Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thinkin' 'bout tomorrow...

So, a veritable flurry of news has come down over the past several days, between solicits from both companies, convention reveals a-plenty, and Lying in the Gutters. Spoilers are coming, hard and fast!

So, let's start with The Flash. The series started off on the wrong foot and broke an ankle or two under Bilson and DeMeo's overhyped and underperforming first arc. Guggenheim took over, and I hear things got better. I have the full pile of Guggenheim issues waiting in my "read" pile, so I can't speak for myself. Then again...
...So, I just read the run so far. It's okay, and certainly better than the previous run, but it relies a bit too much on prior knowledge of the characters (particularly Val, Bart, Inertia, Pied Piper, and Iris). It's nearly all action, with little time spent on supporting cast or the status quo. Given the recent revelation, it's pretty clear why; the title went almost straight from its meandering first arc which introduced some new aspects to the character and new cast, directly into the finale, which had to close the dangling plot threads. I'm a little psyched to see the next issue, just to see how it plays out (I predict: Bart survives, because someone else [Iris, Val, Inertia] takes the Speed Force into themselves and is taken by the Black Flash. Alternately, the Black Flash takes the Speed Force and dies, releasing the energy back to where it belongs). The biggest failing of this arc is the failure of the whole Bart-as-Flash idea so far: there's not only very little in the story or narration to suggest that this is the same character who once was Impulse, but there's absolutely nothing to justify his place as The Flash over Wally or Barry. Aside from a few brief references to his past as Bart Allen, all the narration in this could easily have been Wally's.

So, now Mark Waid's taking over, and the book is being renumbered to coincide with the previous series, as if this whole series never happened. Waid's cryptic remarks to watch the current storyline in JLofA, coupled with Scipio's predictions suggest a return of Barry Allen. It would be somewhat fitting, given that the Return of Barry Allen is probably Waid's most memorable story from his previous run on the title, and I'm all but convinced that "The Lightning Saga" will end with the resurrection of the Silver Age Flash.

However, Rich Johnston reveals that Wally and his family are returning, and while that might be an oblique reference to Uncle Barry and Aunt Iris, I tend to think that Waid might be returning to the characters he's most familiar with. If that's the case, then I'll be on Flash for as long as possible, despite my mixed feelings about Waid's previous work. Though I really dislike Daniel Acuña's art, and that's almost enough for me to give up the title even before it begins.

Now, remembering back to Waid's tenure on the title before, Barry wasn't really a character. He showed up often enough, but he was a McGuffin in spandex, a drive-by deus ex machina. While I could understand Waid bringing Barry back, to expand on his previous Brave and the Bold series, I tend to think that the answer is somewhere between Scipio and Johnston. Wally will be the focus of the new Flash series, while Barry ends up in one of the many Countdown books that are debuting, or possibly in the JLofA.

So, where to next? How about JLofA? Dwayne McDuffie, of JLU fame, is stepping up to the plate, and suddenly I can't wait for Brad Meltzer to leave. Not that I could wait before, mind you, but now I really want him gone. McDuffie is a no-brainer for the title. Now we just need "New Gods" by Karl Kesel, and I'll be in heaven.

On the flipside, Bob Wayne declared that the Milestone characters aren't on one of the 52 Earths, which seems like a poor move to me. I'd love to see the Milestone characters return, maybe even tussling a bit with the JLA, and McDuffie's precisely the guy to do that.

Back to Countdown, I'm of mixed opinions on the various series spinning out. I think I'll be passing on Countdown to Mystery. I like Dr. Fate, but the last couple of miniseries attempts with the character have left me flat. I really liked the Hector Hall incarnation of the character, and I'm not thrilled about another new/old face under the helmet. That, and I couldn't care less about the new Eclipso.

Countdown to Adventure is right there on the razor's edge. I love Animal Man and Adam Strange, I'm ambivalent about Starfire, and Forerunner is kind of a dumb character so far. Given how less-than-thrilled I am with Countdown proper, I'm a little less than iffy about picking up any of the spinoffs. The prospect of Nazi JLA, though, is almost enough to cinch it for me.

Countdown: The Search for Ray Palmer is in similarly shaky territory. I've missed Ray, and I like the idea of a tour around the new Multiverse. I like the idea of a new Challengers of the Unknown Beyond--I liked it after Zero Hour when the original Challs were bouncing around the timestream, I liked it after Kingdom when the Challs were trying to navigate through the dangers of Hypertime--but Donna Troy, Jason Todd, and Kyle Rayner? We have a character who was never supposed to exist and has been a point of boredom and confusion ever since, a character who people paid to kill who has floundered since a decent resurrection arc, and a character who has alternated between being universally loathed, generally loved, universally tolerated, and generally mocked. I don't know if there's enough oomph in the story to justify the leads.

Speaking of Kyle Rayner, what's up with the solicitation for Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents Parallax #1? "In this initial installment, the writer who introduced Kyle, Ron Marz, dissects what led Kyle to his downfall and explains the
Parallax entity." People are rampantly speculating that Kyle will be possessed by the yellow dragon-worm you love to hate to become the new Parallax. My guess, given that Kyle's going to be a Challenger from Beyond and that he's back in the crab mask there, is that he ends up relinquishing the Ion power, and somehow Parallax gets it.

Quick thoughts for the 52 spin-offs:
Black Adam: The Dark Age: No.
Booster Gold: Yes.
Crime Bible: Maybe. Ask again Later.
Four Horsemen: No.
Infinity Inc.: Yes.
Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag: Maybe; definitely in trades.
Bonus! Wonder Girl: Probably not.

From the Countdown solicit: "Karate Kid battles Equus," which I assume means the would-be Wolverine from the awful Azzarello/Lee "For Tomorrow" arc in Superman, and not the stage play where Harry Potter gets naked. I guarantee the latter would be more entertaining; that particular phrase sets of the blazing klaxons of a "Boredom Alert" in my head. I'd hoped that "For Tomorrow" was filed away in the never-neverland of continuity limbo. Countdown, you really want me to drop you, don't you?

Anyone else find it funny that Newsarama claimed it was Jason Todd fighting Dove on that cover? Seems pretty clear to me that it's Owlman.

From the Metal Men #2 solicit:
“Whenever one body exerts force upon a second body, the second body exerts an equal and opposite force upon the first body.”
—Newton’s Second Law of Physics
No, Newton's Second Law of Motion states that "The alteration of motion is ever proportional to the motive force impressed; and is made in the direction of the right line in which that force is impressed." Or, more succinctly, F=ma. You're thinking of Newton's Third Law, which is commonly phrased as "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."
This shouldn't be confused with Asimov's Third Law, which says "A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law," or Clarke's third law, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Bling bling!Green Lantern #23 has my favorite cover of the new batch of solicitations. Freakin' awesome.

Welcome back to the chopping block, Teen Titans. I liked the future team once; I'm not thrilled with seeing them again, unless they're going to explain that Superboy became Superman because he ain't dead anymore.

That seems to be about it. Come back tomorrow when I address Marvel. Am I thrilled? Am I bummed? Or do I just not care anymore? The answer may surprise you!

Warning: Long, Rambling Post Ahead!


Anonymous said...

Milestone isn't part of the 52 Earths because McDuffie and co. own it outright. DC's got no say in that sort of thing.

Tom Foss said...

I'm aware of that, but after last year's little Milestone kerfuffle, I would have kind of expected those things to get ironed out. Wayne and Didio expressed interest in doing Milestone and said they'd talked to McDuffie, McDuffie expressed interest in doing Milestone, but said they hadn't talked to him...it seemed like a no-brainer for them to get together and bring the imprint back.

Unknown said...

I, too, was a little confused that Evil-Future-Superman showed up with the New Titans Tomorrow.

The rest of the OYL Titans are there (Miss Martian, Kid Devil) which leads me to think one of three things is at work here:

1.) They're blatantly saying, "Guess what guys? He'll be back!"
2.) They have no intention of ressurecting Connor, but they for some reason feel that the arc will work better if Evil-Future-Supes is there.
3.) The only reason he's there is to give Cassie and Tim more room for angst, and maybe a bit of speculation as to whether or not he could return someday.

Either way, I'm skeptical. Titans has been shaky enough since OYL. The original Titans Tomorrow arc was pretty fantastic (IMO) but I doubt that a revisit can be anything more than a pale comparison.

I also notice that a Flash is on that cover as well. Since Bart has no team affiliation and this Flash is hangin' with the League, I think that's even more evidence to the whole "Barry or Wally is on his way back" theory.

At this point I'm putting my money on Barry. It seems to me that a big goal of Infinite Crisis and 52 were to restore the DCU into some semblance of the Silver Age continuity, and I've no reason to think that the Flash should be any different.