Alright, folks. DC’s big summer event Convergence begins this week and it promises to shake everything up in the DC line. Some of you may not be too familiar about the events leading up to Convergence so I took the time out of my busy 2 am usually devoted to video games and Netflix binge watching to give you an in depth look at what you need to know/ read if you want to truly know the full back story to Convergence.
The end of the New 52 is nigh! Long live the New 52! DC may be doing away with the moniker but the stories aren’t going anywhere. Some series are definitely going away, but a ton more are coming our way in June. 24 new titles to be exact. We have a full list of DC’s new books here, but we also have some favorites. It’s early, we won’t get solicits for a while, and all we know for sure is the name of the titles and the creative teams, but that’s enough to get us excited for these upcoming debuts. Continue reading The 5 Upcoming DC Series We Want Most
We did it, folks! A whole month straight of DC Weekly! Whew, that was tough. Now I feel much better about my procrastinating ways. Anyways, comics. This week kind of sucked. I don’t know if I was in a funky mood when I read these comics, but they just didn’t strike a chord with me. It was kind of depressing. Continue reading DC Weekly: 11/26/14
Review: The New 52 Future’s End #7
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO, JEFF LEMIRE, DAN JURGENS and KEITH GIFFEN
Art by AARON LOPRESTI and ART THIBERT
Cover by RYAN SOOK
On sale JUNE 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The two halves of Firestorm encounter big troubles: some personal, some potentially deadly! And Plastique comes face to face with the DC Universe’s horrifying future! Five years from now, the DC Universe is reeling from a war with another Earth, leaving the world unprepared for an approaching evil that threatens to destroy the future. Can a time-traveling Batman Beyond help a massive cast of the DCU’s finest avert the impending apocalypse? Find out in this new weekly series that will forever alter the direction of The New 52!
It’s Frankenstein vs. Black Adam in the Phantom Zone and finally the first face to face confrontation of Mr. Terrific and Batman Beyond! Those sound like big events, and one of them admittedly is, but the rest of the issue is filled with the same talking heads and sluggish pacing that has plagued this series from the start.
I am a Frankenstein fan. I have been since even before the start of the New 52, and relish anytime Jeff Lemire gets a chance to write this character. That said, the last few issues have been so bogged down with exposition on the Frankenstein story that it zapped nearly all the fun out of it, but not anymore. Finally the big lug can lash out with all of his righteous fury against Black Adam and it is by far the most entertaining thing to happen in this book in a while. The Mr. Terrific-Batman Beyond confrontation, while not as viscerally thrilling as the Frankenstein fight, actually offers up some future plot points that will hopefully be expanded on next week.
More and more talking heads. Jason talks to a doctor that we met last issue, Lois Lane talks to not-Red Robin’s girlfriend, Deathstroke talks to that violent little girl, Fifty Sue, and finally Grifter talks to some random guy in a suit. This is what has always plagued this series. There are a million different little conversations and stories, but they are all about things that have either happened in the past or in the future. Stop talking about interesting things and do the interesting this.
While the Frankenstein-Black Adam fight was fun and the Batman Beyond-Mr. Terrific confrontation may actually set the plot in motion, these two events are still not enough justification to continue buying the book every single week. Not much was said about the art because there is not much to say. Lopresti’s art is serviceable. Its not bad, but its not going to blow your socks off either.
Story: 2 out of 5
Art: 3 out of 5
Overall: 2.5 Hrrns out of 5
There’s always a reason why a company does things differently. Some want to set themselves apart from their competition. Some see an empty niche that can be filled and exploited. Some are answering the requests of their customers. No matter the reason for doing things differently, ALL companies are in business to make money. Therefore, logically speaking, companies do things differently to raise their bottom-line; to make more money. This is certainly the goal of DC Comics, and the thing they are doing differently is launching several series of comics that will be released each and every week, instead of the traditional once per month. While DC Comics has tried the whole weekly release comics in the past, the sheer number of weekly books DC plans on releasing in 2014 shows that the publisher is putting a lot of its eggs in this basket. Here’s a rundown of DC’s weekly release strategy and some reasons it’s going to fail.
It all begins in April as DC releases the brand new title Batman Eternal on each of the 4 Wednesdays after the first one. That’s 4 more Batman comic books a month to go along with Batman-proper, Detective Comics, Batman/Superman, and the Batman and… title that’s starred a revolving cast since Damian Wayne’s untimely death. The writing staff for this book is immense with Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins, John Layman, and Tim Seeley all on the book. Whew, that’s a ton of writers! But for a weekly book I guess you need a ton of help. Jason Fabok, on the other hand, will be doing the artwork in the first 4 issues, but 4 (count ’em, four) different artists are doing issues #5 though #8, making this an all-inclusive title when it comes to creative force.
But is this going to be a successful book for the long-haul? With 6 writers and 5 artists working on just the first 8 issues of Batman Eternal it won’t be hard for this title to get away from the creators and, more importantly, an editorial staff with a weekly deadline. And with 4 other Batman titles on shelves every month for readers to pick-up there’s plenty of opportunity for readers to simply get their Bat-fix elsewhere; an elsewhere without the 4 issue a month investment; an elsewhere without the inconsistency in creators.
The New 52: Futures End
May brings us another weekly comic debut from DC, The New 52: Futures End, which is promising to give readers a look 5 years into the future of the DC Universe, where the impacts of the war with another world that was Forever Evil are still being dealt with, and Batman Beyond comes to help a huge cast of DC’s finest save the day. This book too has a big creative team, with Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Brian Azzarello, and Jeff Lemire on writing duties, and 7 (count ’em, 7) artists on just the first 4 issues. Batman Beyond making his New 52 debut and keeping up with the continuity of an event as good as Forever Evil are the shining gems on what is looking to be something that could have a mass appeal across the various flavors of DC readers.
But is this going to be successful over the long-haul? This book has the same problems with consistency and editorial pressure of Batman Eternal, and that could damage some of its overall success. Beyond that (pun intended), because of the introduction of Terry McGinnes and the robust cast, this is going to be the most successful of the weeklies DC plans on releasing in 2014, and, at 4 extra books a month, that’s quite enough. But they ain’t done yet!
Unnamed October Weekly
Remember Villain’s Month? When every single issue of every single DC comic book changed and became about the villains for an issue or three? Well, DC is doing it again in September, and each book will jump ahead 5 year into the future, giving readers insight on what “might” happen with their favorite characters. And in October, they’re launching a weekly series to follow-up this Future Month event that will be connected to the previously mentioned weekly released title, The New 52: Futures End. Little else is known about this particular weekly title, for obvious reasons, but it’s worth recapping: DC is releasing a weekly in May, that will include a month long event that will take over each and every DC comic in the month of September, followed by another weekly comic debut in October. That’s a lot of books!
But is it going to be successful in the long-haul? Odds are, for this book, the answer to that question is “NO”. Villain’s Month was successful for one reason and one reason only: Cool covers! The month-long takeover part of this whole thing will certainly provide that, but afterwards the thing that will ultimately sell this book week in and week out is quality which leads me to my overarching opinion on why DC Comics’ weekly release strategy is going to backfire.
Why It’s Going to Fail
I’m not completely against going against the grain and doing things a bit differently. No matter how much I hate the practice, Marvel Comics has been renumbering and relaunching comics for years in an attempt to boost sales numbers and grow readership, and they’ve reached a certain level of success with that recipe. I’m of the mindset that if a comic is a quality read it will gain the readership it deserves, but the sales figures show that #1’s sell more books. The sale charts ALSO show, however, that quality, above all else, is what sells comics, with only temporary sales boosts coming from those relaunches and renumbers. Now, I don’t want to have the discussion about comic shops ordering more first issues with most of them still sitting in their back-issue bins compared to readers trying but simply not falling in love with a #1’s, although both will be part of my reasoning for believing DC will ultimately fail with their own unique method.
So, we’ve established that issue #1’s sell, but, as Marvel’s technique has suggested, it’s difficult to bring new readers to a book once the numbering gets too high. If you get behind in a story it’s hard to catch up. So I find it quite illogical for DC to put all their eggs into a single month or two, which is basically what they are doing. I have no doubt that the first issue of each of these weeklies is going to be stellar, but it’s going to be tough to make each issue, each week, live up to the value of the investment. There’s far too many books to choose from each and every week to stay devoted to something requiring such a huge investment if it doesn’t stay entertaining or, more importantly, consistent. And with so many creators needed for this kind of release schedule it’s hard to do that. There are a lot of reasons to drop any of these titles along the way to their year-long, 52 issue+, ends, and not much reason at all to start reading them once they get just a month or two in. I can see picking up four issues of a run if I hear it’s an absolute must-read, but if it’s two months in, I cannot possibly swing that kind of investment in a single purchase, and I doubt many comic readers can. And there’s no guarantee readers are going to jump on any of these titles from their starts.
Batman Eternal, one of the weeklies in question, is the hardest sell for me. Batman already has SOOO many titles that a weekly is almost too much. I’m sure the Batman diehards, and I know there are plenty of them, will buy it, but it’s a tough sale for the comic fan on a budget with so much to choose from on Wednesday afternoons. It could be argued that the other weekly titles hitting in 2014 have a steeper road to climb because of their close association with some DC events, but I think this works for them. World-building is great for the publisher as a whole! I just don’t think it’s an easy sell for readers either way. If you include the month-long event, this is an even bigger investment than getting all the Batman titles, including the new weekly. It goes back to the same problem that has suffered the industry for years: Stagnant market growth. And that’s really the bottom-line.
I think each of these books is going to have a fantastic initial launch. The launches of each of them for a month, maybe even two, will fill out the Top 5 to 10 spots on the sale charts for those months. But this is going to quickly drop off, followed by steadily dropping month after month until the finality of the title. And what’s worse is that readers will just stop buying one title to make up for the cost of any weeklies they pick up. Granted, some of those titles may be Marvel or, perish the thought, Image titles, but the spike to overall market share will be slim to none over the stretch of the whole year. The one thing that throws a wrench into this whole crazy thinking of mine is quality. If the books are great they’re going to sell, and that’s a good thing! I hope I’m wrong! But, like I said before, if the books DC was currently putting out were of a higher quality, and there are plenty of them out there, there would be no need to do anything differently at all.
Of course, DC’s plan is a direct counter to Marvel’s current renumber/relaunch strategy, a method unavailable to DC due to the painting themselves into the New 52 corner, but I give them credit. Their embracing their brand by building on what works (ie. Batman and events) and keeping up with ideas that aren’t really that new. 52 and Countdown to Crisis weren’t necessarily failures, but DC wasn’t as invested in those then as they appear to be investing now. Time will ultimately tell, and I want these books to be great, I honestly do! I just have the sinking feeling, and some evidence, that it’s going to be a huge dud.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #27
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
Yes, Forever Evil is still a thing! When DC solicited this event as “Forever” Evil I didn’t realize that they actually meant the event would last forever. While that’s certainly an exaggeration, it sure doesn’t feel like it, but, because of some major changes occurring within the pages of the event books and that event’s tie-in comics, “Forever” may be more apropos than first thought. With the obvious deaths of at least a few minor characters; some even seen within the pages of this very comic; and the assumed death of at least one A-Lister, things are going to be quite different in the DC Universe after the dust of the Crime Syndicate’s incursion settles. DC is doing a lot more to change things up than just killing characters, and while we’ll have to wait until the end of Forever Evil for the all of this major change to the status quo to be realized, we’re seeing some big character transformations already underway, and Justice League #27 gives us a nice one. There were some really cool things going on in this issue, and a couple of really bad things, leaving me torn on the overall quality of the book, while worrying me if DC Comics really has any idea what they are doing.
The book opens with Syndicate members Johnny Quick and Atomica laying a fatal smackdown on a couple of good guys, keeping with the tone of the overall event, which was a necessary aspect of the ish since the rest of the book deals with more positive events. While we get a brief setup to the ultimate end of the book on the next page, the issue quickly moves to the focus of the book: Rebuilding Cyborg. Although I had some problems with the dialogue between Victor and his daddy, it was really cool to see the back of the Red Room, all the gizmos and gadgets collected therein, and the final version of Cyborg 2.0. Upgraded, streamlined, and looking more like the Cyborg I first knew and loved. Cyborg’s trip and the last page reveal do a great job of continuing to paint the current Forever Evil world as the horrible place it is, as well as setting up the next ish and the premiere of another fan-favorite super hero team. Ivan Reis and his team of artists’ work is beautiful, with great overall work, fun attention to detail, and some epic one and two page splashes. While I did have a some problems with this specific issue of JL, a big concern I have for DC as a whole is strongly represented in this ish.
The only problem I had with this single issue of Justice League was the conversation between Victor and his scientist father, the Doctor who turned him into Cyborg in the first place. While I understand what Johns is doing, and having Cyborg embrace his Cyborg persona in the midst of a villain dominated world in desperate need of a hero is a great use of the character, his father’s attitude and unwillingness to turn his son again into the Cyborg seemed forced and frankly didn’t make any sense. But I guess fatherhood just doesn’t make sense sometimes, and it wasn’t difficult to ignore this awkward characterization in an otherwise great comic book. No, a more significant problem I identified within the pages of this book had less to do with any single issue of a DC comic and more to do with just what the hell is going on over at DC. I could include a ton of news coming out from the publisher about changes on the horizon, but I’ll stick with this single issue to make my case. The New 52 is just over two years old, while taking into account the last few issue of Justice League have been part of Forever Evil, and the changes to Cyborg hearken back to the character’s pre-New 52 persona so much that it’s hard not to think we’re seeing a grand New 52 retcon. And I’m not sure I want to see that.
Despite the shortcoming I alluded to above, I firmly believe that Forever Evil, in the context of the event title itself, the Justice League tie-in, and the Justice League of America tie-in (all three written by Geoff Johns), may be the writer’s best work. He’s built an amazing story around some really intriguing aspects that are already bringing drastic changes to the entire DC Universe, and he’s doing so in a fashion that is in no way repetitive from series to series, which was my main gripe in the last event from Marvel Comics, Infinity. This is another great issue of a comic that should be entrenched in the event bog that seems to flood the comic lowlands whenever an event storm rips through a publisher’s stock, but, because of the skill of one of the best writers in the biz, Justice League continues to be a great series, and issue #27 is a great addition to it.
BLACK CANARY AND ZATANNA: BLOODSPELL HC
Written by PAUL DINI
Art and cover by JOE QUINONES
On sale MAY 21 • 144 pg, FC, $22.99 US
Two of the DC Universe’s brightest stars join forces in this original graphic novel!
A year ago, Black Canary infiltrated a gang of female criminals set to pull a dangerous heist at a Las Vegas casino. Its leader was skilled in hand-to-hand combat and more than a passing interest in black magic. Rather than be captured by Canary or the law, she went to her death, vowing to get revenge on Canary! Now, one year later, death stalks those gang members, and Canary must turn to her friend Zatanna to help investigate.
This title also includes a special sketchbook section.
I’m not sure how I feel about all these damn trades, but I know my wallet is not pleased.