Thursday Talkback for 6-23-11

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Because apparently sometimes I don't know what day it is, you got to enjoy this week's Batgirl: The Flood review a little early. It follows a thought from our Birds of Prey: End Run review earlier this week, and I encourage you to read both and share your thoughts.

Not to let a Thursday go to waste, however, I thought I might open the floor to another "talkback" post like we did back in April -- no set topic, necessarily, though since that time the DC Comics landscape has near turned on its head, plus we have the recent release of the Green Lantern movie. So have at it and share what's on your mind in the trade paperback and comic book world, and I'll be following along as we go. Thanks!
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  1. 1) Despite what the critics would have you believe, the Green Lantern movie is great. To all of you, go see it. If it flops at the box office they might not make a sequel (and if you watch the "post-credits" scene, then you're going to want to see the sequel).

    2) The new look of is kind of confusing to me; it almost seems like a "featured" article could be linked to in 3 different places on the main page alone? Also the new scrollable frame in the middle of the page doesn't work properly on an iPad (while the old site worked fine).

    3) Is it just me, or is it going to be really hard to trade-wait the "DCnU"? (Also, are they officially calling it that?) Maybe it's not so bad if you're buying hardcovers, but a softcover-waiter (like me) won't get to see the new DCU until...early 2013 probably? Ouch! Although I guess waiting on the "One Year Later" trades was much the same thing. Speaking of which...One Year Later really didn't change much, long-term, as near as I can tell (not in the books I read, anyway). The DCnU seems more like a post-Crisis thing, where some things will remain the same, while others will be changed significantly (and hopefully for the long term).

    4) Where is Wally West??? :-)

  2. I want to advocate for the Green Lantern movie. It's an accomplishment, certainly, that it's even out there, and the movie is not bad and "brainy-er," at least, than Thor beside it.

    That said, I really felt they took the wrong approach to it all, and the movie was worse off for it. I'd have preferred to see an approach like J. J. Abram's Star Trek, heavy on the characters and the realism and let the cosmic stuff come second. It had all the pieces to be a thoughtful, emotional movie, and instead it played like a summer popcorn flick, which it didn't need to be.

    Even the "post-credits" scene -- for what Geoff Johns compares to Star Wars, did that scene need to be force-fed to us, or could it have been suggested subtly through the characters in a way that lead into a sequel, but didn't hit the audience over the head with it? Yes, Green Lantern on screen is good, but I felt the movie lacked confidence in its audience to let it be a smarter movie than it was.

    In regards to the DC Relaunch ("DCnU," I believe, is a fan moniker only), this caught my interest, from the Comic Book Resources interview with Peter Milligan regarding Justice League Dark:

    We've got John Constantine, Deadman, Shade The Changing Man and Madam Xanadu heading up the title -- besides their magic skills, what do each of these characters bring to the team?

    Well, some of them bring professional problems, drug habits and lonely or broken hearts. There's another character -- Mindwarp -- who debuted in "Flashpoint: Secret Seven." He is going to show up. He doesn't have a broken heart, but he probably breaks a few. Most of these guys aren't what you'd generally call "heroes." In fact, most of them probably don't see themselves as members of a team at all.

    A character who debuts in Flashpoint, showing up after the DC Relaunch? Hm ... there might be your reason to read Flashpoint ...

  3. Mark, your #4 is my #1. Where is Wally West? I'm reading Morrison's Doom Patrol right now and working my way chronologically through a growing collection of DC trades, so I won't get to Barry Allen's rebirth for quite a while, but when I think Flash I think Wally West. Maybe I'll think differently when I finally get around to the current Barry Allen stuff, but that remains to be seen.

    I've heard conflicting reports on the Green Lantern movie, but someone I trust told me to wait for the Bluray and that's likely what I'll do.

    Trade waiting the DCnU will definitely be difficult for me. I'm still picking up trades from the 90s and plan to continue picking them up chronologically, so it might be long after 2013 before I get to them, and I really do want to jump in earlier than that. I generally go softcover as well, but I haven't decided yet how to handle it.

  4. Dijonase, I started off a couple of years ago as you did; having stopped reading in the early/mid 90's, I started buying trades to fill in the gaps and bring me back "up to speed." That was, I believe, 3 years ago, and I am now caught up to the softcover releases (waiting on Blackest Night which comes out next month). The biggest obstacle was out-of-print trades; I had to complete my Geoff Johns Flash collection via "overpriced" volumes on eBay, and ironically enough bought the last one I needed just days before DC announced the Flash Omnibus reprints!

    Wally has always been the Flash that I know, but I'm about to finally read Flash: Rebirth, so maybe I'll get used to Barry. I did go back and track down the final issues of Barry's series, so I'm familiar with the character as more than just "Wally's dead uncle" now, but the early 80's stories were very goofy (at one point I believe Abra Kadabra "vaporized" Barry, but due to his "full control of his molecules" he was able to form himself into a cloud and IT RAINED OUT THE FLASH. Seriously.

    Anyway, I'm taking this relaunch and the move to full digital as a chance to finally climb back into the DCU proper. I expect to still read the issues as a collection (waiting 4-6 months on a series and then reading them all together), and I'll still be buying trades of the pre-Flashpoint books as they're released in softcover, but I'm looking forward to not having to worry about spoiling the current stories by reading the latest comics news. I cite the example of how I had already found out that Bruce Wayne was returning, before I had read the story where he "dies."

  5. One compliment to the Green Lantern movie, by the way: it's probably the most faithful superhero movie to the source material I've ever seen.

  6. I really wanted to see more character development, especially for Sinestro. I felt the film was a bit was OK, but not good enough if the alleged $300m+ budget is to be believed.
    In trade news - the first volume of Batman Incorporated was announced to be the first SEVEN issues. How long does this mean we're going to have to wait for those other three issues to end "season one" in trade form? Could this possibly be a mistake and they will put the first ten issues in vol 1? I know you touched upon it in a recent trade concern post.

  7. Yeah, the next round of trade solicitations are going to be fascinating. Maybe they'll collect the last three Batman Inc. issues with some other Batman Inc. tie-in issues? As with the last three issues of Green Arrow, the last two of Birds of Prey, and so on, I'm watching closely to see what DC will do with these "orphan" comics.

    Ditto on Sinestro. I'm glad they included Tomar-Re and Kilowog in the movie, but it was like "here's Tomar-Re's five minutes, here's Kilowog's five minutes" and then the same for Sinestro. I imagine budgetary concerns kept them from including more Corpsmen, but Hal's training seemed so isolated, when I think it would've been stronger if he was one among many. And then his Sinestro scenes very much lacked the emotion they have in Secret Origin.

    You and I and all the comics fans know exactly how Green Lantern could be a three-part friends-become-enemies trilogy a la the first three (new) Star Wars movies (but better). Even the new Star Wars movies, however, didn't hit the audience over the head with Palpatine being the bad guy, however, but rather had his subtle silhouette and such. That's what I wanted from Green Lantern.

    ... Yes, I just talked about how a franchise could learn something from the new Star Wars trilogy. Probably the first time *that's* happened ...

  8. I also find it really hard to believe that Geoff Johns had that much, if any, creative influence in the film. If he's the "chief creative officer" for DC in mediums like TV and film he really needs to start "policing" a lot better.

    I still believe if they got him to write the film it would have been a lot better. Its not as if he's a stranger to screenplays, he's wrote a number of scripts for television shows. His scripts for Smallville are arguably amongst the best in the entire run of the show. I would be all for him dropping a comic book or two to really throw out his ideas to people who don't read comic books but go to the movies and try and drag them over to this industry.

    I dunno, that's my opinion. It's just as a huge Green Lantern fan it was a real letdown.

    Back on to the trade issue. Putting the batman inc issues with the several tie ins in a book is an interesting idea. I really hope someone at DC does have an imagination to produce something like this and try to make sure these, as you put it, "orphan books" are seen in trade.

  9. Here in the Netherlands Green Lantern will be released in August. Although the reviews aren't that good in general, I'm still going to see it in theater.

    Isn't a $300m budget a bit too much for a first shot at a possible franchise? According to IMDB and some other resources it's "only" $150m, which seems more reasonable.

    I started two years ago with Infinite Crisis and went straight on with Final Crisis to bring me up to speed. Yeah, how stupid was that :)!
    So I read the books leading up to IC starting with Identity Crisis. My main focus is collecting the main story arcs of Superman, Batman, JLA, GL(C) and WW trades. And thanks to your Timeline I'm reading Blackest Night at this point (I'm really no softcover-waiter...).

    Speaking of the Timeline, when will it be updated CE?

    I'm actually looking forward to reading the DCnU. I've made a list of the titles I'm interested in. From the 52 relaunches, I like 31. That's probably means increasing my monthly comic budget big time!

    I like the idea that DC is bringing Apollo and Midnighter for example to the mainstream DCU. Will they be doing the same with the Milestone characters?

    Also, what do you think of the more armor typed outfits for Superman of Green Lantern?
    Supermans new costume reminds me of Superboy-Prime's Anti-Monitor suite. I'm not really liking it....

  10. There's a lot that's good between Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis -- "One Year Later," 52, Checkmate, the Question, Batman RIP ... even a bit of the Dark Side Club (Terror Titans) material is OK, plus the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary and its immediate aftermath, all of that ties in part to Final Crisis. It's just Countdown to Final Crisis itself, of course, that let's say I wouldn't give to a new DC fan.

    Having Apollo and Midnighter in the DC Universe are great; I expect Xombi will be back, on the Milestone side, and I'd be happy to see Hardware, Icon, and Rocket too alongside Static. Then again, speaking of licensed characters, we need to determine Captain Marvel's place in the new DC Universe -- and I'll be overjoyed the day Jenny Sparks and the Carrier arrive in the new DCU ...

    I can't much tell that Hal Jordan has a new costume, but I wouldn't be broken up either way. I definitely don't like the new Super-suit as drawn by George Perez (who's wonderful otherwise), but I also accept we haven't seen it in all its iterations yet.

    Timeline? Was just considering a timeline update, actually. It'll be a small one -- I'm just on the cusp of some major Brightest Day reading, and then a bigger update will be upon us.

    Speaking of which, though, I guess I've got to break down and put Hellblazer on the timeline now, with Constantine's joining the DCU, don't I? And Peter Milligan all but acknowledged in the CBR interview about that his Shade in Justice League Dark picks up right from Milligan's former Shade series, so that's got to go on the timeline, too. Guidance, anyone?

  11. Australia, against normal practice, is getting the Green Lantern movie at the start of August. For the last few years we've gotten our big budget movies at the same time, or in some cases a few days ahead of the US. The exception to this is usually kids films, since they do best in the school holidays. Maybe Aussie distributers see GL as a kid flick?

    Ooh, I love me some Timeline updates. Don't forget to add Robinson's Golden Age!

    Speaking of Robinson, apparently he is involved in the Nu U. Perhaps his work on Flashpoint: The Outsider will result in another carry over character? And there is still the long promised Shade origin as well.

    At the outset I, Vampire seems to be the most maligned new series. Strangely enough I'm very keen to read it. It may add a huge element of epic behind the scenes struggle to the DCU. Imagine if all the hero encounters with vampires were just the tip of a very nasty iceberg?

  12. First time poster. Love your site by the way. My question is what happened to Paul Dini? I didn't see him as the author to any of the 52 new books.

  13. Pretty sure Dini is busy with his non-comics work. He's been heavily involved with the Batman Arkham City videogame.

  14. About the Batman Incorporated hardcover, I'm pretty sure it will collect all 10 issues of the first "season", and not just the first seven. Otherwise, how are they going to fill all 256 pages?

    The same goes for Batman: The Black Mirror, which will be a 288-page book and should collect Snyder's entire 11-issue run on Detective Comics instead of just his first seven issues like the solicitation copy said.

  15. If you're right, one consequence of the DC relaunch is a bunch of much thicker trades than DC's been producing lately; that's a good thing. Then again, if you're right and Batman Inc. is ten issues instead of seven, it goes to the suggestion that parts of the DC relaunch were hastily done, such that the trade solicitation doesn't match the reality.

    Regarding Dini, James Robinson, and others, I think the October solicits will be just as interesting as the September ones, once DC starts to roll-out miniseries and such related to the relaunch. Maybe we'll see some of the missing names then.

  16. I think the September trade solicits from DC were just sloppy all around. The Suicide Squad collection has the wrong copy, too. Amazon has had the correct page counts for Batman, Inc. and Batman: The Black Mirror since earlier this year.

  17. I know Robinson has been working on a Shade maxi series for a long time, but I'd like to see him on a monthly, too. I was also hoping for a Zatanna relaunch with Dini at the helm, but he already said on his twitter account that he's not involved in the big DC relaunch, and #13 was his last issue.

  18. I enjoyed the Green Lantern movie, but why didn't they let the audience discover the Green Lantern universe at the same time Hal was? The narration was really cheesy and ineffectual in my opinion. As to the relaunch, I really don't care as long the art and stories are strong. I'm a trader so comic numbering is moot. I am excited about many of the characters they will be be exploring in the relaunch. As others have mentioned, what is the trade release schedule going to look like? That's alot of books!

  19. Am more worried as to how the other titles in Flashpoint will be collected - the one shots & 3 issue titles.

    Any idea if the JSA presents Stars & S.t.r.i.p.e by Geoff Johns could be collected in 1 volume? There's a slew of stuff going out of print now - Jsa presents stars & s.t.r.i.p.e. vol 2, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn, Batman: Anarky, Batman / Ra's Al Ghul year one etc.

  20. As a trade waiter, I haven't been reading Flashpoint, but my assumption has been that Flashpoint will bring everything together regarding the reboot. With a story that deals with alternate timelines (or the same timeline or whatever it is), it gives the perfect opportunity to explain a relaunch.

    Heck, Flashpoint may have been created with the specific purpose of transitioning longtime comic readers to the reboot by giving them some kind of canonical explanation.

    I try to avoid the current comic book new to avoid spoilers, so maybe DC has already confirmed my suspicion.

  21. In the spirit of preserving your spoiler-avoidance, let me just say that certain interviews, and also the recently-leaked image of the full new Justice League, do suggest that Flashpoint is relevant and not ignored in the new DC Universe.

  22. "Asked about Wally West and his family, Dan DiDio said 'there are no plans for Wally West in the 'Flash,' because that series is about the uniqueness of who [Barry Allen] is and how he moves through the world."

    Well, there's our answer!