Crisis of Comics: A non-Crisis Crisis, How Very Metal…

Crisis of Comics takes a weekly look at some of the recent publishing woes by the Big Two, offers up theories and concludes with suggestions about what might be missing.

“The truth of the matter is this: a Crisis-level event is the next logical step for Rebirth. Though each individual book has been doing a considerable amount of leg work as far as covering the ground lost, deleted or simply ignored during the New 52 shake up, there are still major connecting threads that remain glaringly absent.”

I didn’t write that, click through to read the whole article.

As someone who is not that invested in post-Rebirth DC, or whatever it is now, I have so many questions, but just one I will pose here:

What about the Button?

Looking at this analytically, this seems like DC is just over the moon because their books are selling decently, and is doing way too much, and they might, I predict, implode again, from the weight of trying to do too much.

Is anyone going to explain, in a way that makes sense, why Babs is no longer Oracle, or are DC fans so busy stroking off to the 15 Bat-titles every month to care?

“I’ve been planning METAL for as long as I’ve been writing Batman, but I want METAL to be built upon the stories happening now in Rebirth. Most of all we want to create new material that feels really modern and different. And above all, it’s going to be fun. Even with terror and nightmares, it won’t be grim. DARK NIGHTS: METAL will be celebratory, huge and crazy.” — SCOTT SNYDER

DC is doing well, as much as I might poke fun. Do they really need another Crisis-level event? I say no.



Wow or Woe: Release Date 5/31

Screenshot-77-1A very light week this week, due, I believe to May having 5 Wednesdays. Years ago, DC had a cool 5th week event, sadly, now we just get a light week for releases.

Wonder Woman Annual

Ignoring the complicated mess that is the current DC continuity (as much as they try to forcefeed the lemmings that Rebirth restores DC to the universe all the lemmings loved, this is not true at all, why do many of the characters not know each other, where is their history, why are they all 25-27 years old, etc) and focusing just on the story, this book was everything I hoped for. Specifically, the first story. It was wonderful. It gives me hope. I makes me believe. i am excited for the Wonder Woman film, and early buzz suggests my excitement will be rewarded.

This one gets a huge WOW!

Other comics this week: Hulk, Josie and the Pussycats, Secret Empire, Secret Empire: Uprising, Old Man Logan.

Wow or Woe: Release Date 5/24

702060_batgirl-11-variant-coverBatgirl #11

Ignoring the complicated feelings I have of Babs no longer being Oracle, the not-so-complicated feelings I have about Babs being maybe 18-21 years of age (don’t think, publishers at DC, that some of us who did not drink the Kool-Aid, did not notice that as much as you try and shove the theory that “Rebirth has brought back the characters we all loved”, that you made them all young 20-somethings, which is very difficult to reconcile), I have really enjoyed the post-Rebirth batgirl series, the art, the writing, it’s just a fun book. I especially liked the Batgirl-Supergirl teamup. I appreciate this current story arc, I like Batgirl as a plucky, sassy heroine, and it’s one of the books that moves to the top of my pile (meaning to be read first) when it comes out.

Wow! Thanks, DC.

Also purchased this week: Elektra, Jean Grey, X-Men Blue, Kamandi Challenge, Archies, Wonder Woman, Secret Warriors, Totally Awesome Hulk, Infamous Iron Man.

Marvel Generations: Back From the Dead

Those who know me, know me to think myself clever. Years ago, at my local con, the Sunday of the con was that day when folks hunt for eggs and eat chocolate, so, of course, I ran a zombie game, and this zombie game led me to write up a small RPG supplement, one that ostensibly made any Zombie RPG session have the pacing and paranoia of a zombie movie. As I scanned the monitors at Planet Zeist HQ, I noticed I had nothing scheduled for this year’s celebration of chocolate rabbit murder.

And then, I recalled the upcoming Marvel event, Generations, which will be bringing back (from the dead or obscurity) several iconic Marvel heroes and pairing them up with the heroes carried on the legacy. The dead coming back, perfect!

I found this article, and gave it a once over. Just as Rebirth has rejuvenated interest in Marvel’s Distinguished Competition, I am sure Marvel, with the diminishing sales, is hoping to catch Black Lightning in a bottle. Ignore the fact that we at Planet Zeist are working on solving this problem by actually writing quality books, let us take a look at what Generations is proposing, and how significant it might be.

  • Iron Man (Tony Stark and Riri Williams): written by Brian Michael Bendis

    (Bendis has written an Iron Man I care about, I will get this one)

  • Spider-Man (Peter Parker and Miles Morales): Brian Michael Bendis

    (If Peter is still just the 616 version of the MCU Tony Stark, my interest will wane very quickly)

  • Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan): G. Willow Wilson

    (I like both characters, and think this will be worth reading)

  • Thor (Odinson and Jane Foster): Jason Aaron

    (The saga of Odinson I have enjoyed, and fear this is where Generations proves unnecessary and might actually make one characters irrelevant, and that is not good)

  • Hawkeye (Clint Barton and Kate Bishop): Kelly Thompson

    (I like Kate, Clint not so much these days, and they have already told this story)

  • Hulk (Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho): Greg Pak

    (Totally Awesome Hulk bothers me. A lot. I love the Cho-Banner relationship, but negating Banner’s death, and keeping Cho as Hulk, blech)

  • Jean Grey (young and older): Dennis Hopeless

    (I find young Jean Grey strangely compelling, bringing back old Jean Grey has some wonderful potential, if they touch upon her very complicated history and heel-turn)

  • Wolverine (Logan and X23): Tom Taylor

    (Oh look, Wolverine is back. Again. Because we already have Old Man Logan. Not really interested)

  • Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers): Margie Stohl

    (Does anyone care about a character whose death was over 30 years ago? And since his death, how many have worn the mantle of Captain Marvel? many. This one seems to be reaching for a fanbase that I think left a long time ago)

  • Captain America (Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson): Nick Spencer

    (The assumption is that post Secret Invasion, Steve Rogers will be a good guy again. I don’t really care. Cap is a character I can give or take in terms of my interest in a solo title. Will this book be a gripping character drama about politics? That might get me interested. Likely not)

But, who is missing, what characters could be well-served by Generations?

  • Goliaths: Hank Pym & Tom Foster. (Dr. Pym works with the Bill Foster’s nephew, an MIT grad and reclamation project.)
  • She-Hulks: (Trouble seems to follow Lyra at Mid-Town High, so Aunt She-Hulk has to step up her game.)
  • Kitty Pryde and Wolverine (X-23) (Kitty and Laura journey to Japan, paying reference to the original story when Kitty and Logan made the trip)
  • Immortal Weapons (all of the Immortal Weapons including Iron Fist are legacy characters; bring back these great characters, exotic locales, awesome martial arts, etc!)
  • Avengers: Scott Lang, Cassie Lang, Riri Williams, Jane Foster, She-Hulk (Scott Lang leads this team paying homage to the original 5 characters and their power-sets)
  • Abyssal Detective Agency: Daimon Hellstrom and Satana (Brother and sister, at times heroic, antiheroic and villainous, team up in this noir styled book with liberal amounts of humor and family quibbles)
  • The Cat: (Tigra and Hellcat are intrinsically linked together, but when this former model’s superhero temp agency gets hired for some super-babysitting, things take an unusual turn. Neither babysitting nor girls’ night out will ever be the same.)
  • Captain America: (Steve Rogers and Winter Soldier have both worn the mantle of Captain America, and both have had their fair share of problems, reunited they realize they are still needed, but also that they must adapt and grow.)
  • Phoenix Force: (Rachel Grey takes Quentin Quire, and young Scott Summers under her wing in an attempt to help these two young mutants, one of whom is destined for the Phoenix Force, the other…)
  • Alpha Flight: (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brings back Canada’s premier super team: Heather MacNeil Hudson- Guardian, Northstar, Aurora, Zuzha Yu- Puck, Talisman, Snowbird, Marrina, and Sasquatch.)


DC Rebirth: A Superfan’s Reactions

10409702_10204602647689225_9151817959937890043_nWe talked to Mike awhile back, and asked him for his take on DC Rebirth, DC’s proclaimed non-reboot, and with almost a year of publishing, and not having announced another reboot, we thought we would catch up with him, and see what the status is of the DCU.

How are you enjoying Rebirth? I’m loving it! The return to pre-Flashpoint DC has been a breath of fresh air.

Has it reinvigorated your interest in DC? It has. I was reading 3 books towards the end of New 52; now I’m up to a dozen.
Does it feel like a reboot? It’s weird, some of the books do feel that way, but some books (like the Superman titles) have embraced the craziness of the New 52, taken what worked and folded it into the pre-Flashpoint continuity.
Screen-Shot-2017-01-23-at-5.24.36-PMHow much of the pre-Reboot continuity is still around? Is it New 52? Post-Convergence? Post-Flashpoint? Combination of all the above? It’s a combination. Like I mentioned with Superman, they folded it in. I think the upcoming Button crossover in Flash and Batman will uncover more of this.
Is it less or more confusing? Less. They’ve done a very good job of informing readers of what’s going on.
Favorite books? I love Detective Comics; it’s my must read. Action, Superman, Batman, Green Lanterns, JLA, Teen Titans, Titans.
Most disappointing books? Justice League has been disappointing; but oddly my favorite moment thus far was the JL/Suicide Squad crossover. Bryan Hitch has been wildly inconsistent. First three arcs: Bad story, great story, mediocre story. 
Why are there so many super-people? Super-Man, Superwoman, Luthor, etc…? Luthor as Superman is gone already and I think it all tied into the importance of Superman in the DCU. They’ve made him relevant again.
(Ed. Note: #somanykryptonians)
Blue-Beetle-Vol-6-Ted-Kord-1Have there been any “wow” moments? The JL/SS crossover was epic; so many good moments there. The recent Superman Reborn crossover was great. But still the best moment for me is still that moment Barry remembers Wally in the Rebirth special.
Where is Blue Beetle? He’s got his own book. But yeah, I want Ted Kord to suit up! 


Is Batman still the best? Always! He’s the central character in this summer’s big event Dark Days. (Ed. Note: sigh. Mike missed my snark. Batman is always more interesting when he is flawed, not just a vessel for writers to channel their wet-dreams of Batman being the best onto paper.)

What characters/ ideas are still missing? The JSA, Legion of Super-Heroes. Booster Gold is still MIA, and I expect he’ll be turning up soon. DC has done a much better job of weaving their books together since Rebirth. New 52 felt like it was a line of independent books that rarely crossed over. Rebirth is much more cohesive, but there’s still room to grow. I just recently reread the first 30 or so issues of the 1980’s Suicide Squad run and I’d forgotten how integral the late 80’s run of Suicide Squad was to the DCU. Spinning out of Legends, tied into Millennium and Invasion, it crossed over with JLI, Doom Patrol, Checkmate, Manhunter, Captain Atom, and Firestorm (those last four in the epic, but often under appreciated Janus Directive). Not to mention the revolving door of villains recently apprehended in books like Flash and Batman. Rebirth has brought some of that back, but it hopefully will add more.

What are you looking forward to? The next big event is the Button crossover which will have Batman and Flash uncovering some of the secrets of Rebirth and hopefully discovering the Watchmens’ role in the Rebirth. I’m also psyched we may be seeing the return of the JSA in an upcoming issue of JLA as teased in the JLA Rebirth issue.

In closing: I appreciate Mike’s renewed love of the comics and characters that had been missing from publishing and thus his life for so long. As a Marvel fan, I wish I could say that post-Secret Wars has done the same for me, but thus far, it has not. I think Secret Wars was a better event compared to Convergence, but post event, post-not-reboot, DC is doing a better job and their sales back this up.


She Can Fly: Don’t Need a Cape to be a Hero

Lois Lane is a hero.

Lois Lane is a hero, all on her own, without the strength of Superman, or the speed of Flash.

Lois Lane is one of the strongest female characters in the DC Universe.

Lois Lane is one of the strongest characters in the DC Universe.

Being a hero isn’t about wearing capes or having super powers. Being a hero is about making hard decisions. Being a hero is about doing the right thing.

Lois Lane, the most enduring female character of superhero comics, should be a character that doesn’t need powers to be powerful. However, editorially speaking, Lois is usually relegated to the sidelines, depending on Superman either as his girlfriend, his wife, or that annoying girl he sometimes pines for. And when she’s not jettisoned to a supporting role, she is often forced into dream and fantasy scenarios where she imagines she will only ever be worthy of Superman’s love if she, too, has super powers and becomes some subsidiary of the Super-brand (“Supergirl,” “Superwoman,” and once, even, “Power Girl”).

But that perspective, that many writers rely on when they have no better ideas for Lois, is wrong. Ultimately, Lois is a character that should be written as smart, aggressive, and tenacious.

Even when the character arcs of Lois make missteps–relegating her to a “dumb broad” trope, focusing her entire character around wanting to marry Superman, trying to pit her against other Superman love interests–the essence of the character (from the beginning) remains the same: a woman who pursued an “atypical” and uncommon career for females in the 1930s (crime reporting); a woman who sought to beat her bumbling coworker to the punch; a woman who put herself in danger to get the story; a woman who wanted to do the right thing.

So, the DC Rebirth pitch of having the dying (New52) Superman give his powers to Lois Lane (so that she may become Superwoman), falls flat. While the creative team on board is a fantastic one, Phil Jimenez and Emanuela Lupacchino, the solicitation for the Superwoman series already seems to boast a plot-line akin to the current Mighty Thor, while pushing Lois to fight female villains (instead of Superman’s classic rogues gallery):

Imbued with the powers of Superman, Lois Lane pledges to use her powers to protect Metropolis as the new Superwoman. The only problem is, Lois’ new powers are killing her, and neither she nor her friend and confidant Lana Lang know what to do about it. Will Lois even survive long enough to find out the deadly secret of ULTRA-WOMAN?

Yes, there are all sorts of Elseworlds and imagined stories where Lois has powers, but DC always seems to revert her to human in the end. Why?

Lois classically represents humanity in Superman stories. The relationship between Clark and Lois is designed to have her as the rock that stabilizes Superman, the thing that epitomizes to him everything that makes humans wonderful. She is a grounding device for an alien that can fly and shoot lasers from his eyes. But Lois Lane is so much more than that. Ultimately, Lois doesn’t need an emblem to show her power.

DC’s Superman: Lois Lane one shot from 2014 (by Marguerite Bennett and artist Emanuela Lupacchino) not only justifies the character staying unpowered, but also exemplified how she can be a hero without putting on spandex. More recently, the young adult Lois Lane novels (Fallout and Double Down) continue the trend of giving Lois the agency to save the day, simply by being curious, intelligent, and pursuing the truth.

Lois Lane fights for the common man, whether by exposing stories, reporting truths, or by simply being a human with her feet on the ground.

Lois Lane doesn’t need a cape to be super.

She already is.

In memoriam Noel Neill.