Tag Archives: Marvel NOW!

Marvel NOW! Teasers: ‘XX’ Revealed As A New Series, Plus New Artists & Story Arcs!

Okay. Everyone knows that Marvel is loving their teasers lately. And by lately I mean for the last few years. With the Marvel ReEvolution and Marvel NOW! happening as we speak, the teasers have been coming at us pretty hard for the last few months. This latest round introduced some new books, as well as some creative changes to ongoing series. Usually we cover stuff like this in Comic Rack, but with the amount of info we’ve been getting it gets upgraded to it’s own incredibly well written post!

Continue reading Marvel NOW! Teasers: ‘XX’ Revealed As A New Series, Plus New Artists & Story Arcs!

Comic Rack: Guillermo del Toro’s DC Movie, Marvel’s New Teasers & More!

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

 Guillermo del Toro IS Working On A DC Movie

After a bunch of flip floppy wish wash from PR executives that we’ve previously touched on, lots of rumors and hearsay, it’s finally been confirmed that Guillermo del Toro is actually working on a DC Comics film. Or plans to anyway, I wouldn’t hold my breath for it to come out. Not that I wouldn’t love it, because his idea of a dark supernaturally themed DC movie with Constantine (Pronounced Constan- TYNE), sounds totally awesome and something right up his alley.

[box_light]“The movement for this happened before [The Avengers],” del Toro adds about DC building its own cinematic universe. “They were already galvanized to launch ‘Justice League’ and they were galvanized to make their universe cohesive… They are really, really, with ‘Superman’, very, very confident with what they have. They are now feeling they have two pillars. Batman and Superman… There’s a foundation that now they can build on.”[/box_light]

I’ve long been a fan of Guillermo’s, and think he’s one of the most creative and crafty directors out there that knows how to tell supernatural stories in a way that’s neither cheap nor boring. If Man of Steel is a big hit and the Justice League movie does in fact get made, you better believe I’ll be counting down the days until this project comes to fruition.

Find out more here.

Jeff Lemire Is Doubling Down On DC Projects

Comic Rack 1:9:13- Lemire-Projects

I’m such a huge fan of Jeff Lemire that simple, quick news like this can get my imagination running in a thousand different ways. The news is basically that he’s hinted at bringing some old school DC characters back into the modern fray. Which ones you ask? Well, they would consist of Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth, Jemm: Son Of Saturn, Red Tornado, and even The Spectre. Right now it’s all conjecture based on some images he tweeted, so It could all be for naught. I’m sure there’s always the possibility he was being a comics nerd and sharing some cool pictures with his fans, in the same way I share pictures of my cats with my fans. All zero of them. Regardless of my pathetic nature, if Lemire does end up doing something with these projects, you’ll definitely be informed right here the moment it does.

Find out more here.

Marvel Teaser Season Is Back, And One Features Brian Wood!

Comic Rack- 1:9:13- Brian Wood-XX-Marvel-Now!

In yet another teaser released by Marvel to make us all speculate endlessly until we don’t, we’ve got the vague hint at some new book that will be possibly related to X-women. The teaser released shows a picture of two X’s, with a DNA double hellix behind them, along with Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel’s names. It’s a bit obvious it’s referring to women in some way, what with the XX chromosome being referenced, but the question is who exactly? We all know Brian Wood is pretty familiar with writing women so it’s a question of who he’ll be writing about, rather than if. A solid speculation could be that the DNA helix hints at the genetic code that leads to mutants, and along with the X being such a famously mutant related letter at Marvel it’s a safe bet to make that it’s gonna be an X-Men related title. Some say it could even be called X-Women? I personally think that’s a corny title, but I’m positive it’ll be an interesting book nonetheless.

Along with that came another teaser announcing Phil Noto’s arrival as artist of the new Thunderbolts series. It’s titled Explosive and the image is certainly that:comic-rack-marvel-teasers-explosive

As always there are more teasers from Marvel, some of which are utterly baffling, like this “Birth” one:

Comic-Rack-1:9:13-marvel-Birth-teaser

And this trio of obvious ones for Hulk, Deadpool, and Spider-Man, respectively:

Comic Rack-1:9:13-Hulk Teaser Comic Rack 1:9:13-Deadpool-Teaser Comic Rack- 1:9:13- Spiderman-teaser

Find out more here, here, here, here and here.

Dan Slott Keeps Pumping Out The Spider-Man Craziness By Bringing In Spider-Man 2099

Comic Rack-1:9:13-Spiderman-2099

Listen, I haven’t read a Spider-Man book in years. I think the last time I did was when they switched Amazing to 3 times a week. I decided that was way more BS than I could handle at any given time, along with all of the One More Day nonsense that was going on. It pretty much put me off of Spider-Man forever, which hasn’t been remedied by the terrible movies and it’s subsequent reboots and forced sequels. He’s by far always been my least favorite character, and seeing all the wacky stuff Dan Slott has been doing to Spider-Man has done little to raise my interest in that book. Sometimes something is done when it’s done for you, and that’s that. That being said, I do find it interesting he’s bringing back Miguel O’Hara into the current continuity. That’s right, Spider-Man 2099 is going to be integrated into The Superior Spider-Man somehow. I remember reading issues of Spider-Man 2099 in the late nineties and being really stoked when I found his action figure because I thought it was rare. Regardless, the amount of novel things Dan Slott seems to be trying with Spider-Man these days, without getting into spoiler territory, is pretty interesting. It almost makes me wish somebody as gutsy and ballsy as him would try something like that with Batman or Superman, but he’s already gotten death threats and whatnot for stinkin’ Spider-Man, so I wouldn’t blame him for avoiding any other superhero properties for a while.

Find out more here.

Titan Comics Launches A Creator-Owned Based Imprint!

Comic Rack- 1:9:13- Titan Comics

I’m a pretty huge fan of creator owned comics. They’re by far what I read the most of nowadays, and to me are always the more personally rewarding stories. I love me a good superhero book, don’t get me wrong, but there’s nothing like a perfectly made mini-series that takes chances with its story and uses the medium of comics itself to tell a more effective story than any of the Big Two could. While I’m not very familiar with Titan, I always applaud another indie publisher throwing their hat into the ring and I’m especially fond of the plan to focus on creator owned content. It’d be pretty great if we got another big creative owned hit from them the way Image did with The Walking Dead or Invincible. It’s unlikely, but not impossible.

Find out more here.

That’s all for this week’s edition! We’ll see you next time at the Comic Rack!

Comic Rack: Hellblazer CANCELLED, Marvel NOW! On the Radio, & Image Teases ‘Arrow’?

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

Hellblazer is CANCELLED, but Constantine lives on in the New 52!

I knew this was only a matter of time once the New 52 came around. While I haven’t read Hellblazer regularly since Warren Ellis was last writing for it, I knew his character stood alone in his universe that was decidedly separate from the main old DCU. Once everything reset, and Constantine started showing up in Justice League Dark, I figured its days were numbered. I am pretty sad to see it go, since Hellblazer is by far my favorite horror comic of all time, and Constantine is probably the most badass and awesome character in the entire Vertigo lineup, and possibly in all of DC. Yes, even more badass than Batman. Suck it.

While the printing of Constantine as a new ongoing doesn’t surprise me, I’m probably still going to end up reading it, if only to get back into the John Constantine fray. He’s a character I truly adore, and despite being royally mistreated by one of the worst adaptations into film ever, I think he’s resilient enough to hold onto public interest. That’s not to say that Keanu Reeves Constantine* is a bad movie, it’s just a terrible adaptation of a nearly perfect story arc from Hellblazer. If you can divorce it from its source material, it’s actually pretty enjoyable. That being said, I hope this doesn’t mean the death knell for the possibility of any comic series actually getting high up in numbers before a reset is due, since everyone seems so afraid of high numbered issues now. Pretty soon we’ll get an ALL NEW WALKING DEAD #1, where Rick has an axe for a hand now, and T-Dog suddenly and miraculously has been in the comic all this time!

Find out more here.

*which is the title, everywhere you look on posters or DVD’s you’ll see the title is Keanu Reeves Constantine, which proves it’s not meant to be a true Hellblazer or Constantine movie. The movie should be literally titled “Keanu Reeves Constantine” which would be accurate, because it is definitely NOT John Constantine, or Hellblazer. Thus I still hold out hope for a Hellblazer movie. I know, I’m dumb. [ED. NOTE: I don’t agree with this statement, however I do agree that Adam is dumb.]

DC Is Looking to Scale Back Variant Covers. Fans Say Thanks. World Moves On.

Being a comics fan, I love me a good cover. However one thing I’ve never really been is a comics collector. I’m not that guy who will spend time trying to hunt down a single issue to complete a set, or find one particularly rare issue to add to a themed collection, nor have I ever collected for profit. While I personally may have never had any attraction to variant covers, I can understand the allure of them. Frankly, I always thought they were a bit of a waste, especially since I know the whole litany of trouble local comic shops have to go through in order to get some of those covers. I collect my comics because I want to read the stories, and I just end up storing them, not necessarily “collecting” them. Sure, I may have 2 long boxes and need about 4 more, but If it was up to me, I’d rather archive all of my singles into trade form. Even that gets to be a hassle, and I’d rather purchase all of my trades digitally. I know that sounds like sacrilege to some people, but I’m the kind of guy who’d like to reduce my need for shelf space.

An interesting side note, that along with “pulling back” on variant covers, DC is also going to be releasing 52 variants for Justice League Of America #1. Which aside from being insane, really seems to go against their entire point of “pulling back”. Whatever DC, shine on you crazy diamond.

Find out more here.

Marvel NOW! Is Advertising On the Radio. Also Teletype Machines, Telegraph, and Carrier Pigeons!

In a strange example of Marvel really trying hard to get the word out there for Marvel NOW!, they’re resorting to buying air time on radio in order to advertise for comics. First and foremost, who the hell even listens to the radio anymore? Almost everybody I know listens to podcasts, custom streaming radio stations, or their own mobile phones, which almost assuredly have music on them. The thought of advertising on radio seems so archaic, backwards, and desperate to me. It makes Marvel look desperate to try to one up DC’s success with the New 52. I imagine some upper exec asking about how they can advertise where nobody else is right now, and some timid advertising client quietly speaks up about radio. The Upper Exec’s eyes widen and he’s all KID YOU’RE A GENIUS!

That’s the only explanation I can think of right now, but I suppose it’ll be interesting to hear an audio ad for a comic book. Will they have voice actors play Marvel characters? Will Stan Lee be doing them? I guess it could be kind of cool if Stan Lee did them and interrupted whatever tripe Lady Gaga or Rihanna are ravaging the airwaves with, to talk for a few minutes about how much he loves the Avengers and Spider-Man and call you his own personal Spider-Friend. You could close your eyes and pretend you’re in the ’50s or something, back when radio was a viable medium to advertise in. It’d work perfectly right until some terrible throbbing club song came on and brought you back to horrible reality.

Find out more here.

Image Has a Teaser for an ‘Arrow’ of Their Own, Kind Of

Guys shooting arrows seems to be pretty popular right now. What with Jeff Lemire taking over Green Arrow, that whole Arrow show on The CW, and Hawkeye finding newfound popularity due to The Avengers, archery is IN. Not that I’m suggesting Image is following a trend or anything, because I’m sure the comic this ad is teasing was long planned, and by the nature of it’s title I doubt that arrows being shot at bad guys is the sole focus. The book is called Five Weapons, and from this teaser I think we’re meant to infer that it’s some sort of team book, and the bow and arrow toting “Darryl The Arrow” is one of 5 members who presumably each have their own weapon. That’s my guess anyway. Whether the rest will end up with a hammer, metal suit of armor, or a giant shield is yet to be seen. As it is, I’m intrigued.

Find out more here.

DC Digital Sales Up Close to 200% From Last Year!

I’m going to try to stay impartial, but it’s hard to not note the dichotomy between The Big Two when one is improving their forward thinking, dynamic digital sales plan that’s embracing technology and the future of the medium, and the other decides that they should advertise on f*%#ing radio. Regardless of that inanity, this doesn’t surprise me one bit. When it comes down to it, for a lot of people buying your singles digitally is far easier, convenient, and cheaper. Especially since most digital comics are now out day and date, and eventually decrease in price as time goes on, unlike a book on a shelf that always remains cover price unless the store holding it changes the price.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the spike in digital sales increased when DC released large groups of classic trades for download on Android platforms last year, and has continued to do so. I’ve personally bought trades digitally for $10 that I would have never gambled on at a physical store, simply because of the ease and convenience. Not to mention that if the trade I bought sucked, it’s not taking up precious space on my shelf. I see the future of comics as maintaining this direction, and while I WILL mourn the slow and painful death of the traditional brick and mortal Local Comic Shop, it’s something that’s inevitable. They’ll either have to adapt by allowing some sort of digital pass/keycode sale, or provide services that you can get from simply buying a digital file online. Either way, innovation is going to happen, and we’ll see how it ends up, for better or worse.

Find out more here.

That’s all for this week’s edition! We’ll see you next time at the Comic Rack!

Comic Rack: Hickman’s Avengers Plans, X-Force Loves The 90’s, & Garth Ennis Has A Red Team!

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

Jonathan Hickman’s Plans for The Avengers

One of the most distressing things about this new Marvel NOW! thing is the dichotomy of feelings it gives me about Jonathan Hickman. On one hand, I love the idea of a man as brilliant as him writing Avengers stories, that will undoubtedly be amazing. On the other hand, I can’t afford to buy all the books Marvel prints, with their 50 tie ins and side stories and everything. It really seems like If I wanted to buy Hickman’s Avengers, I’d at least have to buy 3 other books to get the full story. And being a total completist nerd, I either go whole hog and get everything, or none at all. In my case, it’s currently none at all, because following DC in this fashion is making my wallet look at me every Wednesday like I’m slowly skinning it in a laboratory. However, reading ABOUT Hickman’s Avengers is still fascinating, and the news of what he’s doing with them piques my interest.

“The conversation shifted to the mysterious “New Avengers” team, which Jonathan revealed consists of the Illuminati, which was introduced in Brian Bendis’ “New Avengers.”“It’s about the guys that very quietly and secretly run the world,” he said. “It’s thematically much different than what’s going on in ‘Avengers.’ The plan that I’ve worked up is that the Avengers are the utopian Avengers. They’re the ideal Avengers, whereas the New Avengers are real-world. They live in the world as it is, which is dark and apocalyptic. It’s very old-school. We’re pretty excited about it. The books will work together, in tandem. You don’t have to read both of them, but if you do, there will be things that echo across the books.”

via [CBR]

This is a classic example of something comics writers say, but never do. “Oh you don’t have to read them both/all/whatever, but there will be bonus story connections between…” blah blah blah. I know this game. I’m not falling for it mister. My wallet shrieks in pain every time I open it now from the trauma of Civil War, and that was YEARS ago.

Cable & X-Force Bring Back The 90’s

I know, I know, we’ve talked about this Cable series before, but sometimes a book is so interesting you just gotta follow up on it when you hear more about it. Especially if it involves Cable. In the 90’s Cable was a pretty big deal. I remember seeing lots of comics with him holding big guns, doing stuff, and having lots of pouches. I know it’s very hip to hate on 90’s pouches, but you know…. It’s fun. I always imagined he had ammo of course, but also just an entire spectrum of things in each pouch. Sort of like an Uber-Bat-Utility Belt. Regardless of pouches though, the thought of a comic being printed today with that ultra macho, pouch-tastic sensibility appeals to what very little bit of nostalgia there is in me to appeal to. Hopeless seems to be taking that idea and running with it.

Newsarama: Dennis, the first thing I wanted to ask about stemming from your first couple interviews on Cable and X-Force is the idea of not shying away from the inherent ’90sness of the characters and concept. Why is it important for you to embrace that, and not run from it? And though obviously the point is to present those things in a modern context, but what kinds of ’90s motifs and practices do you find still work today?

Dennis Hopeless: I think there’s something about badass for badass sake. I was a kid when those early X-Force issues were coming out. My friends and I loved them because they were badass. Everything was high-octane and over the top. It’s the same reason we all loved Schwarzenegger and Stallone and Robocop.”

via [Newsarama]

So I’ll avoid the easy joke of a guy named Hopeless writing a comic about Cable who has a daughter named Hope, and instead just mention how this book actually seems pretty interesting. I’ve never read anything by Dennis Hopeless, but he seems to be doing good work, and I love his name. The fact that he mentions Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Robocop just seals the deal for me. He seems like he gets it, and will actually produce the kind of book Liefeld was always going for, but ended up failing at. It’s the difference between a delicious, fluffy croissant and a rice cake. They’re both mostly air, but one is way better than the other.

Garth Ennis Assembles A New ‘Red Team’

After wrapping up his long running series The Boys, Ennis doesn’t look like he’s taking any breaks. The man certainly is full of ideas, and this new mini-series he’s developing sounds like one of the more tame ones, compared to the usual shock tactics he’s famous for.

In Red Team, Garth Ennis and Dynamite described “up-and-coming artist” Craig Cermak team for this new seven issue limited series that features a Major Crimes task force in the NYPD who make a bad call that leads to lots of drama. The team decides to murder a suspect, and things don’t go well after that. Dynamite described the series as “in the tradition of The Wire and The Shield” in a press release.”

via [Newsarama]

Aside from Preacher, I’ve always thought that Garth Ennis worked better with his mini-series. The Boys trailed off around issue 23 in my opinion, and never really recovered for me since. His mini-series have always appealed to me. I like the idea of him returning to another reality themed book, and think tackling a concept like a task force in the real world could work well for him. The guy has the chops to do more down to earth, gripping stuff in him. He did it really well for his Punisher run way back when, and Battlefields is the only modern example I can think of. I’ll be looking forward to this one because I know it’ll be done in 7 issues, and for a guy like me that’s comforting from a monetary standpoint, but disappointing if I end up REALLY liking it. Everything’s a catch-22 for me. Shit.

Mark Waid Is Taking On The Green Hornet

Now that Mark Waid has made himself a bigger deal with the success of Irredeemable, it seems his name has some clout to it that will bring more attention to what he’s doing. Specifically, Green Hornet. A character who is pretty famously non-popular. Not that he’s UN-popular, which means people hate him ala Aquaman. He’s just non-popular. Like… Red Tornado. Most people haven’t heard of him, but those who have probably don’t have any strong feelings about him. You’d have a hard time being pressed to list a seminal Green Hornet story the way you would with nearly any other superhero. That being said, perhaps Mark Waid will give Green Hornet his.

“It should come as little surprise that I have an affinity for all costumed crimefighters no matter if their adventures are ‘period pieces’ or not–heroism is heroism regardless of whatever year’s on the calendar,” said writer Mark Waid in a press release.  “With this Green Hornet project, which I’ve been percolating on for more than ten years, I’m able to meld my love of the Hornet’s legacy with a little bit of Citizen Kane and a lot of Lawrence of Arabia to tell a story never before told–the dark years of the Hornet’s later career and the one mistake he makes that nearly costs him everything.”

via [Newsarama]

So… Green Hornet will make newspapers in the desert while freeing slaves? And go sledding? Or something? Okay so I’ve never actually seen Citizen Kane (I know), but still. The man at least knows what he’s trying to accomplish. They even made that Green Hornet movie a year ago didn’t they? Then there was Kevin Smith’s comic, right? So maybe this whole thing has been building to this. Perhaps The Green Hornet will finally get his due? Being unfamiliar with his character in almost every dimension makes it hard for me to feel anything about this other than bemused indifference. I really loved Irredeemable though, so maybe it’ll be good. It’s weird, it’s almost like I have to try to purposely make an effort to like Green Hornet. I’m hoping soon I’ll be able to change my mind about him. Or not. Whatever.

Frank Cho Brings Us Savage Wolverine

Frank Cho is one of those names that’s known in particular for one thing. Cheesecake. No, not the delicious dessert, but rather the term for gratuitous shots of gorgeous, lusty, busty women posing seductively in some manner. Personally I have no problem with this. Who doesn’t like beautiful, busty, buxom, bouncing babes busting out of their brassieres? (+5 Alliteration skill)You know what else everyone loves? Wolverine. Now thanks to Frank Cho, we’ll get a book with BOTH!

See?

The new series will start off, appropriately enough, in the Savage Land. Shanna the She-Devil, who Cho previously worked on in the Shanna the She-Devil limited series, will guest star in the series’ opening story arc, which features a stranded Wolverine waking up in the Savage Land with no memory of how he arrived. “The story takes place in the forbidden area of the Savage Land where an evil ancient god slumbers,” said Cho. “Wolverine and others accidentally unleash it, while trying to get home.”

via [ComicsAlliance]

I know this might rile up some weird Wolverine fanboys who don’t want their cheesecake mixing with their Wolverine…salad. Or whatever. All I can say is why not? Why not make a book with Wolverine fighting dinosaurs in the Savage Land, assisted by a busty,  scantily clad sidekick who stabs dudes with her spear? Must everything be so dark all the time? The book sounds like it’ll be a hoot, and most importantly, actually interesting. A lot of writers get so caught up with making Wolverine such a gritty, broody, dark mother f-er they lose sight of the potential to just make him a badass awesome character who gets shit done. Best he is at what he does and all that. Plus boobs! Boobs! If you can’t get behind that, man… I dunno how to help you.

That’s it for this week! Be sure to check out more Comic Rack here!

Comic Rack: Grant Morrison’s Multiversity, Stan Lee Is NOT Dying, & Ghosts!

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

Grant Morrison’s Multiversity Is Coming

via [Newsarama]

I sure do loves me some Grant Morrison. It’s not exactly a secret, but I tend to think the man is a genius, and I’ve said so a bunch of times here on Comic Rack. I think he’s one of the few guys who really truly gets superheroes, what they mean in a contemporary social context, and does them well. I know I’m the one who is usually clamoring for writers to stick to their own original projects first, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it when geniuses like Hickman, Lemire or Morrison work on mainstream stuff by the Big Two. I’m probably one of the 10 or so people who LOVED Final Crisis and thought it a complex, densely intricate and beautiful story that is best told in one go, rather than in a serial format. To me, Morrison knows how to handle universal concepts, and the fact that he’s now working on Multiversity has me intrigued.

For those who don’t know, Multiversity was meant to follow-up 52 and Infinite Crisis a few years back, but never showed up for some reason or another. Presumably the reason is because he had to re-write it in planning for the New 52, but who knows how long DC really had the New 52 in planning before they executed it. My personal guess is not very long at all, from the rumblings I hear of how things are managed. Regardless, I’m totally stoked for Multiversity. If there’s one guy who knows how to do stories that span across universes, it’s Grant Morrison. You can read more about the actual plans for the title here, and a fascinating interview with him about it here.

Here’s some very cool art from Multiversity released by Frank Quitely this past weekend:

Johns & Lemire Add Their Names to ‘Ghosts

It’s finally that time of the year where all things morbid, spookifying and Halloweeney are celebrated. As a kid I always looked forward to Halloween, because it led to Christmas. Nowadays that anticipation for Christmas is replaced with jaded cynicism, and my love for all things horrifying, along with my love for Halloween. It was a real surprise to me then, to find out only just this week about a Halloween anthology project that gathers some of my favorite comics writers and artists of all time. The project is a one shot called Ghosts, that looks to be goddamned amazing from its talent line up and subject matter.

via [CBR]

A revival of the publisher’s 1970s horror series of the same name, the 80-page one-shot boasts also includes stories by the likes of Gilbert Hernandez, Paul Pope, Phil Jimenez, David Lapham, Amy Reeder, Mark Buckingham, John McCrea, Rufus Dayglo, Toby Litt and the late Joe Kubert, with covers by Dave Johnson and Brendan McCarthy.

I don’t often say this, but ZOMFG!1!!one! Look at that list of talent! All of those people are artists whose work I specifically look out for based on their name alone, and somehow, someway, I’VE MISSED THIS UP UNTIL NOW? I feel like I’ve failed my dying, withered and emaciated inner child. The fact that Lemire and Johns are adding a story to it just sweetens the pot, and makes me drool in anticipation for this thing to come out. Can you imagine an anthology novel written by these guys? 80 pages isn’t NEARLY long enough for me. I demand they make this book an anthology of anthologies. Let’s see Ghosts 2 through infinity. Let this thing spin-off into a whole series of horror related books that involve all of my favorite comics authors and artists, endlessly working to make material that appeals to me as perfectly as this book does. You can check out more preview art for the project here & here. That Hernandez panel looks goddamned awesome. Holy hell. I can’t wait to read this thing.

Stan Lee is NOT Sick Or Dying!

Recently Stan Lee has had to cancel a lot of public appearances, and until now he hasn’t revealed exactly why. As the cancellations piled up, rumors started to spread. Frankly, the guy’s up there in age, and it didn’t seem to bode well for his current state of health. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that nobody really knew what was up. Thankfully, he’s broken the silence and filled us in on whats the haps.

via [CBR]

“Attention, Troops! This is a dispatch sent from your beloved Generalissimo, directly from the center of Hollywood’s combat zone!” Lee wrote on the POW! Entertainment website. “Now hear this! Your leader hath not deserted thee! In an effort to be more like my fellow Avenger, Tony Stark, I have had an electronic pace-maker placed near my heart to insure that I’ll be able to lead thee for another 90 years. But fear thee not, my valiant warriors. I am in constant touch with our commanders in the field and victory shall soon be ours. Now I must end this dispatch and join my troops, for an army without a leader is like a day without a cameo!”

Well that’s certainly comforting, made all the better by the way it was written. I dare you to try to read that and not have Stan Lee’s voice echoing in your head. In all seriousness, I was pretty relieved to find out the guy’s gonna be okay, but for a moment there I remember thinking that I’d have to end up writing up rumors about his imminent death. Which believe me, is nothing I want to do. I may rag on Marvel here and there, and I’ve probably talked a bit of trash about Stan in the past in comparison to Kirby, but I do have massive respect for him. The man’s an icon for god’s sake, who the hell doesn’t wish him a long and happy life? You’d have to be a total shit head to be all “GOOD. HARUMPH. I HOPE HE DIES SOON”. I know, I’m probably extrapolating a bit far in terms of fan reaction, but this is the Internet. People are terrible here.

Disabled Artist, Writer, Writes & Draws Comic Using Only His Mouth

Normally I’d try to avoid a semi-sensationalist descriptive title like the one above, but in this case it’s pretty necessary to point out what a feat it truly is. Larime Taylor is a disabled artist and writer who well, manages to do with only his mouth what some folks cant with two hands and a whole writing staff working underneath them.  He has a congenital condition where the muscles and joints in his body are pretty profoundly affected. The guy is working on a book called Dark Zoey that I can’t wait to read. Listen, I don’t often go for the feel good kind of stories, or anything even remotely mushy, but as I’ve grown older I’ve conversely become softer and simultaneously more jaded towards a lot of things in my life. This sort of thing is one of the ones I’ve become more soft towards. A younger me would simply not have cared, but now I find stories like this awe-inspiring.

The man’s determination is resolute, and his humble nature make me realize how much I take for granted in my everyday life as a writer. I don’t know if I’d have the strength to overcome the odds he has, nor the tenacity to continue pursuing my own goals as he has. The guy’s story is really something to behold, and a fascinating read. Basically he’s writing this book using Kickstarter, and the donations will go towards helping him produce the book so everyone out there can read it. Aside from his own personal story though, is the book’s story. Which is summarized on the Kickstarter page, and it sounds exactly like the kind of story I’d love:

Some people become killers. 

Zoey was born that way. 

Ever since she can remember, Zoey Aarons has felt the urge to kill. For eighteen years she resisted those urges and fought to be someone better than her base instincts would allow. In a moment of weakness and anger, however, she let go and took a life. That hazy Seattle summer day still haunts her, and as she begins college far away from home, she’s afraid that she will kill again. 

She’s right to be afraid. 

Instead of leaving that fateful day behind her and starting a new life as a college freshman, Zoey’s about to be tested and face temptation in ways far greater than she could ever imagine. The prestigious women’s college that she’s attending on a full academic scholarship is in Cutter’s Circle, California, and Cutter’s Circle has a dirty little secret: it has the highest population of serial killers in the country. The town is up to its proverbial severed head in murderers.

I’ve barely only scratched the surface of it all, and you owe it to yourself to go and read the whole article over at [Newsarama], or donate to the Kickstarter page itself.

New Thunderbolts #3 Cover Has A Red Leader

The new Thunderbolts book coming out is gonna have an interesting gimmick applied to all of the covers. The gimmick being a red tint to all of them, that has some vague sort of story related reason for their particular hue. Notable out of all of them is a cover featuring The Leader, who is now noticeably redder than we’re used to. In the past, all Hulk related things becoming red usually meant bad things for all those involved. The thought of The Leader getting super-red-Hulk powers sounds pretty bad, but perhaps there’s more to it.

via [Newsarama]

Interesting. Perhaps he’s just really sunburnt?

Here’s some of the other covers themselves. I suppose the red tint is going to get explored in the story itself. So why are they red? My first and safest guess is it represents some thematic sort of thing. Vengeance, anger, blood. All that sort of thing. What do I hope it is? Hoo boy.

I hope it’s some kind spectacular foreboding message to all of the enemies of the Thunderbolts. They start wearing red as a warning, particular the Punisher. The whole thing is representative of the “blood” they’ll carry on their hands, as they start taking down evil motherf–ks left and right. Eventually, they’ll all decide the only way to continue their blood feud is to all become Red Hulk versions of themselves, and of course some of it gets into bad guys hands like The Leader. They then somehow get into space, and use their Red Hulk powers to blow up entire evil planets. Red Hulk actually takes the Red Hulk powers and becomes Double Red Hulk, and uses his Double Red Hulkness to split the fabric of reality and space-time, until they end up in an entirely new reality. They cross through The Bleed, and end up transubstantiating their collective consciousness into one singular unified being, and project themselves outward into infinite, reversing all socially accepted constructs of what color “is”. Along with that, they also blow up the Death Star.

Or maybe it’s just to make them look real tough. Whatever.

Comic Rack: Spider-Man Ends, Greg Rucka Speaks, and Kirkman & Moore Reach a Settlement

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

Boom Studio’s & Paul Jenkins Teaser

Boom studios is one of the many indie comics studios that has found a niche audience with their select few titles of popularity. Arguably their most popular was Mark Waid’s Irredeemable, but they’re also known for their Hellraiser, Planet Of The Apes, and Adventure Time comics. Personally I really loved Irredeemable, and thought it was a great book, even if it’s ending was the same ending from All Star Superman #10. But that’s such a brilliant ending I’ll take it again anyway. When it comes to Boom Studios, there’s not much they do make that I can say anything negatively about, so the fact that Paul Jenkins is working on a project with them, is something I’m looking forward to upon announcement alone. So here comes the teaser for the project, whatever it may be:

via [BloodyDisgusting]

So yeah, not a whole lot to go on there at all. But hell, Jenkins has done incredible work on Hellblazer,  Wolverine: Origin, and my personal favorite, The Sentry. Not that I like who The Sentry became, but that first 6 issues that introduced us to the character were so creatively meta, well written, and emotional that I still love it greatly, even if The Sentry turned into a whiny crybaby Mary Sue piece of shit. To this day I still think that story of The Sentry could be adapted into one of the best original superhero movies ever made, if you just changed it to an original superhero, and make it a bunch of Marvel analogues, ala Planetary, or The Authority. It’d be a great story about superheroes, rather than just being about superheroes.

As for the teaser? Is it a comic about death? Maybe. I know I’ll be looking forward to hearing just what the hell it is.

Greg Rucka Tells It Like It Is

Greg Rucka, probably most famously known for his Batman related work, and his New Krypton storyline for the Old DCU, has been pretty vocal lately with his dislike of the way creator relations are currently being handled by BOTH of the big two, voicing his displeasure in a revealing quote over at [ComicsAlliance].

Rucka said that he’s “reached the end of my Work For Hire rope,” adding that “I have spent a lot of my comics career in service of other masters, and I’ve had enough of that for now. I’m sick to death of the way the Big Two treat people.”

He goes on to add some more details about the mistreatment he’s received from both camps, expressing his displeasure pretty pointedly. As a comics fan, it’s hard to disagree with him, because the points he makes are so prevalent, especially with DC. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories over the years about the way writers are treated like meat into a grinder, especially since there’s so many that are chomping at the bit to break into any sort of comics writing mold. The most obvious and glaring point is that the companies keep trying to compete with each other, and play catch up, rather than strive to innovate or go their own way. The most obvious example is the whole Marvel NOW! thing, which is so blatantly a transparent lift of the concept of New 52, it’s maddening. At least with DC, it made sense, because they had a bowl of spaghetti for continuity, but Marvel seems to be doing this purely for marketing reasons, rather than anything creative.

An industry that only looks to constantly play catch up, is inevitably going to stagnate. As innovation dwindles, and brilliant books that try things differently go by the wayside, you’re in danger of having an industry bubble burst. I don’t mean to go all “THE SKY IS FALLING” on anybody, but I’ve found that generally being a pessimist about these kind of things doesn’t hurt. Expect a kick in the balls, and if you get slapped in the face, you win, I always say. Hopefully, Rucka’s words will wake up some abject comics executive, who’ll help creative minds establish their work in a way that’s beneficial to everyone, rather than threaten them with losing their job to 10 more hungry writers, who’ll work for scraps off the DC table.

Brian Wood’s New Original Title From Image Comics!

Brian Wood is a curious writer for me, personally. First off, the guy has written some of my most favorite comics of all time. Issue #10 of his masterpiece, Local, brought me to tears, and touched me in ways I can barely explain to most people. His other work, is all of differing quality and style, from his massive work on DMZ, to the shockingly different tone of his work on Northlanders, the guy undoubtedly has range.

However, he’s a guy who I’ve met in real life, more than once, both times I went to Comic-Con. It’s one thing to meet someone who’s obviously stressed and trying to cope with the zoo that is CCI, and it’s another to meet a guy who clearly doesn’t really like his fans. I remember being in line, and watching the guy be kind of openly rude to multiple people, begrudgingly signing things, and just generally seeming like he didn’t want to be there. I’d like to think I’m a very understanding person, and I get that after a while it’d be very difficult to be super enthusiastic for each fan you come across when your main prerogative is just getting back to your hotel room and getting some sleep. But it’s another thing when you’re there first thing in the morning, and still have attitude. I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt though, and came back next year, to get him to sign my copy of The New York Four (which is great mind you), only to see him acting the same way again. It was disheartening to say the least.

All personal experiences aside, the man undeniably is a genius and makes great comics, even if he is a bit of a douche. So of course, I’m totally stoked to see he’s working on a sci-fi title dealing with superpowers. The concept of an athlete discovering their superpowers live on television is A-1 dynamite. A stepping stone that could lead to excellence. It’s the sort of thing where I have to separate Brian Wood the man and Brian Wood the writer, and just take his work at face value for the brilliance it is. You can read more about the actual book here.

The Amazing Spider-Man Ends!

via [ComicsAliiance]

Those of you familiar with me here at GB, know I’m not the biggest Spider-Man fan in the world. I’ve said before time and time again, he’s my least favorite superhero, out of the big ones. Something about him I just can’t relate to, even when I was a teen struggling with… helping my weird Aunt, or responsibility, or some other boring shit.

Dammit, sorry. I promised myself I would try to stay as positive as possible for this part of the article.

Unlike some other people, of course. They see this as an attempt to revise, erase, and forget the legacy and history of their superheroes in favor of a cash grab. But that’s what the movies are for. I see this as a welcome change to the entirely shitty status quo that is Spider-Man.

I remember way back when Spider-Man was 3 different books a month and they decided to cancel the other 2. This of course meant Amazing came out 3 weeks in a row every month. Which forced Dan Slott to write weird, lame stories that amounted to mostly useless filler at best, and at worst, horrible retcon filled bullshit like the fallout from One More Day. Then they started introducing stupid villains like Mr. Negative and Anti-Venom, which the mere thought of, to me, screams UNCREATIVE.

I know, they’ll just print another Spider-Man title, and the re-numbering means nothing, and it’ll just be the same book with a different name, maybe with some new gimmicky team attached, or something or other. I don’t know, and I don’t care. It’s all pointless really, and in the meantime, i’ll just try to pretend like this is the end.

Shit. I failed at being positive didn’t I? Oh well.

[Supascoot here. My opinion varies greatly from Cheesebadger’s. Spider-Man is my favorite (Marvel) hero. I don’t like the end of Amazing, and some of the rumors about Spidey’s direction afterwards (Spidey with Doc Ock Arms… Seriously) aren’t filling me with confidence. I would be more upset, but Marvel already punched my love of Spidey history right in the balls with One More Day. So… whatever. Back to you, Cheese.]

Kirkman and Moore Lawsuits Arrive At Mutual Satisfaction

When I first heard about this, I was pretty shocked to hear about it. It seemed like something out of a bad made for TV movie:

Two buddies make a project together. Project gets big. One buddy gets all the credits, lets the fame change him. Leaves previous buddy by the wayside. Previous buddy asks for due credit and compensation, but is unable to reach his old buddy, as he’s now a megalomaniac monster, drunk on his own fame and power. Lawsuits are made, friendships ruined forever. Tragedy. Roll credits.

Which is more or less the situation with Kirkman and Moore, from my point of view anyway. It seems history has a way of repeating itself, what with this happening between Siegel, Shuster, and DC, or arguably even Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. When it comes to partner projects, it’s hard to tell if even your best friends since childhood, (literally in Kirkman/Moore’s case) can be trusted. Unlike those previous examples however, both Moore and Kirkman came to a resolution that seems to be good for all parties involved. I know I’m not privy to many of the personal details but having suffered from the fallout that can come from collaborating with friends on projects and watching those projects fall through, along with the friendships, this story hit a nerve for me. I’m glad they came to an agreement, but I can’t help believe it was at the cost of their friendship. Potentially anyway, but lord knows neither man will actually actively comment on their personal lives in this manner, because who else but me would care?

Tony Moore cares…

Regardless of how I feel personally on the matter, it’s good to know that credit is given where it is due, and all of the other particulars could be put by the wayside. Unfortunately, The Walking Dead is still a terrible TV show, and I’ve never looked to a new season of a show with regretful disdain more than the upcoming third season. I fully expect it to be shit, especially in contrast to the perpetually great comic book. Hopefully this sort of thing won’t happen again, and the comic won’t be affected in any way, because it’s still my #1 read at the top of my pull list every month, for 4 years straight.

You can read more about the actual details of the lawsuit and the settlement here.

That’s it for this edition of Comic Rack. We’ll see you next week.

Comic Rack: All New X-Force, Possible Return Of Marvelman, & Captain America Is Elected President?

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

Iron Man Gets New Armor.

via [Newsarama]

Frankly this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Iron Man gets a new armor every other week. That dude is constantly fiddling with his armor, always looking to improve or maintain it in some new way. He’s like that kid you knew in school, who kept modifying his toy models, or appliances, until they barely even resembled what they were anymore. Sure man, you added a series of remote-controlled LEDs, spring-loaded shelves, touch sensitive paneling, and an automatic motion sensor, but goddamnit it’s just a TV, now every time I walk by it turns on at max volume, the shelves fly out and I get hit in the calves. Did anyone else know that kid? Do you know what I mean? No? Right. Well regardless, his “new” armor, doesn’t really look that new.

It looks like a bigger, dumber version of his Hulkbuster armor. And we all know how successful that was at busting Hulks. Wait, what’s that? How many Hulks did he bust? Zero? Zero Hulks busted? C’mon Stark, get it together! Stop putzing around with your armor and get your head in the game! I WANT THOSE HULKS BUSTED NOW.

Cerebus Possibly Being Re-printed By Fantagraphics?

via [ComicsAlliance]

When you tell people about Cerebus, it’s one of those things you almost don’t believe. A guy wrote a parody fantasy epic, about an Aardvark, that becomes an example of a fantasy epic that it’s parodying, spirals into a societal and political satire, mutates into an insane polemic, and eventually becomes a document of its own author literally going insane, writing and drawing his own mad ravings into a published comic? So when people tell me they want to read it, I tell them that not only is it all of those things, but it’s incredibly LONG. How long? 300 issues, 6000 pages long. It’s a daunting task to try to read it, and even if you had the will, the books are hare to find, because there’s 13 of them. Even if you did feel like reading the slow, steady descent into madness by a comics writer/artist, you’d be hard pressed to find all 13 for the complete story.

Which is why it’s interesting to hear that Fantagraphics, a publisher long known for their brilliant, eclectic line up of independent comics, has been trying to get Dave Sim to commit to letting it be repackaged and republished. He’s being non-committal at the moment, but seems to be going back and forth on letting it happen, or never allowing it ever. Fantagraphics wants to republish it, hopefully in an attempt to get it into a form that’s a bit more manageable than 13 goddamn thick ass books you could kill a small dog with. If you haven’t read Cerebus, I don’t blame you. It’s dense, it’s weird, and towards the middle it’ll almost definitely offend in one way or another, but if you like insane ideas, concepts, and insane polemic stories that revolve around an animated Aardvark, I suggest you track it down.

Captain America, Our New President!

via [Newsarama]

Yes that’s right. Captain America has been elected into office. Why? I’m not sure exactly, but Sam Humphries, the writer of The Ultimates, has said this:

“Captain America is not going to behave like any other president behaves… He takes the oath of office and barely takes a breath as he goes to hot spots. . . . Cap is out there because he’s so concerned about the state of the Union that he doesn’t have time to think about the State of the Union.”

Which is a statement that the more I read, the less sense it makes. Cap is so worried about us, he can’t worry about us? What kind of backwards motivational logic is that? In no way am I trying to slam Cap. In fact, I think his character is one of the best, and his sense of non-jingoistic, true patriotism, love for civil freedom and all of the things that America should stand for, but currently doesn’t, are what make his character great. In a real life situation, of course I’d elect a man like Steve Rogers for president, but unfortunately, men like him don’t exist. It’s fitting that something like this would only happen in a comic book, because it’s just as realistic as shooting lasers out of your eyes, or having adamantium bones. I have no doubt that Cap will be the president the marvel universe needs, rather than the president the marvel universe deserves, (everything can go back to Batman, FYI), but the thought in and of itself, in a vacuum, is quite humorous. What is he gonna throw his shield around when discussing foreign policy with a bunch of diplomats? Punch a skrull in the face hard enough that Health Care Reform happens?

Plus, Mr. President America doesn’t have the same ring to it, if we’re going by military rank.

Scoot’s Marvel Mashup!

Supascoot, here, I’m jacking some of CheeeeEEEEEeeesssse’s space because I am sickened by his disdain for Marvel and feel the need to represent a little bit. There, I said it. Now I apologize for my aggressive behavior as it’s very un-Canadian of me. Where was I? Right, Marvel stuff. Pretty much all the teasers Cheesebadger told you about last week are explained here. By me.

Cable makes his triumphant return along with a brand new X-Force written by Dennis Hopeless with art by Salvador Larocca and Frank D’Armata. I have always loved Cable, and by extension X-Force. This is good news. And an interesting lineup for the team. Domino (An X-Force Alum) Colossus (De-Juggernauted), and Doctor Nemesis (From the X-Club). It was also the WANTED teaser that was released last week. This makes me assume they are wanted for some reason. They will be hunted by the Uncanny Avengers, who are actually led by Cable’s uncle, Havok.. You gotta love time travel. Would you like to know more?

So what’s to come of Uncanny X-Force? Remender is moving on from the title and a new creative team and story is on its way. Sam Humphries and artist Ron Garney will be bringing us Psylocke and her team of ‘killers’ (yes, this was the KILLERS teaser released last week) in a story that takes place 6 month’s after the end of Remender’s run. On the team will be Storm (not a killer), Puck (Alpha Flight… not a killer), and Spiral (from any tale involving Mojo or Longshot. She’s a killer) with a few additions in the future. It also features the return of Bishop as the villain of the book. Would you like to know more?

Another series by Hopeless and artist Kev Walker will be Avengers Arena. Originally presented as the SURVIVE teaser last week, Avengers Arena is basically Battle Royale with Avenger’s Academy, The Runaways, Darkhawk and more all flung together on Arcade’s Murder island. Sound’s awesome right? Even better? The cover is a homage to Battle Royale, so you can put your nerd claws away and stop telling people they stole the idea. Would you like to know more?

And finally, the LIGHTNING teaser from last week which Badger thought was Punisher and I thought was the Thunderbolts turns out to be… a team of Thunderbolts that feature the Punisher. Put together by the Red Hulk, it also features Elektra, Venom, Deadpool, and a few more to be announced when the issues drop. This sounds like a great team book full of death. Written by Daniel Way with art by Steve Dillon, the team will be, well killing stuff I would assume. Lot’s of stuff. I can’t wait. Check out that cover. Would you like to know more?

That does it for me. You can have your article back now.

Thanks Scoot, but you forgot one teaser. In fact, it’s potentially the most important one of all:

The Return Of MarvelMan?!

Another in a series of teasers for Marvel NOW!, this one is a bit more current. The word on the street, so to speak, was that it was hinting at the return of the fabled Marvelman/Miracleman character. For those unfamiliar, Marvelman was a superhero that had some brilliant stories written by both Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, and for reasons I don’t entirely understand, has been stuck in legal limbo, unable to be re-published for all to enjoy again and again. Issues of the original run are hard to find, and some can be costly, so the thought of bringing back his character, either into the current Marvel Universe, or simply just releasing a trade collection of those seminal Moore/Gaiman stories, would be AMAZING. Unfortunately, that may not be the case, and the teaser is probably having to do with Spider-Man. Current writer Dan Slott has said that what he’s planning to do for Spider-Man #700, will be referred to as the “Most Shocking Book Of 2012”. Considering the teaser, it’s release date of January, which lines up with the time Spider-Man #700 will be coming out, it’s most likely gonna be goddamned Spider-Man. I know, it’s not popular to dislike Spider-Man, but I just find him so uninteresting lately. I liked him a lot when I was younger, so maybe he’s a superhero geared towards the young? Maybe I am just some terrible asshole hater? Either way, if this teaser turns out to be Marvelman, I’d be happy.

I’m gonna copy Scoot’s weird, Starship Troopers/Propagandistic thing here, and say; Would you like to know more?

Comic Rack: Avengers Lineup Grows, Marvel NOW Teasers Baffle Me, & Superman’s H’el on Earth

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

DC New 52 Resets All First Appearances

For a while now, fans have been asking DC just exactly what the new timeline in the NewDCu is, and how it’ll directly unfold. This month, a bevy of “Zero” issues came out, all meant to explain, or give origins to the current DC lineup. Included in these issues is a series of “Who’s Who” listings, giving out character information, backstories, and of course, listing their first appearances. Way back when, for Superman, this would have said Action Comics #1, it now lists Justice League #1 (2011).

via [The Source]

[This] marks the release of the first week of DC Comics’ #0 issues. Each of these special issues is filled with everything from secrets to revelations to origin stories. These will both explain what happened before the launch of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 last summer, as well as plant seeds for future story arcs!

If you’ve already picked up your #0 issues today, you’ve probably noticed that in the back of each book (and now online!) is a Who’s Who entry on a major character in DC COMICS-THE NEW 52. These pages share information such as each character’s first appearance, base of operations, powers, history, and other appearances. Below, check out the list of which character is being spotlighted on each of this week’s releases and be sure to click on their names to read up on who they are!

via [Newsarama]

DC Comics has a new take on their classic “Who’s Who” listings, giving basic details on their characters, teams and concepts. Power Sets, basic origin stories, current affiliations and recent appearances are all included, as they were in the old “Who’s Who” sets. For example, Superman’s entry in Action Comics #0 looks like this:

First Appearance:

Justice League #1 (2011)

Base of Operations:

Metropolis

Powers:

Under a yellow sun Superman is extraordinarily strong in addition to being nearly invulnerable. He can run and fly at incredible speeds and possesses other abilities such as super-hearing, heat vision, x-ray vision, and much more!

Other Appearances:

Batman: The Dark Knight #5-7

Swamp Thing #1

Supergirl #1-3

O.M.A.C. #7

History:

As the planet Krypton exploded and a civilization died, baby Kal-El was rocketed to safety by his parents…

Well, at least they’re committed to going whole hog, and saying that yep, they’re all brand new, and their first appearances were in the books we labeled as #1. Deal with it. I know there’s probably still some old DC fans out there who are hurt, or feel betrayed, or just plain don’t like the New 52. Frankly, I think they ought just get used to it, or keep reading their old stuff. Clearly the New 52 is here to stay, and we just have to hope that everything can be as interesting and cool as Animal Man, Swamp Thing, or Batman.

New Avengers Lineup Grows In Numbers!

Marvel NOW! expands the roster of the Avengers, as lead scribe Jonathan Hickman teases Marvel fans with the full list of Avengers. When will they assemble? WHEN?

via [Newsarama]

Three interlocking covers for Avengers #1-#3 show all six of the movie Avengers — Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye — plus Brian Michael Bendis-era additions Spider-Man, Wolverine and Spider-Woman; along with frequent team members Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) and Falcon.

New to the squad is Cannonball of the New Mutants, along with two unconfirmed characters: One that looks Human Torch-esque (Johnny Storm? Jim Hammond? Or perhaps a slightly tweaked look for Cannonball’s New Mutant buddy Sunspot? [This has since been confirmed]) and a shadowed figure between Captain America and Captain Marvel likely intended to remain a mystery for now (though feel free to speculate — the chest symbols bring to mind Ikaris of the Eternals, maybe?)

In a July interview with Newsarama, Avengers editor Tom Brevoort said that by issue #12 of the relaunched Avengers, the team has an “an active roster of about 18,” indicating that there are around four more members to come not seen in this image. Upon the original announcement of Marvel NOW! two months ago, Entertainment Weekly reported that Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, would be on the team.

Dustin Weaver, who is scheduled to draw an upcoming Avengers arc, illustrated all three covers. Current Fantastic Four and FF writer Jonathan Hickman is launching the new twice-monthly Avengers series in December, and New Avengers with artist Steve Epting in January.

Update: Jonathan Hickman has commented on the covers on Twitter, writing, “Image released today is not the complete roster, we intentionally left off new characters for spoiler reasons.” and “And the roster starts at 18, grows to more.” In later tweets, he disclosed that there are eight more members still to come.

I love Jonathan Hickman. He’s an amazing writer, and one of my favorites of all time. I think his work elevates the medium to heights it’s never been, and captures ideas, concepts and thoughts that utterly fascinate and baffle me in turn. So I’m very conflicted on his tenure at Marvel, because he IS writing great Superhero stories, man, I’d rather he work on his independent, original work. In my opinion it’s more important, in every sense. That’s not to say that his Marvel work isn’t important, I just really REALLY like his original work, and crave it day and night like heroin. Yummy heroin.

Marvel Releases A Series Of New Marvel NOW! Related Teasers

To promote new books, sometimes they’ll pop a teaser ad in the middle of a book that’s popular. It’s a quick way to get people talking and speculating, and it generally creates a buzz for the project, and what it could be. Go on and click each one of the teasers for links back to Newsarama, where people much more knowledgeable than I, give far better analysis and guesses as to their meaning.

Teasers via [Newsarama]

Holy crap there’s a writer whose pen name is HOPELESS? I don’t know if that’s foreboding, ominous, or just badass. Probably all three. Who do I think this teaser is for? I’ve no clue actually. I’ll take a guess and say… Ant-Man? Yep. Ant-Man. Ahem.

People think this one is Deadpool, from the red crosshairs, and they’d have a solid point. An astute reader connect Lightning>Thunder, and come up with Thunderbolts. Who may be persecuted, and thusly have a target on their heads? Since they’re villains? Maybe Deadpool is gonna fight them? In a cage? On fire? During a storm? Brb, writing awesome superhero cage match fanfic.

These two are allegedly linked to the same project, so they’re going together. On my gut instinct alone, this makes me think Punisher. I know folks think that the Lightning one is for Punisher [EDITORS NOTE: My thoughts are of the Thunderbolts for this one], but the words WANTED and KILLER(s) make me think of ol’ Frank. The only thing throwing me off is the plural of KILLERS, so chances are I’m probably wrong.

So while all of my speculation is probably wrong, I’m allowed to dammit. You should go check out each teaser’s article over at Newsarama, if you’re putting money down on this sort of thing. Also, go see someone for your gambling problem.

Geoff Johns Talks About New Arab-American Green Lantern’s Creation.

Considering today is a very important day, I found this interview enlightening and relevant. I think the choice made here to portray an Arab-American by Geoff Johns is gutsy, but bold. It’s also notable that we get just a quick snippet of background history for Baz, who so far we know very little about.

via [SpeakEasy]

Did 9/11 inspire you to introduce a Arab-Muslim character, considering that it plays an important part of Simon Baz’ life?

When we re-launched our universe last year, diversity was a very important of the thinking when introducing characters. When I thought of the story, I had to introduce a new character into the “Green Latern” Corps. There was a lot of thought about his background, and that’s when I came up with the Arab-American “Green Lantern.”

What parts of your own life did you use when creating Baz?

My father is Lebanese so I have some of the cultural experience. I also worked with the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn on the script to make sure it had the authenticity of an Arab-American.

An Arab protagonist seems timely since there is this swirl of social issues that Muslims in post 9/11 America have to deal with.

True. As fantastic as the concept of “Green Lantern” is of an intergalactic police force, the comic has had a history of grounding in the now and dealing with modern characters and concepts and Simon Baz is that. I wanted to create a character that everyday Americans have to deal with.

When 9/11 hit, he was 10-years-old. His family was devastated, just like every other American. He’s grown up in that world. It’s just part of the daily life, the new normal.

The fact that the color green has a historical connection with Islam is probably coincidental but will religion play any part in future stories?

The background is in the DNA of who he is but it doesn’t define who he is. It’s more about a compelling character than anything else.

Geoff Johns is a writer you either love or hate. I’ve heard plenty of hate for him from friends, in real life and on the internet. Fortunately, I love him, and his work. I think he makes great, fun to read, yet not retardedly simple popcorn comics. He’s exactly the kind of guy I think should be working on superhero titles, rather than the Hickman’s of the world. This character he’s created, is a potentially risky step in a good direction, and follows through with the theme of diversity that DC execs touted at the beginning of the reboot of the DCU. I look forward to seeing the new stories with Baz, and hope his lineage, faith, and back story are written respectfully and tastefully by Johns, and any other who will be handling this character. It’s a great opportunity to reach out to the large muslim comics audience that’s out there, who I’m sure are craving some representation on the page.

New Writer For Superman, Introduces New Kryptonian Villain!

Even if it was hell for George Perez, his run on Superman was pretty goddamned boring. So boring, I stopped reading it. Being a big fan of Supes, I’ve been looking for a good point to jump back in, and start reading good Superman stories again. Hearing about a new Kryptonian villain, definitely sounds like the main foundation for the building blocks of a great Superman story.

via [Newsarama]

 Lobdell — already one of the most prolific writers at DC — will take over the Superman title, launching the second year of the iconic hero’s New 52 story with a new villainous threat.

Working with Kenneth Rocafort on art, Lobdell will start his run with this month’s Superman #0, then will take the title into November’s “H’el on Earth” event with Supergirl andSuperboy. The three “Super” characters will deal with a new Kryptonian supervillain named H’el, which Lobdell is introducing.

They then go on to conduct a LONG interview with Lobdell, who goes into detail about his plans, Superman, and what’s coming in store for him come issue #14, with the introduction of H’el. Here’s a choice snippet from the interview:

“Nrama: The “H’el on Earth” storyline that we’re seeing in the Super-books in November features what appears to be a new villain, but he’s got a Bizarro look about him. Is H’el a new take on Bizarro, or something new that you guys created for this story?

Lobdell: In my effort to re-imagine Superman’s villains, I went so far afield in re-imagining Bizarro with Kenneth, that editorial started saying “Um, Scott — this character is so not-Bizarro any more; he’s a whole new character, with new motivation, new history, new look, new origin.  You’re at the point where it doesn’t make any sense to call him Bizarro any more.”

And they were right.  

And for everyone who wonders about the “S” on his chest? It is so far removed from Bizarro or Prime or anyone else that you can relax: By the time this story is over, you’ll see that H’el and Bizarro can exist in the same world.”

You should go and read the whole thing over at Newsarama, because it’s fascinating, and worth the read.

Comic Rack: New JLA, A New Green Lantern, & Jack Kirby’s Birthday!

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

A New Justice League In 2013!

Jim Lee and Geoff Johns have been hitting it off pretty hard with the New 52’s Justice League, a book that’s been breaking sales records in an industry that people thought was growing stagnant. Now with a book that’s selling well and a movie that’s in the works, it’s clear that the Justice League is back to the forefront of fans’ interest. Accordingly, Geoff Johns, DC”s head maestro, is looking to re-debut the more traditionally named Justice League Of America, next year.

Via [GEEK]

“This is a very different kind of team book,” says Geoff Johns in a DC blog post. “On first glance, people might think the heroes of the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA stand in the shadows of Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the JUSTICE LEAGUE, but [they] thrive in the shadows. They’re underdogs who have everything to prove and something to lose. They’re a team of unlikely heroes who will help one another discover they’re as A-List as anybody — yes, even Vibe. Though getting there won’t be easy. Why they’re formed, why each member joins, what they’re after and who the society of villains is they’re trying to take apart will all be clear in the first issue when it hits early 2013. David and I are really focused on delving deep into what it’s like to not be a member of the big seven and why, sometimes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

The roster of heroes to be joining will be Green Arrow, Katana, Martian Manhunter, The New Green Lantern (Baz I presume), Star Girl, Vibe, Hawkman, and Catwoman. Which really does sound like an… eclectic team to say the least. But if there’s one thing that Geoff Johns is good at, it’s making lesser, forgotten, or wayside characters shine and pop like they’re brand new again. Case in point being Aquaman, which is one of my favorite DC books right now, and that in and of itself is a sentence I never thought I’d type. So I’m looking forward to the new JLA, since at the very least, it’ll be interesting to see Green Arrow try to hit on Catwoman.

Invincible’s Spin-Off Finally Looming Into Becoming A Reality.

For a while in 2010, Invincible was probably the best superhero book on the shelves. Not that it’s gotten bad or anything, just the opposite, but back then the Viltrumite War was happening, and that story arc was really kind of the climax of the entire story that Invincible had been building up to. Now it’s rebuilding it’s world, and it’s heroes to that effect, and in doing so, is expanding it’s actual line up by bringing back the Guardians Of The Globe, who fans of the book will remember as the Justice League analogue in the book. A few months ago,the book’s writer, Phil Hester, spoke about the book, and where it falls into place regarding the Invincible Timeline:

Via [Newsarama]

“The Invincible Universe has outgrown its parent title and I’m very excited about being able to tell larger, more in depth stories with some of the key players from that book in this series,” said GUARDING THE GLOBE creator/writer Robert Kirkman, “Phil Hester and Todd Nauck are well known to fans of superhero comics and I think people are fully aware that they’re going to knock this book out of the park.”

I’m interested to see where he takes the heroes we’ve come to know and care about in the Invincible/Image universe, and the idea of seeing Brit back in action sounds pretty great. Best of all, you can even check a 6-Page preview of the book right here.(link)

The New Green Lantern, Baz, Is Arab-American.

I know, for some of you, this shouldn’t mean anything, and good on you for thinking it doesn’t, because it shouldn’t. However, it unfortunately does, and a small section of xenophobic comics fans, whether they want to admit it or not, will have a problem with this.

via [Newsarama]

 “The confirmation comes from an unlikely yet reliable source:  Green Lantern writer and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns is appearing on Sept. 8 at the Arab American National Museum in Detroit to mark the hero’s debut, according to a story in the Detroit Free Press.

The article, which called the hero the “first Arab-American Green Lantern,” is also the first DC confirmation of the character’s name — ‘Baz’.”

Believe me, I want to say that this kind of story should be no big deal, but the fact is that some people will make it out to be. A similar thing happened a long time ago when they had Nightrunner back in 2011 for Batman Inc. Nightrunner was a Muslim character who lived in France, of all places, who was taking up the mantle of Batman there. Unfortunately, the mere fact he was Muslim led people to thinking he was “Terrorist Batman”, (which is literally what Mark Millar does, but that’s neither here nor there), and people judging the character before even reading anything or knowing anything about him, and that’s without that character even BEING Arab or anything. Hopefully, I’m over-speculating, and it’ll be no big deal at all, but I do have to give kudos to Geoff Johns for trying to expand the idea of an establishing the idea that a superhero doesn’t need to be a white person, and having a representation in the book there for the plenty of Arab-American comics fans.

Wait, what? Why are they beating him up? Oh Man…

Uncanny Avengers Spearheads The Lineup of Marvel Now, Marvel Insists It’s Not A Reboot.

Fans of Marvel will have a lot to look forward to in the coming months, as we’ve previously detailed here at GB. But what’s interesting is the basic idea of trying to unite the two different sides of Marvel fandom. One being the Avengers/Marvel U fans, and the other being the longtime X-Men fans. This summer’s big event AvX was an attempt to start this, and really has kicked things off for them to cancel, revamp, and re-begin (I’m trying to avoid the word “re-boot”) certain main titles in the effort to make all X-Men fans, Marvel fans, and vice versa.

via [CBR]

“It’s a team of characters comprised of characters coming both from the Marvel heroes, Avengers side of the fence and characters from the X-Men side of the fence,” said Brevoort. “It’s our cats and dogs in the same pen book.”

Alonso added that part of the major appeal of “AvX” is that it spans the entire Marvel Universe as opposed to just the Avengers, Spider-Man or the X-Men segments — something he hopes will continue with “Uncanny Avengers.” “With ‘Uncanny Avengers,’ you’re going to see a book that’s going to be relevant to both types of fans: the fans who gravitate towards the Avengers and the larger Marvel Universe and fans who are all about the X-Men.”

That’s just one of the main focal points that they’re trying to get across to their fan base, but along with that is their plans to with Marvel NOW! Point One, which is a collection of stories by big name Marvel Creators such as Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuiness, Nick Spencer, Matt Fraction and more.

“Marvel NOW! Point One’ is sort of the kickoff of our entry into Marvel NOW! and also gives a new setup and little taste,” said Brevoort. “Completely all-new stories that are not the first eight pages of the individual books that are involved of a number of new titles that are coming out in the context of a full story. All — I think it’s 50 pages of this thing — are new content by the biggest creators.”

There’s a ton more in the article where they even mention the New 52, and it’s switching of creative teams early on, as an example of what they will NOT be doing. Along with that, there’s the brief mention of digital content codes being included in books priced at $3.99, and a few other tidbits that are all very enlightening about the longterm goals of this re…launch. Ahem. Anyhow, make sure you go back to CBR and read the whole thing, because there are loads more interesting anecdotes from the Marvel VP of Sales and Marvel’s Editors on the whole shebang.

In Case You Didn’t Know Or Forgot, This Week Was Jack Kirby’s Birthday!

August 28th was the day, and if the man was still alive today it would have been his 95th birthday. If for some sick reason you don’t know, Jack Kirby is the one who many believe to be TRULY responsible for the myriad Marvel characters you enjoy, and that the credit is unfairly balanced towards Stan Lee in his stead. Personally, I’ve always loved both, but it is pretty prevalent that Kirby, outside of the comics world, has never gotten the recognition for his work that Lee has. Regardless, Kirby has contributed to the comics landscape with unforgettable, imaginative characters and worlds that are timelessly evocative and creative. He was the guy who brought us Captain America, many of the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, Darkseid, The Fourth World, The Anti-Life Equation, The New Gods, and so many others that we love.

I’m not hating on Stan Lee, but there’s a reason he’s Stan “The Man”, and Kirby is “The King”.

Comic Rack: Marvel Now!, ‘Chew’ Writer Getting His Dark Knight On, And A Vertigo Event?


Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order.

Marvel NOW! is still totally not the NEW 52…

Marvel, not content to see DC’s renewed success with their New 52 lineup, is approaching their status quo in the universe with a focus on relaunched titles, renewed book numbering, and reshaping the entire current landscape of the Marvel Universe. The idea, as far as I can tell, is that the new books are meant to jump start things in a new direction, without actually rebooting anything a la DC. All the insistence of the whole thing not being a reboot seems a bit pedantic to me, but I understand that they’re trying really hard to differentiate from DC in their objective. While it sounds fishy at first, the main distinction is that old continuity will NOT be forgotten, effectively making the whole re-launch just a company wide creative shake up. A few notable creative teams being moved around were listed on CBR:

“Uncanny Avengers” by Rick Remender and John Cassaday starring a team composed of Captain America, Wolverine and others from the company’s two powerhouse franchises battling the mutant-hating Red Skull.

“All New X-Men” by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen realigning the mutant team in the wake of “AvX” as the original five X-Men are mysteriously brought to the present day. This title will launch in November.

“Avengers” by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena, which is light on specific details aside from a roster of 18 heroes in a bi-weekly comic that seems to be Hickman-esque rethinking of the Avengers core mission in the vein of the writer’s “Fantastic Four” run.

Along with that, is also a number of titles coming to a conclusion, to make way for other newer titles, or similarly titled relaunches of the same books. A list of the series ending this October, comes from Newsarama:

Captain America, The Mighty Thor, Incredible Hulk, Invincible Iron Man, Fantastic Four, FF,Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants and X-Men Legacy are all ending in October…

It kinda goes without saying though, that the lot of those will get picked back up by other creative teams and go on. Most comic fans I’ve talked to don’t seem too excited about the relaunch, or what is going on in Marvel NOW.  The main sentiment is that they’ve done this re-numbering thing a bunch of times, and don’t see how this is any different. While there ARE certain differences, what with creative focuses being changed, the cosmic characters coming into a larger limelight, and Uncanny X-Men flat out ending, I’m finding it hard to exactly say WHY this relaunch was warranted, other than “DC did a reboot, lets copy it but not really”. Marvel has never really had the weird, long, confusing continuity problems DC had, and while sure, it had it’s share of inconsistencies and retcons, it was nowhere near as broken as DC.

I suppose the good thing is that all the new Marvel fans from the movies will be happy that they’re soon get a solid jumping on point. I remember a friend of mine who loved the Iron Man movie but never read a Iron Man comic before, and when he entered a comic shop, was utterly confused and overwhelmed by the 5 different Iron Man titles going on at that time. And who could blame him? Getting into comics is hard for a newbie, but Marvel better stick to its guns, because you can’t just re-number everything every two years and pretend like you’re making it “easier” for new readers to jump on. Marvel Now! is a good idea, just like the New 52 was a good idea, but they gotta commit.

For more Marvel Now! news, head over to CBR.

‘Chew’ Writer John Layman Brought On For ‘Detective Comics’!

I once had the pleasure of meeting John Layman at my LCS before Chew really blew up as the success it now is, and can say he is absolutely a completely nice guy, and a bit of a nut bar. While he’s known for his sense of humor, what with the very funny Chew and Mars Attacks, I believe a guy like him can definitely hold his own in a dramatic workspace. I’ve long advocated that Comedy and Drama are two sides of the same coin, and that the talent needed to be good at one is the same needed to be good at the other. While some may balk at the idea of a silly, less serious Batman at the hands of Layman, his recent interview with CBR points otherwise:

CBR: Batman, traditionally, is a pretty straight shooter. I mean, he’s the Dark Knight for a reason. “Chew” and “Mars Attack” are both really funny. Are you bringing the bwa-ha-ha to “Detective”?

Layman: It’s not going to be a comedy and I am not going to treat the character with disrespect, but I don’t think it’s going to be as heavy as some of the other series. Scott Snyder does fantastic Batman stories, but he’s got more of a horror writer background and it shows. This is a delicate question. I don’t want it to sound like I am making Batman into a wuss, but I would like to concentrate on more of the detective part of the character. I want to make very smart, surprising stories and make them a little bit more adventure-y rather than horror.

CBR: And if you go back to early Bob Kane Bruce Wayne/Batman, that’s what he was. “The World’s Greatest Detective.”

Layman: But that’s not to say that I’m going to make it goofy. I just don’t think the body count will be as high. I don’t know. I am just going to have some fun and be true to Batman.

Now I love my Scott Snyder horror style Batman, but I’ve LONG loved to see Batman portrayed as the Super Sleuth he used to be. It’s even one of my few criticisms of Nolan’s Batman from the films. Batman’s super power is his mind, he’s there with a plan for everything, and is always 10 Bat-Steps ahead of everyone else at every moment. Too many people focus on his darkness and brooding and forget what range his character can really have, and seeing Layman specifically mention he wants to make surprising, lighter adventure stories, is a breath of fresh air. Plus, if we’re lucky, we’ll get to see Joker be funny again. Darkly humorous Joker is the best Joker, by far. Go Layman!

DC Execs Hint at Vertigo Event!!!

DC right now has a pretty big ball rolling. They’ve got the Third Army/Green Lantern Event, The Swamp Thing/Animal Man crossover, and Before Watchmen all going at once in the concurrent months ahead. Not content to be settled with just that though, they’ve gone and subtly hinted that yet another event is planned, this time to be revealed at the SDCC Vertigo Panel (we’ll have more on this later), which I now really wish I was attending.

Nrama: Are there any plans for an event related to the Vertigo line? It seems like that line is being left out of the excitement with all this New 52 stuff.

Wayne: You should definitely check out our Vertigo panel in San Diego next week. My colleague, Mr. Cunningham, is going to moderate, but I’ll be in the back.

Nrama: So for those of our readers who aren’t going to San Diego, are you saying there’s an announcement about an event coming during the Vertigo panel? And I did say “event,” which you didn’t correct, so you’re going along with that word?

Wayne: We’re not going to tell you any more than that. [Newsarama]

What could that mean? What exactly would a Vertigo event entail? Are we gonna get John Constantine fighting that I, Zombie girl? Or holy hell, is The Unwritten going to crossover into main DC continuity, and create the biggest double reverse mega-meta-mind f*** of all time? I’ve no clue what they could be meaning by a potential Vertigo event, but hot damn am I curious. My mind is reeling with possibilities, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Black Lightning & Blue Devil Make Their New 52 Appearance!

Supascoot here, treading on other people’s articles again. While there are a lot of characters who have yet to show up in the New 52, news has recently been released that brings two longtime heroes into the New 52. But there’s a twist. it looks like the two heroes are actually going to be a new duo premiering in the pages of DC Universe Presents written by Marc Andreyko with art by Robson Rocha. CBR sat down with Andreyko for the full scoop:

CBR News: I understand you’re using both Black Lightning and Blue Devil. My first question then is the most basic one: what is your story about and why use these two characters?

Marc Andreyko: Well, the story originated after WonderCon; I was at Disneyland with [DC Comics Co-Publisher] Dan DiDio, and we were talking and he mentioned the concept of Black and Blue — Black Lightning and Blue Devil. This was just in passing as we were waiting in line for rides, and then I kept bugging him about it and the ideas just started flying. It’s a grand tradition in entertainment, literature and films of two people who are complete opposites becoming friends in spite of themselves, whether it’s Maddie and David on “Moonlighting” or Felix and Oscar on “The Odd Couple,” or even Bert and Ernie on “Sesame Street!” So the idea of taking these two characters, one who was explicitly magic-based and one who was explicitly not, added metaphorically to the differences they had. The book is taking place in Los Angeles, and we’re not starting with an origin story. We’re starting with these guys having already been established. It’ll leave unanswered questions to how they got where they are, which I always find interesting. Most of us don’t pick up comic books with the very first issue, at least originally. You start in the middle of the storyline and then you fill in the details retroactively as you go. I think that adds to the intricacy and interest of a character.

Now you said that the two are essentially an odd-couple pairing — how do they work as foils for each other?

In the story, personality-wise, Jefferson Pierce is an Olympic-level athlete, so for him the training and discipline begets power, whether that’s athletic power or honing his lightning skills. Magic to him is kind of foreign because magic tends not to be from A to B to C — magic is sometimes A to C and then all around. So Blue Devil’s very powers are contrary to the way Jefferson thinks and the way Jefferson lives his life. Jefferson is a very focused guy. You have to be to be an Olympic athlete. You have to have discipline and training. Dan comes from a Hollywood family and has always been this kind of guy who glides through life, taking jobs when he needs them and then, when the money runs out, taking another one. Magic sort of extrapolates on his persona. The conflict there is both personality-wise and super-powers.

The original Blue Devil was a Hollywood stuntman who was magically fused to his suit. In your take on him, are you losing the lighter, comedy aspect to his character?

Oh no, not at all! These guys are definitely Riggs and Murtaugh from “Lethal Weapon.” No, Dan is definitely the lighter one, the jokey-er one. Once again, going back to another pop culture reference, he’s Bruce Willis to Black Lightning’s Cybill Shepherd — without the romance!

Then what is the tone of the story overall? Is this going to be a light-hearted buddy comedy? A more serious superhero story?

The answer to that is actually yes to both. I don’t think one excludes the other. For me, the best dramas always have moments of comedy in them because they allow you to diffuse some of the intensity and dire things that happen. If something is too grim all the way through, it becomes white noise, and if it’s too comedy, it feels superficial. The comedy in these stories comes organically from the characters and the situations they’re in; there aren’t going to be pratfalls and cream pies or that sort of thing. It’s not putting jokes in and reverse engineering a story out of them — it’s the jokes and comedy coming out of story itself. There will definitely be stakes and high drama and there will definitely be tragedy involved, but once again I think having lighter moments only add to the intensity of more serious moments.

Definitely an interesting take on the characters, and it leads us to believe that with the de-aging of Black Lightning his two grown up hero daughters (Thunder & Lightning) will have no place in the New 52. I was never a huge fan of Blue Devil, but Black Lightning has certainly always been at the forefront of the DC Universe, and I am looking forward to reading more on the new versions.

A ‘Death Of The Family’ For Batman?

One thing that even the most avid anti-DC fan has to admit, is that they’ve been pulling off entertaining Batman stories. You could argue about which are the best, but generally I think everyone agrees that as of now, Scott Snyder has been knocking Batman out of the park. His run on Batman has been gripping, creative, and really creepy with each issue, and it only looks like it’s gonna ramp up considerably with his planned Joker centric story arc, “Death Of The Family.” Back in Detective Comics #1, we saw Joker willingly lose his face to the Dollmaker, and in subsequent issues be kept as a bizarre relic, pinging with ominous foreshadowing every time It was shown again. Now we’re going to finally get some payoff from that incredible moment, and Scott Snyder’s excellent blend of creepy sauce and creativity is gonna give us a Joker that we’re all dying to see. Snyder talks about his take on Joker, over at CBR:

CBR News: The last we saw of Joker in the New 52, he had literally gotten his face peeled off by Dollmaker, and the promo image for your storyline showcases his skinned face. Is the peeling off of the Joker’s face going to be touched on and explained in your story?

Scott Snyder: That’s an element you’ll definitely see addressed and explained and built on in this story. When Tony [Daniel] was working on that, he brought it up to me and I knew there was a story that I wanted to tell with Joker that would trail out of that. So that’s something that will play a big part in terms of Joker’s look, but also his whole psychology.

CBR: Let’s talk about that psychology, because Joker’s been everything from an evil mastermind to someone who is absolutely, clinically insane. What’s your take on the Clown Prince of Crime?

Snyder: For this story, we really wanted this to be Joker at his most unleashed and vengeful; this Joker has an axe to grind and a point to prove. He’s gone away for a year for a very deliberate reason. During that year, he sort of set all of his traps and sharpened his knives and he’s ready to come back to Gotham and make his point to Batman and the Batman family. He has a very strong mission in mind and he’s very passionate about what he wants to prove to Batman this time around, and it’s really twisted and dark and unpleasant.

While that’s one of the more interesting parts from the interview, the whole thing is totally worth reading. The story arc’s title is also certainly ominous as well, as the ‘Death Of The Family’ probably isn’t a literal title, but more figurative. Will the Joker drive a wedge between the established pantheon of Batman and Co? I imagine if so, it’ll cross over into Batman Inc as well. The whole thing has me asking questions and eagerly anticipating the book to come out already, so I can get my grubby mitts on it and read it. All in all guys, it’s looking like a great year ahead for Batman fans.

And that’s it for this edition of Comic Rack! You can read more here!
Check back soon for the CCI 2012 edition of Comic Rack!