Tag Archives: justice league

ALL NEW 52 DC COMICS: A COMPLETE (ish) LIST AND REVIEW

NEW 52 LOGOThere’s a nice young twenty-something lad at my local WaWa who will chat geek with me while I await my Barista Bar flavored coffee treat. The other day he said he was finally ready to get back into comics, specifically the New 52. “So, what’s your first trade going to be,” I asked, fearing I already knew the answer. “Justice League,” he retorted.

“Fuuuuuccccckkkkkk why does this happen every time,” resonated through my headspace.

Of course I know the answer. That first JUSTICE LEAGUE arc was the big news item. It’s the book that was covered by CNN and all of those credible media outlets with behemoth marketing budgets behind them. The book that had reach.

However, quantity of units sold is rarely the sign of quality. Every one-hit wonder and earwig we end up loathing after its 2 months half-life is indelible proof of this theorem.

“Dude, you having a stroke?” Obviously my face was more reflective of my mental yawp than I thought. “Why JUSTICE LEAGUE,” I murmured through pursed lips of rage. “I don’t know, seemed the central point.”

Hard to deny the logic here, but after 3 years into the New 52 experiment. That original JUSTICE LEAGUE story with the five years behind continuity and a team-up wonder team that just didn’t seem to gel on page, was the tarnished crown, not the crown jewel of the New 52.

In an effort to serve this nice young man and any others who might have missed the boat, but now want to jump on I give you the Rob Patey (Optimous Douche) complete New 52 frank talk. I’ve read multiple issues of every mother lovin one of them, and reviewed a high percentage of each title. Here though, the shall now live in one consolidated list.

The Stratums of a Universe- EMBRACE THEM 

Scott-Snyder-Rob-Patey

Comics CAN make you happy

There is much to love about the New 52, there really is. Fanboys to Fangeezers love to dwell on the car wrecks, but many books have shone brightly. One smart move given the cacophony of chaos leading up to the New 52 was to create a universe of different themes. So all books live in one of the following buckets: Justice League, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Young Justice, The Edge, The Dark and Other.

There was never an edict that we must buy every book on the shelf. Fanmen like myself, those of us weaned into DC from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS became used to buying every book because it was an affordable endeavor. Also, it was years before the rise of the powerful indie. We would have to wait until the early 90s until we got to a time average comic shops carried something other than Marvel and DC. Ahhhh early Image.

With this presentation in place fans could really go wherever they chose based upon their particular comic appetites. This was a good call, even if the plan has somewhat imploded on itself during this new age of infinite cross overs and events.

The New 52 A Complete (ish) Breakdown

 justice-league-new-52JUSTICE LEAGUE UNIVERSE

JUSTICE LEAGUE: Set five years before the events of all other books in the New 52, this was supposed to give our favorite heroes of Batman, Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Cyborg a back-story and context for their doings elsewhere. It was also supposed to be a nuclear explosion of action and impending danger. What we got were a bunch of petulant children inside big splash pages and yet another appearance of Darkseid, well, sorta. Darkseid appeared for about 2 pages. The rest of the time we watched our heroes act far too young for merely a five year trip back in time and act contradictory – personality wise, not maturity wise – from who they were in other books. I love Geoff Johns. I love Jim Lee. I do not love them together. Jim is too bombastic and Geoff is too intimate. What it left was a hollowness in the title until we got to Thrones of Atlantis. Forever Evil has caused a bit of the hollowness again, but the other books in the crossover make up for the loss. JUSTICE LEAGUE can be a rand read, it simply wasn’t until it was tied to a crossover or given a great back up story with Johns and Frank giving a new birth to Shazam.

AQUAMAN: The fish jokes have never been forced and I love a good reluctant King story as Arthur struggles between the love of his Father’s world and the underwater world of his Mother. Also, his relationship with Mara is one of the best love stories DC ha sever seen. Despite the fantastic elemnst of the book, this bond is very authentic.

THE FLASH: I hate Barry Allen, Wally West is my Flash. Book never stood a chance. I have dabbled in a few issues here and there and quite frankly it’s only when Barry acts in a smart ass fashion like Wally do I find myself interested.

GREEN ARROW: Here’s another one where I will show my image. My Ollie Queen is best buds with Hal Jordan and looks like Errol Flynn. This new guy is just sort of there. There’s no relationship between GA and Black Canary either, and this I truly can’t abide.

WONDER WOMAN: AMAZING! Azarello has created a story for the ages as Dinah battles her sisters and brothers of Olympus to keep Zeus’ latest bastard safe and sound. The mixing of mortals (the baby’s mother) and those that have fallen to mortality has kept one of the creepier titles of the New 52 a first read for me each month it drops.

Justice league of america 1 coverJUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: I loves me some Amanda Waller, even this ultra skinny one who is more evil than pure Machiavellian. This is, I got enough of her SUICIDE SQUAD. I applaud a team of JUSTICE LEAGUE busters, but this ain’t the crew. Baz versus Hal…please. Catwoman against Batman, I bet on the Bat. Martian Manhunter versus Superman, sure as long as Supes gets his eyes gouged out. Vibe versus Flash…WTF?????? Also, this title was born for a crossover and has lived tere since. It has had no time to set its own pace.

EARTH 2 AND WORLD’S FINEST: I’m a parallel universe whore so take this recommend with a grain of salt. Objectively I can say these books are most reflective of the time before New 52. It’s a more adult universe with a more realistic bend on how the globe would operate were it overrun with Gods. Power Girl and Huntresses’ “fish out of water” tale in WORLD’S FINEST has been an almost in-universe catharsis as they complain how young and inept the New 52 holy trinity is compared to their now deceased family members Reality Deux.

VIBE & KATANA: See JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA review for why these two members never should have had their own titles. Both were well written, they just simply couldn’t compete even within their universe for prominent shelf space.

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL: The first team of JUSTICE LEAGUE busters were too laughable to live up to the mission, but not laughable in the Bwahahahaha sense. More awwwww. They couldn’t do the job and had no gravitas to balance the funny. It was a still born resurrection of the old title from the 80s.

JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000: This hot mess of resurrected JUSTICE LEAGUE members in the year 3000 is hilarious, fun and just introduced a stellar story element with forgotten “garbage earth.” Finally a JUSTICE LEAGUE and future book that got it right, right out of the gate.

CAPTAIN ATOM: He’s a man of the atom. I only read the first issue. Nowhere near as impactful as the miniseries a few years prior.

FIRESTORM: Another one issue and done read for me. Sorry, just didn’t grab me.

HAWKMAN: Ditto.

MISTER TERRIFIC: This was a tragic case of too many rich smart dudes in one universe syndrome. No one knew what to do with this guy. So they basically cast him off to EARTH 2, which no one except me was reading before Taylor took over. Great character and well done dialog along with future pay off continuity integration when Power Girl appeared. Sad sad sad waste of potential.

Batman_and_Robin_Vol_2-16_Cover

 BATMAN UNIVERSE

5 years before truly rocked these titles. Even though DC tried to ignore it from a story perspective, comic fans could not be mind wiped enough to do the math on the four Robins bounding about. I love Damian Wayne, so I wouldn’t have supported any decision that would have wiped him or any of the Robins clean off the map. However, each Robin being Bruce Wayne’s ward for about 6 months felt like a bit of a slap in the face to those of who watched Batman and his Robins build years long relationships.

Still hasn’t really been course corrected even with the fugazi of Tim Drake’s Red Robin ruse.

BATMAN: Snyder has done some bang up work in Bats, first introducing to the court of Owls and then rebuilding a bunch of other new mythologies for Gotham’s most famous families. I enjoyed Death of the Family, but I also understand the rage of some fans since there were no real deaths – simply betrayals and separations. In the beginning BATMAN required a balls deep commitment to Batman Universe books to get the full effect, but f you’ve been thirsting for an open story without the extra work I highly recommend joining the fun with Zero Year.

BATMAN INC. AND BATMAN & ROBIN: A true yin and yang relationship. BATMAN INC. delivered the atrocity of Damian’s life while BATMAN & ROBIN showcased the joy of a loving Father and Son relationship. These books also gave us Bat-Cow and Titus, two gifts I will forever be grateful for having read.

BATWING: every fiber of my being wanted to like this book, Winick and team have created a quality book here month after month. It was wise of DC not to squash this one even though it doesn’t bring the thunder and the noise. I stopped reading it solely for ideological reasons. I thought the Incorporating of Batman opened the Kimono too wide and squashed any willing suspension of disbelief. Don’t be a purist like I am kids, you are only cutting off your own nose.

BATWOMAN: Some of the most gorgeous art to grace a comic page. I wish I gave two shits about Batwoman.

BIRDS OF PREY: This one sadly annoyed me after the joy I had with the old book. I’m pissed Black Canary is no longer with Oliver Queen and I just couldn’t let that nagging sensation go enough to enjoy this book.

batgirl 16 coverBATGIRL: I’m fine with walkie Babs and absolutely dig her psycho Brother, James. Gail Simone has once again delivered the goods issue after issue. Babs is the heart of the Bat Family and that heart once again beats within enthusiasm as opposed to her somewhat maudlin existence as wheelie Babs Pre 52.

CATWOMAN: I loved this book under Winnick. The crazy hot passion between her and Bats, her cavalier attitude towards….everything, and some really well thought out heists and capers. Then Nicola Scott took over with some shit about Eclipso. Haven’t been back since that hot mess dark pall shrouded the fun.

DETECTIVE: A great Bat book for dabblers. If continuity gets you blue and you don’t have the resources to read everything on the shelves look no further than DETECTIVE. My favorite story to date was the Emperor Penguin takeover of Oswald Cobblepot’s empire.

NIGHTWING: I’m bugged by what the “five years before” have done to the ages of the Robins. I shun because I care.

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS: Sadly, this has been a very good book that was mired in ridiculous controversy spurred by assed up mommy bloggers. Yes, Starfire is a wee bit more liberal with her orange ta-tas, but I say who the hell knows what an alien libido is like? Also, there are a ton of people who can’t abide the return of Jason Todd. Personally, I read the book for the camaraderie. Since we no longer have Ollie, Hal and Dinah these three are some very intriguing intergalactic wanderers.

HARLEY QUINN: A new entry that remains to be seen on staying power. The 4th wall breaking 0 issue left many wanting since we’re not all comic insiders. Follow-up issues have been a sadistic fairytale. The literal will walk. My advice is to just pretend that you are viewing the world through Harley’s eschewed lens and you will find a new level of joy in the adorable mayhem.

TALON: No, just no. Court of Owls were much more interesting as an entity than a personal tale of vengeance.

Superman_Unchained_1_

SUPERMAN UNIVERSE

Another five year before that just did not fly. ACTION was Ok, but the rest of the books not mired in the past barely skimmed the surface of who Superman truly is beyond the cape. The course has corrected over the past 6 months, but there are still some tall buildings Superman needs to traverse to get back on top.

ACTION: I love Grant Morrison, but I did not love ACTION. It had nothing to do with jeans and t-shirt Superman and much more to do with the plot that felt like Johns’ SECRET ORIGINS and the fact Clark never felt like a corn fed kid from Kansas. Oh, then he became a fireman or some shit. This book didn’t hit its stride until Pak took over with the issue 25 ZERO YEAR.

SUPERBOY: I honestly read the first issue and never came back. Kids in fluid tubes just don’t do it for me.

SUPERGIRL: This little lady course corrects every other thing wrong with the SUPERMAN UNIVERSE books. We feel her pain as she struggles to understand a world that fears her. We truly see a fawn on new legs. She has also been on some great intergalactic travels and quite recently became a Red Lantern. A plot line that helped give her book a goose and actually got me interested in RED LANTERN for the first time.

SUPERMAN: If you’re into the talks of mergers and the politics of media, you found your book for the first arc of Superman’s new life. If you like villains that don’t mean shit to anyone akin to the mutants of the week from Smallville, then stay for the next couple of arcs. If you like a good comic book where Superman must balancer his hero life and the world of Clark Kent, start reading SUPERMAN when Lobdell takes over.

SUPERMAN UNCHAINED: I love how Snyder once again tried to inject real history into a title. I was on board for Sam Lane running a covert ops group compete with their own Superman. As we watched this Darkseid looking chap try to espouse the virtues of duty to country while Kal talks of saving humanity, you begin to realize why the New 52 was so necessary. The world is much bigger than it was in 1938; we need a hero that fights for truth, justice and that’s it really.

batmansuperman1BATMAN/SUPERMAN: Quite simply this is the book for everyone who hates the New 52. The interchange between our New 52 versions of B&S with their older and wiser counterparts on Earth 2 satiates fans new and old. This was also a great read for EARTH 2 and WORLD’S FINEST fans. Love seeing worlds that recognize God’s walk among them and where the Gods get off their asses for some proactive world management. The second arc of BATMAN/SUPERMAN finally gave Huntress and Power Girl to out themselves to their Earth Prime family members, making everyone’s lives a little less lonely.

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN: I’m pro on the Superman and Wonder Woman relationship if for no other reason than it makes Batman more nervous than the Joker having a map of the cave. Soule is doing a bang up job showing the dichotomy between these two despite being similarly powerful. WW’s being raised as a goddess and Clark’s humble bringing will ultimately be their undoing in my opinion rather than the obvious return to Lois. In the mean time it’s nice to see some real relationship turmoil permeate the fantastical.

green_lantern_16_cover

GREEN LANTERN UNIVERSE

While there were no time travel shenanigans shoved into Gl, this was a book that remained virtually untouched from its pre Flashpoint happenings. Pretty much if it was written by Johns or Snyder the book was storyline saved from a reset. In this case it worked though as the universe course corrected around the Lanterns instead of the other way around. Lately, I have loved the fact the GLs are now the scourge of the universe since their mentors went batty. I’m also intrigued to see how long the corps can stop the other light spectrums from draining the universe’s emotional well. Sort of like being an arms control specialist in Compton.

GREEN LANTERN: Because we never skipped a beat from the old universe it’s safe to say the New 52 versions will sit just fine with lapsed readers. Johns continued to play with the light spectrum in the new universe as he dethroned the Guardians for a new universal order. Today, Hal is back in charge and Mogo takes the place of OA as the corps tries to get the rest of the light spectrum to conserve the finite well of power.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS: John Stewart is one of the most tragic heroes in the DC Universe. Guy Gardner one of the most hilarious. Put them together and you noy only get a great buddy book, but one with consequence. Stewart continues to make tough choice after tough choice as guy finds a new home within the emotional spectrum. The road to getting to these destinations is well worth the read.

GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS: I won’t lie, it took this book a long time to get to the point – basically making Kyle Rayner the White Lantern and introducing to more humane set of Guardians who were locked away by the originals. Not necessary reading, but if you dig Kyle this was the only place to get him. What’s also been interesting is the friendship that formed between Kyle and Carol Ferris. A Carol with options beyond Hal causes some serious strife for our favorite hot headed pilot.

RED LANTERNS: I hated this book when it was released. The one note rage of the Red Lanterns was fine and dandy in a supporting world, but made for very two -dimensional focal points in their own title. Fortunately Guy Gardner came in to take over and kept some of his pre blood ingesting wits about him. The latest crossover with SUPERGIRL has been sensational.

LARFLEEZE: More like Larplease. Same issue I had with the red lanterns at the outset, the embodiment of one emotion is a very flat experience.

teen-titans-11 YOUNG JUSTICE UNIVERSE

This will be the biggest gaping hole in my review. For one, most of the books have been cancelled. Secondly, none of the kids have captured my imagination.

TEEN TITANS: No T tower, no Nightwing and no Marv Wolfman. No thanks.

BLUE BEETLE: I was done with BB the day Maxwell Lord put a bullet in his head. I like my Beetle as a fun nerdy science guy, not a mystical alien. Apparently the market agreed with me.

HAWK & DOVE: Bad art and a worse story. A trade you can skip. To be fair I never really cared about these characters. The only time Hawk was interesting was back when he took over the future during ARMAGEDDON 2001.

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES & LEGION LOST: I was never a big LoS guy, more a L.E.G.I.O.N. chap. Still, I went into these series with open eyes and mind. All we got was confusion and cross pollination between books performed by retarded bees. Not good, and a huge blow to the year 3000. Fortunately JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 has been able to save the future.

STATIC SHOCK: A title that never stood a chance. The editorial meddling is well documented and unfortunately there are still too many myopic white kids buying books for a black superhero to truly take hold.

THE RAVAGERS: This short lived title didn’t make a lick of sense, not a lick.

all star western cover THE EDGE UNIVERSE

Probably the most original and under appreciated corner of the New 52. Here is where Sci-Fi, westerns and more eclectic titles come to live and sadly die. The biggest problem with the The Edge, that like The Dark, many of these titles are set-ups for events rather than their own beasts.

ALL STAR WESTERN: The best Jonah Hex has ever been. His first few adventures in old time Gotham are great ole’ time tales and fish out of water stories. This series became even better by placing Dr. Arkham as Jonah’s dandy sidekick.

STORMWATCH: A tragedy and travesty from how good this book once was. I reiterate the point I made at the outset; you can’t place a pastiche of the JUSTICE LEAGUE in-continuity with the JUSTICE LEAGUE. I was right, as exhibited by the reboot around issue 20 when Jim Starlin came on. Now, I have no idea what the hell this book is trying to accomplish.

suicide squad 20 coverSUICIDE SQUAD: It kills me to see what happened to this book. A black ops group of criminals that was tons of fun until it had to go serve its crossover masters. This was also where Amanda Waller was at her best.

THE MOVEMENT & THE GREEN TEAM: Meant to be an analogy for our current economic class imbalances, one was mildly interesting and one was simply atrocious. Ever wonder what the world would be like if rich kids had even more in this world they didn’t have to work for? Neither did anyone else, which made GREEN TEAM wither on the vine. THE MOVEMENT was decent about poor kids with powers in New Orleans, but even Gail Simone couldn’t save it from the chopping block next month.

O.M.A.C, GRIFTER, VOODOO, TEAM 7, THRESHOLD, BLACKHAWKS, MEN OF WAR: Some of these were decent, but again they lived to simply serve cross overs, the need to integrate Wild Storm universe events, or were kept so separate from the rest of the new 52 there was really no reason to care. My favorite of the bunch was MEN OF WAR, but it also made one realize how unnecessary mere mortals are when capes are around. Not a great message about the armed services in a time when our country jumps from one war to the next.

justice league dark 23 cover THE DARK UNIVERSE

An original world of magic, might and cynicism. I love this corner of the DCU even if I am beyond pissed about its perpetual implosion of titles.

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: A fine book when once again it is allowed to breathe. DC needs this book as desperately as Marvel needs to bring back Dr. Strange. Magic has a place in the superhero world. This team is a fine departure from straight fist-to-cuffs.

SWAMP THING: I never liked the character, yet I am still pissed I shunned the title. I heard it’s good. Any thoughts?

TRINITY OF SIN: PHANTOM STRANGER & PANDORA: Basically vehicles for the Forever Evil crossover. Vehicles more unnecessary than the Pacer.

CONSTANTINE 1 COVERCONSTANTINE: A fine attempt at making the main DCU a little darker. WARNING – this ain’t Vertigo. If that’s what you are looking for you will find this Constantine less than edgy. When placed against other books though he is absolutely bawdy. Decide what you want from your JC.


ANIMAL MAN:
I am livid about the end of this book. I could care less about Buddy Baker’s ability to mimic animals, but I loved the fact we had a superhero with a real family and real family problems. This adoration grew even more with the complexity of Buddy trying t manage a budding acting career. This is the best book to ever get cancelled.

DEMON KNIGHTS: Another original title about the team that would one day become STORMWATCH assuming they could escape the middle ages. Very adult and very good. Also, very cancelled.

FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E: DC’s successful swing at a BPRD league of weird powered super heroes. Fish chick, wolf man and an immortal leader in the body of a small girl this book had weird counterbalanced by Frank’s huge bleeding heart. The issue where he had to kill his child was probably one of the best moments of the New 52 that only I and handful of others ever saw.

I, VAMPIRE: Mary was made a vampire by John. John felt pretty bad about this and spent eternity repenting. He also had to spend it fighting Mary since she kind of dug the ultra violence. One of the most messed up and bloody love stories in comics that just never took hold with fans.

END ANALYSIS

I really feel the New 52 is just coming into its own finally after three years. The rough spots have been smoothed and the books that will work are here to stay while the experiments become fewer and fewer. DC is not Image, they need to realize they are managing icons inside an equally iconic universe. DC main is not just stories – frankly that’s what Vertigo is for.

I still hold to the fact only two books should have been released at reset time: DETECTIVE and ACTION. From there, let new ancillary characters build who are reflective of now instead of then. I know this doesn’t work from a cash and licensing standpoint, but universes like EARTH 1 have ben critically and revenue proven to be the right choice.

Also, I’m dumbfounded by the dogmatic adherence to 52 titles. It was a cute nod to FINAL CRISIS and the multiverse, which hasn’t truly been explored since. It’s an albatross keeping great books either obscured from sight or weighed down carrying the lesser titles, and bad books getting the green light simply to fill an artificial quota.

I wouldn’t write 4,000 plus words about a topic unless I vehemently believe it is worth the time and can be improved. Also, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t care. Take stock and heed of this DC and realize you have great stories in you as long as you can kick the fucking suits and money-men out of the bullpen.

PROTECTORS INC. 1 REVIEW – NEW YORK COMIC CON SNEAK PEEK

PROTECTORS INC 1PROTECTORS INC 1 (In Stores November)
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Gordon Purcell
Publisher: Image
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool news)

PROTECTORS INC at the high level is Joe’s Comics answer to the JUSTICE LEAGUE. Naturally though, it has the JMS flourish of cynicism and truth powering the masks. There’s nothing idealistic here. Just like SIDEKICK and TEN GRAND, PROTECTORS INC. takes the traditional superhero tropes and indicts the bullshit black and white moralities that tend to permeate the capes and spandex site.

I received my copy of PROTECTORS INC during New York Comic Con last weekend. Actually everyone who decided to attend JMS panel on writing and well…anything that came into Joe’s head, received a copy as well. Joe didn’t do a hell of a lot plugging of the book, in fact he did a very cursory overview of the entire Joe’s Comics line. That’s a compliment, not a slight. Between advice and frivolity he made the panel about us and our questions. He left the panel by giving all of us a copy to let us go off and draw our own conclusions.

Now, I’ve interviewed Joe about six times over the years, the man is a bastion of candor and honesty. As a fellow Jersey boy, I can’t handle pretense either. If you’re going to say something, just fucking say it. So here it goes. I’m confused. There are many streams feeding into the tributary of the story about people disappearing amidst strange lightning storms and the first superhero The Patriot.

JMS PANEL NYCCIn the world of PROTECTORS INC., capes arrived on the front lines of WWII in 1944. After kicking some kraut ass The Patriot comes home and the next seventy years see the rise of 50 other powered individuals like the beautiful Angel, the machismo endowed Huntsman and a host of others. They don’t get a lot of play in the book, merely serving as exposition fodder for our narrator detective lamenting his very laisez-faire feelings towards the whole lot. In this world there are no caped bad guys, everyone with a power is good (or at least we’re supposed to believe they are) and the heroes serve as more celebrity in the skies than thwarting any real danger. Joe is definitely sending a message here about the corporatization of American ideals (like Times Square), but it might be too early for that. I think we needed a few less characters and a little more why we should care about these fifty fuckbags filling the skies.

I’m not an overly obtuse person, so I think part of my confusion stems from Purcell’s artwork. There’s a CIA agent in the beginning of the book, looks like a middle-aged blonde white guy. His human cargo disappears by lightening.  That’s the last we see of the guy. Now he may very well be The Patriot who simply disappeared ten years ago, but I’m not sure. Next is our detective who looks a lot like The Patriot both in and out of garb and the CIA dude (again assuming they aren’t the same person).

Despite my grimacing on the overarching plot, the book is rife with Joe’s natural dialog and flair for humor. This means I’m definitely in for the first arc. I have a feeling that will give enough time to crystalize why I should care about these incorporated protectors.

SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN 1 REVIEW – A Date with DOOMSDAY

SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN 1 COVERSUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN 1
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Tony Daniel
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

I learned one truism when I got married 13 years ago that I find holds water in about 90% of relationships, “Women marry men hoping they’ll change, men marry women hoping they won’t.”

I think Charles Soule agrees with me, because as perfect as Superman is, Wonder Woman is damned and determined to make him better. He’s powerful, but untrained. Good of heart, but unwise towards the world. He’s the greatest man to walk the earth, but needs the veil of mediocrity found in Clark Kent to honor his earth upbringing. These are the things Wonder Woman plans to fix. Honestly, I smelled wafts of an impending break-up between these two powerhouses more than I saw the buds of a relationship ready to flower. Because while men are capable of change, the process is slow and no matter how much we love, certain tenets of the self can not and should not be changed. Wanting to live a life of humility and simplicity is a much different personality trait than not hitting the laundry basket or leaving the toilet seat up. Hell, Clark isn’t even willing to show Wonder Woman his frosty bachelor pad much less clear a dresser drawer or make a giant pink key for her own entry.

This book is the deep emotional and character deep dive I’ve been begging for from books like JUSTICE LEAGUE. I get it, JUSTICE LEAGUE is an all-ages bombastic battering ram of conflict, to take a quiet respite like SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN 1 portrays in its first issue would probably upset a lot of Fanbabies. Fangeezers though, who have been tempered by years of co-habitation with the gentler sex actually appreciate books where we see how this life of frenzy actually affects them as human beings.

Don’t think for a second this issue is without action. Soule’s pacing coupled with Daniel’s able art bops us back and forth between these discussions of self and the harrowing heroics of rescuing an entire naval battalion of naval forces from impending doom. While the issue starts with Wonder Woman getting in some gal talk during a sparring session with one of her fellow Gods and Clark trying to manage Kat Grant’s ambition for their Huffington Post knock off, Soule perpetually thrusts the book forward from earlier to now to show some great plane crashes and the complete destruction of a naval carrier.

The threat at first seems to merely be a nasty whirlpool created by some thermal dynamics at the bottom of the ocean. What causes that heat though, is a threat as old as Nirvana.

Doomsday is back folks and Daniel welcomes him with some massive scale carnage that will turn the stomach of even the most stalwart horror fans. I’m of two minds here, and part of my apprehension stems from New 52 continuity versus what we’ve known for years and the issue DOOMSDAY 1 during Villain’s Month.

I’ve never been clear on whether  Superman has ever been fell by Doomsday’s massive meat hooks in New 52 context. The entire “origin” of Doomsday took place on Krypton as a young Kara is told of her Aunt’s battle against the creature with the help of Zod. However, the book of El also relays a prophecy of a day when Doomsday will return and kill  the house’s greatest champion. During these scenes Superman has a mullet, which we all remember from the 90’s,  and he looks much older than his New 52 visage. Who the hell had a mullet between 2006 and 2011 and didn’t live in an area still waiting for cable TV? I know, I know, comic time is it’s own beast. but at what point do we cry uncle from the confusion. Did the book of El tell of a time yet to come? Will mullets and perms be all the rage in 2014? It’s the problem that comes with trying to reboot, while still keeping pieces of your old boots on your feet. 

Even though it has never been implicitly stated, I believe Superman does know Doomsday simply by a recognition of fear in this issue. I’ll also assume his death did take place between in the five year before dark time.  It doesn’t jive with JUSTICE LEAGUE behavior in later arcs of the New 52 nor what actually happened during his death in 93 (that Justice League was not the new one by a long shot. I mean Booster Gold and Blue Beetle anyone?). All of this would sit better if the artist and DOOMSDAY 1 simply skipped the oh so 90s character renderings, but whoever said comics are for the hyper-literal (even though we all go there).

Misgivings and continuity nits aside, I’m happy with SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN from a sheer content standpoint. I’m not happy about having to buy another book each month or the face FOREVER EVIL is completely ignored, but again that’s comics. I guess sometimes the needs of the one title, do outweigh the needs of the many.

Dear Rob Advice – Special BatBen, BatFlek, BenBat Edition

1146506_10151595136021149_2082735482_nHere are just some of the people I’ve helped already! Submit your questions in the comments or via email – because this is the face of caring!

 

Dear Rob,
Ben Affleck? Are you effin’ kidding me???

Great Question Brian,
I’m going to assume your copious question marks are not a query on whether there is such a creature as a Ben Affleck and more around the recent casting of Batben.

Well, I’ve covered this a lot, but clearly people need more. Listen to this exclusive interview I was able to capture.

 

=====================================================

Dear Rob,
WHY BEN AFFLECK!?

Great Question Rollin,
First let’s stage set for all of my followers who actually read real books sans pictures. Mr. Phantoms was selected to play Bruce Wayne in the upcoming SUPERMAN/BATMAN movie that will eventually tee up JUSTICE LEAGUE.

justice-league-bat-ben

Part of the reason for choosing Affleck is this goes right in line with the New 52 mantra that Batman is the only character who isn’t a petulant child. So the actor needs a little salt & pepper if you are going to bludgeon the Superman/Jesus allegory by making him 33.

The other reason for why Affleck boils simply down to money.

1) He’s known far and wide to entice non-comic people to see the film.
2) He’s attached to Kevin Smith’s taint at this point, so you just got a shit ton of free marketing to greatly boost ROI.
3) It’ll be a huge blow to the Marvel cash cow if this works. This will poke a chink in their seemingly impenetrable movie armor. Look what we could do with Ben and you couldn’t – screw you DAREDEVIL

So there you have it Rollin – salt and pepper money.

=====================================================

Dear Rob, 
What about Brad Pitt for batman? Will they ever pick a black superhero for the big screen. In particular a black batman. It’s a two role part…

Great Question Rob,
First let’s address Brad Pitt. There is no way under all the stars in the heavens that Brad Pitt could be a successful BATMAN. For starters he’s too old, WB is building a franchise here and some debate whether Affleck’s knees will hold up for JUSTICE LEAGUE in 2017 and then hopefully sequels. Also Brad Pitt looks too much like a woman in drag, his effeminate features would make the cowl look like a droopy black vagina.

pitt-jolie-dynamic-duoAs for a Black Batman, I say why not. I don’t get assed up over these things. There were a horrible set of books in the early 2000’s called Stan lee’s JUST IMAGINE, where Stan reinvented the DC superheroes. Again, the books were wretched and that’s giving leeway to the fact Stan was 112 at the time. BATMAN was black in these books and it worked fine.

I don’t think it’s likely though since it would really break DC continuity. There’s actually another hero in the DC universe who is a basically a black batman called Mr. Terrific – wicked smart and ungodly rich he only misses the dead parents and lack of pigmentation. There’s also a Black Batman called Batwing who is part of Batman Inc and he protects Uganda. The book sells about 14 copies a month, 99% of which are in Uganda.

We need more color in our heroes and thankfully comic companies have been waking up to this fact. For years the only black superheroes had electrical powers or died by their second issue. Today they have a wealth of powers like being black as in the case of Black Panther or a robot as in Cyborg and uhmmmm Luke Cage who likes white women.

=====================================================

Dear Rob,

With all the recent developments as of late I.e. Bat-fleck, JL Canada, being unable to deliver their 3D covers to all who demand them, and a potentially homosexual lobo. When will DC finally admit that they’ve screwed up?

Great Question Carlos,
The answer is never will they admit anything. Let me tell you something about powerful men, they are made of teflon. Even when they screw up, there’s a team of spinmeisters in their back pocket ready to place the blame on market conditions, deficient employees, faulty products…basically anything except the rich white guy. This is in comics, business essentially any facet of life – powerful people never take blame.

Look at the train wreck that is now Yahoo. Melissa Meyers has essentially done nothing but piss off employees and sink billions of dollars into acquisitions that have borne no fruit. No blame to her though. She simply walked into a company that was already a forgotten relic – at least this is what I predict history will be saying in the next six months.

DC Comics Didio Johns Lee teflonI don’t know what DC is doing and frankly I’ve gotten to close to them to ask candidly comfortably. I would need the assurance their would be no hurt feelings at the end, because they really are nice chaps at the helm if sometimes misguided.

Bat-flek is part of a larger deal, mark my words. He’s not stupid, this has either got to a tits concept or he gets to make 12 directing projects as a reward. As for why WB wants him, look at all the free publicity this movie received in just one day. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if it was unknown Harry Lipschitz.

3D covers. I don’t buy for a second there’s an actual shortage. Again, a great way to build hype – balloon the speculator market – and get a perceived value of extrodinary proportions until people try to offload them in two years.

Homosexual Lobo or Hobo I guess as he’s now called is what I like to refer to as Retconning androgyny. Did it with Rictor over X-FACTOR and you saw the stir that caused. Lobo has never really been a cocksman we all just assumed because of his biker persona. This is a good way again to get some press, since his appearances have been sucking wind since the New 52.

=====================================================

Dear Rob,
Why does Warner Brothers suck so hard at making movies of the most popular DC characters? Will they ever remove their heads from their asses?

Great Question Alex,
It all boils down to WB being utterly reactionary to the loss of revenue from Harry Potter finishing and Disney essentially handing them their ass over the last few years.

Without a plan your path forward will always be tenuous. Let’s look at what we know about the movie so far:

1) Ben Affleck is BATMAN. Personally I’m ready to give him a shot, if he takes soem pointers from Kevin Smith, we might see a portrayal we’re all happy with. What concerns me more:

2) Is the lack of detail around plot aand script. The teaser at SDCC when tehy read a passage from DARK KNIGHT RETURNS gives me great pause for concern.

WB-Head-Up-AssIt’s not a world building book, it’s a swan song when the dream of heroism has died and shows that all things….even heroes must end. Not a great way to jump into JUSTICE LEAGUE. Plus I was less than enamored with SUPERMAN. Snyder is still too much flash (no pun intended).

The problem is simple, The suits at WB are not letting the comic folks have enough say anymore. Hollywood execs have the imagination of Matt Roszak’s famed Balsa Wood blowup dolls.

=====================================================

STORMWATCH 18 REVIEW – EYE OF THE SH!$STORM

stormwatch 18 coverSTORMWATCH 18
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Will Conrad
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche of Ain’t It Cool News)

GOD DAMN IT, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE SAVE STORMWATCH?????

I hold an unabashed love and adoration for the STORMWATCH and AUTHORITY of yore – even the “bad” times. They were more than a JUSTICE LEAGUE pastiche; they made sense with their totalitarian control of the world and eventually the omniverse. In an age where our systems and infrastructure continue to fail and disappoint us, the thought of the world’s most powerful beings helping us fix the problems – just makes sense.

It was with this history in mind, I gleefully started buying STORMWATCH’S first integration into DC continuity at the launch of the New 52. Well first I did get sucked in by the PR. STORMWATCH promised to be the shadow organization that would answer the question, “Who watches the WATCHMEN” or JUSTICE LEAGUE in this case. Old favorites like Jenny Quantumn, the dynamically gay duo, icity talking Jack Hawksmoor and Martian Fucking Manhunter would serve to clandestinely protect…everything.

And then the book came out. Instead of an exercise of who watches the JUSTICE LEAGUE, we got a book filled with more immature prats than the JUSTICE LEAGUE themselves – which is really really hard to pull off since the JUSTICE LEAGUE was suffering from some serious dame bramage in the first two arcs. We got some swordsman mother fucker, who wields…goddamn swords. This is like recruiting a special Olympiad for the real Olympic team. Jenny Quantum is virtually non-existent. We’ve learned more about the Engineer’s crotch than her prowess with machinery, and we have been subjugated to the Rachel/Ross “will they, won’t they” antics of Apollo & Midnighter. Their final coming together this issue was about as surprising as Brooke Shields getting knocked-up in Blue Lagoon since THEY’RE THE ONLY TWO GAY HEROES IN THE WORLD!

Jack Hawksmoor had a promising start; I liked the approach of each city having a tangible form and his interactions with these old souls. Sadly we haven’t seen that for about 12 issues. I don’t even know where he’s at now to be honest. Martian Manhunter completely said, “Fuck this noise” and we never saw him again until the recent JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. Finally, the Carrier (whom I consider to be a character), is now less mobile than Mama Boo Boo.

Two other areas where the book showed promise was tracing back the team’s origin to the DEMON KNIGHTS and this whole concept of a Shadowlords being STORMWATCH’S ultimate keepers. Two very cool concepts, which seemed to vanish moments after they were mentioned.

Want to know the plot right now? I read it and I still can’t answer the question. All I can say with certainty is it’s almost over.

So why do I keep riding this hot mess month after month? Because like an abused housewife I believe it can get better. Also, if we walk away, books will only get cancelled — not fixed.

Since any moron with fingers can complain about a title, I like to be a special brand of moron that proactively tries to fix the situation, even if it falls on deaf ears.

FIX 1: Remember from whence you came – The great thing about these old AUTHORITY characters is that they weren’t tied to one boring old universe. They rode “the bleed” with reckless abandon, and as a a result fought God and Cthulhu incarnate. Remember that little thing called the multiverse that was reborn at the end of FINAL CRISIS? No, it’s OK I don’t blame you. After all, we’ve only seen three of the worlds since that event took place. Wouldn’t it be cool if STORMWATCH not only watched the prime JUSTICE LEAGUE, but every damn JUSTICE LEAGUE ever imaginable?

FIX 2: Arrogance is OK when warranted – Another thing that made the old AUTHORITY great was their uncompromising assuredness in…well…everything they did. MIDNIGHTER knows every move, Jenny can manipulate the very fabric of the universe, Jack controls every city, Engineer every machine, and Apollo is a freaking God. START ACTING THE PART GUYS! We have enough fallible heroes; let’s see some folks unwavering in their decisions and beliefs for a change.

FIX 3: When in Rome, stop watching it burn: Let’s assume my first fix becomes a reality (it won’t but let’s assume). I would never say STORMWATCH should stay away from Earth Prime, but when here, it’s time to be large and in charge. Use your clandestine super base in the sky to smack around the whelps of the New 52. Sit high atop your self-righteousness and give a good God damn when the heroes of Earth Prime act like fucktards. You know like they’ve been doing for the past 18 months.

Petty squabbles, convoluted origins and a complete lack of story cohesion are not STORMWATCH. My forgiveness will only last one more arc guys; Mr. Starlin needs to make it a good one. For the record I don’t fault Milligan, this blame goes right on the shoulders of editorial for choosing to mire this tale in a lackluster introduction-laden affair.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 1 REVIEW- Finally a League with PURPOSE!

Justice league of america 1 coverJUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: David Finch
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool)

Purpose: I’ve asked one thing from the JUSTICE LEAGUE since waaaaayyyyy back in the post FINAL CRISIS days, have a purpose for bringing together a LEAGUE. Back then the blunders were egregious, with the Holy Trinity picking heroes like baseball cards (and this is not hyperbole) to bring together a LEAGUE, because you know…there’s always been a JUSTICE LEAGUE.

Then came the New 52 and with it the promise of salvation. Not only were we getting a JUSTICE LEAGUE, but also a return of the Bwahahaha JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, a new JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK to handle magic threats, and finally oversight for all heroes in the form of STORMWATCH.

I’ve made my thoughts well known on these titles, but here’s a synopsis. Johns should not create with Lee. Before anyone throws goddamn sales numbers at me I will remind you that the 4th Batman movie was a box office success. People are sheep and marketing easily leads the masses, I know firsthand, I’m in marketing and my soul is one step above lawyers on Satan’s most wanted. When we peeked past the marketing though, the first two arcs of JUSTICE LEAGUE were wafer thin. I have my theories on why, and it basically equates to the fact that Johns is indie film and Lee is big budget and never the tween shall meet. Johns is not your splash page writer and Lee is not a cramped panel artist. Disagree if you like, but I haven’t heard a better theory yet. JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL was less bwahahaha and more just plain awwww, hence why it’s no longer with us. STORMWATCH, don’t even get me started. It has been a mess since day one choking on its own hubris. These folks were supposed to be the ones who watch the WATCHMEN, but since they can’t get shit straight in their own house all we’ve gotten are a bunch of slap fights between Apollo & Midnighter and some kind of shadow council…or shadow puppetry…I’m not sure. I like JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, but part of that adoration lies in the detractors’ claims it doesn’t feel like it’s part of the universe. Fair enough, but at least it’s original.

JUSTICE LEAGUE redeemed itself with Throne of Atlantis, and I believe whole heartedly that JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA will rectify the missteps of the team books that have come before.

Not only does JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA have a purpose, but that purpose is steeped in actual continuity. Its purpose is also right in line with the marketing hype and a stark reflection of the current 99%ers feelings towards the 1% who pull our collective marionette strings. You want to know, “Who watches the WATCHMEN” or in this case the JUSTICE LEAGUE? Then you need look no further than JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA.

JLA _1_5While this is a straight-up introductory tale, Johns does a great job of keeping the book moving without it being a straight up Mickey Mouse roll call. He also builds off the history of the New 52, without making it required reading.  Basically, there’s a pervasive fear in the government and leading the rabblerousing is our own favorite Queen of conspiracy theories, Amanda Waller. Uncle Sam fears the JUSTICE LEAGUES allegiance to the planet at large, and the US of A wants a way to ensure countermeasures should the JUSTICE LEAGUE side with someone other than the Stars & Stripes.

Now since Waller has her hands full with other skullduggery in the DCU, she turns to the Old League liaison Steve Trevor to corral and manage this new group. This leads us to a part of the book that confused me, but still left me enthralled. We’ve always known Waller will manipulate people to get her way, but she takes it to new heights in this book and I can’t tell if her concerns were genuine or simply pushing Steve’s buttons.

The kiss between Superman and Wonder Woman that made a thousand Lois Lane fans spontaneously combust apparently wasn’t only viewed by readers. American satellites caught this precious moment as well and got the think tanks pontificating on the damage these two could cause. We’re not just talking the shockwaves from bumping uglies, but also what could happen if these two could and would actually procreate. Again, Waller is a manipulative little gal, so did she mention this to get Steve to sign-on or was it a genuine concern? Maybe a little of both, but it does push Steve over the edge to go recruit his addition to the team CATWOMAN.

JLA  PAGES 6-7Just in case the purpose was unclear, after we see vignettes of each character as Waller and Steve discuss their place on the team, the issue ends with a direct match on who in the JLA will take down who on the JUSTICE LEAGUE. Some are clear jumps – Baz against Hal, Martian Manhunter against Superman and Catwoman against Batman. The match-up of Vibe against Flash makes sense, but it makes even more sense if you read VIBE 1 this week. But there are a couple I match-ups I question like Hawkman against Aquaman and Katana against Wonder Woman. In one case they could escape each other by going to their natural habitats and in the other case I think simple sword wielding does not make equal class balancing in a fight.

Finch and Johns go together perfectly and even in the heavy talky scenes between Waller and Trevor, the panels were visually engaging.

So, what about GREEN ARROW who is so prominently displayed on the cover, well that dear reader is a mystery that comes with the price of admission. His fate lies squarely in plot that wild rive this first arc forward.

I’d like to walk away with a suggestion for DC. Your team books are finally starting to come together, but your work is far from done. With the creation of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, I know have even less of a reason to read STORMWATCH, which is shame because they are characters I once loved Pre-52. At some point you need to either shit-can STORMWATCH as a the failed experiment it was or actually commit to its place in the DC Universe. Most fans will deride what I’m about to say, but I think the only salvation lies in a cross-over amongst the LEAGUE books and STORMWATCH. “We’re the JUSTICE LEAGUE we’re in charge! Fuck you, were the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and we’re in charge bitches!! Fuck all y’all, we’re STORMWATCH and we’ve been in charge since Jesus was in diapers!!!” I know crossovers are a verboten phrase, but when well-planned and crafted they can once again be as epic as they were initially intended to be.

AQUAMAN 14 – JOHNS IS NO FISH OUT OF WATER HERE!

AQUMAN 14 COverAQUAMAN 14

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Pete Woods
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t it Cool News)

Words are about to come out of my mouth I never imagined saying, “Black Manta is a bad mother…shut yo mouth.”

I never expected to like AQUAMAN, I wasn’t a fan of the coveted grunge years, or pretty much every other time someone decried, “YOU MUST LOVE AQUAMAN.” No fault to the writers, there are some very critically heralded runs, it just never stuck for me personally.

Even though those stories had what the fancy folks call gravitas, AQUAMAN still didn’t matter to the universe and denizens of Atlantis were about as fearsome as the sea monkey’s I once ordered from a RICHIE RICH comic back in 1979.

I started to turn the other cheek during FLASHPOINT. While not a universe shaking event, it was a good yarn, and AQUAMAN and Atlantis did their part in being a modern day Axis of Evil.  But like al the great villains there was another level to this AQUAMAN, a man with national pride, a man who was able to use water as a weapon of mass destruction, and most importantly a man who coveted family.

It was with these tenets in mind that sent me head first into NEW 52 AQUAMAN. Yes, the first few issues were an exercise in calling out the Great White Shark in the room; that of AQUAMAN’S supreme supposed lameness when matched against fellow team members like SUPERMAN and WONDER WOMAN. However each guffaw was interlaced with a deepening of AQUAMAN’s sordid past.

Maybe the things like AQUAMAN’S shunning of Atlantis for the surface world, his marriage to Mera and his dalliances with a super assassin hit squad were explored in the past, but I doubt it was done in such a concise manner. This AQUAMAN is on a path to redemption running from the lives he’s taken and his home under the sea.

Or so I thought.

Issue 14 reveals yet another hidden layer to Arthur Curry as we kick-off The Throne of Atlantis storyline that will traverse AQUAMAN and JUSTIC LEAGUE. He hasn’t forgotten about his Motherland (literally), in fact he and his Brother discuss the artifacts of Atlantis and how they are going to bring them all home again. We also learn that the little black bad ass tadpoles AQUAMAN fought in the beginning of the series were far from defeated.

Black Manta though has been my biggest surprise and was truly my favorite part of this book. It’s best when villains have a motive and I can’t think of a better agent for revenge than AQUAMAN’S slaying of Papa Manta. The opening pages of AQUAMAN 14 were truly an exercise in bad-assery as BM tells Amanda Waller exactly where she can stick her contract to join SUICIDE SQUAD. It’s little nods to other books like this that make collecting an entire comic universe worth the 2.99 * X. Of course all of this occurred only after BM laid waste to a few guards.

This issue is a mystery builder. Why was face of AQUAMAN’S Brother shrouded? Old fans might know, but it’s a mystery to newbies like myself. How will this clandestine meeting between AQUAMAN and his Brother connect between the JUSTICE LEAGUE and the world at large? Trouble is afoot and like any good first issue Johns only shows us an infinitesimal part of the grand plan.

Woods does a great job with both the life aquatic and shots on good old old terra firma. The book moves at all times even what could have been a very long talky scene between Arthur and his Brother.

AQUAMAN has been an enchantment under the sea dance since issue 1. Issue 14 gives me hope that AQUAMAN will not only stay strong in year 2, but could also give the much needed structure and big consequences JUSTICE LEAGUE has so desperately been yearning for (or was that just me?).