Tag Archives: Superman

Man of Steel #1

Yeah, I get it. Former Marvel Golden Boy jumps ship for the competition and his first major contribution is a limited series on the industry’s most iconic figure.

John Byrne rose to prominence at Marvel during the 80’s, first as part of the Uncanny X-Men revival alongside Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum (as well as a run on Avengers that made me a lifelong fan), and then writing and illustrating a seminal run on flagship title The Fantastic Four. His high-profile departure for DC began with a post-Crisis reboot of Superman in 1986’s Man of Steel limited series. Three decades later, and another major contributor to Marvel’s pantheon, Brian Michael Bendis, makes his celebrated DC debut (minus a few teaser short stories) in a Superman mini titled, of course, Man of Steel.

Byrne’s Man of Steel #1 (1986)

I’ll admit to not having paid attention to press leading up to this series and, as a result, this obvious correlation to Byrne’s DC tenure didn’t dawn on me until I had picked up this new book. And I think it’s a bad move.

Is the goal to strike a parallel to prior reboots? Or is DC trying to draw attention to the fact that Bendis, like Byrne, was essentially lured away from the competition to work on a high-profile series, a snarky gloat immortalized in publication history? If it’s the former, then it seems like this series title would have made more sense as part of their recent Rebirth initiative. But if it’s the latter, then it seems like a childish ploy, particularly given the fact that Byrne ended up returning to Marvel after just a few years. It would also undermine the sentiment of virtually every comic book fan, DC and Marvel alike, who applauds Bendis’s move, seeing it as an opportunity for the tapped-out creator to refresh his own psyche and get back to writing compelling comic book stories once again. Maybe that’s the real meaning behind the title! Brian Michael Bendis is getting the reboot — he’s the Man of Steel! But… probably not. It’s more than likely just a wink and a nod.

And maybe it doesn’t fucking matter in the slightest and I should move on to talking about whether or not I liked the book.

Continue reading Man of Steel #1

Action Comics #1000

I had a copy of this comic on a side table in my living room this weekend and, when my brother took notice, he stopped in his tracks and scooped it up. “One thousand? Seriously? One thousand?”

We grew up in an era in which “landmark” designations still made an impression. I’ll never forget how excited I was to get my hands on Uncanny X-Men #200. I pinned and re-pinned that comic to my wall I don’t know how many times. Or the big 50th anniversary celebration of Batman that culminated in Detective Comics #600. That might have been the first time in my mercifully brief middle-school comics speculation career that I purchased a duplicate copy of a book. But nowadays, big round numbers mean very little, especially with rebirths and fresh starts and new number 1’s every fall.

But #1000… we all take notice of that. That number is on another level. My son once explained matter-of-factly that he could eat one thousand shelled edamame, to which his uncle retorted, “It’s impossible to eat one thousand of anything.”

The Romans never bothered coming up with a number greater than “M.”

My girlfriend, who, perhaps due to having grown up in Mexico, had been criminally inexperienced with baseball terminology (and thus at something of a disadvantage when we started communicating), recently learned what it means to “bat a thousand.” It’s unattainable perfection.

It’s hard to imagine a thousand of anything.

So it’s with proper reverence that I approach DC’s truly landmark 1000th issue of Action Comics, the comic that started it all. It’s a marvelous 80-page anthology with vignettes from an all-star lineup of superhero creative teams both past and present.

Continue reading Action Comics #1000

Ranking DC’s Rebirth: 15 – 11

15
Hellblazer

Simon Oliver & Moritat
Okay, I like the building blocks of this a lot. These creations starting a war is a cool idea and John seems very much in-character. He’s not necessarily the good guy, but basically a selfish asshole who gets by. The Mercury speech was well done and a good point for new readers. I do still wish this was a Vertigo book with this creative team, but I will continue. Those goddamn skull emojis to cover up the cursing is driving me mad though. – MeanOldPig

A lot to like even in the first issue, not the least of which is the table-setting with Swamp Thing and Abby (maybe). I was a little worried that the new Constantine series was either going to be too Justice League Dark-y, or, even worse, one demonic possession story after another. (Or, worst of all, a continuation of the American road trip from the NBC series.) Oliver seems to get it, but I’m still curious as to why the character is here… when Doom Patrol and Shade get the Young Animal treatment. – MMDG

First collection: The Hellblazer Volume 1: The Poison Truth (March)

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14
Batman Beyond

Dan Jurgens, Bernard Chang, & Ryan Sook
This is my kind of Bat-book. Totally unrelated to the main thread, with some altered takes on familiar faces, and a vibrant world to boot. The art is excellent; the action moves freely. This reminded me of the beloved cartoon show in all the right ways. – IP

Ryan Sook’s art is killing it. His Jokerz design is great, and he’s doing a great job with expressive faces and body language. I like the consolidation of Joker gas and Bane’s Venom, too. The origin story was paneled really well and Jurgens spent just the right amount of time bringing everyone up to speed. It’s cool seeing Max and Dana from the show, and it’s always a great idea to pick up a Batman story where he’s fighting the Joker. How this fits in with the Watchmen stuff is BEYOND me (since it’s like decades after, right?), but still has some great ideas worth exploring. Without Bruce Wayne, McGinnis is free to be his own character, and I’m down to see where that goes. – tyrannoflores

First collection: Batman Beyond Volume 1: The Return (June)

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Continue reading Ranking DC’s Rebirth: 15 – 11

Marvel NOW! – Week 5

With yet another reboot of one of their flagship titles, this week’s Avengers #1 by Mark Waid and Mike Del Mundo nonetheless represents a return to the fundamental series name and identity. This isn’t “All-New All-Different,” or even “New” for that matter. They aren’t “Mighty” or part of an “Initiative.” There’s nothing “Secret” about them, much less “Uncanny.” These are the freaking Avengers, a team that resonates with historical familiarity, despite a roster unlike one we’ve ever seen.

Of course things can’t be completely the same, not after the events of Civil War II (whose full aftermath has been pieced together from clues and NOW! references, since the perpetually late series still hasn’t actually concluded). But the world still needs Avenging, and an interesting cast of superheroes has assembled to pick up the mantle. With founding member Tony Stark out of the picture (assumed to have died at the end of CW II), funding responsibilities fall to another scientific genius – Peter Parker – whose Parker Industries, in the All-New All-Different era, has the clout and wherewithal to not only bankroll a super-team, but to headquarter in the FF’s old Baxter Building as well. And Spider-Man, of course, was once a protege of Iron Man’s, during the first Civil War event. In fact, even though none of the founding members are part of this new team, the legacy of each of them has been cleverly honored.

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Instead of The Hulk (who we did see die in Civil War II #3), Hercules steps into the muscle role. This isn’t the first time that the Prince of Power has subbed in for Bruce’s angrier alter ego; Herc took over the Green Goliath’s comic as The Incredible Hercules after the events of World War Hulk. Replacing original member Janet Van Dyne, the Winsome Wasp, is the new Wasp, Nadia Pym, long-lost daughter of another founding member, Ant-Man. Then there are the three veteran carry-overs from the ANAD iteration: Jane Foster is the current Thor; Sam Wilson still has the shield and still goes by Captain America (Steve Rogers may not have been a founding member, but issue #4 is close enough); and The Vision connects back, once again, to Ant-Man, Hank Pym. So that’s all well and good and fun. But is the book going to be any good?

Mark Waid barely got a head of steam going before Marvel hit the reset button again, after a Kang dilemma, an Annihilus escapade, and a smattering of requisite CW II tie-ins. The kids have peeled off to become Champions and the shattering impact (just look at that NOW! logo) of Civil War II is (soon to be) in the rear-view mirror. Time to let the man get to work. In case you haven’t had enough Kang (who also dicked around with The Inhumans just last year), he’s back and he’s pissed. Makes sense, since The Vision recently abducted an infant Time Conqueror in a bizarre go-back-in-time-and-kill-Baby-Hitler maneuver (All-New All-Different Avengers #13). So Waid has some unfinished business to address.

But what really gets me excited for this newest volume of my favorite comic is the art. Mike Del Mundo wowed us on two volumes of Weirdworld before throwing in with Totally Awesome Hulk. His incredible painted style, luminescent and dynamic, is unlike anything on the stands right now. Not what you’d expect to see on a focal team book. Props to Marvel’s comic division for continuing to take the kind of chances that we’re not likely to see from Marvel Studios anytime soon, or ever from their counterparts at DC. The Avengers, despite being steeped in familiarity, is about as innovative and, really, weird as we’ve ever seen them.

Continue reading Marvel NOW! – Week 5

DC: Rebirth – Week 18

Wow. I didn’t think this book was coming. Not that I wasn’t expecting a Trinity #1, but a DC superhero book that connects on a human level was a welcome surprise. These characters in capes and armor are manifestations of our fantasies, symbolic of the struggle between good and evil. But when written with care, they become as stirring a curiosity as the real people we encounter. Yes, I do like seeing Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman fight monsters and villains, but what an awesome feeling it is to feel like these characters have real humanity behind them. If universes collapsed, and people that were thought dead turned up alive, I’d expect someone to have some sort of existential crisis, but instead there’s been a lot of business as usual. To see DC’s big three sit down at a dinner table, to watch Bruce speak one way in front of everyone, yet wax sentimental in a moment with Clark, or seeing Wonder Woman confide in Lois because her sisters in Themyscira are lost to her –those are the kind of nuances that take these superhero books out of childish distractions and into the realm of thoughtful entertainment.

Continue reading DC: Rebirth – Week 18

New Comics: Han Solo

This week, New York Times bestselling author Marjorie Liu makes her return to Marvel Comics, partnering with veteran artist Mark Brooks to debut the most highly anticipated Star Wars series since, well, since the last Star Wars series.

Han Solo takes place just after A New Hope and the Battle of Yavin, opening with the titular character hustling the smuggling beat, looking for jobs to help pay off that Jabba debt (we all know how that works out, however). When a pair of Rebel agents proposition him to “borrow” the Falcon, Han Solo finds himself, once again, selling his unique talents and services to Princess Leia and The Rebellion for another no-questions-asked, top secret, fast-as-hell operation.

Leia is looking to rescue three Rebel spies, and the only way to do that is if a ship – and pilot – unaffiliated with the Rebellion participates in the Dragon Void, a legendary space race that draws the most well-known and well-trained pilots in the galaxy. Han Solo’s job is to simply recover the agents at each of the three requisite refueling stops. Of course, nothing could possibly be that simple…

Since the Star Wars license made its expected return to its new in-laws at Marvel,  the creative teams have been knocking out one outstanding series after another. Liu seems to have an excellent grasp of Solo’s character post-ANH, and Mark Brooks seems like he was born to draw aliens and spaceships. Hang on, Your Worship. We’ve got a very good feeling about this.
Continue reading New Comics: Han Solo