Wednesday, October 01, 2008

FanBoyWonder & Kemosabe Invade DC Nation at Baltimore Comic-Con Part II

As we noted the other day, FanBoyWonder along with our best pal and all around Kemosabe enjoyed a fine time at the Baltimore Comic-Con this past weekend.

Among events in which we partook was the DC Nation panel featuring Executive Editor Dan DiDio, along with Jimmy Palmiotti, DC’s uber writer Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates, Kemosabe’s favorite writer James Robinson, Sean McKeever and DC Comics Story Editor Ian Sattler.

In the first part of our DC Nation invasion, we reported on and provided snarky commentary about DC’s upcoming plans for the Justice Society of America and Power Girl.

Here in Part 2, we feature…some more things from the panel that we found of interest. Let’s get it on.

Faces of Evil

Taking its cue/inspiration from the decently done but not-long remembered New Years Evil series of fifth-week one shots from a decade ago, DiDio announced in January that the villains of the DC Universe will take over the various DCU titles by telling the story from the bad guys’ point of view.

In addition there will be a series of one-shot specials also following along this villain-centric theme, including a Solomon Grundy special by Geoff Johns and Scott Kollins and one-time Grant Morrison JLA flavor of the month bad guy Prometheus, written by Sterling Gates.

Also look for a Kobra special designed to “established a new status quo” for the cult/terror organization of the DCU, as well as a Deathstroke The Terminator one-shot.

FanBoyWonder’s Take: Telling the story from villains’ point of view sounds very interesting. Marvel Comics tried something like it in the early 1990s with the Spider-Man villains in a mini-series the name of which we can’t quite remember but it failed in its execution.

We hope DC can do better and we’re onboard with the concept but given Team DC’s recent and decidedly mixed track record, we not going in with high expectations.

Justice League(s)

Dan DiDio noted that Justice League of America will serve as the lynchpin title for the re-introduction of the Milestone universe characters—first seen in the 1990s—back into the DC Universe.

Although their had been a previous crossover during the 90s, current JLA writer and one-time Milestone scribe Dwayne McDuffie will bring the two universes together again for the first time as the Shadow Cabinet will go head-to-head with JLA, while major Milestone universe characters Icon and Static will play significant roles in JLA and Teen Titans respectively.

Meanwhile, DC is launching a second Justice League title to spin out of the God-awful Final Crisis. Kemosabe’s favorite writer James Robinson (a heavyweight scribe to be sure) will be writing the book.

Robinson noted that among the roster of the new/second League will include Freddy Freeman, the former Captain Marvel Jr. and new Captain Marvel/Shazam (we’re still not sure what name they’ve settled on for the New Red Cheese) and Batwoman. The aforementioned Prometheus will be having a run-in with this new League.

FBW’s Take: Regarding JL of A, we’ve always respected former Justice League Unlimited Cartoon Network veteran Dwayne McDuffie. Yet we think he inherited a big steaming s&*t sandwich when he took over the mess of a title from the over-rated fanboy dilettante Brad Metzler.

Hobbled to start with, frequent and persistent editorial mandates distracted from whatever story Dwayne wanted to tell and the art by one-trick T&A pony Ed Benes all conspired to make this book unreadable—so we stopped reading.

With the inclusion of the Milestone characters, Dwayne may finally be getting the chance to tell the story he wants but our good will for this book is gone. We know there are Milestone fans out there—we sat behind one at Baltimore Con and he was positively gleeful at the Milestone news.

To him and to Dwayne, we wish you luck.

As far as the second Justice League book goes—other than a showcase for a VERY talented writer, we’re not sure there is a compelling need for two Justice League books.

Robinson didn’t help assuage our fears when he explained the premise—THIS JL book will feature a more proactive team—proactively striking at threats before they become….(wait for it)…a crisis instead of always reacting.

Haven’t we heard this song before? Let’s think back…this sounds a lot like Judd Winick’s Outsiders, who stole the premise from Justice League Elite. But going further back, remember the good old days of multiple Justice League teams—Extreme Justice and Justice League Task Force?

This isn’t just a bad idea, it’s an UNORIGINAL bad idea—how many times can you re-tread this tire before it blows out on the storytelling highway??

The only reason…. the ONLY REASON we haven’t dismissed this book out of hand is because of James Robinson’s street cred. The guy is a proven rainmaker but frankly, we wish he would go back to Justice Society of America.

Hey, that’s a great idea. If DC would only change the name of the book to “Justice Society” to run in tandem with Geoff Johns “Justice Society of America” then DC would not just have an instant convert but a Number One fan.

Green Lantern/Blackest Night

Following up from last year’s surprise success (a surprise only to DC management) Sinestro Corps War, this month (October) will feature the continuation of that arc in the War of Light starting Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns.

As we’ve seen there aren’t just emerald and yellow power rings but now there are a number of different colors with a different color coordinated “corps.” Red Lanterns, for example, are warriors of rage.

The other spectra of light are based on emotions—Orange Lanterns are greedy, including the head guy “Agent Orange” but there are also Blue Lanterns of love and Black Lanterns of death.

Peter Tomasi in Green Lantern Corps will be featuring more the Star Sapphire brigade before he and Johns tag team into the Blackest Night event where the dead rise in 2009.

FBW’s Take: We have to admire the imagination behind this to an extent but we’re wary that they are taking a good idea too far. But Johns has enough street cred so that we’ll go where he wants to take us.

However, what does it say about Final Crisis—not quite yet half over—that they are already talking up the next big event?

Superman/New Krypton

The basic premise of New Krypton is that the Bottle city of Kandor is enlarged and 100,000 Kryptonians released to “re-settle on Earth, juiced by our yellow sun and ready to make a home—despite those pesky “indigenous” creatures—Earthlings.

FBW’s Take: Despite the talent assembled for this story arc to play through Superman and Action Comics—it sticks in our craw because we resent being force fed a wholesale return to the Silver Age—at first drip by drip and now with a tidal wave.

FanBoyWonder has been a long fan of the John Byrne’s Superman post-CRISIS on Infinite Earths reboot The Man of Steel. For all of the continuity problems that resulted (not ALL of which Byrne’s fault), we liked the Man of Steel-era Superman (circa 1986 to about 2000) because he really WAS the Last Son of Krypton—the sole survivor.

What we hated about pre-CRISIS Superman was that more and more survivors of Krypton kept popping up—starting with Supergirl Kara Zor-El. Superman becomes less and less unique with each Kryptonian survivor.

The premise of New Krypton has been compared—none too favorably—to an episode of Lois and Clark the New Adventures of Superman in the 1990s.

Okay….here is what has ALWAYS bothered us about Superman’s basic premise: We can see up to a point where a strange visitor from another planet would or could be physically enhanced by a smaller, less advanced world’s environment.

Yet Superman has been “Super” all over the universe and at such an extreme god-like power level that it’s hard for us to swallow that a whole race of people instantly being bestowed with god-like powers uniformly at the same god-like level just because the sun changes color.

Not too long after Byrne left the Super books (in a huff…big surprise), Team Superman added to the Superman legend that Kryptonians were genetically bonded to their planet and to attempt to leave the confines of their world would be instantly fatal.

This plausibly explained why such an advanced civilization never developed real space-travel abilities.

Geoff Johns, the master of the plausible retrocon, really should look at some sort of explanation as to why Superman/Kal-El is just SO super under a yellow sun. Perhaps Kal and Kara Zor-El were born with the Krypton version of a meta-gene, making them something special on Earth or Krypton.

That’s a wee bit of ranting we know but we had wanted to get that out.

We have to admit that we DO find ourselves curious about the New Krypton story line. We might just give this a chance—our distaste for the Silver Age revival not withstanding.

We had not intended our DC Nation posting to be three parts but we’ve got more to say yet we’re nearly at our stop as we write this on the commuter train.

Tune in tomorrow (or just as soon as we can) and we’ll wrap up our trip through DC Nation with some Q&A snarkyness.


Blogger The League said...

I am very curious to see what happens when Johns and Robinson let the Kryptonians/ Genie out of the bottle. I am anticipating some version of the "bonding" that Byrne-era Kryptonians had to the planet as part of the resolution, only to being stuck in Kandor rather than on Krypton.

I'm actually more behind the idea that Kryptonian culture kept the citizens planet-bound. In some ways, its creepier and less of a deus ex machina. And, it lets you know Krypton had a long, dark history before the age of Jor-El.

I don't know if its plausible that they actually managed to keep everyone planet-bound, but it seems as likely as the gene-bomb as provided in the Byrne-era (if memory serves).

I don't need for Superman to be genetically unique, but, yes, 100,000 Kryptonians seems a bit much. But I am intrigued by the various eras represented in the Ross cover art.

I'm also sick of JLA being a book that has to tie into every cross-over DC cooks up. I want the Milestone U brought in as much as the next guy, but that seems like it could have been handled elsewhere so JLA could find some much needed footing.

2:05 PM, October 06, 2008  
Blogger FanBoyWonder said...

Hey League,
Thanks for writing.

I don’t think that Superman should be genetically unique but it got silly there during the Silver Age that everything from Krypton on Earth from Krypto to the blankets that wrapped baby Kal-El would become “Super” under the yellow sun.

I’m only saying that—just as not every human being is exactly as strong, fast, smart, as everyone else….not every Kryptonian should have Superman’s power level. Perhaps a combination of genetics—with this House of El possessing highest level of the Power gene—and part depending on how much Yellow Sun one has absorbed over time.

Again, may Johns and company can add a new twist to this old story. The jury is still out.


PS: I’m eager for your thoughts on my next post regarding DC Nation Q&A. Check it out.

6:45 PM, October 06, 2008  
Blogger The League said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:52 PM, October 06, 2008  
Blogger The League said...

Well, it wouldn't be THAT hard for Idleson, Johns and Co. to declare "okay... that's it. No more Kryptonians, Daxamites, what have you..."

Certainly Superman as Kryptonian no longer feels unique. It's my hope that the upcoming "Kryptonians on Parade" storyline will actually take steps towards finding the unique identifiers that make Kal-El Superman. Both physically and in character.

I'll be honest, I'm not married to the idea of Kal-El as the sole survivor of Krypton because of the poor substitutes I think we've had in the past for the classic Super Tropes.

I much prefer a Kryptonian Kara.
You can tell by my icon I like the Krypto idea (and not some transdimensional whatever by-product from pre-Infinite Crisis)
And thanks to the magic of back-issues and reprints, I'm very used to the idea of Kandor and the Phantom Zone.
It's a lot, but it beats the multitude of Supergirls who never really worked, the multitude of fake Zods, the multitude of Kandors that never lived up to the original...

But I also don't think a DCU littered with whatever Kryptonians they can think up would make for a good DCU. The key, I think, is to use Kandor and the Phantom Zone as sparingly as possible.

Anyhow, this rabid Superman fan will be watching.

8:57 PM, October 06, 2008  

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