said when I was talking about Wonder Woman: The events of the New 52 should not be out and out retconned, but rather used in a way that develops her in a more positive manner into a better person. Instead, they went with the easy way out and erased the relationship from existence. I’m not in favour of that, especially because it was completely erasing past relationships and history that got us into the mess that was the New 52 to begin with.

Speaking of, like I said before, the two issues of Action Comics that better explain Superman’s new timeline don’t really go fully into how these changes affect the people outside of his immediate supporting cast. For example, how do these changes affect his relationship with Batman? How does it affect certain Justice League stories he was directly involved in, both pre- and post-Flashpoint? Now, I have a theory on why we haven’t gotten that explanation yet, and it’s actually pretty simple: As far as I can tell, what’s happened with Superman will eventually happen to the other characters in the DCU as well, merging their pre- and post-Flashpoint selves and restoring their histories. As such, how these changes affect them directly is probably going to be saved for when that happens. Hopefully, though, we won’t have to wait TOO long for that to happen, since otherwise, we’re just left with so many questions that it’s mind-boggling.

And, what the hell, since it just finished, let’s talk about the most recent story arc of the main Superman book, Black Dawn… … …It blew. HARD. First off, I don’t know if it was always the plan to reveal that Lois and Clark’s neighbours were aliens or not, but it was kinda dumb. Second, the way it ends, with Manchester Black’s consciousness winding up in a cow that gets tipped over by some idiots. I am NEVER going to be able to read What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way, nor watch the animated adaptation of that story, Superman vs The Elite, with a straight face ever again because of that stupid ending. But aside from all that, let’s talk about the part of the story that really, REALLY pissed me and a lot of fans off. And, for the squeamish people who might be reading this, I’m just gonna warn you now, this is where we get a little gruesome, and at the same time, really Goddamn stupid…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… … …So, first off, before I rip this to shreds, let me get one thing out of the way: Lois thinks she just lost her leg. She didn’t, of course, it’s actually some kind of mental illusion created by Manchester Black. However, the point still stands that she thinks she just lost her leg, and what is her immediate reaction? “Clark, cauterize this Goddamn stump and go save our son!” Lois Lane = Possessor of the biggest balls of anyone in the DCU. Now, that said, allow me to go over everything wrong with this in the following bulleted list:

  • WHAT THE FUCK is with DC constantly wanting to dismember or even outright murder Lois Lane?! Seriously, I have seen Lois Lane in some kind of mortal peril that can only be described as torture porn 9 Goddamn billion times. At this point, I am honestly of the belief that there is someone in DC with a serious snuff fetish for Lois. If so, I have the following advice to whoever he or she is: GET HELP! IMMEDIATELY!
  • Despite the fact that we didn’t have it revealed that this was some sort of illusion until two issues later, most of us kind of gathered that this would result in either a fake-out or a reversal with her coming out of it with her leg intact. That means that the only reason they did it was for the sake of a shock moment for the readers, and ultimately, all it did was piss us off and/or generate mockery of DC for pulling such a stunt.
  • Even for those of us that considered for a moment that this wasn’t going to be undone or revealed to not happen at all, we knew this would not result in a story centered around Lois having to deal with phantom pain, or the overall effects such would have on her body, or adapting to a prosthetic, or anything like that. And no, it wasn’t just because we have solicits telling us what future stories will be, it’s because we knew DC had no interest in telling that story. Why? Because they NEVER do. They NEVER want to tell stories about people dealing with massive changes to their bodies. Yes, Barbara Gordon lost the ability to walk for a long time, but other than not being able to walk, where did they ever discuss the other tolls the damage to her spine caused to her body? Paraplegics have to deal with more than just paralysis, you know. It also often causes sexual dysfunction, issues revolving around bladder control, and a bunch of other stuff that is no fun whatsoever. To the best of my knowledge, none of that is ever acknowledged with Babs, nor with anyone else who has dealt with paralysis in DC.
  • Even if they did eventually tell the above story, the problem is, stories that involve someone losing vital parts of their body have never been told specifically to tell how that affects THAT individual. It’s always about how that event affects EVERYBODY ELSE. The only exception I can think of is Cyborg, with him losing the vast majority of his body and having it replaced with cybernetics, leading to him having to deal with that and whether or not he truly feels human anymore. But still, that’s ONE case I can think of. And more often than not, these events happen specifically to women, and the book in which they occur is never actually ABOUT the incident in question. Superman #23 was not about Lois losing her leg, it was just a thing that happened to motivate Superman and the story. The Killing Joke was not about Joker shooting Babs in the spine, it was just something he did to mess with Jim Gordon. Hell, even though it was revealed that Lois never actually lost her leg, there’s no follow-up with her and her mental state after being put through a scenario where she thought she lost it…Although, that leads to the next point…
  • The nature of the illusion is a little…confusing to me. I’m not sure if the idea is that Lois was never actually there and was just a mental projection created by Black, or if she was and she was made to think that’s what happened along with everyone else. And if that WAS Lois, and she never actually lost her leg, then what the hell is actually happening when Superman uses his heat vision to cauterize a wound that does not exist? The implications of that are HORRIFYING, and yet when we see her in Superman #25, she’s fine. So was that really Lois standing there or not?

So yeah, haven’t had to pull this bit out in a while, but in nearly every conceivable way, these two pages absolutely FAIL.

Anyway, that leads to where the book is headed. Specifically, not only is an upcoming story going to have Mr. Oz’s identity and plans laid out, but in the aftermath of Superman Reborn and the Batman/Flash crossover, The Button, we’re now headed toward an event called Doomsday Clock, wherein we’re apparently going to get a full-on confrontation between Superman and Doctor Manhattan. And, I’ll admit, this is the first time in a long time I’ve ever really thought to myself “…Does Superman even stand a chance in this fight?” And, given that Doomsday is among the prisoners currently being held by Mr. Oz, it’s likely that he’ll have some sort of involvement as well. How this will all play out is anyone’s guess, but I’m assuming this will likely lead into a much bigger event that involves the full scope of the DCU that will result in the ten years taken from them being restored. Either way, though, it is nice to see Superman finally taking center stage again as it pertains to the more major events in DC Comics. Let’s just make sure that future events involve less of Jon hogging the spotlight, and a LOT less of Lois possibly losing body parts.

But anyway, those are my thoughts. Lemme know what you think in the comments below, and next time…Oy. It’s time. I’ve been dreading this moment since I started this project, but next time, we take a look at Tom King’s Batman. Prepare yourselves for utter disappointment. Ja né!

DC Rebirth One Year Later – Wonder Woman

Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. And with this one, we’re looking at what quickly became one of the most anticipated books of the initiative after the creative team was announced: None other than the solo book of the Spirit of Truth and savior of the DC Extended Universe, Wonder Woman.

Once again, SPOILERS for anyone not caught up on the book, so turn back if you don’t wanna know what’s been going on without reading the book yourself. So, first off, I just wanna make clear that this book is SO cathartic for anyone who hated the New 52 Wonder Woman book. If you liked that book, and I know there were those who did, then I’m sorry, this book is probably not for you. But if you’ve been waiting for a return-to-form Wonder Woman, this is for you. And the decision to bring Greg Rucka back to write the book was a great choice by DC. Granted, I would’ve liked to see Gail Simone return to the book, but in hindsight, when it came to telling the opening stories of this book, Rucka was probably the better option. Hopefully, The Simone will return at a later point. Although, if you’ve been waiting for that moment as well, you might be interested to know that Gail Simone will be writing a Wonder Woman/Conan crossover book in the future, so there’s that.

So, again, this is very much return-to-form for Wonder Woman. During the events of Justice League’s Darkseid War, Diana learned that she had been deceived in regards to a great many things as it pertains to her past, which is further proven upon putting herself in the Lasso of Truth. To make a 24 (going on 25) issue story short, Diana never returned to Themyscira upon leaving it with Steve Trevor. The one we’ve seen her come back to in the New 52 is a fake, as have been the incarnations of the Greek Gods she’s encountered during that time. How and why this happened is still a little unclear, although I’m assuming this will be fully explained in #25 next week. What will also likely be explained is the true nature of Diana’s origins. The implication SEEMS to be that she was made from clay, but then how do you explain her apparent twin brother Jason (part of the revelation made in Darkseid War) being born on the same day, unless they were both made from clay? And what about the true nature of the fakes and their existence? They can’t simply be illusions, since Steve sees them too, and they created Donna Troy in the new continuity, and she’s very much real, but I’ll get into that when I talk about Titans.

Some people might see that as a cheap method of setting things back to the status quo, by implying that everything that’s happened with Wonder Woman in the New 52 no longer counts. I disagree. Other than the apparent retcon of her relationship with Superman due to events in his books (which I’ll get to when I talk about them), a lot of those stories still happened. The fact that she was interacting with people who weren’t necessarily real or genuine does not negate that fact. For better or worse, those events and how she handled them are a part of her history and contribute to her character development.

Wonder Woman, however, is not the only character being taken back to their core elements. Steve Trevor is back to his awesome-yet-constantly-needing-to-be-saved-by-Wonder-Woman self, and is reasserted as Diana’s primary love interest. Personally, I tend to prefer the idea that they USED to date, and that relationship helped better them as people before becoming just friends, but I can deal with them in a relationship far sooner than her and Superman. Etta Candy is sporting a new look wherein she’s still African-American like her New 52 self, but is also thicker and curvier. Also, she’s a hell of a lot more fun to read, which is a big point of interest for me, because I love when Etta Candy is a delight. Barbara Minerva’s backstory is made sympathetic again, and the tragedy of her transformation seems even more-so as it’s implied (if not outright stated) that she and Etta might have had feelings for each other. I DO have a bit of a nitpick in that I wish her design included the long red hair and a string bikini, perhaps similar to how she looks in Injustice 2 perhaps, but I at least get what they were doing with this look. The Amazons are also all brought back to their awesome selves, and it seems the idea of Hippolyta and Phillipus as a possible couple might be coming back, which is VERY appreciated. A lot of Diana’s rogues make returns, like Doctor Poison and Doctor Cyber, all of whom are appreciated. And then there’s Veronica Cale, and holy shit, does she work GREAT as one of the primary antagonists of this book. She’s just sympathetic enough in her character and the things that happen directly to her that you can at least understand some of the things she does, but man oh man, does she do some fucked up stuff to Diana and pretty much everyone who gets caught between them. There’s even a scene where she manages to get a leg up over Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor at an auction (long story for those who haven’t seen it), and it is glorious.

One thing that was a bit odd in terms of how this book has unfolded is that, because Wonder Woman was one of the books that would be released twice a month, Rucka was telling two different stories in the same book, with current events being told in the odd numbered issues, and past events being told in the even numbered issues. And while the end of each issue made clear which future issue would continue which story, it could prove confusing for anyone going into the book late and not knowing that. My advice? Wait for the trades to come out, since they collect the specific stories. And while it was released second, start with the Year One storyline, since it better explains everything. Plus, it’s probably my favourite arc of the book. Why? Wonder Woman’s origin story with Greg Rucka as the writer and Nicola Scott as the artist. That combination is, for a lack of a better term, wonderful.

…*sighs* But, now we gotta talk about where this book is going, and that’s where things get a bit murkier. If you haven’t read the most recent solicits from DC, it seems that James Robinson will be taking over as writer of the book in September, and that the first arc of his run will specifically be about Jason, the apparent twin brother of Wonder Woman. So, basically, we’re getting a Wonder Woman book…that is not actually ABOUT Wonder Woman, but a man. Granted, I fully expected the book would eventually get into explaining the existence of Diana’s brother, but if what we’ve heard and read about Robinson’s story is correct, then he is basically the star of this story, not Wonder Woman. This is more than a little problematic for many fans, for a few reasons. Even ignoring the fact that this is kind of a slap in the faces of the more feminist comic book fans, and Wonder Woman IS a feminist icon, so that IS a legitimate problem, I don’t care what anyone says, what the hell kind of sense does it make to have a book where the title character is not the MAIN character? I can only hope this arc doesn’t last long, because otherwise, there’s probably gonna be a SERIOUS drop in the book’s sales.

Other than that, though, where does the book go? Well, a lot of that is probably gonna depend on the outcome of next week’s issue, which will be Greg Rucka’s last on the book. Afterward, Shea Fontana will be getting a quick run on the book before Robinson takes over. After all that, though? Who knows. Hopefully, like I said, the Jason arc won’t last long, and then maybe we can eventually get Gail Simone back on the book. It just feels like it’s time, and we know she can write some awesome Wonder Woman stories. Even if it’s only for a little while, it’d still be appreciated.

Anyway, that’s pretty much all I have to say about the book so far, at least as a more general look at it. I MIGHT decide to give a more in-depth look at Wonder Woman: Year One someday down the road, though. For now, leave your own thoughts on the DC Rebirth Wonder Woman book before, and next, what say we round out the Trinity by going up, up, and away? ^_^ Ja né!

DC Rebirth One Year Later – Detective Comics

Well, it’s June, so it’s finally time for me to take a more in-depth look at DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative. However, the reason this is only starting now in the middle of June is because…well, there’s a lot to talk about, both good and bad, and I can’t really imagine me going over ALL of my thoughts on DC Rebirth in one article. As such, I’m gonna be talking about several specific books in their own articles, what I liked and disliked about them, and then give overall thoughts on where I think the book might be headed. And obviously, considering I’m going over the events of these books, there will be SPOILERS, so if you aren’t caught up on them and don’t want to be spoiled, turn back now. So, with that said, let’s talk about Detective Comics.

Now, first and foremost, when I heard about this book initially, I was PUMPED. Not only was it going back to the old numbering, meaning we’d be hitting #1000 relatively quickly, but just look at the cover. It’s a TEAM book, featuring some of my favourite Bat Family characters: Batman, Batwoman, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain… … …erm, Clayface…Yeah, I’mma get to Clayface, but suffice to say, he’s one of the elements of the book that’s both good and bad. Regardless, though, this was gonna be great… … …Then some shit happened that made me a lot less excited. But I’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about Tim Drake, AKA Red Robin.

So one of the first things the book did was re-establish everything great about Tim Drake. He’s the brains of the Robins, the one most on par with Bruce when it comes to detective skills, and is the one who builds a lot of the tech they use in their new base of operations. Bruce also gives him a new costume that’s more closely associated with the other Robins (remember, in the New 52, Tim was never Robin, and was always Red Robin), and makes it clear to him that he ALWAYS considered him a Robin, whether Tim did or not. Even Tim’s relationship with Stephanie Brown is re-established, much to my joy. And it goes a long way in explaining why these things were re-established here when you consider that, apparently, James Tynion IV is a big fan of the character and his original solo-series. So, for fans of Tim Drake, like myself, this was a great thing to do… … …Then Tim died.

Well, okay, anyone who has read the book where Tim Drake makes his final stand knows that Tim didn’t actually die. Before he could be killed, he was basically removed from the area by Mr. Oz, a character who has been cropping up in Superman’s stories for a while now, and was made Oz’s prisoner, effectively taking Tim off the board because he was an important link to a lot of different people in the DC Universe. What Oz’s motivations for doing this are is still a mystery, and I’ll get more into that when I talk about the Superman books, but that’s the situation as is. And frankly, while that DOES annoy me, that we finally got Tim back as he should be only to lose him, the fact is, this DOES play into a bigger story that even goes outside of this one book. Oz’s plans are one of the big mysteries of DC Rebirth, and Tim is now a part of that, as we see him trying to escape, make contact with Batman, taunt Oz over the loss of other prisoners, etc. He’s not just being benched permanently, it’s part of a storyline that’s actually going somewhere. But, I wouldn’t be lying if I said that fallout from his apparent death has led to things that DO legit bother me.

Now let’s talk about Clayface. First, let me explain that I actually do like his motivations for joining Batman. For those that don’t recall, it was established in the New 52 that Karlo’s abilities had evolved to the point where he could not only assume the forms of other people, his DNA would also change to whoever he made physical contact with. However, this came at a price: He could assume the form and DNA of anyone…except Basil Karlo. So, when we first encounter him in this book, he’s basically hit rock bottom, just sitting alone at a theater showing one of his old movies and not caring for crime or if he gets sent back to Arkham or not. It’s a position that I think a lot of us can understand and would probably find ourselves in if we were in his shoes. Thus, when Batman offers him a chance to become Basil Karlo if he joins Batman’s team to help Gotham, he accepts. And as a result of that, we see him start to change. He’s regaining his humanity and is legitimately wanting to help people again as opposed to feeling forced to. It’s a well-written redemption storyline that, hopefully, won’t be undone.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem with Clayface being the one to receive this redemption arc, one that I was not privy to because, while I know a lot about No Man’s Land, I have not read it in its entirety. However, since his introduction as a member of this team, a friend of mine let me in on the fact that it was made pretty clear (if not outright stated) that Clayface raped Poison Ivy during the events of No Man’s Land. This was part of the story that led to Ivy being put in charge of Robinson Park and looking after orphaned children. And I know, I KNOW, someone’s gonna point out that this might not be in continuity anymore. And granted, that’s a legit argument. However, here’s my counter-argument: DC, while getting better at it as of late, has never made it fully clear what all is and is not canon from the pre-Flashpoint stories. So, until it’s made clear one way or the other, we don’t really know whether the events of No Man’s Land are or are not still a part of these characters’ histories. Furthermore, even if No Man’s Land and the rape are no longer canon due to it being among the ten years of history taken from the DC Universe, it still doesn’t completely erase what happened, especially since events in recent comics suggest those ten years are going to be reintegrated into main storylines. And you just can’t have it both ways by saying that all of the previous history is canon again, but that the rape never happened. Other than situations where characters couldn’t have been physically present due to not being introduced in the new continuity until much later, re-establishing the past history means it ALL happened. Now, if this was an alternate universe with its own history and incarnations of the characters, then I would say “Okay, I can overlook that”. But this ISN’T. Rebirth has made it clear that this is the same universe that existed pre-Flashpoint, just with ten years worth of history removed and elements of the WildStorm and Vertigo Universes blended in. And I’m not even saying it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do a story wherein Clayface redeems himself for those actions, it’s just that, be it because Tynion isn’t aware or forgot about that story, or either he himself or higher-ups at DC don’t care, there does not exist a story wherein Clayface at least attempts to rectify what he did to Ivy. Now, if they do so later, fine, but for now, it’s an issue that will always stick out to me. And if you think I’m wrong to feel that way, lemme ask longtime DC fans something: What was your initial reaction to seeing Doctor Light appear in the New 52 as a good guy who joined the JLA? My guess is probably revulsion, because you remembered that image of Doctor Light raping Sue Dibny, and then later being made into a serial rapist who was killed by other bad guys because even they couldn’t stomach him. You can’t simply pretend that didn’t happen when these are all still supposed to be the same characters. This is what the publisher did with the character, and you can’t simply brush it off because it’s inconvenient.

…*sighs* And, speaking of which, that leads me to probably my biggest disappointment with the book: Stephanie Brown. I have made it no secret that Steph is one of my all-time favourite superheroes, held the #1 spot for me for many years, and was the star of my favourite Batgirl title. Now, initially, I didn’t really have a problem with Stephanie in this book. It wasn’t until she left the team that I had a problem, and that wasn’t even really with her leaving the team. The thing is, Stephanie Brown finding fault and taking issue with Batman’s methods? That’s totally in character for her. They DO have differing philosophies and methodology as it pertains to helping people and dealing with crime. It’s not even that she leaves over Bruce’s tendency to inadvertently get others caught in the crossfire of his fight with villains, since it works as motivation for him to be more careful and do more to help those caught in his path. The problem is just how fucking hypocritical she acts, talking about how Gotham doesn’t need heroes when she goes out and specifically does superhero acts, all the while sabotaging Batman and saying how he shouldn’t be out in the open taking the credit. THAT is NOT in character for her. And she talks about how Batman should stick to the shadows and not let the general public in on his existence, when guess what? THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HE USED TO DO!!! He DID stick to the shadows! He DIDN’T let people know he really existed! He was an urban legend, and the confirmed existence of him was known only to a select few. He only came out into the light when things in Gotham got SO bad that he HAD to, that his presence would’ve actually been a positive to Gotham. Then there’re hints that, in future issues, she’s gonna be teaming with Anarky. Now, Steph teaming with anti-heroes like Catwoman or the like, that makes sense. ANARKY IS A STRAIGHT-UP VILLAIN WHO KILLS PEOPLE. Her working with him makes no sense for her character. And the most insulting part of all of this is that the event that triggers it all is Tim’s supposed death, meaning it’s entirely possible none of this would’ve happened if not for the fact that her boyfriend bit the dust. Give me a fucking break!

In terms of the other characters, I like that the book makes use of people like Batwing, Azrael, and Bluebird, heroes who don’t have their own books and are able to get some stories told about them here. I also like that the book was able to tell a story that directly led into Batwoman getting her own solo title again, which is always a good thing. Batwoman is a popular and important enough character to deserve her own book, and I’m glad they’ve done so. I also like that it’s made clear that she and Bruce are equals on this team, as they should be. Not sure why they completely shaved her head at the beginning, but whatever, minor nitpick, and at least it’s growing back out again as of late.

One problem I have with the book that’s actually a bit smaller than the ones I’ve mentioned thus far is the fact that Kate’s dad was made a villain. I mean, I GUESS when you look at the story as a whole and how it unfolded, it kinda makes sense. Still, I kinda find it problematic if, for no other reason, it pushes Kate to be more like Bruce, since she now no longer has a father to go to. And frankly, the story of him going after a super-secret organization that Batman doesn’t believe exists, but then it turns out they do and that they’re a far bigger threat just makes Batman look like an idiot, especially since this isn’t even the first evil group he thought never existed and then was proven wrong about.

So, now for where I think/hope this book is going. Well, first off, it’s pretty clear that Tim being alive will come out at some point, especially with Superman apparently having to deal with Mr. Oz more directly in upcoming events. What they’ll do with him at that point is anyone’s guess, but I’d imagine him being confirmed alive will probably be what leads to Steph and Bruce resolving their issues. I honestly hope they DO actually work what happened in No Man’s Land into a story, with Clayface feeling the need to make right what he did in some way, shape, or form. CAN he be redeemed is a question everyone needs to ask themselves, but personally, I’d at least be fine with them giving it a legitimate attempt. At least acknowledge that he feels guilt over what happened. And hopefully, Kate and her father can resolve their issues as well, and WITHOUT him dying in some way. Honestly, what I think would be a good move after Tim is brought back into the fold is for Bruce to maybe take a step back and let the team do their own thing. Let us see how the group can function without Batman taking direct control of it.

One thing I’m legitimately worried about is that, with the recent reveal that the Outsiders are still canon, the team in this book will be disbanded and replaced with the Outsiders. I’m not against the Outsiders getting back together, and I would be in favour of them getting their own book or integrating this team into their ranks. However, I hope this team is not completely broken down for the sake of bringing them back. I feel like that would be a disservice to these characters.

Most importantly, though, I want Detective Comics to remain a team book. Detective Comics basically just being another Batman book in the New 52 seemed like a waste, whereas now we have actual stories we can tell with it. And, to be honest, despite everything bad I’ve said that’s happened in this book…it’s still a lot better than another Bat book I could name, which I’ll be getting to eventually. For now, lemme know what your own thoughts on Detective Comics in DC Rebirth are, and join me next time for something a bit more…wonderful. Ja né!

The Problem With Over-Saturating Batman

So, I was watching Linkara’s review of Batman: The Dark Knight #1 – 3, and a thought occurred to me when he was talking about over-saturation of Batman in the New 52. Now, to answer the question, yes, that was definitely a thing in the New 52. However, on closer observation, it’s clear that it’s not JUST a New 52 thing. Even now, in Rebirth, and I’ll get more into this in June, we have three books devoted to Batman, he’s part of three team books, and he constantly cameos in other books with characters relating to him. In fact, right now in DC, there are seven books that are officially part of the Batman Family line of books, and at least ten other books that either star Batman or another Bat or Gotham related character in some way, shape, or form. That’s seventeen books right there, many of which are shipped twice monthly.

However, it actually goes beyond that. Another point people have made is that other DC characters, especially during the New 52, have been made a lot darker and more brooding, and at times have been given darker coloured costumes. In other words, more like Batman. And if you think I’m lying, rewatch the current DC Cinematic Universe movies involving Superman, and tell me he hasn’t been made a LOT more like Batman. The problem with that being that DC has less of a varied universe of characters. Thankfully, that seems to have gone down a lot with Rebirth. What has NOT, however, is that, in the team books that Batman is in, guess who is usually the one given the most highlighting and oftentimes is the one to save the day? It’s insane, and it actually makes it hard for people like me to be big Batman fans.

Here’s what a lot of people might not recognize, though: This actually hurts Batman in the long run, too. You might be wondering how in the hell that’s possible. Well, it is, and I’ll explain how that is: The more DC and Warner Bros. continue to make other characters be more like Batman, the darker and more assholish (AKA more like when Frank Miller writes him) they have in turn made Batman in an attempt to keep him distinct. Furthermore, the more they over-saturate the character, especially now that he’s so over-the-top dark and an asshole, the more people are gonna be turned off by him. Yes, he’s still selling great, but how long is that going to last? Again, I’ll go over this more in June, but suffice to say, Batman in his solo-title written by Tom King is a complete dickhole, and while past writers have taken him beyond the usual constraints of a human being (and thus missing the point of his character entirely), there was a SEVERE bullshit moment during the I Am Suicide arc. The biggest reason people are still buying is due to the legacy of the character, not what he’s doing right now. So yeah, it’s working out great for him now, but one has to wonder for how long.

Anyway, those are my own thoughts on the matter, but what about you, the readers? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and we’ll see how things change in the future. Ja né!

12 Essential DC Titles That Must Be Part Of Every Line-Up/Reboot/Etc.

Y’know, in comics, when you’re setting up line-ups of different titles to try and sell to your customers, say as part of a reboot or relaunch or whatever, it’s a good idea to keep it varied. After all, you never know when something different might stick with someone. But, at the same time, there are certain books that have a certain name value to them that need to be kept in, no matter what you’re doing. DC Comics, in particular, seems to have several of these high name value books. But which ones are the ones that I feel are the ones that MUST be kept in, regardless of what they’re doing? What books, no matter what kind of universal reboot or retooling or new direction, do I feel are the titles that should be kept around? Well, strap yourselves in, because I’m about to go over them now. These are the 12 essential DC titles I feel should be a part of every line-up. So, let’s start with an obvious one…

#1 – Action Comics

If for no other reason, Action Comics needs to be kept around for DC’s entire life-span because it’s the book that started this whole incredible ride. And because it’s been around for so long, it can provide for great anniversary moments. Hell, at this moment in time, we are coming up super close to a legitimate Action Comics #1000, and it’s frigging awesome. I would keep Action Comics running from now until the end of time if I could, and I would NEVER attempt to renumber it ever again.

#2 – Detective Comics

Same deal as Action Comics. Detective Comics has been a major staple of DC (right down to the frigging name), and is likewise creeping up on 1000 issues. This needs to keep running for as long as DC Comics does. Maybe even longer, if say someone like Marvel or whoever bought out DC and kept their characters and stories going.

#3 – Batman, #4 – Superman, and #5 – Wonder Woman

They are the three pillars of DC Comics. Let’s just be clear about that. No matter how big anyone else gets, and there are plenty of big freaking names, these are the ones that best define DC: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. You do not have DC Comics if you don’t have these three characters, and they MUST have their own solo titles. Admittedly, though, Action Comics and Detective Comics of the modern day are pretty much just Superman and Batman books respectively, but at least said books also feature plenty of their supporting casts. Hell, for a time, Detective Comics primarily starred Batwoman. But yeah, these three HAVE to be around.

#6 – The Flash

Okay, I know what I just said about the Trinity, but if there was anyone else in DC that I can’t imagine the books existing without, it’s The Flash. This is probably because of the fact that he’s been central to so many major events that revolve around the Multiverse and the central continuity of the stories. Think about that: Any time there has ever been a major shake up, Barry or another Flash was in the middle of it. As such, Flash is very much a central part of DC’s legacy, and needs to continue to be as much moving forward.

#7 – Justice League

It’s the A-List group of superheroes within this universe. There is no shared universe of any sort without the Justice League. And I don’t care what you call them, be it the Justice League, Justice League of America, JLA, Justice League International, or Justice League United, there MUST be a Justice League of some sort no matter what is going on. That said, there are maybe two other teams that need just as much focus…

#8 – Birds of Prey

With so many great superheroines in the DC Universe, it’s hard to imagine there ever being a time when the Birds of Prey didn’t exist. I mean, I know there was, but I can’t imagine how or why. It’s bizarre. That said, one thing that the Birds of Prey books need to stop doing is introducing whole new male characters that no one cares about. Specifically, Condor from the New 52 version and the new Oracle in the Rebirth version. It’s infuriating. lol I would also probably use this book as a means of getting the Gotham City Sirens (Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy) involved in major storylines if they didn’t have their own books. I mean, I would probably make sure they did have their own book, but again, I’m going specifically for the bare essentials here.

#9 – Teen Titans

Again, with so many younger heroes, there simply MUST be a Teen Titans (or just Titans) book at all times. Even if you rebooted back to square one, to where Dick Grayson is Robin and so on, there are still plenty of options to go with. You still have Kid Flash, Aqualad, Raven, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, so many younger heroes that would be welcome in a Titans book.

#10 – Green Lantern

Granted, this hasn’t always been the case, but Green Lantern, more than any other hero, helps to unite the events on Earth with the events throughout the universe in DC. So many cosmic heroes and villains that are brought into what goes on with Earth via connections to the Green Lantern Corps. I don’t even care which one you use (I personally prefer John Stewart, but whatever), but there MUST be a Green Lantern with their own book at some point. Hell, there are so many, each with their own unique stories, you could give the vast majority their own books.

#11 – Aquaman

Of all of the characters who have rotated in and out of the Justice League, Aquaman is one of the few that has stuck around the longest. For all the jokes people STILL sling at this guy, none of which are warranted, he remains one of DC Comics’ signature characters. And dammit, he needs to remain as such forever. He’s earned it.

So, that leaves us with #12. And, I’ll admit, this is the hardest one to decide, because whoever gets in, that means everyone else is left out as being one of the essentials, which I feel is a slight against all of them. No matter how I spin it, I’m purposely leaving out each one of the above characters who aren’t chosen as #12 as being one of the most important characters with the most important stories. And it doesn’t help that my own personal bias affects this, too. And yes, my personal bias makes me want to say Gotham City Sirens or a Stephanie Brown book. But, in the end, I have to choose what I feel would be the most important to DC’s line-up and its legacy. So, with that in mind, and I KNOW I’m gonna piss someone off with this, here is my pick for #12…

#12 – Earth 2/Justice Society

I think that one thing that’s been universally agreed upon in terms of what was lost with the New 52 was the DC Universe’s legacy. Not just where it’s headed, but where it came from as well. Both the legacy heroes who came before and are yet to come. No matter what kind of reboot or reset that happens, it’s important, for the sake of those that continue to keep up with DC, to have something that speaks to its legacy. And no team better represents DC’s legacy, where it’s been, and where it’s going, than the Justice Society. And it can be either a book set on an alternate Earth, or a book about a team that existed back in the days of the Golden Age of comics, but there MUST be a Justice Society. Ironically, at this time, Earth 2: Society has finished its run, and a Justice Society book is still in the works. Hopefully, though, DC doesn’t leave us waiting for too much longer with the latter.

And, just to be clear, if I was running DC Comics, I would of COURSE have books like Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Martian Manhunter, Gotham City Sirens, Green Arrow, Supergirl, and Secret Six going at the same time as the other twelve I’ve mentioned. They’re all important characters and stories to me. But this isn’t just about me. And besides, with the choices I gave, there’s still plenty of room to involve all of those characters and more. And, like I said at the beginning, it’s good to throw other, varied options around for the reader to pick up and see if they like it. Give different heroes and stories a chance to shine. But, at the end of the day, these are the twelve that I think NEED to survive above all others from now until whenever this crazy age of comic books comes to an end.

… … …BUT, I’m sure you all have your own picks and selections, so feel free to leave them in the comments below. Ja né!

DC Rebirth – My Thoughts, Hopes, and Expectations

“I love this world. But there’s something missing.” By now, the current crop of DC Comics fans should be well acquainted with these words. They’re the words of a hero whose return to the DC Universe has brought back life, optimism, and legacy to it. His name is Wally West, and he is the fastest man alive… … …aaannd he’s wearing some pretty awesome new threads. ^_^

With the end of The New 52 this past June (happy birthday to me, btw, lol), a new era has begun in DC Comics. While it continues telling the story of the universe established at the end of Flashpoint, it’s nonetheless balanced things out to be more similar to how it was prior to the reboot, as well as set up the groundwork for some big stories in the future. It’s also helped to establish exactly how and why the characters and their stories are different from how they once were. This is DC Rebirth.

DC Rebirth officially started with DC Universe Rebirth #1. However, the seeds of what would become Rebirth were planted almost exactly one year beforehand during DC Convergence. In that story, several pre-Flashpoint worlds were reintroduced, and the events that led to the collapse of the original Multiverse were undone, causing it to become infinite in size once again (though with the currently established Multiverse at the center). In the year that followed, several stories followed up on those events. In particular, we learned that the pre-Flashpoint Clark Kent, his wife Lois, and their new son Jon had all someone been transported to the current Earth 0, AKA Prime Earth. Furthermore, as a result of events in Justice League and his main books, the New 52 Superman found himself dying and, before the end came, asked his pre-Flashpoint counterpart to continue protecting the Earth in his stead. This brings us to today, where Clark is Superman once again, and his son Jon is the new Superboy…and there’s another Clark Kent who has no powers who may or may not be the New 52 Superman, I’m honestly not sure what that’s all about. We’re supposed to get an explanation in March, though.

Another thing that happened in the year between Convergence and Rebirth was the return of the Titans. Basically, it was retconned that the original Titans team really DID exist (although how is anyone’s guess when one considers the backstory of the New 52 Donna Troy, and that’s ALL I’m going to say about that, lol), but that they all lost their memories of ever having been a team. After a while, they finally all came back together, minus one individual who they knew was missing but couldn’t pin a face or a name to. Luckily, as it turned out, they wouldn’t have to wait long.

Anyway, those were all big parts of the Rebirth, but the official era didn’t actually kick off until DC Universe Rebirth #1. In it, we see the pre-Flashpoint Wally West has apparently been trapped in the Speed Force, is regressed in age by a few years, and is back in his Kid Flash costume. Also, it turns out that he and the New 52 Wally West are cousins. Might seem like a bit of a stretch, but I have both a brother and a half brother named Randy, so I can tell you from past experience, it ain’t impossible…though it IS confusing. But more of a big deal is the fact that nobody remembers him. He keeps trying to remove himself from the Speed Force by making contact with people he knew, but without that connection, he keeps falling back. Even Linda Park doesn’t remember him. Finally, he appears to Barry Allen, ready to disappear, but at the last possible moment, Barry remembers him and pulls him back into the world. After five years, Wally West has returned.

Wally gives some exposition, and between it and stuff we can make guess work at, we learn that someone has literally taken away 10 years of history. At this exact moment, we don’t know how, why, or which 10 years exactly were the ones taken. We don’t even know if they were 10 full years or just bits of time here and there that added up to 10 years. But here’s what we do know: The New 52 DC Universe is essentially the same universe that existed prior to Flashpoint, just with those 10 years taken away. That’s the biggest contributing factor as to why this universe is so different. Because, without certain key moments that occurred during those 10 years, relationships were either changed or outright erased, characters were de-aged, and several other contributing factors occurred to completely mess with peoples’ lives, who they were, and what they meant to the universe at large.

Now, with that said, you might ask “But Jyger, wasn’t the reason the DC Universe was changed was because of Barry’s traveling through time and Pandora’s merging elements of the Wildstorm and Vertigo universes with it?”, to which I reply “Yes, that WAS the reason given”… … …Ugh, okay, let’s TRY and unravel this, shall we? So, first off, let’s assume for the moment that this isn’t just a blatant retcon (although, let’s be honest, it probably is). If I had to make a guess at what happened, it’s that someone took advantage of Barry’s breaking the time barrier and used that opportunity, when history itself was vulnerable, to remove 10 years. Pandora, seeing what had happened, decided to strengthen the now weakened universe by fusing it with the Wildstorm and Vertigo universes. That, I THINK, is what has happened here: That, while having some cosmetic differences and whatnot, the New 52 Universe wouldn’t have been AS different as it has been without the loss of that decade worth of history. Oh, and speaking of Pandora, during the events of DC Universe Rebirth #1, she was apparently fried…in a very familiar fashion, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Also, because of certain other events going on in some of the newer stories, I have my doubts that she’s really gone.

Anyway, other stuff happened in DC Universe Rebirth #1 that has started to balance things out to be more like the previous continuity. For starters, Aquaman proposed to Mera, so we can finally put it to rest as to the nature of their relationship. Green Arrow and Black Canary met up during an investigation into New 52 Supes’ death and were left with a feeling like something was missing from their lives, which is being explored in the current Green Arrow book where the two are finally tag-teaming against criminals and dating again, except without the baggage of some of the shittier things Ollie did while they were involved in the previous continuity. And characters like Ryan Choi, Jackson Hyde, Ted Kord, Johnny Thunder, and Saturn Girl were given their appropriate reintroduction to the universe (okay, technically, we’d seen Ted beforehand, but now he’s working with Jaime as he should be).

In the midst of all of that, though, we found ourselves with hints of what was to come. Batman was seen investigating the revelation that there are apparently three Jokers…and yeah, not sure what to make of that, other than the fact that, with the Silver Age Joker supposedly coming back as his own character, we’ll at least have a Joker who is FUN again. Superman was visited by a figure known as Mr. Oz, who we’ve actually seen in the Superman books of the New 52 before, and who gave some rather cryptic remarks regarding the nature of both Supermen’s existence. Like the new Clark, we’re supposed to get some more info on Oz in March, and we’ve even seen him in the newer Detective Comics issues as well. Damian Wayne, the current Robin, turned 13, hinting toward his future alignment with the Teen Titans. Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson) let Ted Kord know that the Scarab is actually magic…because, for some reason, we’ve now gone backwards through retcons. Seriously, I don’t get why they switched BACK to the Scarab being magical in nature, other than as a means to involve Doctor Fate, and with the Justice Society apparently coming back soon, it’s not really necessary. We learned for absolute certain that New 52 Wally West is a speedster, and pre-Flashpoint Wally gave his blessing for him to be the new Kid Flash, which I’m actually fine with. Now that we’ve established the two as completely separate characters, New Wally is free to be his own character. And we found out that Jessica Cruz, the newest Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 will be having to work directly with Simon Baz, AKA the one Green Lantern who carries a gun.

However, all of that paled in comparison to the big reveal. After being brought back from the Speed Force by Barry, Wally told him everything he knew about the current situation and how he felt this wasn’t completely Barry’s fault. In the end, though, he couldn’t place a face or a name to whoever was responsible for taking away time. However, it seems he may have left a clue nonetheless, as Batman investigated where Wally had originally appeared in the Batcave, and found something embedded in the stone wall: A single smiley face button with a drop of blood smeared across it. And so, the story ended with the image of a watch on Mars, along with the following familiar dialogue…

“I did the right thing, didn’t I? It all worked out in the end.”

“In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.”

…Yup, turns out the culprit is none other than Doctor Manhattan. How and why is still unknown. Hell, for all we know, Jon didn’t even do so intentionally. However, considering the all-too-familiar method by which Pandora was killed (as well as Owlman and Metron at the end of Darkseid War, and yes I AM still planning to do a full review of that someday), chances are he’s very much doing this blatantly. But regardless, we do have a reason for Doctor Manhattan’s inclusion from a meta standpoint: Simply put, there are a LOT of writers out there who look at a book like Watchmen and think that the reason it was great was because it was dark and dire, so they try to copy that approach, not understanding that dark stories don’t automatically equal something good. As far as I can tell, between what’s being presented and what Geoff Johns has said in interviews since the release of the comic, Doctor Manhattan is basically being cast as just that: Someone who doesn’t understand that the way his dark story is being written doesn’t work. Of course, no one bothers to mention that Geoff Johns himself has done this in the past, whether he realizes it or not, but he still has a good enough idea as to how things are supposed to work and how characters are supposed to behave that I trust him with this. How exactly that gels with what happened at the end of Watchmen is yet to be seen, but between his involvement and the dialogue at the end of the book, I think we might just know who exactly “Mr. Oz” really is, who has since abducted both Doomsday and Tim Drake for reasons that are currently a mystery. Personally, I’m kind of expecting to see this resolve in some big DC Rebirth vs Watchmen event. How that’ll play out, and just to what degree will its existence piss off Alan Moore, is still a mystery, but it’s still likely to happen nonetheless. Hopefully, they take their time building to it.

So, at this point, you’re probably thinking “Well, that all sounds well and good, but if that’s the case, then why in the hell has it taken you this long to discuss Rebirth?”. And…yeah, I fully admit that I kind of procrastinated at that. However, in the end, I’m kinda glad I did. Why? Because it gave me something POSITIVE to talk about at the end of the year, and as I alluded to the other day, there hasn’t really been a lot positive to discuss regarding 2016. And while Rebirth hasn’t been perfect, and there are still some issues from the previous era left to iron out, it’s most definitely been an improvement, and I’d likely consider it the best thing to happen in comics this entire year. I’ll probably go more into detail as to some of the ups and downs of Rebirth once it’s a year old…at which point, I’ll be 32 years old…God, I’m ancient. But, for now, stuff like seeing the Titans and the Birds of Prey back together, the pre-Flashpoint Superman training his son, Dick Grayson being Nightwing again, Barry teaming with the new Kid Flash, and Wonder Woman being written by Greg Rucka again (who is fixing EVERYTHING that went wrong with her in the New 52, btw) are all major pluses. Oh yeah, and they’re also hinting at the return of the Blue Lanterns, THANK GOD. You have NO idea how hard it’s been to keep optimistic about a comic book universe that seems to actively hate hope, and to see it on its way back is such a relief.

But for me, the biggest point about why Rebirth works and The New 52 didn’t is because the characters FEEL like themselves again. It’s not just the situations and circumstances, it’s WHO THEY ARE. How they act, how they respond to different situations, and so on. Everything just kind of fits again, but without excluding any of the things about The New 52 that worked. Because this isn’t about pretending The New 52 never happened. This is about putting the DC Universe back on the right path, one that isn’t devoid of hope and fun, nor forgets the lessons learned from the mistakes of yesterday. Really, the only thing about the previous era that’s been undone is the vast majority of what happened to Wonder Woman. And even then, it’s not like those events never happened, it’s more damage control for her origins and the Amazons, and it all unfolds in a way that makes sense and helps make things feel like they’re supposed to be. It’s not just that Lois and Clark are back together. It’s that Lois and Clark FEEL like Lois Lane and Clark Kent. And I hope that, in continuing with DC Rebirth, the writers and higher-ups of DC Comics remember that point and continue to learn from their past mistakes.

But hey, that’s all just my opinion. What do you think of DC Rebirth? What have some of your favourite or least favourite titles been? Lemme know in the comments, as well as how you hope to see things unfold from here, and we’ll check back in June with how Rebirth has been upon turning one year old. Ja né, and Happy New Year!

Upcoming Plans For Jyger’s Rant + DC Rebirth Questionnaire

So, just thought I’d keep everybody up-to-date with what I’m doing for the next little bit. First off, if you’re wondering where the updates to my Nuzlocke run are, I’m still playing the game and getting screencaps of myself, but updates are gonna be kinda sporadic. This is because of two things that are happening that I’ll get into in a bit, but for now, don’t worry, the adventures of Mikey, Oswald, and the rest of my team will continue soon.

One major reason why the Nuzlocke updates will be spaced out, though, is because of Marvelous May. Speaking of, today is the cut-off date, so as of right now, I’m no longer taking votes. That means that tomorrow, I will be posting the finalized roster for the fan-vote tournament. Please remember that voting on individual match-ups won’t occur until May, when said match-ups are posted.

As most long-time readers of my blog know, N. Harmonik is my proofreader, and the two of us have done vlogs where we watch the newest Death Battles as of late. However, for this week, her and her mother have gone to Disney World. As such, I’ll be doing the Death Battle vlog solo this week (which is actually cool for me, since I don’t need to wait a few days to see it). But, when she gets back, N. Harmonik has agreed to do an article talking about her time in Disney World, along with photos she’s taken, so look forward to that. ^_^

On top of all that, expect there to probably be a quick vlog and/or slideshow of me going to Free Comic Book Day, as I am prone to do, and don’t be surprised if there’s some coverage of news regarding the upcoming DC Rebirth. Speaking of, I’ve been meaning to ask everybody here, if you were Geoff Johns and looking to steer the ship that is the DC Universe in a specific path, what would it be and what books would you want running as part of this new direction? Just something that’s been on my mind a lot lately is all. Oh, and lastly, sometime within the next couple of months, I plan to do a How To Drop The Ball In Comics about The New 52. Just one last look at everything that went pretty alright and horribly wrong with the reboot.

And in regards to my writing, after all of this is out of the way, I plan to go back and finish J.A. Phillips Presents Batman and Robin. After that, I’ll probably get to work on either Primal Strife or the long-awaited Season 2 of Power Rangers Guardians of Gaia.

Anyway, that’s all I can think of at the moment in terms of future plans. Lemme know if you have any thoughts on my current gameplan and projects, and I’ll try to get back to you. Ja né!