What’s in Store for Action Comics 1000?

Many comics celebrate “anniversary” issues, such as issue numbers 25, 50, 75 and 100. Long-running comics may reach impressive milestones like 200, or even 500. Now, eight decades after his first appearance, Superman is set to break the 1,000 issue mark.

What could DC possibly be planning for such a momentous event?

Action Comics Volume 6
Action Comics Volume 6

There are plenty of rumours, of course. It is virtually a given that the issue will be a giant-sized issue, with some speculation that it will be a trade-sized book. Upcoming trade collections of Action Comics can be pre-ordered on Amazon, with Volume 5 containing issues 993-999 and Volume 6 containing issues 1,001- 1,006. Clearly, issue 1,000 will be too large to include in these collections, which raises the question of how big it will be and what it will include.

We know that issue 1,000 will be preceeded by a hardcover book celebrating 80 years of Action Comics and looking back on the introduction of characters like Brainiac and Supergirl. Details on the actual issue, however, are scarce, though we know it will contain multiple stories, including one by Geoff Johns and Superman the Movie director Richard Donner.

Then of course, there is the speculation from Jon Bogdanove in one of his Facebook posts from April 11″

 

“Hey, about this business with Superman’s shorts– or “The Modesty Briefs Affair”, wherein people, including me, have speculated that the reason Superman doesn’t wear red trunks anymore is because Siegel and Shuster’s heirs figuratively “sued the pants off him” (to quote a FB pal): I want to reconfirm that everything I have said, and will say here, is just that—SPECULATION. It is based entirely on rumors I have heard from various current and former DC folks and other people inside the industry. Let me reaffirm: I could be wrong…

“…Someday, I would love to read the settlement that finally ended the nearly 70 years long legal struggle of Superman’s creators and their surviving heirs, to recoup a bigger share of the profits generated by their invention…

“…I think this final chapter of the war— this final case— came down to a fine-tooth, point-for-point argument over specifically which defining characteristics of Superman were actually created by Jerry and Joe before they came to DC and started laboring as “work-for-hire”.

“For example, Superman’s red boots replaced his Greek lace-ups AFTER Jerry and Joe signed him over. Likewise, the “S” emblem continued to evolve from the original while Jerry and Joe were under contract, as did much of his likeness and appearance– EXCEPT for the modesty briefs. Apparently, that’s the one original characteristic that persisted unchanged from before the boys ever approached DC until the resolution of this case.

“As a result, the briefs are the one thing Jerry and Joe’s family were able to hold onto– or regain. DC can’t use the pants without paying the heirs a little something— or so I’m told. Word on the street is that someone at DC or Warners is angrily determined never to pay for those shorts, so off they came!”

Bogdanove goes on to say that he feel there is a case being made for the return of the briefs, perhaps in issue 1,000:

“Now, there is also buzz that Dan Jurgens, and others in the company, have campaigned hard in favor of the traditional, classic, populist brand, appearance and costume– and that Diane Nelson or someone up top recognizes the dollar value of that brand as being worth much more than what it costs to rent the shorts from the heirs.

This buzz suggests that Superman will be restored to his true self in ACTION #1000– which would be awesome in the extreme… I think the effects would be restorative across the industry.”

There aren’t too many things that divide Superman fans they way the red briefs– the so-called “underwear on the outside”– have done.Some love them as a part of the classic Superman look, while others feel they are ridiculous.

Put me in the first group.

The briefs are iconic. They have been a part of Superman’s costume for longet than the majority of his fans have been alive. From a visual standpoint, they also serve as a visual “break” between his upper and lower body. The current red belt helps, but not as much as the briefs did.

Personally, I think seeing the briefs again would instantly bring back memories of better days in comics. We can break away from the doom and gloom that is still popular in many mainstream comics. As I have said before, I think we are definitely due for a return to more heroic heroes, and I think that restoring Superman to his classic appearance would be a step in that direction

What do you think? Should the briefs return, or are they best forgotten? What would you like to see in Action Comics 1,000, or in the ongoing adventures of Superman and the rest of the DC universe?

Please share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you!

Craig

 

 

 

This… er… Last Week’s Reads

I have been off my game a littel bit, being either slow to post, or missing an entire week like I did last week. I basically decied to let last week go, as we are already on new comic day again and I am writing something up for this week. Still, I want to point out that amoung the titles I picked up last week, I have to recommend Aquaman.

No, really.

There is a perception– quite a common one– that Aquaman is boring and has useless powers, but I am enjoying his series quite a bit, and last week’s issue (#25) had some aboslutely gorgeous art, so if you aren’t reading Aquaman, then maybe do yourself a favour and pick up a few issues to give it a try!

Read this!
Read this!

Superman, the Justice League and More in This Week’s Reads: June 7

Yikes!

So it has happened once again. I am late getting this out there. In my defense, though, my elder son was sick this week and needed looking after. Today, I realise he has “shared” his bug with me. I am typing with one hand and holding my  stomach with the other! Yay for kids!

Aside from that, I also had a somewhat larger-than-usual week, as I wanted to catch up on back issues of Deathstroke, which continues to surprise me with how well-written it is. I would be hard-pressed to say that I like the character, but I admit that he is interesting and has some depth to him.

As always, spoilers follow.

Aquaman #24

Aquaman is at the top of my list, alongside Deathstroke. I have been hoping to see some politics in Atlantis and we are finally getting them. I have sad before that Aquaman can be Game of Thrones underwater and I still think that. I hope to see them continue in this vein for a while.

This issue made me think of nothing so much as the current state of things in the US. I won’t get political in my observations, but i think that if you read it you should see the comparisson.

 

Batman #24

Picking the weakest of the bunch was not too hard this week, as we have Batman in there.

I’m sorry, but i just cannot get into Tom King’s interpretation of Batman. He has some ideas that are decent enough, but depite what Batman himself says in this weel’s issue, I do think that King’s Batman is, indeed, slightly insane.He strikes me as being in the same vein as the “goddamn Batman”. This Batman has admitted to being suicidal, as well as attracted to Selina Kyle because he can sense that she is suicidal as well. In this issue, after a heart-to-heart with Gotham Girl, he realises that despite having previously stated that his suicidal thoughts are what drive him to be Batman, he is actually doing it “to be happy.”  Unfortunately, he is not succeeding at finding that happiness because he is afraid… afraif of being insane.

Having admitted to this part of himself and having been told by Gotham Girl that “it’s ok to be afraid,” he goes off in search of Catwoman. He’s decided that he will take a chance at being happy. He will take the risk. so, after hvaving tracked her down, he drops to one knee… and proposes.

I personally don’t mind so much that he admits his feelings for her. I don’t even mind that he would consider proposing, but I really don’t know how they could pull it off. I would be surprised ifall of a sudden, Selina’s criminal activites simply don’t matter to him. I don’t see Bruce overlooking her crimes simply becaue he is in love with her. If he does, then he is definitely not the Batman I grew up with. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing– the character can certainly evolve and change his views– but given DC’s desire to restore their heroes to their older selves, it seems out of place.

On the plus side, I kind of liked the art.

 

Deathstroke #14 through 20

This series has totally sold me on the character. I am going to follow this for as long as Priest is working on it, and then wherever he goes, I expect to follow. I am totally enjoying the story and the way it is being written. It feels more like a good movie or even a book than the typical comic. I would recommend it, even if you aren’t normally a fan of Deathstroke.

 

 

Justice League #22

The second-weakest entrant this week has to be Justice League. Once again I have my usual criticism of expecting JL to face the big, epic threats that the individual heroes cannot, but we get a character-development story about Jessica and her insecurity in her role as a Green Lantern. Oh, and bugs. Lots of bugs.

The story is ok and I do appreciate seeing the development of a character I don’t know much about, but I feel that we have dealt with this side of her previously and that it might be time for her to find some confidence. Some of the character interactions were nicely done– including Cyborg playing video games with Jon Kent– but others seemed a bit off. After reading Rucka’s Wonder WOman, I find it weird to reconcile her with the Diana depicted here, who seems to be icy and slightly aloof. I’m not going to say it was a bad issue… I just keep waiting for something interesting to happen.

 

Nightwing #22

Nightwing continues to be a fun enough title. I’ve always liked him as a character, so his series thus far has been enjoyable for me. I still want him to get together with Batgirl, but I am grudgingly accepting his relationship with Defacer for now (though there was a flashback to his conversation with Barbara that briefly made me wonder about his true feelings…)

I think that the main thing that is needed in Nightwing is a higher-calibur rogue’s gallery. Most of the threats he has faced off against thus far have been failry uninspiring, though I appreciate that they are still laying the foundation for his ongoing role in Blüdhaven. I’ll be along for the ride for the next little while, but I do hope that they kick it up a notch. His encounter this week with Blockbuster seems like it could be setting something up, so I will wait and see what the next several issues have in store. Beyond that, I don’t have too much else to say (except that he needs to get together with Babs).

 

Superman #24

Superman continues to be quite good and now there are finally answers being revealed about Hamilton County. I went from thinking it was pretty creepy to having sympathy for Kathy and her grandfather, though the rest of the community hasn’t been fleshed out in any significant way, or made sympathetic.

I am not sure what to make of Manchester Black. Having first encountered him in the animated version of The Elite, I pretty much hated him right away. I hadn’t read the book, so if he is portrayed differently, I wouldn’t know. So, when he appeared recently as the guiding force behind the town’s activities, I was pretty non-plussed. The best villains tend to have something redeeming about them, but as far as I can see, Black has none.

I am surprised at how much I am involved in this story though; I am honestly concerned about what kind of effect his actions will have on Jon. Seeing kids made to suffer in any way, whether physical or emotional, bothers me, even in fiction. Perhaps because I am a father. I can’t help but be concerned about what Black is doing to Jon, even if the comic will ultimately brush it aside by saying Jon is “too good” a kid to be affected. That’s not really how abuse works.

Like in The Elite, this story gives us a chance to see Superman at his heroic best. His ideals, his compassion, his ability to do the right thing no matter how difficult. That’s what I am hoping to see by the story’s end.

So, what are you reading? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Craig

 

 

 

 

 

A Look at Some DC Comics in This Week’s Reads May 24

After a bigger-than-usual week, I’ve now had a smaller-than-usual week, but that suits my wallet just fine. It also gives me the opportunity to grab a few more back issues of certain titles to get caught up. I’m still continuing to focus on DC Comics at the moment, but there are a few Marvel titles that are catching my eye, so I may have to add a couple of titles, at least for a few issues, to see if they are worthwhile or not.

So, I will be presenting things a bit differently from today onward, now that I am able to include cover images (yay!) Beware of spoilers ahead.

 

Action Comics 980

Action Comics #980

I am enjoying Action. I went several years without reading much Superman, even before the New 52 started. Partly, this was due to not having a ton of disposable income and partly… well, ok, it was a money thing for the most part… But since the beginning of Rebirth, I have been drawn back in to comics in a way I haven’t been in years, and while I always liked Superman and considered him the “hero of heroes” in many ways, I didn’t expect myself to be as invested in his titles as I am right now.

There have been so many great moments in Superman’s books ever since I started reading again with Lois and Clark. There was something really exciting about seeing the real Superman again after the New 52 interpretation. Much like the people of Metropolis must feel, upon seeing him, I just knew everything was going to be ok.  Now that the Kent’s are settling back into Metropolis (I still wan to know how they afford that condo/ apartment…) I hope we can start seeing more of life at the Daily Planet again. That’s pretty much the only thing missing from the Superman titles.

With this issue, the Superman Revenge Squad sets out to add their final member– General Zod! I honestly can’t remember the last story I saw with the SRS, so this should be interesting. I am not sure how Superman will manage to cope with this, given that each individual member of the squad has been able to give him a battle. Having them combine forces looks like serious trouble for the Man of Steel.

I can’t help but wonder, though, if the Eradicator is really on board with the Squad’s goals. It didn’t make much sens to me that when he and the Cyborg Superman had Superman in a very vulnerable position, he insisted that they go and seek out Zod, as he is the key to the team… a team that wants to destroy Superman… So yeah. Great thinking there. Let’s not kill Superman right now… Let’s go get help to kill him later.

Deathstroke 19

Deathstroke #19

As I have mentioned previously, I have limited experience with Deathstroke. I know him primarily from reading Teen Titans years ago and from his occasional appearance in other comics and media. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy his book given that I am presently more interested in the more traditional, heroic superhero. I am not usually a fan of villains-as-protagonists, or even anti-heroes, but I had heard enough good things about it that I decided I would give it a try. So far, I am rather enjoying it. Go figure.

It s probably a good thing that I am not overly familiar with his history, as I can approach this book based on it’s own merits without any potential nerd-rage over any changes being made to either his history or character. I decided not to read this current issue just yet, as I want to catch up on the previous issues that I have missed.

 

Detective Comics 957

Detective Comics #957

Spoiler is back! After having left the Batman family several issues ago, Spoiler has returned with the goal of showing Batman that his way of doing things is not working. This issue addresses the old question of whether Batman’s presence in Gotham actually serves to draw out and even create supervillains rather than dissuade them.

Having seen enough death and suffering, especially with the seeming demise of Tim Drake, Spoiler is determined to do things another way, without the fighting and confrontations that typify Batman’s approach. It’s a little difficult to fully understand how she intends to differentiate herself, as she still does confront the villains and attempt to protect the innocent. The only real difference at the moment seems to be that she wishes to remain unseen in the shadows and not take any credit for her actions.

I’m wondering if this will lead to a change in Batman’s M.O. as well, perhaps having him return to the shadows and operate more like an urban myth again. This, if it were to happen, might be interesting, but it would seem to conflict with his goals for the Justice League of America, which he intends to use to show the average person how they can fight back against the things that are happening all around them.

Personally, I like Batman as the bogey-man. I wouldn’t mind seeing him go in that direction.

Wonder Woman 23

Wonder Woman #23

Finally, we come to Wonder Woman, a title that I have been loving right from the first issue. This week, we reach the final part of  The Truth.  After totally enjoying everything leading up to this point, I found myself somewhat disappointed. It felt like a rushed ending, with a bunch of answers dropped in our lap and a quick resolution.

What I do  give this issue credit for, however, is the way Wonder Woman resolves the conflict with Deimos and Phobos. Rather than the usual slugfest, Diana reaches out to them in a way that I feel totally suits the character and emphasises the fact that she can do more than fight.

I also love the art, even though it can be uneven at times. I will be sad when the creative team moves on after issue 25.

 

So that’s it. As I said, it was a small week, but overall a good one. What have you been reading? Let me know what titles you are picking up and why they are worth reading. It doesn’t have to be DC only. Tell me about your Marvel titles, or anything at all that you are currently enjoying.

Craig

Pick up these titles and more at Amazon

 

Dr Manhattan Finally Revealed in This Week’s Reads May 17

This was a pretty large week for me. yes, I know I don’t read as much as some other comic book fans– and I really wish I could– but having kids comes with sacrifices!

Aquaman
Aquaman Issue 23

Aquaman # 23

Crown of Atlantis part 1.  Tired of conflict with the surface Aquaman’s seeming preference of the surface world to his kingdom of Atlantis, the Atlanteans move to depose their king. As powerful as he may be, how can Aquaman fight against his people’s perceptions?

 

 

 

 

Batman
Batman Issue 23

Batman #23

The Brave and the Mold  Called in by Commissioner Gordon to assist the investigation onto a mysterious murder, Batman finds himself teaming with Swamp Thing, who has ties to the victim.

 

 

 

 

Batwoman issue 3
Batwoman Issue 3

Batwoman #3

The Many Arms of Death part 3. In the lawless nation of Coryana, Batwoman finds herself in need of allies. far from Gotham and the rest of the bat-family, she is left with no other option than to try to recruit a band of warlords and gang leaders, but will they follow her lead?

 

 

 

 

The Flash Issue 22

The Flash #22

The Button Part 4  Pursuing Eobard Thawne as he races unwittingly toward his death, Batman and the Flash draw the attention of another speedster, long forgotten to the world.

 

 

 

 

Justice League Issue 21

Justice League #21

Endless part 2  Caught in a time loop, Flash and Batman race to prevent what could become an extinction-level event, butwith the Flash having already tried and failed multiple times, can they and the rest of the League prevent disaster?

 

 

 

 

Nightwing Issue 21

Nightwing #21

Split Second  Dick and Wally West have a night on the town, but when someone seems able to mysteriously manipulate time, it’s time for Nightwing and Flash to suit up and save the day!

 

 

 

 

 

Superman Issue 23

Superman #23

Black Dawn part 4  The mystery of Hamilton County begins to unravel, but while Superman has his hands full defeating rampaging monsters, a foe from the past takes steps to turn Jon against his father.

 

 

 

 

Super Sons Issue 4

Super Sons #4

When I  Grow Up part 4.  Superboy and Robin face off against the deadly Kid Amazo. Can the two put aside their differneces long enough to defeat their foe?

 

 

 

 

Teen Titans Issue 8

Teen Titans #8

The Lazarus Contract part 2. Deathstroke has a plan to rewrite the past, and he needs Kid Flash to do it. As the Titans and Teen Titans come together to face this threat, hints of Nightwing’s betrayal come to light.

 

 

 

 

Trinity Issue 9

Trinity #9

Dead Space part 1  With the Watchtower compromised by an alien force, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman must try to rescue their fallen Justice League companions

 

 

 

 

 

Spoilers Follow

This week’s Aquaman gets into what I had been hoping to see more of: Atlantean politics. Atlantis is such a unique setting compared to many other DC titles, so I think there is a ton of opportunity to show their culture, beliefs and politics. I think this should be an interesting arc.

Batman had one of the better issues of the series this week. I liked the art and the writing was better than I have come to expect from King… at least until the somewhat disappointing ending. I still get the feeling that his view of Batman just doesn’t quite match his portrayal throughout the other titles in which he appears. I will give credit though, for Swamp Thing asking him “why do you need a car?” I have wondered this myself recently, as it has been shown that he has easy access to teleportation technology. Why drive across the city for half an hour when teleportation is an option? Still a decent issue, though and it was fun to see Swamp Thing again.

Batwoman is developing nicely. Hmm. That doesn’t sound quite right… At any rate, the story thus far has been serviceable, and I am looking forward to seeing where it goes from here. I am not sure if the intention is to keep her on Coryana for an extended perios of time, but it looks like that could be the plan. If so, I hope to see more personality injected into the locale, beyond the “den of scum and villainy” that has been shown so far. With the way the Kali Corporation is developing the area, I get a strange Madripoor-like vibe from it.  Like many other leads in other titles, my main desire is to see more of Kate out of costume (so to speak). I want to know her beyond her role as Batwoman.

The Flash is one of the best reads this week. It’s probably my top pick, with Nightwing and Superman coming in close behind. This issue sees the long-awaited return of Jay Garrick and I am very happy about that. Much like Wally, he recognised that he needs someone to remember him iin order for him to return fully, and I am not sure what happened in his interaction with Barry. It looks as though Barry’s bond with him was not strong enough to restore him, but I also had a moment where I thought he might have been sent off to a different Earth… It remains to be seen. And of course, the big event of this issue (well, Jay coming back was the biggest part for me…) is the confirmation of just whom is behind all of the goings on with the entire New 52 and now Rebirth. According to the ad at the back of the book, though, which states Doomsday Clock  is coming in November (!) this storyline is going to progress slowly over at least six more months.

Justice League was… ok. I’m really not loving this title, though I don’t really have anything against it. I’m just not finding the stories suitably “epic”. There is a recurring theme that the world is about to be destroyed, but it doesn’t really engage me. I’m not feeling a connection to the title and suspect that it will be the next title that I drop unless things change.

Nightwing gave me some of what I have been hoping for in other books: normal life outside of heroics. The relationship between Dick and Wally is a great one and I want to see more of this kind of interaction. Having them take the night off (or attempt to anyway) and just hang out together is a nice change of pace. Nightwing actually stands out at the moment as the only title I am reading– outside of Superman’s books– that showcases character relationships, and it’s great. As a side note, we need a Wally West book, please.

Superman explores the secrets behind Hamilton County in this issue and we finally learn who is behind everything. I was slightly disappointed in the way that I figured it out early on  from one single word: “telly”. Does that give it away for you too? Yes, that’s right, it’s all a plot of Manchester Black, whose got some serious plans for Jon, whom he hopes can succeed where Superman “failed.” I’m not a huge fan of Black, but it’s an interesting idea and it should be interesting to see how it wraps up.

Super Sons continues to be enjoyable, and my on-again off-again feelings toward Robin continue. Here, he is not so bad. Being paired with Jon just works. It grounds him, reduces his annoying side to manageable levels, and even on occasion makes him likeable. If this was his regular portrayal, I would be good with him. Unfortunately, there’s also…

Teen Titans. Ugh. I’m back to wanting to slap Damian. This kid seriously gets to me. Robin aside, however, it’s good to see the two teams of Titans come together. I would like to see more of this and as the new timeline comes into play across the various titles, I am still hopeful of seeing Raven return to her former self. I also want to see a bit more interaction between Nightwing and Starfire. Teen Titans seems to be one of the titles that has been impacted the least so far by Rebirth and the aftershocks of events in Superman’s books, and it is a strange read to me because certain characters are simply not how I used to know them anymore. I haven’t heard anything about future plans, so I have no idea whether they will stay this way (likely) or revert to their old selves (unlikely, I believe).

Trinity was another ok issue that wasn’t bad but was far from thrilling. It was a decent enough read, but like Justice League, it doesn’t seem to be at the level I would expect and worse than that, I feel like the events of issue #& may just as well have not happened given the way nothing has come from them. I know it’s only two issue later, but to have no references at all to what seemed like a significant setup in that issue, makes it seem like the plot was abandoned.

Well, that’s it for this week. What have you all been reading? I would love to hear back from you all about what you’ve been enjoying and not enjoying. What are your predictions for the coming months? Do you love, hate, or not care about the involvement of Dr Manhattan in Rebirth? Leave a comment and let me know!

Craig

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Captain America is in Hydra, and I think It’s Our Fault

It’s been a while since I have seen something stir up the ire of comic book readers the way Marvel’s recent treatment of Captain America has done. Some readers (though none that I know personally…) may be enjoying the current storyline, but I have encountered so many more that absolutely hate it, to the point of dropping Cap from their reading list altogether. But now that Captain America is in Hydra, I think we need to consider the role that readers have played in this coming to pass.

Changing Views, Changing Tastes

When I was a kid, it was pretty straightforward: you rooted for the good guys, and booed the bad guys. The whole purpose of the villains was to give the hero a chance to shine as they fought for everything good. Some of the best villains had some redeeming qualities , of course. Magneto was a very sympathetic character, having survived the Holocaust. Dr Doom was always trying to rescue the soul of his mother. Even the Green Goblin seemed (on occasion) to legitimately love his son Harry. Other villains didn’t really have any sort of good side and were simply despicable beings in need of a pummeling. Red Skull comes to mind.

Somewhere along the way, we started to see more violent heroes appearing. The Punisher is probably the first one that I was aware of, though I later discovered Wolverine (thanks to Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends on Saturday morning) and loved him. I was probably in my early teens at the time, maybe 14, and he appealed to my frustrated teenage self. At the time, the idea of a character who would just cut loose and “do what needs to be done” was really appealing, even though it went against the usual idea of a superhero.

It was also in this period that Watchmen was released,with it’s own very different take on costumed superheroes. A darker, grittier story, Watchmen famously deconstructed the superhero genre and changed some reader’s minds about what a superhero comic could be or should be.

The Superhero as One of Us

Marvel had appealed to many readers over the years for having relatable characters with the same problems as the average person on the street, as opposed to DC, which often had more powerful, seemingly more capable heroes. Despite their problems, however, Marvel characters still generally embodied the heroic ideal, though the darker, more violent characters were rapidly gaining in popularity. It wasn’t long before Wolverine surpassed Spider-Man as Marvel’s most popular character. The mutant berserker was suddenly in every other Marvel title, propping up sales wherever he appeared.

Since that time, heroes have become more extreme. Where Wolverine and the Punisher killed when and where it was deemed appropriate, other heroes came along who were quicker to kill their enemies, sometimes in a rather violent manner. Heroes slowly grew darker and more menacing, their sense of right and wrong often being questioned. Where superheroes had once been characters portraying the highest of ideals, calling upon us to emulate them and join them in the light, we now had vigilantes who lived in the darkness with us.

During these years, Batman and his enemies grew more violent. Spider-Man’s vaunted optimism and light-hearted nature began to fade. The X-Men, with their characters hated by humanity at large, had become Marvel’s biggest stars.

The Villain as Hero

Worst of all, villains started to become more popular than the heroes they fought. Venom was a fearsome, murderous foe that threatened Spider-Man in a way that few other villains before him had done. He was violent, a killer. And fans loved him. So much so, that Marvel ultimately gave him his own title, where he made the change from outright villain to anti-hero after he and Spider-Man came to an agreement that they would not interfere in each other’s lives. This despite the fact that Venom was a killer and super-powered criminal. It was rather nonsensical that someone with Spider-Man’s moral code would simply let Venom go his merry way, but Marvel probably didn’t feel comfortable at the time devoting a series to a villain.

Aside from Venom, there have been a number of other characters that, upon becoming popular, made the switch from villain to “hero”. Various X-Men foes like Sabretooth and Juggernaut joined that group, while more recently DC’s Harley Quinn has made her way over to the light side, again simply because she is a popular character.  It seems that no matter how heinous a character’s past actions, once they become popular all is forgiven, or more correctly, forgotten.

The absolute worst, however, is the way fans have embraced the character of Carnage. A serial killer bonded to the offspring of Venom’s symbiote, Carnage murders people so casually and easily that it hardly has any impact any more. It is almost too abstract a thought to fully understand.  And he’s wildly popular.

Captain Hydra

This all brings us to the modern day, with Captain America in Hydra, committing horrible acts that infuriate the character’s long-time readers. I have to say, though, that this is our own fault. We supported the vigilantes more than the heroes. We called those characters with strong morals boring and corny. We celebrated the villains.

Captain America Joins Hydra

I don’t find it too hard to believe that Marvel never considered that fans would react negatively to Cap’s villainous turn. After all, if murderous villains can be embraced by the fans, why not a fallen hero?

Perhaps readers are finally at the point where they want something a bit more optimistic. After decades of progressively darker stories and heroes that barely deserve the name, maybe it’s time to see some hope and positivity return to comics. DC’s Rebirth seems to suggest that this is possible.

Some would say that comics are merely reflecting the state of the world today, but I think that they need to offer us something more positive, now more than ever, perhaps. We are bombarded by negative messages in the news and in our lives every day. Maybe it’s time to start the long walk back to the light. Maybe turning Captain America evil was the final straw that made people wake up and see that while there may be a place for the dark and gritty heroes, there is a much greater need for the positive role-models.

I certainly hope so.

How do you feel about what’s been done to Captain America? Are you tired of  dark and gritty comics, or do you still prefer them over more traditional superhero fare? Should comics about superheroes reflect our world today, or offer us hope for a brighter tomorrow? I’d love to hear from you, either through email, or in the comments below.

Craig

From virtually no tech skills to my own site. Learn how you can do it too!

DC Comics: Wonder Woman Leads This Week’s Reads May 10

Once again, amoung the titles I am reading from DC, Wonder Woman is at, or at least near the top. It makes me rather sad, then, to hear that Greg Ruck will be leaving the book after issue 25. While he made a comment about it being “for now,” I don’t know that we can honestly expect him to come back in the foreseeable future.

Overall, it was a pretty good week, though I suspect that I will be dropping at least one more title, as I am not sure that Superwoman will maintain my interest.

Superwoman #10

Rediscovery Part 1  After losing the powers she had as Superwoman, Lana Lang is given another chance to be a hero, but will she take it? Yeah, of course she will, as John Henry Irons’s family history comes back to haunt them.

Titans # 11

The Lazarus Contract Part 1 Beginning a crossover that will run through Titans, Teen Titans and Deathstroke. The return of the original Wally West might provide the key to bringing Deathstroke’s son back from the dead and the world’s deadliest assassin doesn’t plan to let that opportunity slip past.

Detective Comics #956

League of Shadows Finale  It’s the final Battle against Shiva and her League of Shadows, but with Batwoman injured, Batwing and Azrael struggling to disarm a nuclear bomb, and Batman himself outclassed by Shiva’s martial prowess, how can his team hope to survive?

Wonder Woman #22

Godwatch Part 4  By Rucka and Evely  Wonder Woman and Veronica Cale come face to face… on a date?

Action Comics #979

Revenge Part 1 By Jurgens and Zircher  The Superman Revenge Squad adds Mongul to their numbers as they search for the Oblivion Stone in order to restore Hank Henshaw as the Cyborg Superman.

 

Spoilers Follow

So, to get the weakest title of the week out of the way first, Superwoman will probably not be on my list for much longer. It’s not that it’s a bad title, it;s just that I am not a major fan of Lana as a superhero. I know that she is a popular supporting character for Superman and so they want to make use of her, but I personally prefer her as a friend to Superman rather than a hero in her own right. Having her as a normal, everyday person in his life is, I think, more important to him than a fellow hero. Not that I think Clark can’t get by without her to ground him– after all he still has Lois– but I always liked Superman’s supporting cast and there hasn’t been much focus on them over the past year. Having Lana act as Superwoman effectively removed her from his titles, as it becomes more difficult to use her as a supporting character if she stars in her own book.  I also find the manner in which she continues to operate as Superwoman (the Queen Bee armour is mysteriously continuing to provide her with her former abilities for no apparent reason other than to keep the title going) to be a bit nonsensical. Perhaps they will explain it further in future issues, but right now it seems a bit hand-wavey. “Hey, Lana needs to continue as Superwoman, so we’ll say the armour gives her powers. Just because.”

Titans begins what is sure to be a fun crossover, with Deathstroke becoming aware of “a new Flash” that might prove the key to him bringing his son Grant (AKA the Ravager) back from the dead. I’m not sure how long it’s been since we’ve seen a classic Deathstroke/ Titans story, but it feels like it’s been a long time. This should fit the bill nicely. It is also providing us with the opportunity to see some interaction between the original Wally West and the Wally introduced in New 52, which should be interesting.

Detective Comics wraps up the League of Shadows storyline and while it is… effective… at doing so, it’s not the most exciting climax to a story I have read recently. I find that Batman is almost a secondary character in this book at times, though that is understandable given that it is effectively a team book. When Batwoman was given her own title, I expected that she would likely disappear from Detective, but I am glad that so far I have been wrong. My usual bat-complaint remains, though: I would like to see more of Bruce Wayne. In the titles I am reading, the characters are mostly missing private lives. The exceptions to this being Superman and, to a degree, Wonder Woman. I don’t expect to see much of Bruce here, though, given  that we have just finished exploring Cassandra Caine’s character and will probably be seeing similar arcs with both Batwing and Azrael coming up, as well as a follow-up on Spoiler.

This week’s Action Comics sees the Superman Revenge Squad coming one step closer to a full roster as they add Mongul, last seen in Trinity. Given that each member of the Squad (Eradicator, Blanque, Cyborg Superman and now Mongul) has given Superman a run for his money, it seems likely that this storyline will see a crossover, perhaps with Supergirl, Superwoman and others, though I hope not. While it is logical for a character to reach out for help, especially with the ties between characters being reinforced and emphasised, I miss the days of heroes being able to stand on their own two feet. I also have to wonder how two reporters– even ones as famous as Lois Lane and Clark Kent– can afford the cond/ apartment that they were looking at in this issue. They are on the top floor, within site of the Daily Planet. I’m assuming that in a city like Metropolis, this should run about 5 million or more. Guess they’ll have to sell the farm.

Finally, Wonder Woman rounds out the week in a flashback to Diana’s first meeting with Veronica Cale… on a date that Cale bid on at a charity auction. This was actually a fun read and  despite some of the things Cale has done, I find myself wanting to like her. As a parent, I can understand her motivation for the actions she is taking, but I am hoping that she can find some way to come out of this without continuing on as a villain. With only 3 more issues before the end of Rucka’s run (darn it), this story is nearly done. I don’t know who will be taking over as the creative team, but I hope that they manage to keep this book at the top of my list.

That’s it for this week, though I may pick up a few titles on the weekend if I have time. I still need to go back and pick up past issues of Deathstroke, ideally before continuing the current crossover with the Titans, and I want to continue the Sandman, which I finally started reading a few weeks back (a couple of decades after everyone else…)

What have you been reading? What are your thoughts on the current storylines running through your favourite titles? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line or leave a comment below!

Craig

From virtually no tech skills to having my own site. Learn how you can do it too!
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My Reads: DC Comics This Week May 3

I picked up 5 titles this week (being on a budget sucks…) and blew through them in record speed. I’d love to be able to branch out into other titles, but until I start earning some big bucks, that’ll have to wait. So, my DC comics this week are:

Aquaman #22

H2.0 finale Aquaman and Mera have uncovered the truth about Dead Water, but can save the remaining Aquamarine? Even if they do, the countdown to the detonation of a miniature nuke has begun. By Abnett and Briones

Justice League #20

Endless part 1.  Déjà vu all over again as the League find themselves in a time loop that ends with ever-increasing destruction and the death of one of their own. By Hitch and Henriques

Nightwing #20

Nightwing must Die finale. In the clutches of Dr Hurt! If  Nightwing can’t overcome the torment being inflicted upon him, then he, Robin and Defacer are doomed! But why is Dr Hurt doing this and what does he see coming for them all? By Seeley and Fernandez

Batman #22

The Button part 3. It’s the Flash, teamed up with Batman and… Batman? As time comes apart around them, the trio must uncover the truth about the mysterious Button and who is behind the manipulation of the DC universe. By Williamson and Fabok

Superman #22

Black Dawn part 3  Batman is missing and Robin, Superman and Superboy have left Lois Lane on her own. So what’s a famous news reporter to do? As Lois puts her investigative skills to use and starts to uncover the secrets of Hamilton County, Superman continues to investigate Deadman’s Swamp. By Gleason + Tomasi, and Mahnke.

My Thoughts (with spoilers)

This was another really good week, but with some titles being better than others as usual.

Aquaman was a bit of a letdown, though it wasn’t exactly bad. I just expected a bit more. The first few parts of H2.0 had a nice Alien vibe going, with the Aquamarines in the underwater base and an unknown predator in their midst. It had better atmosphere than I am used to seeing in a comic, but by this issue it was down to standard comic slugfests. Aquaman’s decisions toward the end, however, will hopefully have repercussions in the future, as he took actions that the Atlanteans have long condemned the surface world for taking. I would like to see a continuation of this at some point down the road.

Justice League was ok. I got the impression from one of the alternate covers that we’d be dealing with the multiverse and alternate realities, but instead we were treated to the League’s version of the movie Groundhog Day. I am not too sure where the JL issue fall in terms of continuity with other titles. Superman is depicted here with his latest costume, yet Barry is out on a date with Jessica. I’m not sure if there’s much communication between authors, because it looks as though Barry is pursuing two romances at once (the other being Iris in his own book). Pretty standard fare overall. It may just be me, but I always expect the Justice League stories to be… bigger somehow. In my mind, they should be leading the way in the Rebirth storyline, but the again, having it play out in the various books of individual characters prompts more sales…

Nightwing gives me some hope for my on-again, off-again dislike of Damian Wayne. He seems to have a good relationship with Dick and I’d actually like to see more of them together. Like his relationship with Jon Kent, being around Dick seems to bring out the better side of Damian. I am hopeful that he can continue to grow and become less abrasive. I do find it a bit odd after growing up with Batman and Robin, that Robin is hanging out with everyone but Batman, but I think Damian works better that way. Batman’s books tend to still be a bit on the dark side and perhaps there is a conscious desire to keep Robin away from that in order to have him lighten up a bit. Whatever the case may be, I personally prefer Batman with either Dick or Tim.

Superman probably had me flipping pages (well, changing pages on my e-reader) faster than any other title this week. I was anxious to see where things were going and as Lois’s position grew ever more dire, I found myself wishing this was a giant-sized issue. I actually didn’t need to see Superman at all, which is good considering he hardly appears. As much as I kind of disliked the idea of them living in Hamilton County at first, I now find myself wanting to know what’s going on there and what the townsfolk are up to. I’m not sure if there is magic behind the town’s operations, but it feels that way, which might spell trouble for Superman. I hope that they don’t draw out the “Jon is extra, extra special!” aspect of the story too long, however. I like Jon, but I’m not a fan of him being “more powerful” than Superman and somehow more important to the story that any of the major characters.

Finally, Batman was also a really good read. Written by Joshua Williamson as opposed to the usual Tim King, this feels closer to the Batman I am used to and the request of Thomas Wayne to his son may just be a catalyst for a change in Bruce’s demeanor. This issue also answered my concerns about Thawne  that I had after his last appearance, and I am hopeful that in the next part we will finally get some concrete answers about what is going on, as Flash and Batman seem to be on a rapid approach to whatever killed Reverse Flash in part 1.

There is still a lot of stuff that I am hoping to see addressed in Rebirth, but I have no real complaints about how it’s been going so far. As I said above, I’d love to branch out into other titles. In fact, I’d probably read almost everything being put out right now if I could, but short of working two jobs, I don’t see that happening, so I will focus on the core books for now.

I’d love to hear some thoughts on what you’ve been reading and if there’s a title that I am not picking up but that I definitely should, please tell me. I’ll find a way to at least try it out for a few issues.

Thanks for reading!

Craig

From virtually no tech skill to my own site! Learn how you can do it too!

This Week’s Reads: April 26

Another really good week. I gave up on Justice League of America because it just wasn’t holding my interest, but everything else that I picked up was good. Batman and Flash are exploring the implications of The Button, while Superman is getting closer to determining what has happened to alter his past.

Action Comics #978

The New World part 2 By Jurgens and Barberi  With the aid of Kelex and his Fortress’s archival crystals, Superman continues to review what has happened over the course of his life to determine what has been changed in the merging of the two timelines.

Teen Titans #7

The Rise of Aqualad part 2 By Percy and Pham. The Titans battle King Shark in San Francisco Bay. Will the arrival of Jackson Hyde– Aqualad– be enough to turn the tide?

Wonder Woman #21

The Truth part 4 By Rucka and Sharp. An injured Wonder Woman must survive the assault of Black Poison as Veronica Cale draws ever closer to discovering Themyscira!

Detective Comics # 955

League of Shadows part 5 By Tynion IV and Takara. Cassandra Cain against the League of Shadows.  She may be one of the greatest fighters in the DCU, but can she save the Bat-Family by herself?

The Flash #21

The Button part 2 By Williamson and Porter.  Flash and Batman join forces to unravel the mystery of the Comedian’s button and learn who or what is responsible for killing the Reverse-Flash.

Supergirl: Being Super

Book three By Tamaki and Jones. Supergirl’s memories of her life before coming to Earth continue to surface and she comes face-to-face to the one responsible for the fluctuation of her powers.

 

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Spoilers Follow

So, as I mentioned, I gave up on JLA. It just doesn’t interest me, to be honest. While I like Batman, Black Canary and the Atom, I don’t really care enough about the other characters to continue following the book. That, combined with their strange mission statement (show normal humans that they don’t need godlike powers to be heroes, by using their godlike powers to inspire them…) just left me feeling “meh” about the title, so I figure my money can be better spent elsewhere.

Teen Titans was probably my least favourite title this week, which is not to say that it wasn’t good. As usual, I kept hoping that someone would slap the hell out of Robin. I still have difficulty accepting that the other characters would follow him as their leader, but that’s just the way it is. I’ll have to learn to live with it.

Wonder Woman continues to focus on the hunt for Themyscira and brings us one step closer to uncovering the truth about Diana’s origin. I love this book right now and while I sometimes find Liam Sharp’s artwork to be uneven, I am overall quite taken with it.

I’m also rather enjoying both the art and story of Supergirl: Being Super. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of the concept, as it seems odd to have Supergirl as the lone hero on this version of Earth. Having references to Lex Luthor only makes it seem stranger, but I am enjoying this version of Kara and wouldn’t mind seeing this version of the character continue indefinitely.

Detective Comics has managed to make me care for characters that I previously had fairly little interest in. While I never had anything against Batwoman or Orphan, I didn’t really make any effort to follow them either. Having become more familiar with both of them over the past year or so, I am now fond of both of them. It seems to me that if Batman really wanted to show what normal humans are capable of, he could have simply done more to promote the Bat-family characters, rather than go off and form a new League (I’m having a hard time letting go of the illogic of that).

Of course, the “main” books for me this week were both Flash and Action Comics, as they are the one tackling the greater Rebirth storyline. In the case of the Flash, he and Batman join forces to probe deeper into the mystery of the button that was found last year in the Batcave. As an older fan, I absolutely love seeing references to the older continuities as Batman and Flash break out the old Cosmic Treadmill and run through time and space. While I prefer Batman in his darker colours, I have to admit it’s kind of cool seeing Batman in his blue and grey costume again, however briefly. There’s also a glimpse of Martian Manhunter’s old costume (along with lots of other neat stuff) in the “Hall of Lost and Found” in the Justice League Watchtower.

By far, though, the best bit of reminiscing comes courtesy of Action Comics, in which Superman, dealing with a nagging sense that “something is wrong”, continues to review the events of his life. This serves basically to inform the reader of his new/ old history that has come about as a result of merging with his New 52 counterpart.

We are treated to a recap of some of Superman’s defining moments, from his first appearance where he saves Lois to his death at the hands of Doomsday, and on to the birth of Jon and his present circumstances. His new history is a mix of everything, with Superman seeing his younger self in his iconic red briefs, his Superman Red/ Blue outfits and even the New 52 armour and the black suit and beard from Lois and Clark.

While everything he sees resonates with him as being true and accurate, he feels that something is missing. The general consensus seems to be that this is probably Conner Kent as we knew him before New 52, but I’m not so sure. I think it’s entirely possible– even probable– but I’m not making assumptions.

All in all, it was a good week. It looks like Marvel will be taking a page from DC’s book with their Legacy event. I certainly hope so. I grew up loving both Marvel nd DC, but especially Marvel. Much of what they have done over the last several years has left me with no desire to read their books, but if they can right the ship in the same fashion that DC has, I might have to find a way to increase my comic budget.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and views on anything going on in comics right now. Theories, observations or reviews are all welcome.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Craig

 

This Week’s Reads: April 19

Now, this was a good week. Not only were there a number of things I picked up (more than usual, anyway), but there was virtually nothing that I was reading just out of habit. Every issue was one I was looking forward to and none of them disappointed. We are finally moving forward with the overall Rebirth storyline, beyond just little hints and throwaway panels.

Superwoman #9

Steel Resolve  Lana Lang’s life may have been saved by Superman, but is it at the cost of being Superwoman?     By Perkins and Segovia

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Nightwing #19

Nightwing Must Die!  Nightwing comes face to face with Deathwing again as he races to save Robin from Dr. Hurt     By Seeley , Fernandez and Jung

Justice League #19

Timeless part 5  Caught between Molly and Tempus, the Justice League fight to save the Earth and themselves. By Hitch and Pasarin

Super Sons #3

When I Grow Up part 3  Superboy and Robin together against Kid Amazo, but first they must learn how to stop fighting one another…    By Tomasi and Jiminez

Trinity #8

The Truth About Superman  Superman shares the tale of what happened to him during Superman Reborn with Wonder Woman and Batman, but can even this trio find a way to oppose the forces that have been manipulating time and reality? By Bunn and Lupacchino

Aquaman #21

H2.O  part 3  Aquaman and Mera venture into the source of H2.O, but can they discover the truth in time to save the Aquamarines from Dead Water? By Abnett and Eaton

Batwoman #2

The Many Arms of Death part 2  On the trail of the Monster Venom, Batwoman returns to the criminal haven of Coryana, facing both her past and her future… By Bennet and Epting

Superman #21

Black Dawn part 2  With Batman missing, Superman teams with Robin and Superboy in a search for him, but instead encounter the deepening mystery of Hamilton County. By Tomasi, Gleason and Godlewski

Batman #21

The Button part 1  Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash has returned, and he wants revenge on Batman for the actions of Thomas Wayne. Meanwhile, the mystery of the button grows deeper. By King and Fabok

 

Spoilers Follow

Ok, so this is what I have been waiting for. Things are finally about to start revealing themselves. After months of either subtle hints or worse, no information whatsoever, the storyline of Rebirth is moving forward. Justice League, Superman, Batman, and Trinity all drop some info on the event that is now in at the start of year two. Continued references to Jon Kent being “more than you know” are dropped, while the Kent’s neighbours in Hamilton county are revealed to not only have knowledge of Jon and his abilities but also have as-yet-unspecified plans for him. They are also shown to be responsible for him not being able to fully manifest his abilities as yet.

As I have previously mentioned, I am not personally thrilled with the idea that 10-year-old Jon is (seemingly) one of the most important figures in this storyline, or that he is, according to Batman, more powerful than Superman. To me, it is just not terribly logical and I find also that after the effort that was made to bring Superman back to his former glory, Jon being so special and so powerful kind of pushes Superman into a secondary role. Even when I went through my phase of being less enamored of Superman, I still maintained that he is and should be DC’s preeminent character.

The Button part one is what I was probably looking forward to the most this week and I was pleasantly surprised. I have been commenting repeatedly lately that Tom King’s interpretation of Batman is definitely not my favourite, but in this issue, I find that he was was handled quite well. As a bonus, he didn’t come across as either crazy or suicidal, which was a welcome change. I have to admit that, while some people absolutely hate it, seeing the Comedian’s iconic blood-stained button in Batman’s hands did manage to elicit an excited response from me.

Super Sons continues to be a fun read and if it continues in this manner, it might just be responsible for me beginning to (gasp) like Damian Wayne. I never thought I would write something like that, but here we are… I think that his interactions with Jon are helping him learn how to be a child, which is something that he truly needs.

As I read Trinity, I found myself wondering about the ongoing retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin in her own book. Here, in Trinity, she is able to sympathise with Clark’s recent experiences as she has herself come face-to-face with the knowledge that someone has been manipulating her past and her memories. I am not sure if that will be tied into the greater Rebirth storyline, or if those manipulations have happened apart from this major crossover. I’m not sure if it is easier or harder to retell her story during Rebirth and the changes it is causing/ will cause.

Batwoman has been more enjoyable than I expected. I truthfully didn’t know too much about her before she joined the cast of Detective, but I liked her there and I find I am also liking her quite a bit in her own book, even though it is probably a bit early to form an opinion, given that it is only two issues in so far.

There are still so many questions waiting to be resolved. I want to know more about Saturn Girl, who is presently stuck in Arkham Asylum. I want to learn more about how Superman’s history has re-written itself. I want to know if the Joker has been split into 3 in the same way that Superman was split, or are there actually 3 different Jokers? And if so, is one the original?

I know I have said this before, but I am truly hoping that Rebirth will see the return of the real Captain Marvel, though I haven’t heard anything about that yet. Given recent comments by Jon Bogdanove regarding the potential return of Superman’s red briefs, however, I am choosing to believe that anything is possible and that DC is genuinely interested in recapturing the feel of days gone by.

Do you have any thoughts on where this story is going? What will be the result of it all once the dust settles? Why is Dr. Manhattan (presumably) doing all of this?

Please share your thoughts below!

Craig