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!
“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!
So, I’ve talked about some things I’d like to see from DC Rebirth back before we knew really ANYTHING about it, and I gave general thoughts on the books announced to be part of DC’s new line-up during Rebirth and beyond. Now, it’s time to look at the individual books announced and/or characters involved and talk about what I either expect to see happen as part of this movement to bring back the elements of the books and their characters we and the creators love. Keep in mind, I might’ve discussed some of this already in the aforementioned articles, so I may be repeating a few points. Still, let’s start off with…well, a book I’m a little disappointed to hear something about…And by a little disappointed, I mean my first words upon hearing about it were, and I quote, “SONOFABITCHMOTHERFUCKINGSHITMASSAGINGCOCKGRINDINGMONKEYFACEDCLOWNFART!!!“…I might’ve overreacted slightly. lol
Then again, though, when you consider the quality of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s work as of late with Justice League, can you really blame me for that reaction? Well, regardless, with Justice League and Justice League America, what I would recommend doing is having both books be about different groupings of the same team. Like, one book could focus on the original big seven of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter (who I am hoping to God is returning to the League now that his book is ending), and the other can focus on some of the newer members, like Shazam, Cyborg, Jessica Cruz, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda. I’ve actually heard for a while now that there might’ve been a planned crossover between Justice League and JLA, but unless they had this planned with whoever was taking over for Johns, I don’t see that happening right away. And frankly, I’m a little sick of books doing crossovers before they hit 12 issues anyway, so holding off on that might be in order.
Assuming he retains the memory of it from the events of The Darkseid War, something tells me that a future arc of the new Batman title might revolve around him looking for the Joker now that he knows his identity. I just can’t imagine him gaining ahold of that information and not wanting to use it to maybe put an end to the Joker’s threat before anyone else gets hurt. Still, I’m a bit…leery of that idea. See, for me, the Joker works best when you DON’T know all the details of who he really is and what his past was like, and I can’t imagine DC actually going through with that. As Joker himself once put it, “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice”. Then again, they’re apparently telling his back-story in the TV show Gotham, which I dislike for various reasons on top of that, so who knows? Like I’ve said before, though, I hope that they decide to make Joker a little more fun in the future. He’s more than capable of being a terrifying villain AND the occasional goofy clown. Other than that, since I don’t see any books involving Robin in the line-up thus far, one has to wonder what’s to become of Damian and the members of We Are Robin, in particular Duke Thomas. Will Damian become Bruce’s full-time partner again in one of the Batman books, or will he step aside and become his own individual while Duke takes his place? Or perhaps Duke will instead take on the identity of Lark, like in one of Bruce’s nightmare scenarios brought on by the Scarecrow’s fear toxin? And what of Jim Gordon? Will he continue to take up the mantle of the All-New Batman? Only time will tell for sure, but we’ll talk more about Batman’s supporting cast and related characters later.
So, after the newest issue of Action Comics, it looks as though Superman is no longer dying. I could be wrong, but that appears to be the case. He’s also been fully revitalized. So, doesn’t look like the Super League is being built as a possible replacement for the Man of Steel. However, I would be willing to suggest that he’s instead putting it together due to the events where his powers were drained, his identity was leaked, and so on, and that there’d need to be someone who could stand in for him if something like that should ever happen again. Speaking of, though, I’ve got this sneaky suspicion that the public may not remember that Clark Kent and Superman are one in the same post-Rebirth. Why? Well, like I mentioned before, the Spyral satellite has the ability to remove the public’s knowledge of Dick Grayson being Nightwing, which is likely how he’ll return to the role as I’ll get into when I talk about him. If I were one of the heads at DC and decided that Clark’s secret identity being exposed was not a good idea for the long-term, that seems like it’d be a good way out of it. With that said, though, if I may make a request, if that happens and they do that…?
Keep Lois’ memories of the ordeal intact. This isn’t even me wanting to see Lois and Clark as a couple again (although I do, a LOT), but simply because ever since she found out Clark Kent is Superman, she’s been even more actively involved in stories, for better or worse. Married or unmarried, couple or friends, ultimately, I think history has proven that there are more stories that can be told with her in the know about Clark being Superman than with her being kept out of the loop. But, with that said…yeah, I really do wanna see them together again, especially since the book about the pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark is ending. In fact, who knows? Maybe they’ll do some kinda merger thing where the Superman and Lois Lane of both worlds blend into one, and both become a balance of their counterparts? Not sure where that leaves little Jonathan, but it could happen. But, for that to happen, obviously, something’s gotta go…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s time to call it quits on the Superman and Wonder Woman relationship. Above all else, the reason I’m just plain sick of it is because the two are rarely, if ever, treated like equals when it comes to their relationship. Wonder Woman is pretty much just Superman’s girlfriend in a lot of stories they’re presented in as a couple. Beyond that, my standard requests are as follows: Restore the Amazons to the compassionate protectors of mankind, and for the love of God, pants or no pants, I don’t care anymore, just give us a brighter colour scheme for Diana. In fact, I’d actually be fine with the design Jason Fabok uses for her in Justice League, but with gold instead of silver. Also, I keep hearing that the movie will be rebooting to the old school Etta Candy, and if I can make a suggestion? Do the same in the comics. You don’t necessarily have to undo making her black. Hell, you don’t even need to make her as overweight as the original. Just something similar, and above all else, make Etta the ninja tackling badass sidekick I remember.
…Okay, not really much to say about Aquaman, other than it’s great to see him back to his old look and kicking ass like normal. I will say, though, that the writers really need to make up their minds as to whether he’s gonna be King of Atlantis or not for the foreseeable future, though. No, my biggest concern for the Aquaman books is something…different.
…OH, GOOD GOD, WHY?! I got into a little bit of a rant about this on Twitter when I saw this, as you can read here. Suffice to say, no. Absolutely not. Whatever the writers of Aquaman are thinking, NO! BAD writers! Don’t make her Aquawoman. You make her Aquawoman, and I will violently murder the first fish I see. Oh, and just saying this? If they DO make Arthur King of Atlantis again, can we PLEASE have these two be officially married again? Or maybe they already have been when I wasn’t looking, I don’t know, but if they aren’t, please don’t listen to Dan, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to superheroes being married, especially with these two. It makes no sense for them to not be married when all evidence points to her having served in the capacity of Queen of Atlantis at Arthur’s side at least at one point. Also, I’m sorry, but one of these days, we gotta make Mera an official member of the Justice League. How many times does she have to accompany them and their various divisions into action and show just how easily she stands among them before she’s given a seat?
Again, not a lot to say about The Fastest Man Alive, other than that I hope that this whole mess involving him being Central City’s most wanted and being hunted by the Rogues doesn’t last long. I AM interested to see what role he plays with Rebirth, however. As Geoff Johns himself has pointed out, nearly every time there’s been a massive change to the universe, a Flash (usually Barry) was at the center of it. Speaking of, I wonder if we’ll ever get follow-up on exactly why Pandora used Barry to reboot the universe at the end of Flashpoint. The whole thing about Pandora’s Box being the reason seems kinda minor when you consider what that turned out to be. I mean, she really needed to reboot the universe just so we can get a Boom Tube that led to Earth 3? But yeah, once again, my bigger concern is with a certain other Flash…
Seriously, I don’t care if he’s black, white, yellow, red, purple, green, or fuchsia, we need the FUN Wally West back. The Wally West who is cracking jokes and being the far more fun-loving Flash. And I don’t care if he’s The Flash, Kid Flash, Impulse, whatever, it’s time to pull the trigger on him suiting up and working with Barry. With that said, a lot of people were against the new costume we saw him in during the whole Future’s End tie-in, but honestly, I thought he looked good. The silver DOES stand out in a very dramatic way and makes him look very distinct from the other Flashes.
Again, I’d kinda like to see Hal Jordan and John Stewart, and maybe even the other Earth-born Lanterns rotate on the Justice League and JLA. Beyond that, though, I get the feeling that Jessica Cruz will be switching out the Ring of Volthoom from Earth 3 for a Green Lantern Ring. There WAS a silhouette of a female Green Lantern in the image for Rebirth, and Jessica seems like the logical candidate. And frankly, I would just be happy to see her conquer her fear and give Volthoom the boot. Still, kinda hope her Green Lantern costume, if I’m correct, incorporates some elements of her Power Ring costume. Oh, and can we PLEASE have a sense of stability in the Green Lantern Corps for at least a year? I don’t think I even need to point this out, but life has been hell for the Corps as of the past few years. The Guardians finally came out as evil, there’s been a shit-ton of members dying left and right, they got better Guardians who still managed to screw the pooch in the end, and now most of them have been banished to another dimension or some shit. But as for Hal himself…he’s gotta lose the jacket. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work for him. To be honest, when he and Parallax had their fight recently, Hal looked more like a villain than Parallax did…y’know, until Parallax pulled the whole fangs thing, which still looks fucking stupid. lol
What in the HELL is going on in J’onn’s comics as of late?!?! No, seriously, someone please explain this shit to me! It turned out he was a bio-engineered weapon the Martians were going to use to take over Earth, and that he was hiding that for years, and that might’ve been why he was kicked outta the League during the gap between the first two story arcs of Justice League, but he doesn’t wanna hurt anyone, but he’s not willing to stop the plan, but then he wants to die, and then he does die, but somehow he’s got different aspects of himself that converge into a new Martian Manhunter, who looks…well, I’m not gonna say BAD. In fact, as far as radical redesigns go, at least this keeps some aspects of the old look intact. But still, he tries at first to lead the martian invasion, but then he decides not to, and now he’s got some kinda giant mech, which is both awesome and stupid, I don’t even know, and oh God, my head… … … …So yeah, please DC, just put him back on the Justice League and scale this nonsense down a bit. I had to check my ear a second ago just to make sure there wasn’t blood seeping from my brain and out there from all that.
Okay, is it just me, or does the storyline of the government being untrusting of Cyborg actually make WAY more sense than when they do the same thing with Superman? Maybe it’s because we’ve seen that Vic’s control CAN be overrode, and thus it’s less about trusting that he’s a good guy, but rather concern that it could happen again, especially when he can be plugged into EVERYTHING. Plus, there’s the whole matter of Victor having cybernetic enhancements to benefit him after he lost most of his body, and yet amputees have to deal with ordinary prosthetic parts that don’t work even a tenth as good. I’m not saying everyone should be decked out with his stuff, and it was established from the beginning that the tech used to make him into Cyborg was experimental and very easily could’ve backfired. And yeah, none of this is actually Victor’s fault, he’s just as much a victim in this as anyone else. Still, I can at least understand the conflict here WAY more, and if they wanna continue with that arc post-Rebirth, I wouldn’t mind. However, I WOULD suggest maybe adding more to his rogues gallery. We need his version of the Joker or Lex Luthor, someone who is his opposite in nearly every way, but can challenge him on an equal footing despite his natural advantages.
If I haven’t made it abundantly clear by now, allow me to do so: I HATE THIS VERSION OF CAPTAIN MARVEL! And a big part of why I hate him all revolves around the mass changes to Billy Batson. He was supposed to be a sweet, innocent, giving, and (for the most part) selfless individual. It was why he was chosen to gain the powers of Shazam. But when we meet him in THIS universe, he’s a little punk shithead who cons people and is mean to his adoptive family for no reason other than he wants to be! And even after all that, when he finally becomes Shazam and learns more about being a hero, he STILL acts like a little twerp who swears a lot to sound adult and cool, which is at its most jarring when he’s transformed into Shazam, has the wisdom of Solomon, and therefore should know better! But then, I KNOW why they made those changes. It’s the exact same reason they made so many changes to Superman: It was to make him SO much more identifiable and realistic. But, just like with Superman, it was done in a manner so poorly that he no longer resembles the hero he once was in any way. Hell, he doesn’t even have the same NAME! Seriously, DC, if you are serious about this, look back at what made the old Captain Marvel a beloved character and try reintroducing those elements.
Anyway, that’s all when it comes to the Justice League. Check back in next time when I look at the Bat Family and what I hope and/or expect to see become of Nightwing, Batgirl, and the returning Birds of Prey. Ja né!
Hey guys, it’s February 29th! Guess who is celebrating their birthday today? 😀
… … … …Okay, let’s try THAT again…
I swear to God, YouTube!!!
There we go! 😀 And yeah, go figure that, in official DC canon, Superman is a leap year baby. Personally, I would prefer to celebrate his birthday as being the date when Action Comics #1 came out, but since there is an actual birth date given for him in the comics, here we are. And for a man who has had stories told about him for nearly 80 years, who has saved the world more times than I could dare count, and has been rebooted and given multiple continuities devoted to telling various tales about him, naturally, everybody’s gonna have their favourites. As such, here are five of my personal favourite stories, both from the comics, the various animated series he’s been involved in, and the movies he’s been a part of. So, I suppose we should start off with the most obvious one that anyone who reads my blog knows is gonna be on here, simply because I’ve gone on and on about it already, meaning I won’t have as much new to say about it here…
In looking back on this book, it’s all the more clear to me just how much potential the New 52 Superman has as a character that is ultimately squandered. He is probably among the more imperfect versions of Superman to be shown off in the mainstream, and yet is shown to nonetheless be an inspiring and heroic individual primarily due to one thing: He never, ever gives up. He keeps trying, no matter how bleak things get, even when his own life is on the line, and even if the entire world pleaded for his sake not to. And sometimes, that means failing and eating dirt. But what’s always been most important to him is to never stop trying. Like all past versions of Superman have done when they are at their best, he inspires others to be better through his actions and his kindness. In addition to all that, though, there’re also great cameos by Batman and Wonder Woman that actually make sense within the context of the story and aren’t just shoved in to make a buck, there’s plenty of Lois Lane being awesome, Lex Luthor remains the great and evil puppeteer, and even Jimmy Olsen gets some nice moments in here and there. There are some clichés of modern Superman stories involved, like the military being leery and untrusting of him, and the reveal of another alien who has appeared on Earth to contest him, but there’s just something about the context in which it’s presented here that works a lot better. If you want a good Superman read set in the New 52, this is probably the one for you.
Probably my favourite modern reinterpretation of Superman’s origins. Granted, it could’ve been stretched out to a four or five parter so that the stuff involving Clark as Superman could’ve been expanded on more, but hey, he’s technically still getting started in the next few episodes anyway, so it works fine for what it is. It even addresses my biggest gripe involving Superman’s origins, which, if you’ve read my blog for a while now, you already know: HOW THE FUCK DID NOBODY ELSE ON KRYPTON KNOW THE END WAS COMING AND DIDN’T HAVE A MEANS OF GETTING OFF THE PLANET?!?! Here, though, the explanation given actually makes a lot of sense. Making Lois more of a rival to Clark kinda works well, too, and lets us see her really working her ass off and taking some serious risks, to where it’s obvious and forgivable that she needs saving so much. Any of us would under those circumstances, it just happens to be her. Granted, I don’t quite get why her skirt is so short that, when Superman carries her around, everyone beneath her is getting a shot of her underwear, but whatever. Point is, it’s a great first outing for the hero and look at his origins for a new generation.
The more I think about it, the more I realize how this is pretty much the archetype of the classic Superman story: Mad scientist creates a device that’ll severely fuck up the world, Lois gets into trouble trying to do her job, Superman has to get involved, and through his quick thinking and incredible powers, he saves the day. And honestly, even after nearly 75 years, it still holds up really well. Yeah, there’s some stuff involving his origins that are talked about that I don’t agree with, like the idea of him being naturally super without the need for the sun, or the fact that he was raised in an orphanage, but, all things considered, not the worst version of his origins I’ve ever seen, either. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s in public domain right now, so there’s very little in the way of stopping you from doing so.
What DO you get for the man who has everything? Well, if you wanna stay on his good side, probably not what Mongul got him. This story’s actually been retold and reimagined from its original comic form at least a couple of times. The ones I’m thinking of are in the fantastic Justice League Unlimited series, and as an episode of Supergirl, entitled For The Girl Who Has Everything. Admittedly, I lean more towards the JLU version, but that could simply be because it’s the first one I saw. However, all three tend to show that the most painful and heartbreaking thing you can do to a person is to make them live out their perfect scenario and then force them to abandon it for the greater good. Also, the comic has probably one of Jason Todd’s best moments EVER. It’s emotional, it’s action packed, it’s For The Man Who Has Everything.
Oftentimes considered by many to be one of the all-time greatest stories of the Man of Tomorrow. Once again, the animated version is the one I first saw, but having read the comics since then, I can tell you there are things about it that they change from the original that I both like and dislike. In terms of the like category, I think I prefer the ending of the movie, where we see Luthor, in what could be his final days, finally understanding Superman and what he stood for, what he himself could’ve been all along if it’d really mattered to him, and while he doesn’t necessarily redeem himself, he does make a gesture that perhaps will let his life have some positive meaning. In terms of the dislike, though, the pacing is a bit off, but that’s kinda obvious, due to trying to crunch down a 12 issue comic mini-series into a 76 minute movie. However, while there are of course some things that had to be cut, the one thing that I wish to God could’ve been kept in wasn’t. I don’t why, if maybe there was concern about showing this for whatever reason, but it is quite possibly the greatest scene involving Superman that you will ever see in your life. Here’s the context: Superman is dying. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, he is going to die. As such, in his last days, he is spending his time doing as much as he can for the world as possible, saving more lives and accomplishing greater wonders than he ever has before. And right as he’s in the middle of all that, his super hearing intercepts a call made by a single child…and this is what happens.
THAT is Superman. THAT is the Man of Tomorrow. How great is this scene, you might still ask yourself? Mark Waid called it the most moving scene in a Superman book ever, and he has read EVERY SINGLE COMIC ABOUT SUPERMAN. As I once shared on my blog, POW once awarded it as the greatest moment in comic book history. As TV Tropes put it, “If you took all eighty years of the character’s history and distilled it into a single pure moment containing all his best qualities, that one page would be it. He inspires strength, wisdom, kindness, freedom, value and hope in just a few words. And he saves a life.” And in terms of how it impacted the people who read it…well, let’s let this person tell you.
… … …I’d put down my fedora for this, but let’s be honest, I don’t really wear it much anymore. It’s gotten kinda old. Regardless, this is where we get into real talk, so just bear with me. A lot of people ask me from time to time how I can care so much about superheroes, when they’re just fictional characters drawn on paper. And, even I’ve asked myself on occasion why it feels like all I know how to write about are superheroes, or people and characters that are heroic in their own ways. This is the reason why: Through their stories, superheroes inspire people. They inspire us to be better, to be stronger, to be truer to ourselves, and to be kind and noble. I think that’s also why I watch Atop The Fourth Wall and find myself in the same corner as Lewis Lovhaug when he talks about comics. He once said that “Superheroes are basically the equivalent of modern-day knights-errant, they go out and help people and fight injustices. But a lot of the best superhero comics are the ones not actually about superheroes hitting supervillains or each other, anything like that. It’s the ones that show that superheroes are about kindness and decency and something far more noble than the adolescent power fantasies that people often critique them as”. I tend to agree. Sure, it’s always great to see superheroes give evil people their comeuppance, and of course I still love a good superhero brawl as much as anyone, but THIS is what they should always be about. They are kind, they are compassionate, and in their fictional tales, they show us what we can be in real life.
…Oh yeah, and one other problem one can have with the animated version of All-Star Superman is that he apparently kills Solaris. I don’t know enough about Solaris to know if he really qualifies as a living creature, so if he does, then yeah, that’s a strike against the movie. Really, the only reason I’m okay with it in Superman Unbound is because, by then, Brainiac was more…well…Um, Obi-Wan, you wanna help me out here?
Thank you. lol
And those are my favourite Superman stories. Got one that wasn’t on here? Leave it in the comments section, and don’t worry, I’ll likely be sharing more of my favourite stories and moments in a couple of years when The Man of Tomorrow hits 80 years old. And hey, be sure to leave any words you’d like to share with Superman on his birthday on your own, as well. Ja né!
Yeah, this is kinda late, but I thought I’d wait at least a little bit to see what news emerged before giving my thoughts on the current line-up. There were a lot of rumours going into Rebirth, namely what exactly it was. Another complete universal reboot, a soft reboot, a changed line-up to better reflect the shows and movies going right now, etc. In the end, though, what it appears to be is basically taking the concept of books like Green Lantern Rebirth and The Flash Rebirth and applying it to the DC Universe as a whole, as Geoff Johns explains here:
So, it doesn’t seem to be a universal reboot, but rather a soft reboot to reintroduce certain aspects of the characters that we love, as well as re-establish certain other heroes. We can go more in-depth about what that might entail, as well as the cryptic words of the mysterious narrator, later, though. For now, let’s just look at the actual line-up of books that have been confirmed thus far, which looks like this:
• AQUAMAN REBIRTH #1
• BATMAN REBIRTH #1
• THE FLASH REBIRTH #1
• GREEN ARROW REBIRTH #1
• GREEN LANTERNS REBIRTH #1
• SUPERMAN REBIRTH #1
• TITANS REBIRTH #1
• WONDER WOMAN REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• AQUAMAN #1
• BATMAN #1
• THE FLASH #1
• GREEN ARROW #1
• GREEN LANTERNS #1
• SUPERMAN #1
• WONDER WOMAN #1
New Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• ACTION COMICS #957
• DETECTIVE COMICS #934
• BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY REBIRTH #1
• HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS REBIRTH #1
• THE HELLBLAZER REBIRTH #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE REBIRTH #1
• NIGHTWING REBIRTH #1
• RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
• NIGHTWING #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping monthly):
• BATGIRL #1
• BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY #1
• THE HELLBLAZER #1
• RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #1
• THE SUPER-MAN #1
• TITANS #1
• BATMAN BEYOND REBIRTH #1
• BLUE BEETLE REBIRTH #1
• CYBORG REBIRTH #1
• DEATHSTROKE REBIRTH #1
• EARTH 2 REBIRTH #1
• SUICIDE SQUAD REBIRTH #1
• SUPERGIRL REBIRTH #1
• TEEN TITANS REBIRTH #1
• TRINITY REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• CYBORG #1
• DEATHSTROKE #1
• HARLEY QUINN #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #1
• SUICIDE SQUAD #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping monthly):
• BATMAN BEYOND #1
• BLUE BEETLE #1
• EARTH 2 #1
• GOTHAM ACADEMY: NEXT SEMESTER #1
• SUPERGIRL #1
• SUPERWOMAN #1
• SUPER SONS #1
• TEEN TITANS #1
• TRINITY #1
…So, let’s go over my thoughts for now about some of the announced books, starting with…
Looks like the Superman titles are undergoing a major revamp. While Action Comics is going back to its old numbering, Supergirl is returning with her own title (about time), and we’re also getting the new books Superwoman, Super Sons, and The Super-Man. If I had to take a guess, and I suppose at this point that’s all I can do, I’d wager that this all has to do with the upcoming Super League storyline that’ll wrap up the current Superman titles, with Superman enlisting several other superheroes as a team of Supermen (and Superwomen, it seems). Why is he doing this? Well, recently, Superman was able to regain his powers, but at a price, and he’s potentially dying, so he might be trying to pull a Batman and have the Super League act as a contingency should something happen to him and the world still needs Superman. Also, Batman/Superman and Superman/Wonder Woman seem to be getting dropped in favour of a Trinity book, which I am 100% okay with, especially since both books have been telling the same story as the other Super titles anyway. Might as well just put all three in a single title where they all get top billing. Also, I can’t help but notice that Superman: Lois And Clark is disappearing, but I’ve heard that the pre-Flashpoint Superman who appears in that book will both be involved in the Super League story as well as Rebirth, so not crossing them out just yet. Lastly, the one book that got me to raise an eyebrow most in this whole line-up was “The Super-Man”. However, I’ve since been directed to a cover for Justice League #51, where Lex Luthor is shown to be in a Superman-esque costume. Perhaps an attempt to cast Lex Luthor as the evil Superman that was originally conceived before Action Comics #1? We’ll see. Oh, and just saying, PLEASE DC, put Superman in a costume that at least balances out the three colours better. There’s just too much blue and not enough yellow in this equation.
I’m a bit interested to see where Batman goes now that he’s been back from the dead…again. lol I mean, the last time he came back, he created Batman Incorporated. Right now, it feels like a similar idea isn’t far off, with Jim Gordon apparently keeping his Batsuit, Batgirl starting a new Birds of Prey team, and Dick Grayson evidently going back to being Nightwing. And, if you’re confused about that, well…Batman And Robin Eternal #20 kinda revealed that Helena Bertinelli set it up to where Spyral’s orbital little satellite has the ability to make everyone forget about his unmasking and ‘death’ in Forever Evil, thus allowing him to go back to his old life if he so chose. And, I gotta admit, when I first heard about that, it actually sounded like an intriguing moral and ethical dilemma: Should Dick use this technology, essentially mind wiping the entire planet’s population, so he can go back to being Nightwing? Or should he continue to work for a group of secret agents who are CONSTANTLY bending the rules of what is and isn’t ethically sound or legal in order to get the job done? It’s not an easy situation to figure out… … …Too bad I know for a fact that they’re not gonna explore it much and instead it looks like he’s just gonna flip the switch and damn the consequences. I’m not saying that’s necessarily WRONG, just…kinda feels like the easy way out. Frankly, at this point, I just hope they put him back in blue this time around. I’m also interested to see what Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey will be like, and I kinda hope that Gail Simone ends up writing it eventually. Ask nearly anyone, and they’ll tell you that Birds of Prey was at its best when Gail was writing it. No sign of a Robin book yet, which is a little concerning, and it looks as though Gotham Academy is continuing on. And lastly, yeah, I remember what my initial reaction was to Red Hood And The Outlaws coming back, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that, as long as that book is around, it keeps Scott Lobdell away from anything I actually CARE about. 😛
SONOFABITCHMOTHERFUCKINGSHITMASSAGINGCOCKGRINDINGMONKEYFACEDCLOWNFART!!! Just when Justice League had become AMAZING, Johns and Fabok are both off the book! Didn’t I specifically say I wanted them to stay on the book going into Rebirth?!…Well, hopefully, Fabok can find work on one of the other titles. I’m personally hoping for Wonder Woman, because I fucking love how he draws her. Speaking of, I’ve been hearing rumours (so take this with a grain of salt) that Marguerite Bennett could be the new writer for Wonder Woman, which is actually funny because she’s Scott Snyder’s old pupil, and I was requesting Scott Snyder’s Wonder Woman a while ago, so…Yeah. lol Anyway, Justice League of America is apparently just gonna be Justice League America…’kay. Why we can’t just call it JLA, I dunno.
So, I’m guessing that since there are two Titans books right now, Teen Titans and Titans Hunt, and there are two Titans books post-Rebirth, Teen Titans and just plain Titans, that plain Titans is probably gonna be about Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, Roy Harper, and the other older Titans. With any luck, we’ll see Starfire join that team, since her book is ending (not cancelled, though, as it was apparently always planned for 12 issues), and otherwise, I fear she might end up going back to RHATO, which I would LOATHE. Other than that, not much else to discuss.
Like I said earlier, the team of Marguerite Bennett and Jason Fabok on Wonder Woman would be awesome if it comes to be. The silhouettes for the official image for Rebirth suggest the return of Wally West as Kid Flash, which could prove interesting for The Flash, and there looks to be a female Green Lantern, which could be Jessica Cruz, and after recent events with the Green Lantern Corps, they could use the new recruits who are already a little experienced with Power Rings. It’s looking like Earth 2 might be reverting back to a more traditional look and feel, especially if I’m right about who that is second from the left behind the curtain of the Rebirth image. And I couldn’t help but notice both Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes appeared in the video, so seeing that there’s a Blue Beetle comic involved raises some questions, like are they going to be working as a duo of sorts. And Hellblazer…Look, I don’t really care about Constantine. I find him to be a major horse’s ass, personally speaking. But, I know a lot of people DO care, and were pissed when his show got cancelled rather quickly, so I will say that I’m glad those people are getting their fill of Constantine, both with this comic and with his appearances in Arrow. Oh, and lastly, I’ve heard that Rebirth will apparently include what Dan Didio calls his most controversial moment ever…Dear God, save me. -_-
Anyway, those are my thoughts so far. If anything else comes up that I’m personally invested in, I’ll go ahead and give my thoughts on it. Be sure to leave your own thoughts below, and we’ll see what goes on from now ’til June. Ja né!
…Oh yeah, and expect a How To Drop The Ball In Comics: The New 52 in June. ^_^
Happy Mother’s Day, everybody! For the love of God, do not get your mothers comics for this day! lol No, really, on a suggestion from Emmybomber, I was gonna do an article talking about moms in comics, primarily because (and I know I said I wasn’t gonna talk about DC Comics this month, but I’m making a special exception here) pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark had a baby in Convergence: Superman #2 this past Wednesday (Flashpoint Thomas Wayne helped with the delivery. It was weird, funny, and kinda heart-warming all at once). Thing is, that was originally meant to be a more positively-themed article…until I actually started to think about mothers in comic books.
Why does every mom in comic books wind up getting a raw deal? I mean, really think about moms in comics. There’s Martha Wayne, who is dead, implied to be a villainess at one point, and was made the Joker in Flashpoint. Scarlet Witch lost both her kids, which caused her to inevitably go insane and eventually cause both Avengers Disassembled and M Day (neither of which we speak of), and while she did meet up with their reincarnated selves later, the damage was done, and frankly it’s kind of a confusing mess how that works anyway. Both of Superman’s moms, both biological and adoptive, are dead. Maria Stark died in a car crash. Earth 2 Catwoman is dead, and her pre-Flashpoint Earth 0 counterpart had a kid implied to be that universe’s version of Helena Wayne, only to have it proven otherwise and have Selina give her up. Talia was revealed to have drugged Batman and had sex with him under the influence to get pregnant with Damian, and then later went completely evil and had her own son killed. Past Stephanie Brown endured a teenage pregnancy, only to give her kid up for adoption immediately. Hippolyta in the New 52 was revealed to be a liar who conceived Diana in an ill-thought of affair with Zeus and was later turned to stone and smashed apart. Jean Grey…………..let’s not go there. XD
Even Lois Lane, who had her kid this past Wednesday, is subject to this. How? Because as far as I know, the other universes and continuities are getting pushed aside again in favour of the current ones. And speaking of, New 52 Earth 2 Lois Lane was killed and brought back as a fembot (which I honestly wouldn’t even mind if it was just a short term thing, but apparently, not so much), and lost her whole world to Darkseid. Meanwhile, mainstream Lois Lane in the comics right now? Apparently, we’re led to believe that, following figuring out that Clark and Superman were one and the same in the single most contrived fucking stupid way possible that I can’t believe Geoff Johns wrote it and MUST have had it mandated to him, knowingly and willfully told the world the truth, even with the very real possibility that it would ruin Clark’s life.
RED ALERT: ANGRY RANT
…And, y’know what, since I’m talking about this already, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t, I wanna clarify something: Yes, this is part of the reason I originally decided to go a month without talking about DC Comics. I was so royally pissed off at this little piece of information given in the Free Comic Book Day issue labelled ‘Divergence’ (which is also where we found out about mohawk Gordon in the robo Batsuit) that I just didn’t wanna talk about DC, because I KNEW, like a game of 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, I could somehow connect the dots back to this bullshit. In one week, Lois and Clark had a baby, and Roy Harper managed to bring Lian back from the dead (so at least Linkara can read his favourite run of the Titans again without getting a bitter taste in his mouth). But unless the pre-Flashpoint universe is getting its own world in the current DC Multiverse, guess how much that amounts to? The answer is zero, because we’ve seen solicits and previews for the post-Convergence mainstream universe, and it’s still the same dire and dreadful world as it ever was, maybe even more-so. And lemme reiterate that this information was released on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, when the goal is to encourage new readers to get on board with your product, where parents typically bring their children to get them free stuff, and where my NIECE, my 8-year-old niece, was in attendance in a Superman cape and costume which he doesn’t even wear anymore! My one comfort is that she wasn’t there last year for the nightmare fuel that was Future’s End #0! Granted, of course, this is the same girl who finds 5 Nights At Freddy’s funny, whereas I find it pants-crappingly terrifying, so clearly she has more fortitude than I do, but that’s beside the point. So no, until I learn otherwise, I will not be getting the Convergence tie-ins, I will continue to spend the rest of the month from this point onward not talking about DC Comics, and if this pattern continues, DC has lost a customer. That’s how pissed off I’ve gotten about this whole thing.
Stand-down Red Alert: End of Angry Rant
*SIGH* …ANYway, there is one mom off the top of my head that, for the most part, has managed to stay alive (depending on what your definition of ‘alive’ is), keep her baby (despite some issues), and keep some semblance of happiness. The weird thing is, of all people, it’s Jubilation Lee. Seriously, Jubilee, who once was considered the annoying kid member of the X-Men, who lost her powers, and got sired as a vampire (and honestly, sometimes, I legit forget that that’s still a thing) is able to have an adoptive son that she loves and cares for. I urge Marvel Comics not to erase Shogo Lee following Secret Wars. Seriously, if we can just have one happy mom in comics, that’s a huge plus…………Oh, and I guess Kamala’s mom, although I dunno if I’d officially classify her as ‘happy’. lol
At any rate, that’s my two cents on moms in comics. Did I miss any happy moms still a part of comics to this day? Lemme know in the comments, because we could sure as hell use some more. Ja né, and Happy Mother’s Day!
So, I have now officially posted chapter 1 of Justice League Infinite! If you wanna read, by all means, click the picture below.
Now, because I’m a nice guy, let’s take a look at some more of the characters to appear in this story, starting with the zombified gangster born on a Monday: Solomon Grundy.
As you can tell from the image shown, I used Grundy’s appearance in from The New 52’s Earth 2 book for the character, and like said version, he is the chosen champion of The Rot. He can make the ground and the roots under him wither and die, and even turn them undead and warp them to his will. What’s worse is that his body can continually regenerate and recover from damage as long as he’s connected to The Rot, which is one of the varying essences that make up the world itself. He also has large butcher knives stuck in his shoulders (like in Injustice: Gods Among Us), and can thus use them for melee attacks if punches or the like backed by his incredible strength don’t quite get the job done. And while he talks in the same sort of Hulk-esque speech that he’s more commonly known for by people who play the video games or watch the TV shows and movies that he’s appeared in, he’s still actually rather intelligent, at least when it comes to fighting, able to catch opponents off guard with his various abilities. The only way to defeat him is to cut him off from The Rot. Green Lantern Alan Scott was able to do this by physically banishing him to the moon, where The Rot’s energy couldn’t reach him, save for allowing him to continue to survive.
Steve Trevor in this universe is actually a government agent, sent by Washington to convince Superman to take on a dangerous mission. He’s still a good guy, though, and doesn’t approve of the method of convincing Superman to take the mission, which would be to expose his identity if he didn’t coöperate and come for him and his family. He deeply admires superheroes and believes in their fight for good. He also has a past with Wonder Woman, although for the moment, it’s unclear what all that entails, and they remain good friends to this day.
Loana, much like in For The Man Who Has Everything, is basically a hybrid of Lois Lane and Lana Lang (and is also supposed to be African-American in this story, so please excuse the image). Basically, in this universe, she is both the childhood friend and sweetheart that Lana Lang is, as well as an award-winning journalist for the Daily Planet that Lois Lane is. As of the beginning of this story, she’s currently living with Calvin on the Kent Family Farm, and less-so works in the offices of the Daily Planet and instead commutes around to various locations for on-site reporting. Personality wise, she’s closer to Lois, being a little feisty and teasing of Cal at times, and also taking her work with the same level of dedication and commitment as Superman takes his own duties.
Anyway, that’s all for now, but keep an eye out for when additional chapters are posted, as I’ll continue to give little special looks into the characters and plot points presented as they début. Ja né!
So, as announced earlier this week, I’m doing a Justice League fanfic entitled ‘Justice League Infinite’. As such, I’m going through all seven members of this world’s League, what makes them different from their counterparts, etc. We’ve already looked at Batman, The Flash, and Poison Ivy, so let’s go ahead and take a look at this world’s version of arguably the greatest superhero of all time: The Man of Steel, Superman.
So yeah, you’ve probably noticed one or two things different about this Superman. He’s based off of and borrows elements from a few different characters in addition to the mainstream Superman. In this universe, he’s Calvin Henry Kent, born Cal-El on Krypton. His home world was destroyed due to damage done to the planet’s core by Brainiac, who had miscalculated when he tore the capital city of Kandor free (because in every other continuity, the people of Krypton come off as very stupid for not seeing the end coming). Calvin works for the Daily Planet, as the lead columnist for the company’s online blog, though he actually lives in Smallville with his adoptive parents, and his childhood sweetheart and colleague at the Daily Planet, Loana Lane (basically, an African-American hybrid of Lois Lane and Lana Lang), who learned of his secret growing up. As Superman, he’s looked up to and admired by the people of Metropolis, though his efforts are oftentimes marginalized and hampered by President Lex Luthor. Like Calvin Ellis of Earth 23, he fights for truth, justice, and equality, and while he isn’t strictly a pacifist like Val-Zod of Earth 2, he will try to avoid a direct, physical conflict whenever possible. And of course, as anyone who bears the name Superman should be, Cal is kind, noble, and courageous. He inspires others through his actions to be better than they are, and while he’s not immune to making mistakes, he will always strive to do what he believes is right.
Let’s talk for a second about the costume. It’s pretty much the costume Earth 2 Superman of The New 52 wore, only the House of El emblem more resembles the one on Calvin Ellis’ costume. The cape also has a yellow Superman logo on the back as well, and the blue of the costume has a bit of a silver tinge to it (in reference to Steel). And, as is traditional for Superman, it’s almost always worn under his usual clothes so that he can quick-change into the Man of Tomorrow whenever necessary.
Now for his powers, which is always an interesting topic when it comes to new takes on Superman. Cal possesses a pretty good portion of the typical Superman’s physical strength, durability, stamina, and speed, but he has yet to tap into the full extent of what he can do while powered by Earth’s sun. He also has his x-ray vision, but he hasn’t figured out heat vision yet, and while he has his super breath, he can’t use it to freeze whatever it touches at the moment. Otherwise, he is perfectly capable of flight, has his other super senses, can process information at speeds impossible for an ordinary human, has mastered voice mimicry and ventriloquism, can breathe in space, is highly adept at using pressure points in combat, and is currently studying two Kryptonian martial arts: Torquasm-Rao, which allows him to enter the real-life Theta state, and Torquasm-Vo, which grants him the ability to protect himself from illusions and mind control. His weaknesses include the well-known Kryptonite, which severely weakens his body and cancels out the solar energy stored in him, and most magic-based attacks and enchanted weapons. Otherwise, the only way to beat him is to outlast his supply of yellow sun energy, something that only the most powerful of opponents can do.
And that’s about it for Superman. Next time, we take a look at Diana of Themyscira, as well as a certain character related to her in the fanfic who, while not a member of the Justice League, will nonetheless make an appearance. Ja né!
So, Superman Unchained sadly ended last week with its 9th issue…which was actually WAY past the original release date. And unfortunately, it kinda shows, what with stuff like Lex Luthor still being a villain in this, whereas nowadays he’s a member of the Justice League (no, seriously, Lex Luthor in the Justice League, that’s a thing now). Really, though, since Superman Unchained was telling its own self-contained story, it’s best read in a single sitting. Heck, I could easily see it made into an animated movie someday. So I DO get why it was only 9 issues in that case. It’s just, I would’ve loved to see Scott Snyder continue to write Superman, since he clearly gets the character and his supporting cast, and this book legitimately feels like a Superman story, which is sadly something that’s kinda rare nowadays.
With that said, one of the perks of the story being over is that I can re-read it and pick out some of my favourite moments and aspects of it. The ones that stuck out, the ones I missed for whatever reason and am catching on the second run-through, and so on. And, because some of these are from the newest issue, obviously, spoilers ahead. If you want to read Superman Unchained for yourself without prior knowledge of what happens, stop here, there’s no turning back. Otherwise, let’s go through my 5 Favourite Moments of Superman Unchained, starting with the one that made me realize just how much I frigging loved this book…
So a terrorist group called Ascension have taken control of a construction robot called Apollodorus, and used it to try and knock over the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. For those that don’t know, here’s a little trivia: The Burj Khalifa is the current record-holder for the world’s tallest free-standing structure, standing at 829.8 metres tall (2,722 ft), possessing 163 floors (plus 46 maintenance levels in the spire and two underground parking levels), and can easily house people in the tens of thousands at any given time. If this was the Golden Age and Superman could still only leap tall buildings, this would be one he’d likely crotch himself on trying to get over. 😛 Regardless, Superman arrives with only 19 seconds until the megatall skyscraper hits the ground, and even with his vast array of powers, his options are extremely limited. He can’t simply push it back into place, since it’d just break apart from the stress. Can’t reinforce the steel with heat vision and freeze breath, it’d kill everyone even remotely close to the glass. And the Apollodorus is still in the area, trying to keep his attention by beating down on him and knocking him into the water. So, with only four seconds left, he instead uses his superspeed on the water to create a huge water-spout, and then freezes it to keep the tower from hitting the ground. Scenes like this prove that Superman is more than just a flying brick, as we see him going through the various options and methods by which he could stop the tower from crashing and save everyone inside, and in the end, it’s only the most precise usage of just the right powers in his arsenal that manages to achieve his goal. I personally would’ve had each panel have a ticking clock instead of Clark’s narration telling us how many seconds were left, but that’s just me, and the sequence is awesome nonetheless.
One of the things that’s always important to remember about Superman is that he’s still first and foremost Clark Kent. A lot of people to this day, in writing Superman, tend to ignore his status as Clark Kent, and how he actually has his own ways of changing the world and inspiring people as himself, as Clark. Now, we see some good moments of Clark doing that in his new role outside of the Daily Planet, as a news blogger, but for me, the thing that stands out most is the flashback to his childhood we see in issues 5 and 9. Clark, after tapping into his ability to fly for the first time by catching a falling Lana Lang, returns home one day to find his mother held at gunpoint by a deranged neighbour who saw what happened. The man, Mr. Colder, proceeds to shoot Clark repeatedly with his shotgun, which of course does nothing to him except knock him to the ground, tear his shirt, and scare the crap outta him. But, when Mr. Colder believes that Clark’s mother would kill him to keep Clark’s secret safe and then plans to kill her first, Clark sends out a shockwave that knocks him across the barn, causing his already weakened heart to flat-line. However, even after what Colder had just done and tried to do, Clark can’t let him die, and manages to resuscitate him. We don’t see what happened next with Mr. Colder, but his expression suggests that he chose to keep Clark’s secret. And keep in mind, this is LONG before Clark ever considered donning the red, blue, and yellow (though mostly blue nowadays, since DC decided to do away with the perfect colour balance of his tights). This is Clark being a noble, heroic individual all on his own, choosing to save the life of a man who would’ve otherwise killed him if he had the ability, and in doing so changes Colder for the better.
Because this book shows Superman interacting with his allies a lot, we see Batman and Wonder Woman play supporting roles in this book. What’s great about their presence is that they both add their own awesome moments, but at the same time, they don’t detract too much from Superman, keeping the story centred around him and his conflicts with Ascension, General Lane, and Wraith. However, at one point in the book, they DO end up facing off with Wraith in the Batcave. Now, this moment is split into two parts, as to keep this at five moments, and because they take place with one more or less directly following the other. The first part is when Batman, doing all he can to slow Wraith down, first drops one of the Batplanes on them (and yes, I insist on calling them Batplanes for as long as there remains a character named Batwing), and when that doesn’t work, he remote activates ALL of the Batmobiles to crash into Wraith (which are thankfully insured…because Batman, lol). And as you can see from the photo above, he’s got plenty. But how can you possibly follow up something that awesome?
…Like that! XD In all seriousness, though, can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that Wonder Woman is in a New 52 Superman comic, is kept in character, and the fauxmance is not referenced AT ALL? In fact, looking at this makes me realize, Scott Snyder has now written amazing stories for both Superman and Batman… … …Anyone else curious to see if he can make it 3 for 3? 😀
Okay, this one might seem like cheating, but after I failed to mention this in the last review, I really need to talk for a moment about how awesome Lois Lane is in this comic. Throughout this story, Lois is constantly involved in the conflict with the villains. She reports on the objects falling from space. She goes to meet with someone claiming to be from Ascension (and not too far from my neck of the woods, neither, right here in Maritime territory). She’s constantly put into danger and manages to get out alive. She stands up to her father at every turn. She SAVES Superman at one point. She manages to obtain an object that allows Superman to stop NUCLEAR ARMAGEDDON, and not in the stupid way like in Superman 4! There’s even points of the story where we see hints of their mutual attraction again. It’s just so refreshing to see her play a big part in a Superman story again, and how she’s able to be her own kind of heroic and inspiring figure in her own way.
Finally, as I already mentioned in my previous review, throughout this story, we see the conflict between Superman and the character Wraith. We see how they’re similar, how they’re different, how they can be powerful allies, how they’re natural antagonists, and one hell of a final knock-down, drag-out brawl between the two…that somehow STILL manages to have less property damage and death than Superman vs. Zod in Man of Steel (I know, I won’t shut up about it, but it’s true). And yet, by the end, when the only way that Superman has to save the world from Wraith’s people is a move that would ultimately be a suicide run, Wraith ultimately takes his place, seemingly with no regrets. Why? Because for all his talk of how he believed Superman did things the wrong way, he was so moved by his determination and commitment to doing the right thing that it changed him, that he couldn’t stand to watch Superman die. And as I said before, that is the TRUE superpower of Superman: The ability to inspire others to make the absolute best of themselves that they can.
So, those are my 5 Favourite Moments from Superman Unchained. Got one that wasn’t listed? Lemme know in the comments below, and hopefully, someday, we can see another great Scott Snyder-written Superman story… … …Oh, and I also demand Scott Snyder’s Wonder Woman someday, possibly in the pages of Sensation Comics. lol Ja né!