OK, SNOPES RELEASED THIS AS A HOAX, BUT I LEAVE IT AS A BADGE(R) OF SHAME THAT WE ALL SHOULD FACT CHECK AS WE BECOME THE COLLECTIVE MEDIA!!!
This week, Zentangler and more importantly mom for common sense, Cari Sultanik, #ASKSROB about this war on women of wonder and lunch:
Rob, please help me understand why this Wonder Woman lunchbox has been banned from school because it promotes violence?
Is the definition of violent characters truly “those who solve problems using violence.” Who else would you suggest this school ban on this child’s lunchbox because they are “violent characters” by their definition?
Great Question Cari,
Let’s dissect the facts as reported by my nemesis at Comic Book Resources (I can’t deny it’s a better comic site than the one I write for, so I hate them).
Revealed on Imgur, a friend’s daughter received a letter from school stating she could no longer bring her Wonder Woman lunchbox to school as it violates the school dress code.
ROB RESPONSE: I AGREE! Lunch boxes will barely cover your child, and they chafe. No child should EVER wear a lunchbox to school. Isn’t there a charity stopping this act?
The real rub comes down to what the school defines as “violent characters,” which are “those who solve problems using violence. Super heroes certainly fall into that category.”
ROB RESPONSE: Oh, so this has nothing to do with modesty and shame and everything to do with schools now acting like Congress with piss poor tangential riders on bills or laws.
Wonder Woman does use violence to thwart violence. If you are abut to be punched you don’t pull posies out of your pocket (unless you are Zantanna and they have sleep spores in the posies). WE ALL USE VIOLENCE.
Does this lunchbox promote violence though? No, she’s smiling. This was a time Wonder Woman used smile, guile and pinup good looks to save the day. She also has used intelligence, cunning and quite recently the inbred female trait of hypocrisy to get Clark Kent to do as she says not as she does (it was an argument on whether you put all the toilet paper up or down on building they reconstructed after Parasite attacked).
Sounds to me like the school board and decision makers:
A) Get off on the power trip most educators like to have over weak minded children because real adults are too mean to work with HARUMPH!!!
B) Have a broad goose to gander policy on banning creativity and imagaanitive hope
C) Never read a fucking comic book in their life and get all of their info from the 700 club.
Violence simply is. We don’t need to promote it, we just got it as a species. I’ll never condone a picture of someone getting shot on a lunchbox, but a cartoon punch? Yea, I’m ok there. Is it violence? Sure. Is it violent? No. And you are nothing but a politically correct asshole too mired in black and white or yes and no thinking to live in a world I acknowledge. Certainly in charge of civic services.
Myopic. Stupid. Wrought with policies that trip over one another. Public Education (also most Catholic Schools at this point).
There’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
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 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: 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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
BATMAN/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 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.
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.
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: 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.
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: 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.
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.
JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 #1
Writer: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Howard Porter
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
This is definitely one for the generation that could only watch cartoons on Saturday mornings and went to our first school dances in Z. Cavariccis. The original peddlers of Bwahahahaha are back with a JUSTICE LEAGUE that wafts of a time long ago even though the story events take place in a time yet to come.
The post CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS DeMaGiffen JUSTICE LEAGUE still stands as one of the boldest and most revered periods for DC’s top crime fighters. The DC universe had just gone through a very dark time and needed a serious dose of irreverence to refill the depleted well of optimism left in the Anti-Monitor’s wake. Booster Gold, Blue Beetle and eventually a whole group of Europeans showed us that heroes always won and they had a damn good time doing it. The danger DC ran with this direction was the book traversing into unadulterated silliness, but the boys were able to keep the action and danger cranked to 11, so instead of being simply immature our heroes were cavalier and thus inspiring in the face of adversity. The success of this iteration was also imbedded in the fact that the JUSTICE LEAGUE were real flesh and blood characters as opposed to caricatures of heroics. They were also, after some growth, a family, complete with the same emotional turmoil as your own. The JUSTICE LEAGUE simply had to go fight crime after petty squabbles over bathroom time or after a date.
DC tried to recapture some of this magic when the New 52 was launched, but sadly the new JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL simply didn’t resonate. For the longest time I blamed the creators, thinking they had somehow “lost it” between the Reagan and Obama administrations. JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 confirms that nothing was lost by the creators, merely DC decided to launch with too many JL teams before defining their respective purposes in the universe. One needs to introduce a team before they introduce a clandestine team to manage that other unknown team. The formula has been working now in JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA because the universe had time to establish itself and the book also skips the snark.
JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 is not only a salvation for Bwahahaha, but also the 31st century. LEGION was another book that tried to splinter too soon and thus left even the most imbedded DC fans with a collective WTF response to its happenings.
Clones, damn dirty clones. It’s a Sci-Fi truism from Star Wars to now DC. This is not some future generation picking up the mantle of the famed five; Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman. JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000 are facsimiles of Hal Jordan, Diana Prince, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Bruce Wayne and of course Clark Kent. What I found immediately intriguing was the fact they all know they’re clones and kind of despise themselves for it. DeMaGiffen also settle the old debate of nature versus nurture – Clark is lecherous, Diana is rage incarnate, Barry and Hal are whiners, only Bruce still holds to his present day douchiness (though he does it with much less gravel and remorse). Created on planet CADMUS, these five are created to help the universe rebuild from a great cataclysm and fight an ethereal five whoa re mentioned, but never seen. Of course they need to stop tugging at each other’s capes first.
Created on the planet CADMUS, JUSTICE LEAGUE’S creators are as much a part of the story as the Fab Five themselves. Ariel Masters is a scientist on the run from CADMUS and her creations. We don’t know why just yet, but this was probably the most intriguing part of the story. Ariel is the only one who has her shit together and acts like an adult. The clones get a pass, whether you give a pass to the petulant lab assistants that ran Ariel out of the program will depend on how well nostalgia melts the cold cockles of your heart. Terry and Terri are super teen scientists who clearly picked up Ariel’s worked and botched the living shit out of it as we can see from the less than perfect imprinting of the JUSTICE LEAGUE members’ personalities. In fact, they screwed up so badly they have been sarcastically been dubbed the Wonder Twins by the elder scientists (yes, I laughed at this). To correct their mistake it’s now T&T’s job to keep this team in line by acting as their handlers, while they also try to figure out how half of the team’s memories were scrambled during creation.
Humor and a deep imbedding of current lore make it easy to keep turning the pages. I’ll admit the first half of the book left me wondering at times what I was reading since nary a cape appears during the introduction of the scientists, but DeMaGiffen brings it all together quite wonderfully half way through. For anyone adverse to talky books, take a few deep breaths and no that the action is right around the corner. There are also clues for the clever eye to discern about the current fate of the DC universe in these pages. Hal Jordan doesn’t have a ring, just a shitty cloak that kind of emulates the Lantern’s power. Apparently, the Green Lantern Corps is one the most reviled teams in history. Clark Kent is seen as a vile fiction that should never be uttered (especially not around this new of so Broski Superman). There are other little nuggets, but I don’t want to be the jerk that fills out Highlights magazine and puts it back on the rack. Go have your own fun.
Porter’s art takes a little getting used to since he’s a Scott Kollins light. I like it, but then I tend to lean towards either the utter realistic or utterly avant-garde.
I laughed quite a few times in this book, which is what I expected. I hate to say it, but that’s the brand DeMaGiffen have created for them selves (sorry guys). I’m also wondering what kind of staying power this book will have. As I said earlier, the 31st has been problematic for DC, as have any titles that stray to far from the core of happenings in JUSTICE LEAGUE proper. I’m a fan so far, I just hope there’s enough out there that join me.
SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN 1
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Tony Daniel
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.
JUSTICE LEAGUE 19 REVIEW
Writer: Geoff Johns Artists: Ivan Reis & Gary Frank Publisher: DC Reviewer: Rob Patey ( aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
As I expected, after last month’s recruitment session this JUSTICE LEAGUE serves to utter the quiet murmurs that will crescendo into a cacophony of chaos in coming months.
Longtime fans won’t experience much shock or awe at the Gatefold WTF moment of BATMAN taking down SUPERMAN with a hunk of homegrown Kryponite, what is shocking is that once you get inside the opening pages BATMAN isn’t the one wielding the green death. We don’t know who it is actually, all we know is a clandestine figure with open access to all Bat-Cave systems knew exactly where to find Batman’s cache of JUSTICE LEAGUE busting weaponry. If I was BATMAN I probably would have mislabeled the suitcases in such an event (i.e. put the Kryponite inside the case labeled for the Flash), but I also understand that page counts are sparse these days and a page of the nefarious burglar opening suitcases doesn’t make for the most exciting moments in comics.
Now, what was truly WTF worthy is the second story in this book where SUPERMAN and WONDER WOMAN enter the global political theater. In a moment sure to enrage FOXIans and other right wingers, Supes and Wondie decide to enter the sovereign nation of Kahndaq to end a hostage situation after the US was specifically told to stay out. That’s not the part that will piss off disciples of Limbaugh though, it’s the duo’s rationale for this raid.
Khandaq has stood as “that” ethereal Arab nation for a longtime at DC – sometimes it’s been Iraq, other times Afghanistan – not geographically, but politically. After the raid, Supes and WW have a moment of introspection where they justify events by saying all of the unwanted occupations and bombing of innocents haven’t changed a damn thing over the years. That’s a pretty bold statement by Johns and even bolder is how this changes the tide of comics. The last time SUPERMAN thumbed his nose at the American way in ACTION 900 there was a comic outcry. Now with the two biggest heavy-hitters singing a similar tune someone will need to step as the antagonist to this choice. Dangerous ground; is quipped by Batman who was spying on the couple, this is how villains get started.
What’s interesting is that Bats approaches the two with a velvet glove instead of the aforementioned hunk of Kryponite and whatever the hell he has tucked away to subdue WONDER WOMAN. He also brings up the fact that their hidden relationship is anything but. This was a great character moment as Bats shows genuine concern for their well-being versus simply being an information stream control freak. Despite the pleasantries, I’m sure I’m not the only one who will hear the Trinity Wars’ battle drums off in the distance. Months ago we all thought this upcoming schism would be caused simply by forbidden love; this moment just upped the stakes to a battle of ideologies for all comic characters.
The rest of the issue follows a similar set-up cadence, but with less gravitas and more fun. With some league members investigating the bat-cave to find out who walked away with the Kryptonite, Firestorm and Lady Atom are left alone in the watch tower. That is of course after Atomette finishes her dungeon raid in World of Warcraft. Great little character moment made greater for those of us who truly wish we could shrink ourselves and actually step inside Azeroth. As an MMO player though, I will wish her ill will for blinking out half-way through the raid – unacceptable whether late for an appointment or not. She gets payback though, as Despero crashes the down the doors of the satellite on the last page.
Reis delivers great pencil work, especially during the rising tension behind the trinity. Pain and anger adorn Wonder Woman’s face in every panel. Reis also does a great job of portraying Superman with a hanged lasso whipped expression on his face. Don’t judge, we’ve all been there.
The SHAZAM back-up continues to deliver on all fronts. Again, I truly hope there’s a plan here to meld the JUSTICE LEAGUE and SHAZAM threads, I would hate to think this gold has festered at the back of the bus for so many months with no good reason.
JUSTICE LEAGUE has had an awakening creatively since “Throne of Atlantis,” and while the past issues have been a respite action wise, it’s clear this is simply the walk before some great running in the near future.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: David Finch
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.
While 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.
Just 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.
Writers: Nocenti, Castellucci, Fawkes, Milligen, Higgins, Diggle
Artists: Lupacchino, Miranda, Gopez, Bisley, Greene, Rocha
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
First: compilation books are not bad. I enjoyed the hells bells out of Vertigo’s recent GHOSTS short spooktacular vignettes.
Second: $8 is fine as long as it actually is double the content and it’s good.
Third: YOUNG ROMANCE isn’t bad, just wildly wildly unfocused. One moment you think this Valentine’s day themed title is how a child perceives romance and then the next minute you are cock slapped by the inclusion of a Taiwanese lady-boy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for lady-boys since men are the ugly side of the species with our ass hair and protruding genitals. The more men that can look like women the more aesthetically pleasing the world becomes I say. ‘Well comics aren’t always for kids Optimous.” Uhhh, they are if it comes complete with Valentine’s day cards that are sized for grade school mass distribution (except to the fat and smelly kids of course). Oh and the title is called YOUNG ROMANCE. Go kid, go adult, I don’t care. But I can say without reservation I don’t want to explain the shemale phenomenon to a 10 year old. I actually had to recently and it wasn’t pretty.
As most compilations the quality is a roller coaster in this title as well, ranging from pretty decent to not decent. Again, none are bad, it’s just the “not decents” were way too short for the creatives to flush out a full story. I think part of the problem is that DC jammed in too much as you can see from the attribution at the top of this article.
All right let’s get into these and hope the world doesn’t implode before I get to six.
CATWOMAN & BATMAN: Nocenti gets women, hands down. Her pacing though is still somewhat frantic as exhibited in recent issues of CATWOMAN and this vignette. I’m also feeling zero sexual energy from the character since Winnick left. CATWOMAN was also kind of a bitch before the New 52 launched; she was robbing from the poor when she and Batman first met.
This was the tale where I really thought this thing would be for kids, since my Grandmother exudes more sex and she’s been dead since 1994.
AQUAMAN & MERA: BEST one in here. This takes place in two times as Mera uncovers a series of love letters from the 1800’s between the original lighthouse owner’s daughter and the love she lost to the sea. The panel placement was original and Miranda’s art is beautiful in both time periods. Kudos also go to coloring for the sepia in the time gone by. Action and true heart prevailed in this vignette.
BATGIRL & THAT DUDE FROM THE ANNUAL: What the sweet fuckity fuck is going on here was all I could think through the first two pages. Remember that guy Babs made out with in the annual? He decids to break into a car in hopes Babs will show up and he can get another kiss. By the end this was endearing as the two discover how alone they are and how love, even unrequited, needs no logic. Still though, in the beginning, Babs was in some poses that not only defied logic but physics as well (ever seen a Batgirl fused to a lightpole – I have).
VALENTINE CARD BREAK: There are 18 of them, each with a different character and they are adorable.
APOLLO & MIDNIGHTER: I felt no heart here, no love, but it did have ladyboys. Apollo ends up in Bangkok because he thinks it’s instructions…or some Asian city, I don’t remember or really care. Anyway he goes looking for Midnighter and starts in the gay-town. Midnighter is actually out fighting crime though, you know like we would all expect Midnighter to be doing. Apollo finds him, Midnighter’s a dick. Apollo goes back to bang a ladyboy. That’s amore bitches!
NIGHTWING & URSA MINOR: Really good action and fun, not a waft of love though.
SUPERMAN & WONDER WOMAN: Second best story hands down. I’m a big fan of this match up and it’s nice to see the two on a date just talking about how apart from the world they feel. Eros helps WONDER WOMAN get the date in a hot spot, but then pulls a double cross. Action, character insight and continuity consequences. Sold!
I don’t hate Valentine ’s Day, I’m a true romantic at heart and that’s really the problem with this tale. These characters don’t have time for love in their lives and this book drove that point home. Apart from the two stories where genuine affection was delivered, this will push all the lonely comic fans over the suicide edge this February 14th.