DC Rebirth

Previously, I wrote about comics being a constant force of change and this weekend has been no different. DC Comics has announced all of their titles for DC Rebirth which starts in May. Rebirth has been described as a return to basics and a revitalization of the stories for DC. The very word, Rebirth, has a great meaning for DC fans; When Geoff Johns created the brilliant stories of Green Lantern : Rebirth and Flash : Rebirth they weren’t just rehashing old stories, instead they built upon the characters history and made something great for old and new fans alike. My sincere hope is that DC : Rebirth manages to the exact same thing only with the entire line. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed roughly 75% of what DC has published since the New 52 reboot in 2011 but my hope is that this becomes a full 100% with the new books. The Bi-Weekly shipping on certain books does make me a little nervous about quality and growing cost for people who get multiple books but the $2.99 an issue does help out a bit.

If Johns, DiDio and Lee can pull off everything they’re saying then I believe that this will be a great time for DC Fans.

Now I’m not going to go into every title that they’ve announced but if you would like that list then you should check out ComicsAlliance. Currently they have the best coverage on the event so far.

I will mainly just be talking about the ones that I’m most excited for over the summer. But I am going to go ahead and say that returning Action Comics and Detective Comics to their original numbering was a great idea and shows a reverence for the stories which is what rebirth is all about.

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DC Rebirth #1 by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Ivan Reis and Others.

This is it, the official end of the New 52. From what I can gather from the event this new universe will now be the mix of all great things from the history of DC. I’m excited about this because there are some great things from the entire history of DC and there are some terrible things too. I believe that these new stories will make DC something great that it’s been missing in the last year or so. Apparently this issue is supposed to have a bunch of really crazy moments including a character death and the biggest secret of the DC universe being revealed.

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Nightwing By Tim Seeley and Javier Fernandez.

The first one is obviously the one I’m most excited for. Dick Grayson is one of my favorite comic characters and I think that Seeley is going to make this book entertaining and incredibly interesting especially due to the ever-present owl mask behind Nightwing’s shoulder.

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Batman by Tom King and David Finch.

Tom King was one of the surprise stars for me over the last few years. He’s crafted an exceptional narrative with Tim Seeley on Grayson and he has talked about wanting to make his run on Batmana very personal story for him which will lead to some great stories since he formerly worked with the C.I.A.

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Batgirl and the Birds of Prey by Julie and Shawna Benson and Claire Roe.

This is the one that intrigues me the most, The Benson sisters are the writers of The 100 and although I’ve never watched it, I’ve heard great things and one of the key parts of the show is it’s great usage of female characters. I like the idea of them going after an Oracle poser and I’m hoping they can break the streak of television writers being bad comic book writers.

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Detective Comics by James Tynion IV and Eddy Barrows.

Tybion described this as a team book that is basically  “Batman Bootcamp” I think that sounds fantastic and I  can’t wait to see what they do with it. Getting Tim Drake back as Robin is a definite good sign of things to come and the new interpretations of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown will make for interesting dynamics. Batman and Batwoman will be co-leading this team and I love that Batwoman is her own character in this. She’s not just another sidekick and I think that will show in this new title. The one big question, What is Clayface doing on this team?

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Action Comics by Dan Jurgens, Patrick Zircher, Tyler Kirkham and Stephen Segovia.

This one just sounds flat out insane but I think I’m willing to give it a shot. The basic premise seems to be that Lex Luthor has become the New Superman of Metropolis and the Superman from the Pre-New 52 world comes in and doesn’t trust Luthor at all. Meanwhile apparently there’s a new version of Doomsday and another mysterious man named “Clark Kent” but it’s not who we think. Like I said, it sounds insane but it sounds pretty interesting to me.

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Trinity by Francis Manapul and Clay Mann.

Manapul has consistently been one of those creators where I can’t wait to see what he does next. His work on The Flash was amazing and I’m excited to see what he can do with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

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Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott.

If you talked to me over the last few months then you’d know that I’ve become a huge Greg Rucka fan. I’m not entirely sure when was the exact moment that I fell in love with his work but he’s done so many fantastic storylines and It’s going to be such chance to get Diana back on track and I can’t wait to read this Year One story that he and Nicola Scott have been waiting to do for so long.

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The Flash by Josh Williamson.

Josh Williamson is known for the comic “Nailbiter” it’s incredibly dark but it’s also incredibly written. I think he’ll bring an interesting take to Barry and the rest of the crew and I really like the idea of a new group of Speedsters.

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Justice League by Bryan Hitch and Tony Daniel.

Now, I wasn’t overly impressed with the first few issues of JLA by Bryan Hitch, I know that I’m of the minority on that subject but I just didn’t see it as the end-all, be-all comic that most of the other critics did. It did have its moments and I think he and Daniel definitely have the ability to bring a great story to the DC mythos.

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Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps by Robert Venditti and Ethan Van Sciver.

This is one that I am incredibly excited for because having met Venditti right after he started his run on Green Lantern I truly believe that he will tell a great story and Johns has already personally endorsed his new book and particularly his take on Sinestro.

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Green Lanterns by Sam Humphries and Robson Rocha.

Humphries is an interesting choice for this book because it’s his first DC project. Writing more about Jessics Cruz and Simon Baz is something that I’ve wanted the company to do for a while. Can’t wait to see a great new(er) writer take on two great new(er) characters.

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Aquaman by Dan Abnett and Brad Walker.

Abnett has a knack for taking strange(er) characters and putting them in new amazing adventures. He reminds me a lot of Johns on that standpoint and interestingly enough, he and Johns will be working together on an upcoming Aquaman story titled “Rise of the Seven Seas.” He gets to come on this book with Brad Walker, who is one of his former Guardians Of The Galaxy artists. I can’t wait for these great creators to start on this book, his opening story arc sounds really interesting and of course I’m excited to see more Black Manta.

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Titans by Dan Abnett and Brett Booth.

Titans is a direct continuation of Titans Hunt. It’s one of the few I haven’t kept up on so I’m not entirely sure of the exact storyline but I know that Abnett is a phenomenal writer and that it features the original 4 Teen Titans starting a new team. I’m excited to jump in on this new title as soon as it starts.

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Teen Titans by Ben Percy and Jonboy Meyers.

Teen Titans has a great, yet simple premise where Damien Wayne has decided to take over the Teen Titans…only the rest of the Titans aren’t huge fans of him being in charge. It sounds like a whole lot of fun and I can’t wait to see if it’s as good as it sounds.

And last but not least…

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All-Star Batman by Scott Snyder, John Romita JR., Jock, Sean Murphy and others.

This is one that everyone should be excited for. Titans of the industry coming together to make a great Batman Anthology. Seeing Snyder and Romita work together will be great and I already love the idea for their opening story-arc of Batman and Two-Face on the run across the country.

 

These are the ones that I’m excited for. If DC can stick the landing then this is going to be an incredibly exciting year for comics as a whole.

Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

Let’s get this out of the way: Batman v. Superman is a horrible movie.  It fails in just about every conceivable way a movie can fail.  The story is flat.  The cinematography is dull.  The editing is haphazard.  The acting is all over the place (Gal Gadot is delightful, Ben Affleck is the most well rounded Bruce Wayne/Batman ever, Henry Cavill is unoffensive, Jeremy Irons is great, and everyone else is bad to awful).  The music is really… just the worst.  The dialogue makes no sense.  I really cannot say that there was much that I liked about this film.  It currently sits at a 31% on Rotten Tomatoes, and honestly that is too high a score.  But you know what?  I honestly do not care about any of this stuff.  We should have known what this movie  was the moment Zack Snyder was hired on to do this movie.  He is basically a B-Movie director with a big budget, and this simple fact has been shown time and time and time…. and time again.  I do not understand why he keeps getting jobs, nor do I understand why his movies are successful.  The only reason he is successful is that he has somehow failed upward into big franchises.  So, this movie was doomed from the start.  At best, its ceiling was mediocre popcorn film, i.e. 300.  If you were expecting more, well, I don’t know what to tell you.  But none of that critical junk really matters.  I could attempt to impress you with deep rationalizations about its weighty theological content, or its critique on modern social structures.  Instead, I am going to talk about something less aggrandizing.  I am going to talk about Superheroes.  (Mild Spoilers Ahead).

El Capitan, Vance, has already discussed heroism to some degree, with his article on Captain America, and I believe that some of the disagreements he has had with people over Steve Rogers’ merit in the MCU has really boiled down to people not realizing that there is a fundamental difference between a protagonist and a hero.  A protagonist does not have to be heroic in order to drive a movie.  Vito and Michael Corleone prove this to be true.  All a protagonist has to do is be the center of the story, and confront the antagonist, or antagonistic forces that he/she is facing.  Again, think Michael Corleone and his slow descent into evil.  Its dramatic and compelling, but no one could possibly claim that Michael is heroic.  He is a morally gray to black character, but he works perfectly within the movie he is in.  Heroes, on the other hand, are defined by good thoughts and good actions.  They do the right thing, mostly for the right reason.  So Rick put Ilsa on the plane, Sam carries Frodo up the mountain, and Han comes back in order to cover Luke while he takes a shot at the Death Star.  So with that in mind, i must point out that the “heroes” of BvS are, at best, morally gray protagonists, who are also profoundly stupid.

The general plot of this movie is that Bruce Wayne decides that Superman must be killed because he is too powerful.  The reason he decides this is because he experienced the destruction of Metropolis from Man of Steel, which happen because Zod and Superman were fighting.  There really is not much more to it than that.  So my question is, simply, who is the hero in BvS?  I realize the whole selling point of this movie revolves around watching these two titans fight (trust me, its not worth it), but shouldn’t there be some sense of heroism in these two characters?  We see Superman save 4 people in this movie.  Batman saves two.  Outside of that, every action they take is selfish, and worse, pretty self-preserving.  The fight itself happens because of hypocrisy on both characters parts.  Superman wants to stop Batman because he thinks that Batman acts outside the letter of the law, and yet Superman himself killed Zod during their climactic battle in Man of Steel.  Pretty sure that is taking the law into your own hands.  Plus, every time someone mentions that Superman should answer to some authority for his actions, he gets this strained look on his face, even though it is the very same thing he would require of Batman.

Batman (and it pains me to say it) is actually worse.  Its not so much that he straight up kills at least 20 people in this movie, which is troublesome enough.  What troubles me, and in all honesty ruins the movie, is that he wants to kill Superman for purely circumstantial reasons.  That is a complete misreading and misunderstanding of the character.  Understand this; in this movie, Jesse Eisenberg and Batman want Superman dead for the same reason.  They do not trust him, because he is an alien (well Eisenberg does not trust him because he thinks Superman is God, or something, but it is the same idea).  And this movie makes it pretty clear that Superman is to be viewed as a minority.  From the signs that mirror, directly, Westboro Baptist’s signs, all the way to the burning of a Superman effigy, Superman is a societal outcast, and Batman decides that he must die. He even states that if there is even a 1 percent chance that Superman is dangerous, then he should be killed.  That is the exact same reasoning that people have for banning Muslims and turning away refugees.  I think it is safe to say that if your movie makes Batman’s goals compatible with Donald Trump, then you have failed miserably.

And thus we get to the central problem of this movie: this is not Batman or Superman.  This is Batman and Superman as read through the dystopian and cynical viewpoint of Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns.  Neither character seems to want to make the world better. Their motivations are completely self-serving all throughout the film, and in a superhero movie, that is a serious problem.  Eisenberg even tests Superman by stating that God cannot be both absolutely good and all powerful, and instead of having Superman disprove Eisenberg’s theory through some heroic acts, wherein people are saved, Zack Snyder, David Goyer, and Chris Terrio decide to follow this challenge up by having Superman go fight Batman immediately after.  This, of course, proves Eisenberg’s point (yes I realize that a character makes a pretty big sacrifice in this movie, but even that sacrifice comes in the context of idiotic violence).

Superhero movies without heroics are useless.  I am honestly worried that someone will see this movie and believe that this is the definitive version of Batman and Superman.  For Batman, they will see a murdering psychopath, who believes that his parents died senselessly, and is so tortured by the memory that he now has a warped worldview, which includes destroying anything that is different.  For Superman, they will see a cold narcissist, who was raised by two amoral people who want him to hide who he is, and who is completely burdened by having to do the right thing.  And, in this day and age, where everyone is so divided, that is not what is needed.  People need to see a Batman, who through sheer force of will wages a war on crime, so that as many people as possible can live their lives without having to go through the tragedy he went through.  People need to see a Superman who is a beacon of hope to all who see him, and who believes in mankind’s ability to be better than they are.

The movie is an abomination, but of all of its sins, the one that will resonate the most is this: I did not believe in Batman or Superman as heroes.  And that is as big a tragedy as there could have been in this movie.  If the movie was just bad i could have handled it, but turning 2 of the 3 most recognizable superheroes of all time into arrogant bullies?  That just makes me depressed.

“One Batch, Two Batch” My Thoughts on Daredevil

*Spoiler Warning! I’m not going to reveal huge plot points but, naturally, I will be talking about certain different characters and their story-arcs so proceed with a little caution*

 

If anyone has paid any attention to my ramblings over the last year then they should know that I absolutely love Daredevil. It’s weird to me because initially it had a lot going against it, such as:

  • It was a previously failed property being given a second chance, which is something that a lot of people would be hesitant about.
  • It’s entering a crowded market of more crime dramas and more superhero shows.
  • It takes a grittier tone than what we’re used to seeing from Marvel.
  • It tackles Punisher and Elektra in the second season which is two more previously failed properties.

Yet, despite the odds being stacked against it Daredevil has become one of my favorite shows out there and I think I finally figured out the main reason why I, and the rest of the world like it so much: It has charm. Much like Matt Murdock himself, Daredevil surprises you with being immensely more enjoyable then what you might be expecting. This show has made me laugh, cry, gasp and scream at my television. It takes risks that need to be taken and it builds upon it’s brilliant story scene after scene.

I’m not going to talk about the plot as a whole because the story is incredibly well done and you should just take my word for it and go watch it.

Setting.

It has to be talked about that this show just breathes life into the city in a way that I really haven’t seen in a long time. It gets some of these perfect camera angles and lighting that makes it seem run-down but then in the very next moment you see a light hit just the right way to where you feel like you do want this city to be saved. I honestly can’t explain it as well their production team conveys it so you just have to watch it.

Cinematography/Choreography

In the same manner as the first season, both of these are outstanding in this show. I’m putting them together because in this show, they go hand in hand. The first season had that exceptional hallway fight scene and the second season is even better. Not only is the Stairwell Fight one of the better fight scenes I’ve seen in a long time but they keep upping the stakes throughout the season by adding The Hand.(A group of Ninja)

This show needs to be nominated for awards just on cinematography alone due to some of the angles they get. What’s really great is that you can tell they have a love for this show and they want it to be good. It’s the same reason I wasn’t worried about the new Star Wars because none of them are doing this just for the paycheck. Which leads me to my next and final point:

Characters/Acting

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The returning cast is even better than they were in the first season. Charlie Cox is still phenomenal as Matt Murdock/Daredevil as I’ve said before he can handle the ruthless aggression of the character as well as the charm and wit of the blind lawyer.

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I fall more in love with Deborah Ann Woll every time I see her as Karen Page. She has that fire that Karen needs but she also has a vulnerability that makes her sympathetic. Karen refuses to back down to Injustice, just like Matt and we need more characters like them today.

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I’ve heard a lot of people give crap to Elden Henson for his portrayal as Foggy Nelson but I think he’s great and he definitely proves that in his multiple trial scenes this season.

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Elodie Yung as Elektra is a definite standout. She steals the scene every time she’s on the screen and when she’s not, you’re just hoping she going to come back soon. Elektra only lets her guard down for one person and that’s Matt. She’s such a great character to learn about and they do a great job with her.

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Season 2 takes on the unenviable task of bringing The Punisher back to the screen. This, being the characters fourth attempt at bring brought to life, was a fairly tall order. Frank Castle isn’t an easy character to adapt because his story is flawed from the beginning. He’s not a hero in the traditional sense and that’s what makes him interesting to me in many ways. There are many reasons I didn’t like the older versions of The Punisher but one of the main ones was that it wasn’t realistic that there would be no consequences to his actions as a vigilante. In this version, no character dies without you noticing it. Every kill of his matters in a way that reminds me more of Sons Of Anarchy than a traditional Superhero show. It’s also helped tremendously by the exceptional job done by Jon Bernthal. Everyone keeps talking about the end of Episode 3 which recreates the famous scene from Punisher #3 by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon with Daredevil tied up in chains and Punisher telling him that he can only save the other mans life if he can shoot frank in the head. Daredevil screams out: “What kind of Choice is that?” And Castle responds: “The one I make every time I pull the trigger”

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Now, that is one of my all time favorite punisher moments and it was easily my second favorite scene of his but hands down his best scene and possibly the best of the season was his scene at the cemetery. I don’t want to spoil the acting ability of Bernthal here so I won’t but at the end of Episode 4, there’s a ten minute scene between him and Charlie Cox as Daredevil that makes the entire season.

Overall

If you’re not watching the Marvel netflix shows then you are definitely missing out. Episode after Episode they only get better. The stakes keep getting higher and the stories only get better.

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I don’t care what you’re doing, if you’re a horror fan and have 12 minutes then you absolutely have to watch “Vicious

Oliver Park has crafted something that is dark, beautiful and truly terrifying. He tells a simple story using minimal dialogue and manages to scare you without just using predictable jump scares. The lighting, cinematography and sound effects make for a modern classic reminiscent of Hooper, Hardy
and Blatty. You can tell that he has a love and reverence for the genre and for the creators who came before. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

-Vance

Change In Comics: A Need Or A Want?

The Year is 1973. Gerry Conway has been writing Spider-Man since August of the previous year. His run is, in my opinion, one of the mose underrated runs in comic history. He writes some great stories, creates new characters like The Punisher, has to follow stories by Stan Lee and Roy Thomas and he does all of this at just 19 years old. Conway’s run does have one story that everyone knows about and it’s the most important turning point in comic history: The Death Of Gwen Stacy. This was the first major status quo change in comics and It’s honestly one og my favorite comic book moments. Many people will ask why that’s my favorite turning point in comics and the answer is that everything else pales in comparison. We don’t get the masterpiece of Spider-Man : Blue if this doesn’t happen. This was really the first time the hero truly lost in comics and it changed everything. Peter hasn’t been the same since and honestly it’s made him an even better hero in many ways.

You can go back through the history of comics and find multiple changes to different characters. Like when Batman stopped using guns, when Superman started Flying, Captain America’s shield changing and switching up the entire team of X-Men. But should change be such a constant? In my opinion: Yes. Sure, certain constants have to happen in a story that are integral to a character. Krypton has to explode, Thomas and Martha Wayne have to die, Uncle Ben has to die, Abin Sur has to give the ring to Hal Jordan, Nightcrawler has to look like a demon and hundreds more. Every time there is change, there will always be people for it and people against it but I don’t think that there needs to be such an anger and hatred towards the writers for it.

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This article began from my discovery that people are still upset about The New 52. Yes, people are still upset about it and now they’re even angrier about “Rebirth” I can see where they’re coming from for Rebirth but I was talking to a good friend of mine last night and he hadn’t read a DC comic for a while so I explained Rebirth to him that the entire point is less of a cash grab. I know I probably just sound the eternal optimist but I truly believe that what they want to do is just bring about a true rebirth that fans can get behind. Every interview makes it sound like what they’re doing with it is learning from the good and the bad of the New 52 and building a new lineup of great titles that are accessible to people but also  true to what fans want. I understand that some people are probably tired of the reboot effect but I think we’re approaching a renaissance of comics because Marvel is giving us some of the best books they’ve put out in the last five years and if DC does what I’m hoping for then both companies are going to at an area that they haven’t been at together since the 80’s.

So we’ve discussed company wide changes well what about when singular creators make changes? Blasphemy! How dare they change a single in hopes of making an interesting story!

Let’s go over a list of these writers

  • Grant Morrison
  • Geoff Johns
  • Dan Slott
  • Ed Brubaker
  • Matt Fraction
  • Brian Michael Bendis
  • Scott Snyder
  • Joe Quesada
  • Brian Azzarello
  • Tim Seeley
  • Tom King
  • Jason Aaron
  • Jeff Lemire
  • James Tynion IV
  • Mark Waid

Yes I know : “But those are all new creators, they’re not as good as the classics” Yeah? Well let’s go over classical writers who changed things up.

  • Chris Claremont
  • Walt Simonson
  • Marv Wolfman
  • Denny O’Neil
  • Gerry Conway
  • David Michelline
  • Roy Thomas
  • Jim Shooter
  • Frank Miller
  • John Byrne
  • Len Wein
  • And my personal favorites for anyone who complains…STAN LEE and JACK KIRBY

The very epitome of Marvel is that it was the company that changed everything. They love to say that they’ve been around since the 30’s but they haven’t. Timely/Atlas was around in the 30’s and 40’s but Marvel didn’t really exist until 1961 when two young creators decided to do a comic exactly how they wanted to do one and it worked out incredibly well. Their stories had real world peoblems that were dealt in realistic ways…or as realistic as a man with the powers of a spider can. Comics are Change and sometimes it becomes something amazing and sometime it becomes something a bit less than amazing. What’s that? You want a list of changes that didn’t work? Oh why not.

  • Spider-Man : The Clone Saga.
  • Spider-Man : The Other.
  • Heroes Reborn.
  • Anything that Rob Liefeld touched that wasn’t Deadpool.
  • Superman being split into two beings.
  • Major Force as a villain in Green Lantern.
  • Identity Crisis
  • Ultimatum
  • Convergence
  • Arguably, Age Of Ultron by Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch but I want to reread it soon just to make sure.
  • Spider-Man : One More Day.
  • Final Crisis but only if you weren’t paying attention…I still love Grant Morrison.
  • Rick Remender on Captain America and Axis(this one’s mainly just me not liking his writing so you can take this one with a grain of salt if you’d like)
  • And the one that’s most difficult for me to admit : Fear Itself. Good Concept, but too many Tie-Ins killed it.

When movement isn’t consistent then stagnation is inevitable. Without change we don’t get the the Sinestro Corps or the Return of Hal Jordan.

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we don’t get Giant Size X-Men #1,

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Without Change, we don’t get Batman as a Dark Crudader for Gotham.

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and worst of all : We don’t get the Death Of Gwen Stacy.

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My final point is on the different creators and what makes the good ones as good as they are. A good creator knows what has come before and what they need to do with their stories. Geoff Johns is my favorite writer and he’s also my favorite example for this because his entire career has been based on the concept of taking older characters that haven’t been used for a while and making them amazing. His Green Lantern run is the best example. Creating Parallax as the embodiment of fear made Hal Jordan as a more sympathetic character because we can all be attacked by fear. He brought Hal back and made him this champion of Will that had made the return to the land of the living and the return to the corps.

Creators deserve the freedom to try out new things and I’m willing to keep an open mind to them. I think that All-New, All-Different Marvel has been great and I think that Rebirth has the chance to be one of the best comic events in recent history.

-Vance

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

What? Christmas Already? No!

It’s time for the Lexington Comic and Toy-Con! Every year around the second or third week in march, I go to Lexington with my family (and most of the other Correspondents) and we have an absolute blast! If you’re in Kentucky and you’re looking for a great show then you gotta check this one out. It’s ran by some great people who want nothing more than to give us a great show. Also, Lexington has some of the nicest people, I’ve met numerous friends there and hope to meet some more this year.

Here’s the website where you can also check all the celebrities that are going to be there:

http://www.lexingtoncomiccon.com

As for what I’m looking for, I’m hoping to finish out my comics runs on Ed Brubaker’s Captain America, Walt Simonson’s Thor and Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers, New Avengers and Fantastic Four. Anything written by Greg Rucka is another, he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. Hopefully I can find the right prices for these.

You can check out my adventures on here, on the Facebook page: “The Fandom Correspondents” or on my snapchat “vancemccarty94” Hope to see you this weekend in Lexington!