DC Rebirth #1 – It Was Already Spoiled

DC Rebirth: pretty much the entire thing has been released in previews. Which is a little sad, I was really hoping for something of substance. Instead it was a quick rehash of what led to the last reboot, and why this “new threat” may or may not need to be dealt with.

Spoilers if you haven’t read the previews or seen any screenshots from them….

Wally West returns! One of the two characters I was really waiting for (Cassandra Cain was the other) is now back and is trying to warn of what really happened in the aftermath of The Flashpoint.

Most interesting panels to me were Pandora’s panels- she really did know and was right all along! And paid the price.

Putting “The Watchmen” now as a part of the DCU proper is an interesting choice; more interesting than bringing in the Vertigo characters. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but it’s interesting that Manhattan is described as more powerful than anything in the current DCU.

Marvel vs Me (on Captain America)

Some people get invested in movies, other in characters on shows, I do for characters in books and comics.

Within a few months of “The New 52” launching I cut my pull list in half. With the Captain America issue that came out today I’m probably going to start cutting back on Marvel in the coming weeks- Amazing Spider-Man has been on the verge of shark jumping, and the book I had been looking forward to (Captain America: Steve Rogers) did just jump the shark in a big way.

The hardest part of reducing my comic buying is the impact it has on my local comic book shop- that’s less issues that they’re going to sell, and if I’m less interested in going that also mean less “other” purchases from me.

Here’s to hoping that things get better…

Comic Pull List – 2015 Start

Not a lot has changed from last year. Though I did drop all of the Hulk books since they got a little “meh” as time went on. New Warriors from Marvel came and went, it was a good little series I’m sad to see it go. These are all down from my monthly high in 2012; now I get less on a week to week basis, but I’ve been supplementing with more trades. As I make new storage options for the books I may go back up and get more of the “indie” stuff now that most of the IDW, Boom!, etc stuff I was reading ended.

DC

  • Batman
  • Batman & Robin
  • Batman: Detective Comics
  • Batman: Eternal
  • The Flash
  • Grayson
  • Future’s End
  • Deathstroke
  • Batgirl (Trades)

Marvel

  • X-Force
  • Amazing Spider-Man
  • Hawkeye (Trades)
  • Moon Knight (on the cusp…I miss Declan)

Other

  • Transformers
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

What do I want to see from comics in 2013?

Over the last few months I’ve tried to think about what I want to see in comics. What I’ve discovered is that if I get what I want then I’m missing out on the surprises from all these creators. Books like Mara wouldn’t be as much of a shock if I just got what I wanted. But there are a few things here and there and a small bit of returns that I’d like to see happen.

The Firefly comics have been good and I wish Shepard Book’s story had been longer. I would like to see more stories that are just as engaging. Speaking of the book Mara, I’d like to see more random stories like that; we don’t just need things in the super-hero universes. Though in that universe I’d like to see more Bruce Banner, less “the other guy” and more John Stewart on the DC front. Gritty and dark get thrown around a lot, but at this point I’d like to see that with a bit more realism; even people with horrible luck don’t have everything go wrong at every turn.

I’d like to see Darkwing Duck and Farscape comics come back. Both were amazing and a joy to read. Cassandra Cain is the last of the Bat-family that I miss having around; she’s my favorite Batgirl and member of Batman Incorporated, shouldn’t be that hard to bring her back around.

Speaking of Batman, I’d like to see him being a detective more often. I know “Detective Comics” is supposed to be that part, but it seems less cerebral and more action oriented. Due to my age “Batman: The Animated Series” is the quintessential Batman to me; not the comics one. I’m not sure if that’s blasphemy or not, but it is what it is and makes me want the “all knowing” Batman and more Bruce Wayne in general.

My Favorite Robin(s)

In sync with the rankings I’ve been thinking about recently, here are the Robin’s (not including what they did afterwards) in my favorite order.

  1. Tim Drake
  2. Dick Grayson
  3. Damian Wayne
  4. Stephanie Brown
  5. Jason Todd

In many ways I think I like Tim because he’s the one I can relate the most to. He’s not the most physical, but he makes do; he’s not the most charismatic, but can get people to listen; doesn’t have the pedigree to be a street fighter; is a guy; is the best with computers of the bunch. He is the detective, and the one that tries to get people to just get along by showing them how to do it.

Dick Grayson is the original and in many ways the template for all the future Robins to follow. Everything about him is what I thought I wanted to be as a kid: athletic, handsome, charismatic, care free. As I grew older I realized that’s not me, and that’s probably for the best, there’s enough of those. Around the same time I started reading the stories with Tim and he is my Robin for the reasons above. But actually going back and reading some of the Robin stories from before, and the Teen Titans books, Grayson does a damn bang up job.

it wasn’t until a very recent issue in the New 52 that I started to like Damian; he went from brat to Robin in one teary frame. As Robin he does a great job balancing the physical prowess needed and the detective work that makes the dynamic duo work so well.

Stephanie’s run was short lived, but memorable in many ways, and not for how it ended to me. She was Tim’s girlfriend so she always knew she had someone to talk to about it, and an ally when Batman was being “a sour puss” to her. She was the flawed Robin, the one who never quit took it seriously in all reality, even though she thought she took it the most serious.

Jason seemed whiney, defensive, and a very odd choice for the Batman to allow to carry on and not just ship off to some corner of the world of dump off at Titan Tower. Something about him as Robin never settled right. In reading through some of the more recent Damian stories I wonder if that’s who Jason was supposed to be written like and why they’ve had so many great moments together. But as a Robin, Jason never seemed to quite “get it together” for me to like in that role.


Post Robin Order

  1. Tim Drake
  2. Dick Grayson
  3. Jason Todd
  4. ??? (fate unknown)
  5. Stephanie Brown

I own the complete Red Robin series from just before the relaunch. Grayson is just one of my favorite characters, and Nightwing has always been written so well. Jason was wishy washy but is now a very solid character in his own right, I look forward to Red Hood every month now. Stephanie displaced by favorite Batgirl (Cassandra) so she goes at the bottom. Damian we don’t know yet, so he gets a place holder at four.

What I’m Reading – 2013.02 Edition

My current reading is very DC heavy; the Bat Family of characters are still some of my favorite characters in all of comic-dom…really wishing Cassandra Cain would come back, she’s actually been my favorite Batgirl and heroine of the DC line. One of these days I should write up on all the Robins and Batgirls given that Grayson and Drake are two of my favorite characters period. I like the idea of Batman, and the animated version will always be the definitive version for me; right now, in print, that is not the Batman we have, this one is a bit more confused about who is and if he’s the great detective or not. More confusing to me has actually been liking Jason Todd, I’m still not sure how I feel about all of that but I’m sure I will in a couple months.

I’m quite sad Deathstroke is on the chopping block; I hope it’s because they told the stories they wanted and not because a certain writer/artist killed so much of it for everyone.

The breakout comic for me in The New 52 has been The Flash; the first story arc was a bit lame, but after the rogues were re-introduced and going in to the Annual last year things have been on hyperactive overdrive ever since. It’s made me want to pick up the series every month so I now do.

Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are currently some of the best stuff coming out every month; they remind me what comics were really about and why the Scarlet Spider series got me in to buying and collecting so long ago: they tell a story that examines everything around us but through lens that isn’t our own.

Every once in a while there’s a mini series that really gets my attention, recently this has been Comeback a story about time travel, ethics, and policing a time stream. On the mini series front the Borderlands tie ins have been really good, too!

Marvel has been in a weird spot for me for a while. I love the characters, but the recent stories for me have just been “meh” aside from X-Force the last couple years. The New X-Men intrigues me a little, but I can’t see myself trying to get the entire run and I will probably stop picking it up every month soon. In all that there’s one book that really caught; not FF, Iron Man, “Superior” Spider-Man, or even Deadpool: Indestructible Hulk. Assuming they can keep the book about Bruce more than “the other guy” it will be the Hulk book I always wanted, they already showed how smart the man really is and I hope they keep that part of things up.

[DC]
Batman
Red Hood and the Outlaws
Nightwing
The Flash
Teen Titans
Deathstroke
Batman & Robin

[Marvel]
The Indestructible Hulk
All New X-Men

[Other]
TMNT
Transformers

[Mini Series]
Comeback
Borderlands

“Superior” Spider-Man #1

Spoilers warning: this article contains spoilers for Superior Spider-Man.

If I wanted a dark, edgy, action Spider-Man I’d go back to buying Venom…that said, lets look at this a little bit.

Otto is, seemingly, fully in control of Parker’s body; he’s even finally giving back in to his relationship with MJ (finally). As we see Otto pulling out more stops than Peter usually we did we get a glimpse at what a Spider-Man that had bought Batman comics would do in terms of preparation. He’s taking cues from Tony Stark with the over the top, paparazzi, press filled take down. We also see something that more like Peter-Sense than Spidey-Sense: Otto stops his retreat to save a police officer. This crops up again before Otto can kill a man: Parker is a Force-ghost who stops Otto’s arm! This ghost has a moment where he notes that he is thinking about taking back control; so there’s one ace up the sleeve to bring Peter back, what others do they have?

Given the hype of this issue I thought there would be a lot more “meat” to it; but instead it reads like a normal, plodding and sparse number one issue, introducing us once again to characters. In that respect, it’s a great jumping on point to Marvel Now!

Comics in review

Next month I’ll be doing a full posting on my current pull list and some more on the reasons for those books; while it’s still January, another retrospective piece on how things got to now for me in the world of graphical goodies.

DC New 52 Fun in Review

Flashpoint got me back in to buying comics; Batman kept me reading. The low point of the year was a certain artist getting a hold of Deathstroke and taking him in a weird direction for a few months; which was rebounded later in the year and with T7. The Court of Owls was, interesting, and lead to the fun that is Talon. There were some other major story lines, but the big zero month did a good job of keeping the overall momentum going. Possibly most surprising was finding myself actually liking Jason Todd, not as much as Tim (needs his own book already) or Dick (best solo book right now for me), but more than I thought I ever would.

One of the most interesting moments in my DC collecting came when I realized that I had cut all the female books from my pull list; this isn’t all that surprising since there’s not a lot of the female characters in print form that I enjoy. In the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) I could use another few episodes of Wonder Woman, or Barbra Gordon doing her thing. Then I started to think about what would happen if I had a daughter who wanted to join in reading with me? This caused me to check up on all of the other characters that I had neglected since issues six; of all the books the one that captivated my attention the most was Batgirl (given it’s the Bat Family that I enjoy the most not too surprising), so I’m now caught up on those.

The New 52 has continued to be a great source of awesome and frustration for me; there’s a point of pride in knowing that many years of history and lore! That many years is fine and great, but when it stifles new stories it loses its appeal; these new starts and not worrying about any real past status quo has started to grown on me and I’m enjoying them a lot.

Marvel When?!

Moving on to Marvel there wasn’t much I enjoyed in the year; Schism was a bit of a flop for me, as was Avengers vs X-Men. But then came the All New X-Men, a big Spider Man event (more on that later) and now an Indestructible Hulk! The X-Men title may have spilled in to this year but its first few issues were in 2012; putting Beast made me very happy, giving him another new look after all these years was a good touch, too. Dr. McCoy and Logan have been my favorite X-Men since I was a little kid, but there’s been a little much of Logan in the world recently, more Hank can only be fun and exciting.

The Hulk has, historically, been at the bottom of character I like to read. The first issue of the new Hulk book changed that all for me. It came out right after I watched The Avengers again wishing for some more highlights of Bruce Banner in the comics; low and behold that’s exactly what I got! I’ve temporarily added it to my pull list for the beginning of this year, but it was a great way to cap off 2012 unlike the next event…

The comic series that got me in to comics in the first place all these years ago was a guy named Ben Reilly who took over for a certain web slinger of historic proportions. Sadly, this only lasted a few issues, but was my real introduction into reading and collecting comics; to the point where I asked for the Epic Ben Reilly collections for Christmas this year. Being burned so badly by his death (his portrayal as the Scarlet Spider before Peter stepped down is still some of my favorite moments in comics books) I wasn’t totally sold going in to this whole “Death of Spider-Man” thing. In the end, I very much don’t buy it; Peter’s memories aren’t powerful enough to make Otto just change on the spot given he’s still the dominate personality in that body. I’m not going to comment on the longevity as I’m not too worried about that, but I will comment that the end of Amazing doesn’t make me want to pick up Superior.

Locke and Key Open The Moon or how I leaned to cry when reading a comic book

While this may have come out in 2011, I didn’t read it until 2012 and was the most surprising thing I read all year. Not only did it serve as my introduction to the series it made me cry. I don’t cry over much, I get it out once a year on my late grandfather’s birthday; but that comic made me cry darn it. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it now…

Transformers, Turtles, and Manga!

The new Transformers books are better than I thought they would be; “Regeneration One” feels expected most issues, but that’s not a bad things. “More Then Meets The Eye” and “Robots In Disguise” feel like people who really liked all the animated series, and had a couple toys they wish had more screen time, got together and pushed the bounds of what a Transformers story should be. From characters physical transformations to a very cool time travel issue these books kept my captivated for the year.

Another large part of my child hood revolved around the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which leaked in to my adulthood given the name of the site this is hosted on. The Micro-Series issues focusing on one character that’s not a Turtle is a great idea; it’s what I wish other companies would do instead of trying to give a character a solo book. One full issue to completely focus on one character, what makes them tick, why they are the way they are, and just leave it at that! Additionally, it makes the TMNT universe feel a little bigger, but not like a conglomeration that’s too large where you can’t know everyones name.

One of the awesome guys at Comics Toons N’ Toys in Tustin told my wife that Sailor Moon had returned in manga form; we now own all of them. This caused me to go to that side of the shop a bit more and check out some titles I haven’t read in close to ten years.

Where I Buy These Graphical Goodies

This will also serve as my plug for this article that if you are in the Orange County area, or ever pass through and need some comics, then you should really check out Comics Toons N’ Toys in Tustin; the people are awesome, will hold books for you, and make sure that everything is priced fairly (including discounts on Wednesday, aka New Comic Book Day). Not only are the workers nice, but everyone who I have talked in the time I’ve been going has been quite nice and genuinely enjoying themselves, not the snobbery of some stores. Additionally, its quite kid friendly with a few places devoted to younger readers selections.