Category Archives: Analysis

This Is It People – Geoff Johns Leaves Green Lantern

We all knew this day was coming. Geoff Johns can’t write Green Lantern forever, though he probably would if he could. One day Johns was going to move on to new things and leave Green Lantern to finally sink or swim without its long time master. He’s been writing about Hal Jordan and the intergalactic police department for nine years now and in that time so many new ideas have been introduced and old concepts have been revamped.

Johns introduced the emotional spectrum, the Black Lantern Corps, made the Guardians into villains, and unearthed secret after secret of hidden Green Lantern Corps past. We can only imagine at this point what is ahead for Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, John Stewart and maybe even Simon Baz. But what will happen to Johns’ many creations and even the characters he saved from oblivion? I imagine the characters in other Green Lantern titles will continue unscathed. Atrocitus will continue to appear in Red Lanterns, Saint Walker will play an important role in Green Lantern: New Guardians, Larfleeze will be hanging out in Threshold. These ideas have long since taken on a life of their own beyond their creator. Geoff Johns or not, these stories can only continue to go in new directions and even higher heights.

Green Lantern was a dead brand before Johns came along. Hal Jordan had long since gone crazy and destroy the Green Lantern Corps and now Kyle Rayner was all that was left. Rayner kept the light burning for years, both in story and property, but only Hal Jordan’s return could usher in the sweeping changes that needed to take place. It was not always the best writing, but it was exactly what the brand needed. Now the line is a juggernaut with infinite possibilities and we need to thank Geoff Johns for that.

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How Dark Horse Can Survive After Star Wars

Sledgehammer 44 #1

Dark Horse’s licensing contract for Star Wars comics seems to be ending in 2015. Now that Disney owns Lucasfilm and Marvel Comics, it only makes sense that Disney would want Marvel to publish Star Wars comic books. 2015 sounds like it’s going to be the year of Star Wars, with Episode 7 due in theaters, but what about Dark Horse Comics? Star Wars comics have been a Dark Horse staple for twenty years and now they’ll have to find another way to make up for the business they’ll be losing in two years. Thankfully, their March solicitations prove that they have the ability to survive.

1. Hellboy. People love Hellboy. I love Hellboy. You’ve seen Hellboy, but you should probably also read Hellboy too because it’s a lot of fun! Just this month alone has four issues from the Hellboy universe. Hellboy’s journey through hell continues in Hellboy in Hell, while the B.P.R.D. has two titles out that month. An agent fights vampires in B.P.R.D.: Vampire, as a follow up to the 1948 mini-series and the Hell on Earth saga continues with the now ongoing series B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #105. Sledgehammer 44 #1 introduces the Iron Man of the Hellboy universe, as a man in armor fights Nazis in France during World War II.

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Why All the Death?

People die. It happens. But why can legacies only be passed along after death? The old hero dies and a new one rises to take their place. It happens all the time, but what’s wrong with doing it a little differently? Why can’t the old hero just move on? Super-heroics is a dangerous business and people will ultimately die, but is it impossible to simply retire, to live? How does killing the hero do anything but hurt the franchise?

Barry Allen died so that Wally West could become the Flash, Ted Kord was murdered and Jaime Reyes replaced him as Blue Beetle, (almost) every single character ever named Manhunter was killed so that Kate Spencer could step up to be the brand new Manhunter. This goes beyond just legacy characters too. It seems that in order to introduce a new concept, you must first destroy an old one. Ed Brubaker brought Bucky back from the dead as the Winter Soldier, but in the process he kills off Jack Monroe, the hero known as Nomad. Obviously, not many people cared one way or the other about Nomad, but now that character is off the board forever (I highly doubt anyone will be attempting to resurrect him, ever). Whatever potential he may have had in the future is now gone. Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man was brought back to life during Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, but then his daughter, Stature, and Vision are killed in the same series. Creators often talk about world building, but too often the elimination of characters are used to launch that idea of world building at the reader. It seems that in order to build you must first destroy.

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What Makes a Hero: An Analysis of Amazing Spider-Man #700 [CONTAINS SPOILERS]

Dan Slott’s series-ending Amazing Spider-Man #700 is really two superhero stories in one: the death of a superhero and the origin story of another. From the time I discovered the ending of this story in the spoiler leak several days ago, to actually sitting down to read the issue, I’ve been trying to piece together what exactly frustrates me so much about this storyline. Is it that Peter Parker dies a  horrible death? Actually, no. Superhero deaths are nothing new, and with the comic book industry’s illustrious history of retconning and bringing characters back to life, I imagine we haven’t seen the last of Peter Parker. Not to mention, superhero death stories can be genuine works of art. It wasn’t so simple as just being an irate fan who doesn’t want to see his childhood hero’s demise. So why did this disappoint me so much? After all, it is just a comic book. These aren’t real people. They’re characters in a story. But no. It is more than just a story. There is a philosophy in every comic book. People don’t read comics merely for the fireworks of two emotionally damaged people in leotards beating the hell out of each other. No, we read comics for what the stories tell us about ourselves and the world around us. And my problem with Amazing Spider-Man #700 is that in attempting to show how a villain might be redeemed and rise to the challenge of heroism, instead, Slott has written an origin story which thoroughly misunderstands what makes a hero.

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Want to know the end of Amazing Spider-Man #700? [MAJOR SPOILERS]

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

If you’re a fan of comic books and you use the internet, which I think is likely given that you’re reading a comic book blog right now, you’ve probably already seen that the ending of Amazing Spider-Man #700 was leaked today and anyone who has seen the spoiler now knows who becomes the Superior Spider-Man, a plot point which has been shrouded in secrecy for months now.

Again, SPOILERS AHEAD!

If you’re curious, if you don’t care about spoilers, or if, like me, you are so fed up with Dan Slott and his shitty shitty oh so shitty Amazing Spider-Man stories and don’t care anymore, here is the link.

Of course, since this is a spoiler preceding even the release of advance copies, either it’s fake or some sneaky intern at Marvel (or Dan Slott, for all we know, given his track record of fucking with readers) took pictures of the actual book and posted it on 4chan. Now, I am pretty confident this is real, since I saw on Dan Slott’s Facebook page today that he wrote a post saying that ASM 700 had leaked and everyone should be careful if they don’t want it ruined for them. Plus, the leak isn’t just a plot description; there are actual pictures there, and the images are clearly Humberto Ramos’s penciling.

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How Hulk Saved the Avengers

I finally saw Avengers and I very much enjoyed it. But, it took me a while to realize what the movie’s biggest flaw was, the one thing that could have made everything else go away and allow me to thoroughly enjoy the movie. I did enjoy it, but at the same time, I didn’t. That one thing was emotion. Avengers lacked a compelling amount of emotion to get me to care about these characters, beyond the fact that they’re Captain America and Thor. A movie is a movie and you need empathy, and a sign of emotion would have solved that.

Most of the movie felt like actors who were acting. Literally. The scene where Black Widow goes down to Loki to make a deal in order to save Hawkeye could have been a great scene. She feels a certain bond with him and will do whatever it takes to save him. Whether it’s love or a sense of honor you can tell she has her own priorities and her own convictions. Just when you get the sense that we’re peeking into who she really is, when Loki explains how he’s going to kill the two of them and she begins to cry, it all turns out to be a ruse. There are no tears, no emotion, no feelings. You’re supposed to feel like it was clever, but for me it felt like we were cheated out of a moment to connect with someone, even if we didn’t agree with her logic or methods.

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10 Things to Learn from the March DC Comics Solicitations

The March solicitations for DC Comics have been released. Check it out. Here are my thoughts about what we’ve been shown this month.

1. Reintroductions. Several titles for the month of March focus on the reintroduction and reinterpretation of old characters from the pre-New 52 era. Some of the seem to be All New All Different and other look to be about the same. Still, they say they’re brand new, so maybe we’re still missing something.

The H.I.V.E. has traditionally been an enemy of the Teen Titans, however it appears to be focusing on Metropolis and therefore will come to blows with Superman. The H.I.V.E. has been subject to several changes to its core concept over the many years. It was originally a group of unnamed villains brought together to fight the Teen Titans, then it became a much bigger organization, until finally being taken over by the Queen Bee and becoming her actual ‘hive’. Time will tell how the group will be portrayed here. It could be something completely new.

Zealot will be joining Stormwatch in issue #18 and she appears to be creating problems for the group’s dynamic duo of Apollo and Midnighter. Zealot is a Kherubim, an alien race that has been at war with the Daemonites for thousands of years. If the conflict between these two races is still canon I think it’s likely that DC is building up to the introduction of the Wildcats. Grifter is now without a title and now that Spartan and possibly something to do with Mr. Majestic are being introduced in February, I think once Zealot plays her part in Stormwatch she could be showing up elsewhere.

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Whatever Happened to the Comic Book Creator?

This title, that you didn’t buy, is cancelled with issue #8

Creator owned comics are dead. Literally. But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe no one wants to buy anything new anymore and with that reality the industry dies a little more. New characters have always had a hard time finding an audience. Everyone wants a new #1, but no one wants to buy a comic about someone they don’t already know. On top of that, the recent trends within mainstream comics has moved towards stifling creative endeavors in favor of proven successes. All this is leading comic book creators to shy away from creating new concepts for mainstream comics, but their independent creative owned books never find the sales for success. In essence we’re being robbed of so much potential.

The sudden cancellation of a comic book NAMED Creator-Owned Heroes tells a lot about what comic book fans are looking for. A book starring characters created by the likes of Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Steve Niles, Phil Noto, Darwyn Cooke and others is a big deal, and yet people weren’t buying it. Sales were in the 5,000 range and they were asking for only a little bit more than that. Palmiotti and Gray have a loyal following from writing Jonah Hex and now All-Star Western, Steve Niles created 30 Days of Night and so many other things, Phil Noto is a popular cover artist at Marvel and DC, and Darwyn Cooke is the type of creator that you follow religiously. It was thought that all these creators’ fans would come together in order to support the book. Apparently not. Creator-owned concepts don’t always make it at Image Comics, but what about Marvel or DC, the companies that everyone wants to read and make the most money.

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Next on the New 52 Chopping Block

DC Comics’ cancellation zone seems to be somewhere under 20,000 units sold. Of the titles not already cancelled, these are the titles that fell under that mark in the month of October: Ravagers, DC Universe Presents, Dial H, Batwing, Firestorm, Savage Hawkman, Legion of Super-Heroes, Demon Knights, Deathstroke. That doesn’t mean that these are the titles that will be cancelled next. Some of them most certainly will be cancelled, but others will probably be given extra time to regain lost readers with a change in focus or creative team. These are usually the signs of a book before cancellation. Sometimes you can even tell a book is going south before the sales figures can even be posted.

https://i1.wp.com/media.dcentertainment.com/sites/default/files/comic-covers/2012/10/PHSTR_Cv4.jpg

Hatpalm

1. Phantom Stranger doesn’t sound like a title that will make it very long. It was kind of a surprise that it even existed in the first place. I figured the Stranger would be walking around somewhere, but definitely not in his own title. It’s kind of hard to see this book even making it through its first year. While the title has seen better sales than probably expected (people love Phantom Stranger), the book has already seen a 35 spot drop in its second month of publication. Many other New 52 books have been cut short after issue #8 and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of them.

The problem with the book stems from the Phantom Stranger character himself. He’s been traditionally depicted as a mystery. Where did he come from? Why is he doomed to wander the Earth alone forever? Was he a fallen angel? Was he the biblical Judas? No one ever knew and it was really fun to be able to guess about it. But in the New 52? No. He’s definitely Judas Iscariot, he was punished to wander the world looking like he’s a crime noir coachman and he wears a necklace made out of the thirty pieces of silver he sold Jesus for. Now he has a secret identity and he has a mission and a motive. This is not the Phantom Stranger. Elimination of all the mysteries surrounding him does not make him a more compelling character, it makes him feel hollow. Especially when he’s a religious figure. I can only imagine what actual religious people think about this.

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Never The End.

If there’s one thing people love, it’s ‘end of days’ scenarios. Everyone dies, the legend ends, the final story is told. But then everything gets fixed and that story is voided. Or it gets relegated to a future time, one we’ll never see.

Marvel would like you to think that Daredevil: End of Days is the final Daredevil story. Matt Murdock is brutally murdered by Bullseye and we’re supposed to sit through the next seven issues and witness the fallout. It’s really hard to think of this story as little more than an ‘alternate’ story. Alternate universe, alternate ending, alternate events. In the end it doesn’t matter because none of it is the real story. You can’t have the last Daredevil story while they’re still publishing ongoing Daredevil stories. If it was the end it should be the end.

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