Sunday, July 17, 2011

My 10 Most Anticipated DCnU Comics (And Why I'm So Excited For Them)

With more than a month to go before the release of the first DCnU comic, there's not much to do besides think about how good or bad these comics might be. I really like keeping track of my initial thoughts about something before it comes out. It's fun for me to see where I really called it and where I really missed the mark. Before a new television series starts, I often make predictions as to how well they'll do, and I guess this feature is sort of like that, on a larger scale. I have a lot more to say about some books than others, but I have plenty of opinions about everything DC's putting out, and I plan to voice them all.

I'm a positive person, and it's always more fun for me to talk about things I'm genuinely excited about it. These are all titles I really want to see succeed, and I hope that in talking about why I think they'll be great I'm able to drum up a little enthusiasm for them among others. There are a lot of books I think have promise, but these are the ten that, more than any others, I really can't wait to get a chance to read.

1. Action Comics

Superman is one of my all-time favorite characters. Grant Morrison is one of my all-time favorite comic writers. It doesn't get much better than this, folks! The cover pictured above is very likely to be pictured on my wall, and every time Morrison's talked about his plans for the comic, he's managed to raise my already very high excitement levels to a fever pitch. Superman as a champion for the socially oppressed? Yes please! A comics with so much going on that there are no scene cuts in the entire issue? OH GOD WHY CAN'T THIS COMIC COME OUT ALREADY.

There's a part of me that wishes Grant Morrison would keep writing Batman forever. He's introduced so much to the Bat mythos, and I feel like a lot of that will never be fully explored, even with Batman Inc. coming back next year. But All-Star Superman has shown that combining Supes and Morrison results in pure comics joy, and if he can recapture even a little of that magic for this book, I'm sure it'll be one of my favorites every month.

2. Batwoman

I've been waiting for this comic for such a long time. Batwoman's spectacular Detective Comics run was inexplicably cut short more than a year ago, with Greg Rucka ultimately leaving both the character and DC comics behind. Although an ongoing for the character was quickly announced, the book suffered delay after delay until it appeared that Batwoman would never see the light of day. Several of the book's beautiful covers had already been solicited, and knowing that something that awesome was stuck in comic book limbo was absolutely painful.

Then when fans had all but given up, the DC relaunch was announced, and the true reason for all the delays was discovered. Batwoman really would be back, with the ridiculously talented JH Williams III drawing Kate as Batwoman, and Amy Reeder drawing Kate in her everyday life. And with all those delays, it's safe to assume that this book should stay timely for a good long while.

I don't expect this to be as fantastic as it would've been had Greg Rucka been able to finish his story, but I do expect it to be very good. Williams was working with Rucka on the 5 part tale that never was, and I think a lot of the ideas from that will be incorporated into this book. Batwoman's visual storytelling is going to be pitch perfect, and that makes things pretty easy on the writer's end. If they can manage to tell a few decent stories, this should be a really enjoyable read. Everything beyond that will just be icing.


3. Stormwatch

I love The Authority. I love Martian Manhunter. I love Paul Cornell. This book is off to a pretty good start. It doesn't hurt that J'onn and Apollo have my absolute favorite redesigns thus far. The concept of Stormwatch- a secret, government task force of superpowered folks that even most metas don't know about- is something the DC universe will really benefit from, and the potential for this book is limitless.

It helps that my few fears about this book- will Midnighter and Apollo's relationship be tampered with? will Jenny Quantum be aged up?- have already been completely assuaged by Cornell. From the moment this was announced, my mind started to race with ideas for the characters, the kind of banter they'd have, the sort of tasks that they'd take on and the adventures they'd have. Knowing that something like that is in the hands of the guy who wrote Captain Britain and MI: 13 and one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes is a pretty great feeling.

animal man

4. Animal Man

I was a little unsure about this one when it was first announced. I'm a huge fan of Grant Morrison's Animal Man run, and I wasn't sure I was up for reading a more traditional take on the character. Then I saw it was written by the guy who writes Sweet Tooth, and all my doubts melted away. The book's stunning covers and interior art previews have only kicked up my excitement.
animal man preview art
I wasn't familiar with Travel Foreman prior to this, but I have the feeling I'm going to become a huge fan. Lemire's revealed himself to be a fan of a lot of lesser known DC characters that I love, like The Phantom Stranger, and I can't wait to see what obscure, awesome characters he makes use of in this title. But what has me the most excited in Lemire's admission that he wrote this title as if it was being published by DC's Vertigo imprint. I'm so pleased that DC is willing to hire writers like this and tell stories like this in their main universe, and I hope other comic fans get excited about it too.

5. Mr. Terrific

I've wanted Mr. Terrific to have his own title for years. I'm a huge fan of the JSA, and there's a real shortage of super smart scientists who aren't dicks in the comic book universe. I wanted to read stories about the incredible things he'd invent, about him using his smarts, especially his language skills, as he went on adventures, to see the way his mind worked as he developed complicated strategies and solutions to unsolvable problems. And I wanted to see the best jacket in comics on the cover of book every month.

We've tragically lost Mr. T's jacket, but it looks like everything else is coming to pass. I was pretty unsure about this book at first, partly because of the costume change, partly because I wasn't familiar with Eric Wallace, and partly because the initial solicit for the comic didn't seem all that promising. I've since come to terms with the costume, learned that Eric Wallace writes for Eureka, a really fun show about lots of genius scientists, and was really pleased with Wallace's plans for the comic in this interview.

I feel like this title has a huge chance of getting lost in the shuffle, and I hope DC gives Mr. Terrific a real shot at success. Wallace seems so passionate about the title and I think it's a book that has so potential. Hopefully, he'll have the chance to explore that potential for a good long time.

2011 justice league international

6. Justice League International

The moment I turned the final page of Generation Lost and saw that this was coming, I was absolutely giddy. Mysterious disappearing cover characters have done little to dampen my enthusiasm for this book. Giffen and DeMatteis made magic out of being stuck without most of the big league characters, and I have so much love for the comic's entire cast. Bringing in August General in Iron is a brilliant idea, and I hope we get to see more Great Ten characters.

I thought Judd Winnick had a really good handle on this crew in Generation Lost, and I would've loved to see him pick up from where he left off. But Dan Jurgens is a terrific pick, and his sense of humor should really get a chance to shine in this title. He's talked about really wanting to give the book an international feel, and I'm excited to see these guys explore all parts of the DCnU. This should be hilarious, character driven, and emotional, and I'm really looking forward to it.

2011 swamp thing

7. Swamp Thing

Scott Snyder! Swamp Thing! That's really all I need. Scott Snyder is one of those writers who just came out of nowhere for me. One minute I had never heard of him, and the next thing I knew he was hitting it out of the park with Detective Comics month after month. His Gates of Gotham miniseries has been terrific, and has demonstrated his mystery crafting skills as well as his ability to effectively utilize characters that are often forgotten. He's a perfect fit for a Swamp Thing title in the main DC Universe. It doesn't hurt that he'll be working with two artists I love, Yanick Paquette and Francesco Francavilla.

And as for Swamp Thing? I was pretty thrilled to see DC using him in their main line of books, and I'm even more psyched now that he's got his own title. In spite of the many wonderful Swamp Thing stories that have already been told, I feel like there's so much left to explore with this character, and the idea of seeing a talented writer build on the concepts of writers like Len Wein and Alan Moore is an thrill. Snyder has said that Swamp Thing and Batman are his two favorite characters, and it's going to be so much fun seeing him tell the same kind of well crafted stories with Swamp Thing that he's been doing with Detective Comics.

2011 blue beetle

8. Blue Beetle

When Jaime Reyes was introduced, he had to fight an uphill battle. He became Blue Beetle after the death of fan favorite Ted Kord, with many fans claiming Ted was killed only so that Jaime could take over. He'd had very little pagetime before his book debuted, and was pretty close to a blank slate. But the comic, the character, and his supporting cast were all so great that the new Blue quickly won people over and became a fan favorite.

Blue Beetle was one of those books that people had so much love for, but always struggled in the sales department. I really believe that everyone buying the title was passionate about it, but that wasn't enough, and it was canceled after 36 issues. Since then, DC's worked to keep Jaime an active part of their universe, using him in books like Teen Titans and Generation Lost, and even giving him a backup feature in Booster Gold, but fans still longed for the return of Jaime's solo title.

I would've loved to have seen Keith Giffen, John Rogers or Matt Sturges come back to the character, but Tony Bedard's done great work on Green Lantern Corps, and I think he'll do really well on this. That scene in Birds of Prey where Sin teaches Big Barda to play Pokemon cards is the perfect tone for a comic like this. Bedard has said that almost all of Jaime's continuity, including his friends and family, will be left untouched, and I think he's got a great shot at recapturing the magic of the original title.

justice league dark

9. Justice League Dark

Let's get one thing out of the way: Justice League Dark is a silly name. I feel like having so many Justice Leagues is only going to confuse people, and it seems like an especially goofy choice when they had an obvious title for this in "Shadowpact". Apart from that (and Zatanna's lackluster wardrobe change), I think this book has a lot of promise. Magic is something DC absolutely excels at, and a magic based team book should be a mainstay for them. They've got a strong writer for the series in Peter Milligan, and a solid lineup. I'm especially excited about the inclusion Shade the Changing Man, who Milligan has done a great job of writing in the past.

Justice League Dark is unusual in that it has a sort of preview title in the Flashpoint tie-in "Secret Seven". Written by Milligan and featuring a huge chunk of Dark's cast, it's been a colorful, crazy, imaginative ride thus far, and it has me feeling good about the sort of stories Milligan's going to try with this title. It doesn't hurt that he briefly used Amethyst, an obscure DC character who I have a huge amount of affection for. Just knowing that she has a chance of popping up in this title is reason enough for me to buy this book.

10. Static Shock

When I tell people that Static is one of my favorite comics, they often respond with "seriously?". And that is not a world I want to live in. I've lent out my trades many a time, but I can only do so much to show the world how awesome Static is. Seeing him brought into the DC universe has been wonderful, but he hasn't really had a chance to shine in the Teen Titans, and I really hope that this book is able to show a wider audience just how great a hero Static can be.

Static was created by the late, great Dwayne McDuffie, and the book is being written by his close friend John Rozum, who worked on McDuffie's comic imprint, Milestone Media. Rozum's really proven his talent with DC's relaunch of his title Xombi, and I feel he's not only got the skills to write this, but will give the book all the respect it deserves. I'd love to see him blend the universe of McDuffie's comic with that of the show's animated series. It'd be a ton of fun to see Rick Stone fight alongside Virgil as Gear the way his animated counterpart did. No matter what happens, as long as Rozum keeps the deep characterization, snappy dialog, and interesting fights of the original, this should be a really great comic.

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