The Pull List: Weds 5/10

697874_62f74c172bb6bed48cf9361ca355aa4459225cacRed Hood and The Outlaws #10

I appreciate the characterization of Bizarro, and more how Red Hood and Artemis relate to him, but when the Dark Trinity was announced, I lamented that the “Super” role was not filled by someone else. I found Bizarro’s inclusion akin to Red Hulk being on the black-ops Thunderbolts team. There is nothing subtle about Bizarro. i am enjoying this book, it came together well, and I enjoy the interplay between the characters. The inclusion of Bizarro works within the story, but still I lament:

  • Power Girl- who is pretty much still MIA.
  • Divine- the clone of Power Girl.
  • Kon-El.
  • Superboy Prime- the series could be about redemption.
  • Matrix- she was featured in a Convergence title, afterall.
  • Cir-El
  • Thara Ak-Var
  • Eradicator
  • Krypto
  • Power Boy

I know some of these characters are dead of retconned out of existence or whatever, who cares, it is comics.

Power_Boy

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Dear Marvel: Stop Copying.

A fellow i know used to constantly say that marvel always copied DC. This was at least 5 years ago, when Marvel was selling way more books than the Distinguished Competition. I had issue with this statement.

That was then.

Marvel-Legacy-Cover-by-Joe-Quesada-720x344

Now, Marvel is a husk of what they once were. Not a Husk. A shell. A pale shadow. Marvel promises that Marvel Legacy will “break the Internet.”

Zeist to Marvel: you already broke the Internet with Nazi Cap. And you’ve pissed off a lot of people. You’ve already broken your fan-base. Looking to your not-so-Distinguished Comepetition as they attempt to rebuild trust after crapping on their readership for so long is not the way to start selling books again.

Mike and I were debating this, he works in retail and as has been established, is a huge DC guy. Even though I would argue that DC has not fulfilled their promise to return unto him Blue Beetle, he is drinking the Bat-Kool-Aid, and believes DC is on top because they are selling books with the iconic characters people care about.

the-flash-batman-crossover-the-button-21-spoiler-returns-231851-1280x0.jpegReally, I don’t recall Superman having had a baby before all the BS that DC has dragged readership through of late? I don’t recall Batman being just a tad older than his sidekicks. Dc is doing better right now, because Marvel is sucking so bad. They are doing well because they are skull-fucking the contract that Alan Moore signed with DC in regards to Watchmen. They are desperate so they have come up with some contrived storyline incorporating  Watchmen into the DCU. Wait until Frank Miller Dark Knight is brought in. It will happen. Because those books are selling. “Give them what they want,” is the DC motto right now.

Marvel’s motto seems to be “Oh, shit, our sales are plummeting, DC is selling books, we should do what they are doing.”

Dear marvel: You are not selling books because your storytelling sucks. Mike argues that people are not interested in many of the new characters, he uses Jane Foster, Amadeus Hulk, Kid Wasp, and Doom Iron Man as examples. He believes Marvel will be on top if they return to the classic version of characters.

“If it was F-4 in Monsters Unleashed and not Elsa Bloodstone, it would have done better.”

My position is that Marvel’s strength comes from telling stories that are character driven. Mike asked me for examples.

  • World War Hulk
  • Jessica Jones
  • The recent Ant-Man book
  • Civil War
  • Any number of Daredevil stories from the Benids+ run
  • Herc and Cho
  • New Avengers
  • Dark Phoenix
  • Divas
  • International Iron Man

It is a mixed bag, some recent, some not-so-recent. But all have stories driven by the characters, not just random superheroes with certain superpowers. All of them have to do with the characters beneath the cowl as much as the superheroic identity. WWH works because it is about a character who has been betrayed by those he thought were his friends.

Champions doesn’t need to be a top-seller. It is a good book, about characters. But Avengers should be a top-selling book. I think there is another factor at play, which is that Marvel doesn’t know how to reconcile their BILLION DOLLAR cinematic franchises with their publishing arm. that’s a whole different issue. DC doesn’t give AF, they have their cinematic U, multiple animated Universes, animated movies, Arrowverse, etc.

Marvel needs to commit. To not sucking. I predict that post-legacy Marvel will not be on top if their stories continue to suck. It is not about bringing back the characters readers know well, that can be part of it, it is more about making the stories good. After Secret Wars, Marvel launched with Pleasant Hill. An event that had potential and featured many of the conic characters. Same with Civil War II. Both events were not good. And thus, sales were not good. It is that simple.

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.

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DC Rebirth: A Superfan’s Hopes and Dreams

10409702_10204602647689225_9151817959937890043_nFriend of Zeist, Mike is barely able to sleep, with DC’s non-reboot event Rebirth coming out next week. To refresh everyone’s memory banks, DC has been in a constant state of reboot for most of the 2000s:

  • 2005- Infinite Crisis
  • 2008- Final Crisis
  • 2011- Flashpoint
  • 2015- Convergence

I won’t get into too much analysis and nitpicking and deconstruction of the DC hype, instead, I’d like to hear Mike’s take on things, because he is pretty much the demographic DC is looking to recapture.

  1. Do you think it will be a reboot? I think certain elements will be rebooted, much like New 52 tried to keep elements from the pre-Flashpoint DCU.
  2. Do you care about anything post Flashpoint? I’ve enjoyed a lot of the Batman stuff.  Specifically Batman Eternal and Batman & Robin Eternal.  Justice League hasn’t been bad, but its reliance on the Big 7 has not thrilled me.
  3. Did DC drop the ball post-Covergence, which hinted at the returns for many characters that have been missing in the post-Flashpoint universe? Yes!  If it had carried through some of the pre-Flashpoint elements.
  4. Guesses on who will die? My gut says a Flash.  A Flash has been killed in Crisis and Zero Hour. In addition Flash vanished after Infinite Crisis, and Flashpoint was all the fault of a Flash.
  5. Which characters will return? Again, my gut says a Flash.  A new Flash appeared as a result of Crisis and Barry Allen returned in Final Crisis. Booster Gold and/or Rip Hunter-you can’t have a multiverse threatening Crisis without Booster.  Also Ted Kord Blue Beetle obviously returns as he stars in the new BB book.
  6. Do you think it will last two years? It depends.  If Rebirth turns out to be another DCYou in New52 clothing, no.  DC will implode in less than two years. If Rebirth is indeed a Rebirth along the lines of Green Lantern: Rebirth and Flash: Rebirth, then yes.
  7. Is the commitment to legacy contradictory to the commitment to the “freshness and newness of the New 52.“? Yes.  I think DC has learned its lesson that legacy is the backbone of their comics line.
  8. Any clues on what the Big Secret will be that tackles the very nature of the DC Universe? Someone has been manipulating time since the original Crisis.  
  9. Batman’s mystery? If they’re smart, they tie it back to the letter from Flashpoint Thomas Wayne that Barry Allen delivers to Bruce at the end of Flashpoint.
  10. The new evil? Some new multiverse level threat on the lines of the Time Trapper, Anti-Monitor, Brainiac, etc.