Monday, February 26, 2018

SWEET AS: DC Comics' Top 5 May 2018 Solicitations

When we Kiwis find something we like, we say it's 'Sweet as'. When I look at all of DC Comics May 2018 solicitations, these five comics make the 'Sweet As' grade:

ONE) (Spoiler warning) The return of Hunter Zolomon - Zoom, in the pages of the recent Flash Annual was crazy cool. In May, The Flash War kicks off in The Flash #47, as The Renegades - a futuristic police force in combat gear that resembles The Flash's greatest rogues - come to arrest Iris West for the murder of the Reverse Flash. Pitting sidekick against mentor, Barry Allen vs Wally West!

Tyler's cover for May's Green Arrow #40 is going to smash it on the stands!
2) Jeez, I hope Andy Kubert stays on art chores for New Challengers, long past the initial storyline - that is a creator/concept match made in heaven! In May's #1, five strangers are given a second chance at life, only if they execute missions impossible in the most unexplored corners if the multiverse. Written by Scott Snyder, you know these new Challengers of The Unknown are going to be good!

3) Working out a truce after their existence long civil war is the name of the game in Mister Miracle #9, however Scott Free trusts Kalibak and his minions less off the battlefield than he did on it - meaning deadlier risks need to be taken.

4) Dan Jurgens recent run on Action Comics has been INSANE in ways that make his legendary last super-stint pale in comparison. From Zod and the Superman Revenge Squad to Lois Lane going rogue for her father - it has been amazing stuff.

Sadly, it comes to an end in this month's Action Comics Special #1, as Lex Luthor's transformation into a hero is tested, when he alone has the ability to save Superman from an unimaginable foe! Which way will he act? Plus stories by Francis Manapul and others. 48 pages.

5) I love the sound of the upcoming Suicide Squad story-arc 'Constriction'! Kicking off in May's #41, Batman breaks Deadshot out of Belle Reve to save his daughter from Kobra. Only Amanda Waller's not having it, and sets out to get the man who never misses back. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

SWEET AS: Marvel Comics' Top 5 May 2018 Solicitations

When we Kiwis find something we like, we say it's 'Sweet as'. When I look at all of Marvel Comics May 2018 solicitations, these five comics make the 'Sweet As' grade:

ONE) May is meant to be the launch of Marvel's "Fresh Start" initiative, however, all the relaunched titles announced for May already feel like a continuation of the same things currently threatening to condemn the former House of Ideas, except for Black Panther #1. While the African super-hero, T'Challa will always be a grassroots warrior to me, the idea that he is about to discover a galactic empire founded in his name, really opens up the door for some cosmic ideas - just don't tell Vader! 40 pages.

2) Darkhawk is back! As THE title I collected in the 90's, seeing Darkhawk back in action automatically opens my wallet. Hopefully before this miniseries Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk 
concludes, NYPD officer, Chris Powell's war with the alien army of the Fraternity of Raptors will see plenty of old faces like Lodestone, Savage Steel and Portal return too!

3) Invincible Iron Man #600 will be writer Brian Michael Bendis's last work for Marvel, before bolting for DC, and like when he left Daredevil, he (and an all-star team of artists) are throwing down a challenge for the incoming team to take up and get out of - launching a brand new major villain! Who will be Iron Man when the dust clears? 56 pages.

4) The final fate of the Fantastic Four is revealed as the mini-series, Marvel 2-In-One comes to a close. Boy, this Jim Cheung-drawn series has been great - especially in getting The thing to sound like him old self again. The answer will probably be spoiled online first, but still pick this issue up for prosperity. It'll be worth it.

5) Ever since Superman had Bizzaro, super-heroes have needed their evil counterpart. Domino, X-Force's ultimate soldier of fortune, gets hers in #2 in May from writer, Gail Simone.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

GREAT KRYPTON! Why I'm Excited for The Superman Takeover of Brian Michael Bendis

Krypton exploded this week when all-star DC signing and former Marvel maestro, writer Brian Michael Bendis announced he will be taking over both of DC's Superman books post the landmark Action Comics #1,000, creating new characters and a new status quo for not just the cast of The Daily Bugle, but Metropolis itself.

As a guy whose personal email address has been thedanofsteel@... since I was 13, any big Superman changes ricochet around my brain like a speeding bullet. That said, here's why I think Brian is not only the right man for Lois but the one to ensure the super-titles leap even taller buildings than ever before.

1) The Daily Bugle The world's most famous fictional media will undoubtedly become a proper home to investigative journalism under Brian's pen. As a guy who works with media by day, it always gets me when The Daily Planet is treated as a mere romantic backdrop rather than a source of plots, drama and contemporary stories.

The classic Fleischer Superman cartoons of the 40's are my definitive Superman adventures (if you haven't watched them, most are now on YouTube). Heavily based on what role the freedom and reporting of the press played in wartime America, there is no doubt that the role of the press in today's society would be equally as addictive.

In doing so, a revitalised Planet would also finally, and truly define Lois Lane as a reporter and not an appendage. Gotham Central was an award-winning series set on the cast of Gotham's police department. Lois could show Commissioner Gordon what a Pulitzer means and how modern justice amongst the greys of truth can be still be found, especially when it evades conventional channels.

2) A Runaway Locomotive. Right from the start, Brian says two of the "huge bombs" he has planned will drop in the ten-page story he is doing with artist Jim Lee, within Action Comics #1,000. Then before his monthly run continues, he will dovetail into a weekly six-issue miniseries titled Man Of Steel launching May 30, which promises to not reboot the super-verse, but deliver in its final issue the biggest super-changes since Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Artists heavily involved in defining the new Metropolis as a city of tomorrow include Ivan Reis, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Ryan Sook, Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes, and the incomparable Jason Fabok.

3) José Luis García-López
José is DC's Jack Kirby - it's his artistic take on their library of characters that will eternally define how many fans see their heroes, and as you can see in the banner to this story, no character is as defined by his work than Superman.

From making the spit curl on his forehead work to the way he always drew the cape as if it was a character in itself, José made Superman look like a hero who enjoyed being a super-hero. There were no grimaces. In the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie, Kal-el saves a cat from a tree, defining Superman as the hero who helped those in need - regardless of scale. If it was a crisis to you, it was a crisis to him, and José's Superman gives that feeling. The artist will come out of semi-retirement to work with Brian on a key short story in DC Nation #0 on May 2nd.

4) A New Dark Side. Superman has one of the most underrated yet awesome rogue's galleries in comics. Solaris, Cyborg Superman, Brainiac, Doomsday, Gog, Metallo, Parasite, Bizarro, Lex Luthor, Faora-Ul, Superboy Prime, Manchester Black, Queen Bee - the list is extensive, yet many (directors included) fail to see past Luthor's shiny bald head.

Bendis's mandate on Kal-El to bring in new threats, support cast, heroes and foes will soon restore power to the bright lights of this gallery and put new pieces on the wall, including with a new major foe with ties to Kal's origins. From there the wickedness looks set to spill over into both the epic-focussed Superman title (relaunched from #1 July 11th) and the more Metropolis-defining Action Comics, which continues with #1,001 on July 25th and reaches skyward.

5) An Act of Creation. Not only have DC given Brian a license to let his imagination run rampant through the streets of Metropolis, the Bottled City of Kandor and whatever other DC locations he wishes to touch on or revisit, they are also giving him space to flex his indie comic muscles, backed by the full might of the DC marketing machine.

This partnership will hopefully encourage more fresh ideas into at least one of the big two publishers, and stop creators feeling like they are taking up time on legends for rent, rather than productively contributing to those legends' expansion. Brian, as part of his deal, gets to move all his previous and future creator-owned material such as Powers and Scarlet to DC, and create his own Young Animal/Marvel Knights-ish imprint, offering his vision of new and established DC Characters (fingers crossed here for Dial 'H' For Hero). Good stuff DC!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

SWEET AS: Marvel Comics' Top 5 April 2018 Solicitations

When we Kiwis find something we like, we say it's 'Sweet as'. When I look at all of Marvel Comics April 2018 solicitations, these five comics make the 'Sweet As' grade:

ONE) I wish Marvel would stop returning to old Marvel incrementally, and just do a big month event and get it over with. Blame it on Kang or someone. It's sad to read through the listings of the most famous comic brand on the planet, and the main thing that pauses your pulse is the latest range of True Believer $1 reprints, which in April, feature Thanos's key appearances. These include Infinity Gauntlet #1, Infinity War #1, and Rebirth of Thanos which represents Silver Surfer #34.

2) With Deadpool 2 about to make her a household name, there are no surprises that Domino falls into her own series in April. While I'm surprised the book has writer Gail Simone at the helm, over someone more Ed Brubaker-ish in terms of style, Grant Morrison once opened my eyes to this character's potential in the pages of New X-Men and Gail could easily do the same.

3) Frank Castle would never wear a suit of armour. His war against crime is an arsenal of guns, rope and everyman items - but stick him in armour and you loose that. In The Punisher #223 Frank's War Machine armour finally gets beaten down, and he has to go "old school" to survive. THAT is the Punisher.

4) Rebirth-ish storyline No Surrender concludes in Avengers #690 in April and promises that those left standing will step forward to usher in a new age. But who? Judging from that variant cover on the left, I'd say they have the first member right - or is it Cap's final farewell?

5) Two of the Fantastic Four's greatest foes stand seconds from destroying the multiverse and only The Thing and Human Torch stand between them and victory. So what else is new? The return of the Fantastic Four continues here in Marvel 2-In-One #5.