Friday, September 02, 2011

Crazy Teenager Reviews… Promo Book?


My name is Colin Kelly, I’m a 19-year-old geek from the generation DC is honestly supposed to be targeting with the new 52.

I got started into comics when I was 14, thanks to some of my friends in Pendant Productions, and well, I like DC. All my friends like Marvel (and Batman) but usually think that Superman, Wonder Woman, and etc. are very much lifeless characters, but as countless hours of debating have proven; I like DC.

I’ve read a lot of the graphic novels of DC stories, but the thing that actively got me buying comics, I will admit, was the fact that during Blackest Night, DC added the cool thing of getting a lantern corps ring with certain issues of the event, at which point the Pokémon master in me took over.

But to be honest, the past years’ worth of “comic news” has just been disappointing, so I stopped paying attention to it, as it just sounded like Reality TV; it just seemed about getting ratings instead of telling stories. And I will admit, the new 52 sounds just like “Superman renounces American Citizenship”.

I’m going to give DC the benefit of the doubt. This new start for DC is theoretically supposed to be a second chance, or a first chance for some of those people out there who don’t want to get into comics because they don’t know exactly what is going on.

So, I decided to keep an open mind (it’s the most valuable tool anyone can have) on DC’s new lineup, and I am only going to read what DC puts out. Not the internet speculation/trolling/ranting/outrage/excitement stuff, but the primary sources. A lot of what I have heard from secondary sources really doesn’t get me going, so I am most certainly going to cut it out of my interaction.

I’m just going to try to give, as a young adult with some comic knowledge, my thoughts on what’s going on. I’m going to go through at least the new 52, but I’ll try to keep up with the series that actually grab my attention. I’ll fully admit to being not entirely omniscient, nor political correct, and I’d rather pay attention to

Keeping with my primary source material focus, let’s start with the DC new 52 promo book!

To be honest, the promo book for the new 52 is rather eye-catching… maybe it’s the Supes in jeans and the suit holding up a car, which I’m sure is completely homage to the first Superman Cover. Sure there’s the mandatory random, out-of-context, and one-word, “Praise” by everyone’s go-to reviewers, USA Today, and the NY times. Oh, and the attractive price of FREE, which it should be, being a promo.

The Sneak peak of JLA #1 is decent, featuring a flashback to five years beforehand, when the most developed character in the DCU, Batman, met the recent developing spotlight, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, someone who I had to inform many people about, because the fact that Green Lantern wasn’t black in the recent film had them up in arms.

I will point out how there is no mention so far of the WWII era-esque Justice Society of America. That makes me a little sad, as I liked having the (joking) old farts club around, and their constant mentoring of the new generation. I know this also changes Barry Allen’s choice of calling himself the Flash different, as Barry took the name of the Flash as an homage to Jay Garrick, the original WWII flash.

But this is a new world, which never knew the superhero… until now.

The rest of the book is pretty much standard. There’s art (cover at minimum, sometimes more), a quick premise of the series, identification of who’s behind it, and usually a quote from someone related to the project with what they’re planning on accomplishing.

Rather nice. I could sit here and waste your time by giving you my blow for blow expectations, but I’m going to just give you the 5 Yays, and 5 Cringes:

5 Cringes

5. The Savage Hawkman

Just real nitpicks here, but this has me wondering things like: Savage? And more importantly, where’s Hawkgirl?

The promo text sounds… well, Stargate. Specialist in Lost Languages meets alien Tech? Discovery has really bad repercussions? Guy must step up to save humanity? I honestly want to see how going Hawkman will save the city from a plague, because I’m sure donning armor helped against the Black Death. We’ll see how it’s resolved.

4. I, Vampire

I will get this out first and foremost, I am not a huge fan of Twilight, though I read the books so I could talk about them. I have seen all of Buffy and Angel. I love Dracula and Interview with a Vampire, and seen the movies for those. I’ll get to TrueBlood eventually, I’m sure.

I’m just wondering why this random character has their own series. I know Vampire Protagonist is a time honored way of getting people interested, but so is performing Macbeth. Pushing the limits of what it means to be a Vampire is a nice idea, but truce with ex-girlfriend breaking and now humanity is in danger doesn’t grab me. Once again, we’ll see how it goes.

3. Wonder Woman

Dear Gods, does Wonder Woman have the most incredibly complicated continuity of the DC universe. Mostly because her supporting cast changes, as well as her purpose, everytime a new writer takes over.

See, Superman has a supporting cast, you expect to see Lois, Jimmy, and Perry. Batman, at least Alfred shows up, if not a couple sidekicks. They’ve been defined and people expect that. Not really so with Wonder Woman…

It doesn’t help that the cover art portrays Wondy in a complete contrast to the JLA cover. JLA cover has her in her “modern uniform” (with pants and really large boobs), but the Wondy cover has Classic Wondy. JLA, she’s hopeful, noble, and armed with a Lasso. Wondy cover has her… as a belligerent savage in mid-yell with a bloodstained sword.

I mean, talk about complicated continuity, we can’t even get the two covers to show the same Wonder Woman! In a reboot! Shouldn’t Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman be the same as Wonder Woman in the JLA?

Am I being completely ridiculous here?

2. Deathstroke

Alright, I know we want to make our characters “Dark, Angsty, Gritty and Badass” DC; it’s fairly obvious. And I get that, like Sex, Badassary sells.

But what’s with the Deathstroke reimagining! He already was powerful enough to take down Green Arrow, the Atom, the Flash, Zatanna, Hawkman, and Black Canary in Identity crisis. If you watched the Teen Titans animation, you know how incredibly, awesomely terrifying Deathstroke was in it.

Why is he Kratos all of a sudden? He can use a Katana to deflect bullets, he doesn’t need the baseball sword. He’s an assassin, not a psychopath!

Which is more Badass, the Animal? Or the Chessmaster?

1. The Entire Superman line-up

Okay, another thing I need to get out in the Open at once as well. I love Superman. To use a quote from Bibbo Bibowaski, “he’s my favorite.” He’s enough of my favorite that I know who Bibbo is.

I love Superman stories… when they’re written well.

Superman’s got the similar problem as Wonder Woman, in that over the years he’s had a lot of people define him. And in the past… 14? 15 years? We’ve seen at least 6 different origin stories for Superman.

Not gonna lie, not a big fan of a lot of the reimagining’s for his character either. Most seem to ignore the importance of Ma and Pa Kent, or make him angry instead of altruistic, or run with the idea that because he’s from another world, he’s automatically different.

Small side note: in pre-reboot continuity, the White Martians messed with Human Genetics, creating the Metagene, and that’s why there’s superheroes. If they hadn’t, by the time our sun went red, we’d have the same Physiology as the Kryptonians or the Daxamites.

So Supergirl doesn’t have trouble relating to humanity, because she’s an alien. She has trouble relating because she’s a foreigner, and (if we assume the delayed rocketship theory) she remembers and entire civilization of people from her friends to her family, who no longer exist.

And I’m really sure we could have found a better secret organization than Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. to clone Superboy by accident. There’s this thing called Project Cadmus…

5 Yays!

5. Justice League International

Not gonna lie, excited to see how this is, as this is the Justice league back when Superman Died (ish… Batman and Rocket Red weren’t actively on the roster, I don’t think) and to be honest, they’re not really that prominent figures, but I think as a group they become important and I honestly can’t wait to see what they accomplish.

The only reason they beat out the JLA, is mostly the fact, that All of the JLA have their own books. These guys don’t. (except for Batman, who is punching one hell of a timeclock with six series featuring him)

4. Green Lantern

Already mentioned that Green Lantern is what got me into comics actively (BTW Blue Lanterns FTW) but I love the idea of Green Lantern… SINESTRO!

It makes me wonder if we’re going to get Sinestro’sMcbethean fall from the Corps. But that’s speculation. I do have to say that outside of recent years, Sinestro has always been portrayed as a card-carrying villain (it’s gotta be the mustache) in the cartoons, like Superman the Animated Series or Superfriends. I’ve always loved seeing him not be all about getting a green Lantern ring from whomever is lantern at the time. You’d think that’s all he ever does or something.

3. Men of War/Blackhawks

Kinda looping these together, but I have to say I’m interested in the DC’s A-team/GI JOE. (Ex-military Men turned contractors, and an Elite Force of Military Specialists equipped with the latest in cutting edge hardware and vehicles. C’mon, knowing is half the battle!)

It’ll be great to see how some normal people (as in non-bat, non-meta… hopefully) deal with supervillians. I’m sure they’re going to have to take care of the Joker at one point… and I’m sure KratosDeathstroke the Terminator will show up.

To be honest, Blackhawks has me more interested in who they’re fighting. I always believe that you know the most about the superhero, by looking at their Arch nemesis, and their Antithesis. So, understand Superman better by looking at LexLuthor and General Zod for example.

2. The Swamp Thing

Gotta Say, I loved Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing. And what I love about this is that the art seems to pay homage to that, and if it’s anything like that run, I’m in.

1. Batgirl

Alright, in the middle of the whole “We’re gritty, Badass and Angsty. We’re here to rebel against authority, and kick ass, take names.” Art, there is this one picture that has me going “I’m sold.”

It’s a woman… in a Batgirl costume, Grappling along… and smiling.

Sorry, but as all the rest of the covers prove, everyone is about the badass looks. Not Barbara Gordon. Sure, it takes getting her out of Oracle and the Killing Joke never happened. But that smile on Bab’s face… it’s phenomenal. I have to give props, because it touches upon something.

I’m expecting a lot of the Angsty “I never wanted to be a hero” whining cropping up. Not Babs, not with that smile. This is what she does for FUN. She’s not a Superhero because of some twist of Fate; she chose to be it. She is the only person pictured, in the entire promo, with a smile.

So, I’m sold; I don’t care if it’s controversial, or if there’s probably a plan somewhere to re-enact the Killing Joke, I’m in.

Well… those are my thoughts. Take ‘em, leave ‘em. Decide for yourself if I’ve got any valid points.

Just make sure to keep an open mind.

By Colin Kelly with 5 comments


I don't know about the rest of the Blackhawks, but Lady Blackhawk is supposed to be fighting THE INTERNET in issue 3! Should be a fun read.

THE INTERNET? Haha, I can't imagine how but I imagine it will look much like when my grandma tried to check her email. ;)

Also, good to see me and Ndi aren't the only two that are hyped for JLI. :) Personally, I'm a huge Booster Gold fan AND Plastic Man fan, so, seeing them represented makes me pretty happy.

Good post amigo!

Not sure I can come along with the "Men of War" issues, I have almost no tolerance for "soldier stories" as they so often seem to glamourise warfare however, this might prove an exception.

dear "thedcnu"

hey, just wanted to make a note for you, that if you go read a lot of DC's war books, most notably Sgt Rock, but also GI Combat, Unknown Soldier, and the Losers (the original series), you will find lots of stories that deal with the dirty and sad side of war. Sgt Rock dealt with race discrimination, death, religion, the morality of war, etc. if you can, pick up some of those B&W Showcase trades. hopefully they have put some of those stories in there. DC's war books were never about glorifying war, even when the good guys won.

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