Infinite Crisis Companion solicited

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Eagle-eyed commenter cmoney has pointed out that Amazon is listing the Infinite Crisis Companion, on an ISBN that originally corresponded to an odd Superman/Batman Volume 5 paperback. The cover image shown is the cover of the Villains United Infinite Crisis special, while the writer is listed as Greg Rucka. No official word yet, but cmoney's guess, and I concur, is that this is a trade of the four Infinite Crisis specials. More information as it breaks.

Green Lantern: Legacy review

When I first heard about the coming of Green Lantern: Legacy - The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan, I expected something a little closer to The Flash: The Life Story of Barry Allen--that is, a retrospective of Hal's life, perhaps told by the man himself, filling in little details and smoothing out continuity up to Hal's shocking and controversial end (at least, at that time). Instead, Legacy is a story that starts with Hal's funeral and spans the wake of the destruction Hal left when he became Parallax; indeed, Legacy, which was published about ten years after Emerald Twilight, is more a retrospective (or, rather, a "Whatever Happened to ...") sequel to Emerald Twilight, much in the way that Superman: Day of Doom was a look back at the Doomsday storyline (and both stories, actually, were inked by Bill Sienkiewicz). Written by Joe Kelly, in the inimitable Joe Kelly style, Green Lantern: Legacy is a trippy, winding story that almost gleefully makes no sense until almost the very end, but for Green Lantern fans, it's an enjoyable game of catch-up with plenty of DCU cameos.

Some time after Hal's death during Final Night (and resurrection as the Spectre in Day of Judgment), Tom Kalmaku--Hal Jordan's erstwhile sidekick "Pieface"--receives a visit from a man claiming to deliver Hal's will, and also his forgotten son, Marty. Tom learns in quick succession that not only does young Marty possess special powers above and beyond the Green Lantern ring that he carries, but also that a dark warrior is chasing them, bent on erasing any remaining traces of Hal Jordan. Tom and Marty's flight takes them from Carol Ferris's house to the JLA Watchtower, and from Warrior's bar to the ruins of the planet Oa, before Tom learns the true identity of both Marty and the familiar figure that's chasing them. In helping to redeem Hal's legacy, Tom comes to realize the failings in his own life, and how he might begin to fix them.

From the beginning, Joe Kelly lets us know that Legacy is as much Tom Kalmaku's story as it is Hal Jordan's. As Tom stumbles out of a bar and into the night at the beginning of the story, the cab driver that picks him up is quickly shown to be the Spectre. With this, the reader understands that no matter how much Hal Jordan's reputation is invoked over the course of the book, Hal himself can't be touched; his fate (at least then) was written. Thus Legacy becomes all the more Tom's story, and the story of those others that Hal left behind--many of whom can't be named here, so as not to spoil the end (trust that if you were a fan of the early `90s Green Lantern stories, most everyone is here: John, Guy, Kyle, Alan, the JLA, Carol, Tom, and some surprise Corps members; perhaps the only one who doesn't show up is Oliver Queen, who was busy at the time being resurrected himself, though he is shown in flashback). In this story of the left behind and examination of Emerald Twilight, Joe Kelly can't help but make this a larger story about what Hal Jordan's madness meant to all of us, the readers. Tom Kalmaku is wrecked by his anger at Hal's betrayal, feeling that Hal's turn to Parallax marred the legacy of Green Lantern that came before; when he says "I felt stupid because I'd devoted myself to idolizing you and the dream you represented," we know it's more than just Tom talking to Hal. These are issues that needed to be examined, and Kelly handles them well; I wonder if some of the furor over Hal's death would have subsided earlier had a book like this come out sooner.

The art on Green Lantern: Legacy is by Brent Anderson, but as with any book inked by the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz, the work immediately takes on his sketchy, edgy feel. It's a look that works and doesn't--certainly, this story is too abstract to have been drawn by Green Lantern: Rebirth artist Ethan Van Sciver, and for the full-page flashbacks, Sienkiewicz adds a moody feel. At the same time, the JLA seemed anemic and silly under a style not at all meant for everyday superheroics. The drag on the book is slight, but palpable nonetheless.

I'm not a big fan of "graphic novels" as opposed to trade paperback collections, as the former are often high priced without much relevance. Green Lantern: Legacy does affect the overall Green Lantern storyline, cementing its relevance, and after all, it brings back Boodikka--BOODIKKA, for gosh sake, who was last seen getting her hand ripped off by Hal Jordan and left for dead--if you happen to find it in paperback or on a half-off table, it's worth a read.

More Green Lantern goodness coming soon, with the Collected Editions review of Rebirth!

Wonder Woman: Land of the Dead review

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

When Wonder Woman: Mission's End comes out in June, it will cap off an incredible body of work for Greg Rucka--a five-volume set of stories that, at least as far as Land of the Dead, is as amazingly readable as it is textured and subtle. With each volume of Rucka's Wonder Woman, I'm impressed more than anything else with how consistent it is--never slow, and always surprising.

Wonder Woman, adjusting to her blindness in the aftermath of her fight with Medousa, finally learns of the plans of the gods that have been behind her recent troubles. First, she teams with the Flash against the pre-Villains United team of the Cheetah and the Reverse Flash. Next, Athena calls her to Olympus and charges her with rescuing the deceased Hermes from Hades--accompanied by Ferdinand the minotaur, and the Teen Titans' Wonder Girl; if successful, each is promised a transformative boon. Meanwhile, Dr. Leslie Anderson discovers evidence that ties Veronica Cale to the Silver Swan, and new embassy hire Jonah begins acting strangely.

Rucka brings Diana's sorrow's directly into focus in this trade, as the trip to Hades affords mention of the loss of Hipolyta and Donna Troy. Moreso, we we see here more hints of Diana's growing violence, as she advocates the death penalty for some of her enemies. The strength of Rucka's Wonder Woman run is that he's showing Diana clearly in transition, and in this transition Diana's personality is perhaps clearer here than it's ever been. And it's notable that trade ends with a devoutly optimistic victory for Diana, a moment happier than most we’ve seen in this run, even as we know the worst is about to come.

Aside from Diana, Land of the Dead contains important moments for a lot of Wonder Woman’s supporting cast. Ferdinand gets his time to shine, though his feelings for Dr. Anderson—while foreshadowed—seem to have little basis (what does he love about her?), it was interesting to see both his angst and his feelings about his own appearance, and I hope we have more scenes with him before the story ends. Anderson, for her part, comes closer to learning the truth about Veronica Cale, who was herself strangely absent from this trade; regardless, the Anderson/Cale/Wonder Woman showdown will be something to see. Wonder Girl makes one of her first major appearances in Rucka’s run, and while what she learns will likely have repercussions over in Teen Titans, her interactions with Wonder Woman here were strangely copasetic—I guess I thought the two were on the outs because of Wonder Girl joining the Titans in the first place (if not for Wonder Girl’s presence at Donna Troy’s death), but apparently all has been forgiven. Finally, Jonah, the staff member we were introduced to in the first pages of Rucka’s run, appears with a mysterious red-haired girl, and speaks as though he has something to hide. My guess is that the girl is one of the gods—Aphrodite, perhaps—and I’m eager to see what her role ultimately turns out to be.

I feel a greater sense of expectation in finishing Land of the Dead, knowing that whatever plotlines are left dangling, they must definitively be cleaned up in the next trade; some parts still have me guessing, and that’s a good thing. Again, as I’ve written these reviews, I truly feel that Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman is unique, which largely didn’t garner the praise it deserved. When Mission’s End comes around, I’ll try to take a look at the series as a whole, because I think that’s attention it deserves.

On to some Green Lantern now, and then to Adam Strange. Ciao!

DC Trades for Fall 2006 Announced!

Saturday, May 13, 2006


DC's announced their trade releases through the end of the year, including Infinite Crisis, Superman, Batman, Nightwing, Birds of Prey, Gotham Central, JSA, Batgirl, Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, Blue Beetle, Absolute DC New Frontier and more! Commentary coming later this weekend--ciao!


Writer: Anderson Gabrych
Artists: Pop Mhan, Alé Garza, Andy Kuhn, Jesse Delperdang, Cam Smith; original cover artists: Tim Sale and Amanda Conner
Collects BATGIRL #65-73
$14.99, 224 pages

Though we already knew about this, I'm thrilled as punch to see Batgirl getting the trade-love, especially since the series is cancelled. Yay DC!

Writer: James Robinson
rtists: Leonard Kirk, Andy Clarke, Don Kramer, Keith Champagne; original cover artist: Simone Bianchi
Collects BATMAN #651-654 and DETECTIVE COMICS #817-820
$14.99, 192 pages

And the One Year Later trades begin. I imagine DC is going to try to keep the Superman and Batman trades much more organized now.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Phil Jimenez, George Pérez, Jerry Ordway, Andy Lanning, Ivan Reis, Joe Bennett, Sean Parsons, Art Thibert, Oclair Albert, Marc Campos, Drew Geraci, Norm Rapmund, Lary Stucker, Jimmy Palmiotti; original cover artists: Jim Lee, Scott Williams and George Pérez
$24.99, 264 pages

Some have already decried the absence of the Infinite Crisis specials here. I'm still holding out to see them collected with their respective spin-off trades. I am excited to hear that there are deleted Infinite Crisis scenes included in the hardcover, too.

Writers: Geoff Johns and Keith Champagne
Artists: David Lopez, Don Kramer, Fernando Blanco, Dale Eaglesham, Jim Fern, Art Thibert, Keith Champagne and Alex Ross
Collects JSA #76-81
$14.99, 144 pages

Takes JSA almost to the OYL cut-off point. Bummer that JSA #82 isn't included, but there'll probably be a trade of all the Paul Levitz issues, including that one, not too long from now.

Writers: Alex Ross and Jim Krueger
Artists: Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross
Collects JUSTICE #1-4
$19.99, 160 pages

I thought about getting this; I'm pretty excited about it, really, as a post-Justice League Unlimited fix ... but four hardcovers? I'll probably wait a while; I have trouble believing this won't be Absolute eventually.

Writers: Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek
Artists: Pete Woods and Renato Guedes; original cover artists: Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson
Collects SUPERMAN #650-653 and ACTION COMICS #837-840
$14.99, 192 pages

Glad to see it.

Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Collects DC: THE NEW FRONTIER #1-6, plus a pinup gallery, deleted story pages and more
$75.00, 464 pages

Yeah, I just had a feeling this would happen. One for the Christmas list.

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely; original cover artists: Frank Quitely and Neal Adams
$19.99, 160 pages

I thought about getting this, too ... but I bet that the first tweleve issues will be Absolute before too long, just like Superman: For Tomorrow. I'll wait.

Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Ed Benes, Joe Bennett, Joe Prado, Tom Derenick, and Bob Petrecca; covers artists: Ed Benes, Jack Jadson, Jason Pearson, Ryan Sook, Adriana Melo and Will Conrad
Collects BIRDS OF PREY #76-85
$17.99, 240 pages

Well, this covers a lot of Birds of Prey ("Hero Hunters" and "Battle Within"), but it still leaves #86-90, at least. Hopefully DC will collect it, and not jump over.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Carlos Pacheco, Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, Marc Campos Jesus Merino and Prentis Rollins; original cover artists: Carlos Pacheco, Ethan Van Sciver, Simone Bianchi and Neal Adams
Collects GREEN LANTERN #7-13
$12.99, 168 pages

This is an interesting pre- and post-One Year Later trade. As long as it's collected, I'm happy.

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: George Pérez and Romeo Tanghal
$49.99, 228 pages

I've been enjoying these; I'll grab this one as well.

Writers: Mark Waid and Stuart Moore
Artists: Barry Kitson, Mick Gray, Adam DeKraker, Pat Olliffe and Ken Lashley
$14.99, 144 pages

Another pre- and post-One Year Later trade. I wonder if they'll call this Volume 1 or Volume 3.

Writers: Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Marc Andreyko
Artists: Ariel Olivetti, Karl Kerschl, Rick Leonardi, Nelson, Wellington Dias; original cover artist: Adam Hughes
$12.99, 128 pages

I held out hope that these would be collected; glad it paid off.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Jackson Guice; original cover artists: Jackson Guice, Ian Churchill, Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino
$12.99, 144 pages

Another post-One Year Later trade. Awfully quick, I know--before all these issues have even come out. My guess is that DC's announcing the trade of Aquaman and Blue Beetle as a show of faith in the series; if people think the series are popular enough for trades, might they be more likely to buy the monthlies?

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Michael Lark, Kano, Stefano Gaudiano; original cover artists: Michael Lark and Cliff Chiang
Collects GOTHAM CENTRAL #23-25 and 28-31
$14.99, 168 pages

Collects both the "Corrigan" and "Keystone Kops" storylines, all by Greg Rucka.

Writer: Devin Grayson
Artists: Phil Hester, Ande Parks and Cliff Chiang
Collects NIGHTWING #112-117
$14.99, 144 pages

This finishes collecting the late Nightwing stories up to Infinite Crisis.

Writers: Keith Giffen and John Rogers
Artists: Cully Hamner, Duncan Rouleau, Cynthia Martin and Phil Moy
Collects BLUE BEETLE #1-6
$12.99, 144 pages

Interesting that this one's already listed as Volume 1.

Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Joe Staton, Steve Mitchell, Bob Layton, Bob Smith, Bruce Patterson, Jerry Ordway and Mike DeCarlo
Collects DC SUPER STARS #17 and stories from BATMAN FAMILY #18-20, WONDER WOMAN #271-287, 289-290 and 294-295
$19.99, 224 pages

Granted all of this is pre-Crisis, but anything with Huntress's name in it has to support my post-Crisis favorite. DC Super Stars #17 is her origin; Batman Family #18-20 is a full Huntress tale (too bad Batman Family #17, a visit to Earth-1, isn't included); the Wonder Woman issues are various adventures, including Robin but sadly not including any of her team-ups with Power Girl. Though, with the recent Power Girl and Justice Society trades, it does look like we could see Infinity, Inc. trades before too long.

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: George Pérez, Romeo Tanghal and Pablo Marcos
$19.99, 224 pages

This is a phenomenal trade of Terra's appearances shortly before The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. There seems no good reason for DC to print this except that its a true piece of history, and it's great to see it. Yay DC again!

Lots of good stuff here, and I imagine we'll see a surprise or two more as the year goes on, too. Thanks for stopping by!

Odds and Ends for 5-10-06

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Added Formerly Known as the Justice League and I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League to my trade paperback timeline. Thanks to Loki for the initial head's up.

* * *

Eagle-eyed commenter Jeffrey points out that some copies of the Gotham Central: Unresolved Targets trade paperbacks are missing most of the dialogue on page 106. That corresponds to Gotham Central #19, with the page that starts "--appreciate a call before one of my detectives walks into a hostage standoff"--if anyone has that issue, and wants to go through the trouble to transcribe it, or scan the page and email it to me, just post a comment and let me know. I've also posted about this on the ComicBloc Greg Rucka message board. I was going to send an "Ask the Editors" note to DC about it, but apparently they've removed that link from

Also from the Rucka message board, Greg himself posts that he doesn't think DC plans to collect the in-between issues missing so far from the Gotham Central trades (that is, issues 11, 16, 17, and 18). Which is disappointing, because I was hoping the whole thing would be collected; no word on when the next trade will be released.


Dan Didio said in the final Newsarama Crisis Counseling that now that Infinite Crisis is over, an announcement on the trade should be coming soon. Amazon and other outlets have the Infinite Crisis hardcover listed for August; my guess is that it'll be solicited with next Monday's titles, if not announced beforehand.

Infinite Crisis #7 review

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Well ... that was a mighty big, jam-packed finale. From the villains in Metropolis to the two Superman fighting Doomsday, Bart Allen's return, the Green Lantern Corps, Batman holding a gun to Alexander Luthor's head, the Supermen crash-landing on Mogo, the death of the Earth-2 Superman, the Joker's revenge and more, this issue was twice as gripping as the six before--and they were pretty powerful, too. I wouldn't say that all my questions are answered, but certainly the story drew a clear line between what was resolved thematically, and what is still to come in 52. I might not agree with the way everything came out (a new Wonder Woman history? Really?), but I'm definitely eager to see what the new DCU is like post-Infinite Crisis.

From the beginning of this issue, Superman puts words to what we've known all along: in as well as Superboy, Wonder Girl, and Nightwing get along, it should've been the Big Three. And by the end, they have shown their renewed trust in one another--on one hand, I'm not sure that the issues that split them apart have really been resolved, or at least talked over; on the other, in this issue along we saw a Wonder Woman who understands killing isn't worth it, a Batman open to those around him, and a Superman ... when he and the Earth-2 Superman smashed into Doomsday, they had inspiration in spades. For this more than anything, I'm looking forward to the new Justice League of America--a chance to see Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman working together as different individuals, but as allies.

Superman delivers perhaps the other thematic line in this issue, when he reminds Superboy-Prime that it's what you do that makes a difference, that "it's about action." Aside from being a nice tribute to Action Comics, this and Superman's comment from issue six--"they have faith in us"--speaks to Superboy-Prime and Alex Luthor's argument that the modern heroes are, essentially, just too bad to be good. Instead, Superman tells us, as long as the heroes ultimately save the day in the end, everything else takes care of itself. Which ... doesn't entirely hold up if you really think about it, any more than the Big Three's promise that no matter what happens, they'll always be there for one another (unless, of course, Wonder Woman kills someone again), but if you don't think about it with anything more than comic book logic ... it's kind of sweet. And again, if nothing else, it was a nice shout-out to Action Comics.

It was something of a strange note to let Lex Luthor and the Joker, ultimately, be the arbiters of Alexander Luthor's fate. At the same time, I'd like to hope that this, too, is a symbol of the new DCU--not just heroes anymore, but also villains with stories and personalities as gripping as those of the heroes. And though Lex more or less stood back and watched, Infinite Crisis did succeed in reminding us that the Joker is, once and for all, the Clown Prince of Crime. I'll be on the look out for the Joker's next apperance, and I hope the writers make the most of it.

52 advertises itself as a world without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman--but they forgot to mention it's also a world without Hawkgirl, Supergirl, Firestorm, Starfire, and others. But we also know that many of those characters are back as of One Year Later. In that these characters didn't return at the end of Infinite Crisis, we get more of a sense of what 52 will be about--Hawkman's search for Hawkgirl, perhaps, and so on--and also that 52 will contain a gallant scene where these heroes return from being lost (not unlike, really, Legion: Lost). The question of where they've gone is an interesting one; perhaps they'll return with certain knowledge of the DCU that will tie in to the new DC continuity as a whole.

The art of Infinite Crisis #7 was in my opinion some of the best, and most disappointing, yet. Best, in Phil Jimenez's moody, gripping Batman/Alex Luthor and Jerry Ordway's cosmic Superman/Superboy scenes; disappointing, in that some of the most pivotal group shots were handled by DC artist Joe Bennett--a talent in his own right, but the change from Jimenez's art to Bennett's is painfully obvious. At the same time, that group shot was nearly suitable for framing, and there's so much there that I almost didn't know where to look first (the new Captain Marvels! No, Batwoman! No, the Starman! Head ... exploding ...).

And it's this, despite the slight snafu's in Infinite Crisis, that's left me energized and ready for more. There's just so much there to be excited about, and it's obvious that whether we agree with some of Geoff Johns and Dan Didio's decisions (Linda Danvers never existed? Really? Then who helped out at Coast City during "Reign of the Supermen?), these people love DC Comics. I say it again--even if Infinite Crisis wasn't picture perfect, one thing it's shown is that the new team at DC love these characters. And maybe that's enough.

Now someone just explain to me how Nightwing made it out alive ... (and the "ten things I'm still not clear about" at that link made me laugh out loud).

Back soon with more news, reviews, and wait-for-trade goodness. If there's one thing Infinite Crisis taught me, it's that monthlies sure do have a lot of really distracting advertisements. Not so in trades ...

Infinite Crisis #6 review

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

One way (perhaps the only way) I've felt that Infinite Crisis hasn't lived up to its hype is in that I haven't seen as many significant deaths as I expected. But there's no question that I felt a gallon of dread as I read through Infinite Crisis #6, worrying that Nightwing would die, concerned for Black Lightning and Mr. Terrific, but ultimately, sad but true, Superboy didn't make it.

The parallels, of course, are obvious--just as Supergirl died in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superboy sacrifices himself in Infinite Crisis. And the sacrifice, I think, is just as real; Supergirl kepts the Anti-Monitor from killing Superman, while Superboy defeated Superboy-Prime and kept Alexander Luthor from destroying more worlds. Given that the Superman of Earth-1 lived through the original Crisis, I would hope that he would make mention of the similarity next issue--just as he saw Supergirl die once before, now he watches a Superboy sacrifice himself, too. I wouldn't say Superboy was widely beloved--personally, I read every issue of his series, plus Superboy and the Ravers, though I know the Kid wasn't everyone's favorite--but in his death, at least, I hope he earned himself a place in history. And even as I hold out hope that, you know, after all, he's a clone, so maybe there's another one where that came from, I also see the wisdom in Dan Didio's edict that it cheapens things to have a revolving door on the DCU's heaven. So we'll see. But Superboy's death, reminiscent of Blue Beetle's ... yeah, that got me. That was pivotal.

"New Earth." The words sent proverbial chills up my spine. The image fragments, purely speculative, made it seem as though the classic Superboy does exist, Superman never kills the Kryptonian villains, Joe Chill is the murderer of Bruce Wayne's parents, and Wonder Woman exists such that she joined the JLA. None of which, really, do I think are postive changes in the DCU. And I have my doubts that those changes are really going to be made--the Superboy and Wonder Woman elements, in particular, would very greatly confuse things (not to mention undercutting Superman: Birthright). And both Didio and Geoff Johns have stated that Infinite Crisis is not about revamping continuity. So whither the New Earth? I'll be interested to see.

With as much emotional resonance as Infinite Crisis #6 had, however, there were some parts of it that I just flat didn't understand. For one, apparently Hawkgirl disappeared--I have no idea who else disappeared to, or where they went, due to what I felt was some unclear storytelling, though I imagine it'll be explained next issue. The Spectre returned, when I thought his story--as far as Infinite Crisis was concerned--was over, just in time to kill Star Sapphire (who is/is not Carol Ferris?); if there isn't at least a slight resolution with the Spectre in issue 7, I'll wonder mightly about that scene. And for all the build-up we've seen with Donna Troy, I was very surprised to see that her pivotal moment was essentially sending in other heroes to save Superman and Wonder Woman; Donna, too, I hope we see more of next issue.

I thought it was telling that Black Adam killed the Psycho Pirate in this issue--after all, Psycho Pirate is essentially the only post-Crisis DCU denizen who knows the full Crisis on Infinite Earths history. A symbolic wiping the slate clean, perhaps? I vacillate between whether it's strange that, even this far into Infinite Crisis, we're still not sure what the story is about, thematically, or whether the story is so well-crafted that even after six issues, the seventh issue still has us guessing. Check back here at Collected Editions tomorrow night, where (hopefully) all our questions will have been answered. See you then!