2011 Comic Book News Archives
August 27, 2011: Don't Be Afraid of the RelaunchBy Tom Speelman.
So here we are, less than a few days away from the brand new DC Universe, or the DCnU, as Newsarama has been calling it. That's a name DC might welcome, because that's their whole point behind this thing: new stories for a new generation of readers.
New stories also mean that every character, big and small, is getting a new look and a new set of problems, but no one seems to be getting a bigger makeover than the Man of Steel. We've all seen the new Kryptonian battle suit and I, for one, think it looks good. Admittedly, the reasoning behind a man whose very skin is invulnerable to essentially everything needing a battle suit is kinda shaky, but I see the point they're trying to make.
Superman isn't just fighting random criminals, he's waging a war against evil. And in wars, you need gear like armor to provide protection. There's also the idea that several key DC employees have said, which is that Supes wants to feel closer to his Kryptonian heritage. Certainly the suit is alien-looking in two respects: 1. It doesn't jive with how the entire world, not to mention comic book fans, see Superman, and 2. It's different in a semi-futuristic way from our traditional conception of battle armor. The bright red is more subdued when compared to the overall blue, which is also a good thing. Too much red and Kal could be an easy target for, say, someone like Deadshot.
Aside from his look, Superman will also be having new stories thrown his way courtesy of Grant Morrison, Rags Morales, and Rick Bryant in Action Comics and George Perez and Jesus Merino in Superman.
Both of these teams are dynamite all the way around as far as I'm concerned. Let's start with the Superman guys first. George Perez, in a way that I'm sure veteran fans found great, has come full circle, having illustrated the first DCU do-over with Crisis on Infinite Earths and taken over duties as writer and illustrator on Wonder Woman. Now here he is, pulling double duty again on Superman, albeit in a somewhat diminished capacity (he will only be drawing page breakdowns and covers at the outset). Perez's writing is direct, fun, and good storytelling, and the preview scenes of Superman #1 that we've seen make me curious and eager for more, something any writer, in any medium, should strive to do. I look forward to seeing where he goes with things.
Merino, to me, is in the top tier of superhero artists. His inking work with Carlos Pacheco, particularly during the Camelot Falls storyline as well as in the Green Lantern title, was pleasing and enjoyable to look at. The interior artwork shown so far proves that Merino has a definite look down for Clark, Lois, Perry, and the rest. Yes, it can be argued to an extent that Merino is simply finishing up the breakdowns that George Pérez has already drawn, but I don't buy it. I think of it as Pérez laying the foundation and then Merino coming in to do all the brickwork. Jesus seems like a natural fit for George.
While Superman looks to be a solid title, it's Action Comics that everyone will have their eye on when it hits September 7. Grant Morrison is the writer responsible for the oft-lionized All-Star Superman which DC and many others have gone out of their way to praise for being one of the best Superman stories ever written. Mark Waid, in his introduction to Volume 2 of the series, said that he's "read every Superman story and never one better." I wouldn't go that far, but I will say that that miniseries is one of the best Superman stories I've ever read, and it's usually the one I recommend to my non-comic book reading friends.
Morrison has said that he won't try to repeat his best success; in fact, he's even said his Action run will be better! However, he's said his planned 16-issue run will touch upon some themes from All-Star. In a video posted on Newsarama, he hinted at one of those themes, saying that "in any given era, [Superman] represents the best of what we can be. He's always gonna represent what we could be at any given time." The idea of Superman embodying the best of humanity despite his outsider status as an alien was present in All-Star and I look forward to seeing how Morrison will further explore that.
Morrison also said that "if you have a comic called 'Action' it should have a lot of action in it. The idea is to keep Superman constantly moving in every single scene. You open the first page, and he starts running and doesn't stop until the end. That's a different style from "All-Star" which was a kind of static, 1950s style, Wayne Boring colossal Superman." That constant action will be interesting to see, particularly as Morrison, in his work on JLA and other comics like We3, can write some gonzo action scenes!
The other interesting thing about this run of Action is the fact that it's set five years in the past, making this a book about Superman's early days, hence, the blue jeans and work boots with the cape and T-shirt. I kinda like this Springsteen-ish look because it shows that this Superman is definitely a man of the people, a "champion of the oppressed" as it said in his initial introductory text. The look, particularly as glimpsed on that initial Action #1 cover by Morales, with bullets bouncing off of Clark as he leaps over cars, makes for a really dynamic and positive image of someone standing up for the downtrodden, which is something Superman has stood for since his beginnings in 1938.
Action isn't the only DCU book set in the recent past; Justice League #1 has been revealed to be set a few months after the events in the inaugural issue of Action, something that establishes the idea that, from the very beginning, our favorite heroes were united, which is an image of inspiration that many could benefit from.
Morrison has also said to Newsarama that "We're trying to tie in to everything. I'm telling stories set five years prior to the stories, say, George Perez is telling in his "Superman" book. So we're kind of doing different parts of Superman's life, but there's definitely things that will tie in. I'll be setting up things in my book that will peel off into other books. The plan, of course, is quite big and always changing. We're introducing a lot of new characters and villains for Superman - new environments and new takes on some familiar stuff as well."
Of those new takes, he said "We're playing a very different take on the Lex Luthor/Superman relationship. It's quite flipped on its head. Luthor is almost the good guy to a certain extent. All of the relationships are going to be different. Superman's relationship with Jimmy Olsen is completely different, but it makes sense in a way that I'm surprised nobody has thought of before now. The same goes for Lois Lane. Things won't be quite the same for Superman and Lois, and we'll see how truly different their lives will be. I think it'll add some new tension and a new dynamic to it. It won't be predictable at all."
Morrison has also said he doesn't know how his run will end. But I have no problem with that, because, at least to this reader, organic storytelling that flows naturally is the best kind of storytelling.
Grant will be helped in his storytelling skills by the team of Rags Morales and Rick Bryant. Despite the fact that Morales illustrated the nadir of "grim 'n' gritty" storytelling, Identity Crisis, his poses are dynamic, his linework is clean, and his facial expressions are realistic. I also enjoyed the intricacies of his artwork on DC's First Wave book; they not only set the pulpish tone of that book but enhanced it. If I'd trust anyone to capture the uncertainty of Supes in his early days, it's Rags.
Bryant, on the other hand, I don't know much about. I've seen his work with Morales on First Wave though, and I've liked it. His inks don't get in the way, but instead flesh out and heighten the original artwork, which is what all inkers of other artists' work should try to do. I'm excited to see his skills at work here.
Now, a lot of people are nervous about where Morrison and co. are going to take things. After all, Morrison did write Final Crisis, which is, without question, the most confusing, new-reader unfriendly, and jarring event ever published by DC. But there's really not that much to worry about. Morrison may be telling the early days of Superman, but they're going to be with familiar villains, familiar cast members, and maybe some new additions on both sides. But every era of pop culture requires innovation, and comics are no exception. For better or worse, the bald man from Glasgow has made himself into one of comics' most preeminent innovators. So, I say, give Grant a chance. I think we'll all be surprised... one way or another!
Many people are also nervous because it's been told that Superman will be more alienated. However, as many have been quick to point out, Superman is not Batman and will not be a brooder. Morrison has said that Krypton's Last Son will only be darker and conflict with the law because he seeks justice. He also says he'll make Kal "a bit more brash, a bit more wild." As Tim Callahan, writing for Tor.com, pointed out, this is to address the issue that many readers think "Superman is boring." To quote Callahan:
- "Superman, with his invulnerability, his dignified approach to superheroics, and his god-like powers, is often seen more as an icon than as a character who can play a central role in a compelling drama. What's really at stake when a character basically has no weaknesses and can do anything? Kryptonite can only be used so often before it becomes a crutch."
First up, let's tackle Supergirl. Unlike her cousin, it seems she's being set up as a brooding teenager by writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson. The duo have also said that they want to do a few things with their run:
1. They want to establish who she is, and what her journey is on Earth.
2. They want it to be as new-reader friendly as possible.
3. There will be a mystery as to how Supergirl got to Earth in the first place.
4. They say Supergirl will have a life and friends but will struggle with others' assumptions and her life on Earth, as well as her rogues' gallery and the fact that the yellow sun will affect her differently than her male counterparts.
5. They've said that Kara has just lost her parents and now feels like an outsider.
Taken as a whole, these facts seem to lay out an interesting premise. The way the duo wants to tackle Supergirl seems to be like how the character would be written if she received the Smallville treatment instead of Kal, a stance that I think is refreshing. Admittedly, I don't know much about the various incarnations of Supergirl (especially the post-Crisis incarnation) but I still think this is a good move nonetheless. Supergirl needs to be seen as more than just "Superman if he was a girl" and this seems like a step in the right direction.
Mahmud A. Asrar's art also seems a leap forward. His Supergirl looks alien and foreign, someone that, you might think if you saw her at a party, had just arrived from out of town and didn't quite know her way around. The new costume emphasizes her alienness, perhaps in an even greater fashion than Superman's. While it reminds me somewhat of the costumes worn in the anime Kekkashi, it also suggests a regal bearing, particularly in the high cape and boots. Whatever status Zor-El and Alura are revealed to have had in the new version of Krypton, it's obviously an important one. I haven't read, to my knowledge, anything Asrar has drawn, but what I'm seeing, I'm liking. My best wishes go out to them.
Last is Superboy. Right off the bat, the cover of his new number 1 had people concerned. Is he going to be angsty and extreme? they asked themselves. That isn't the Connor Kent I know! But remember, this isn't the Connor Kent anyone will have known.
Scott Lobdell has a huge legacy as a writer, particularly on the X-family of titles for Marvel. I haven't read any of that stuff, but Lobdell, from what I've read in interviews, seems like a nice, cool guy. He's also someone having a huge stake in the brand new DC, writing not only this title, but also Teen Titans and Red Hood and the Outlaws. Clearly, Dan Didio and others trust him to tell the right stories and he seems determined not to disappoint.
In an interview with Bleeding Cool, Lobdell revealed that Superboy will be interconnected with Teen Titans, although what that means time-wise is uncertain. He's also revealed that everything is the same: there's still Tactile Telekinesis, Conner still showed up after the death of Superman, and he is still a clone of Superman and Lex Luthor.
There are only 2 things I'm left wondering: Is Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E., something hinted in the first issue solicit, the same thing as Cadmus and will this Superboy experience the same levels of angst and existential self-doubt that the creators of the Young Justice cartoon have explored? The latter would be a good idea. Not only is Young Justice a huge hit with kids and adults, but this version of Superboy is emotionally affecting in a way that the other incarnations just haven't been for me. Hopefully, Lobdell will take some cues from Greg Weisman and his cohorts.
As far as artist R.B. Silva, again, I don't know him. Apparently his Jimmy Olsen co-feature with Nick Spencer is great; I don't know, I haven't read it. What I'm seeing though - tight artwork, nice angles - I'm liking and for now, I'm OK with that.
One more thing I forgot to mention. According to the DC: The New 52 promo magazine, the new Stormwatch book will take place after the events of Superman #1 and the new monster of that issue will also be encountered in some capacity by the Stormwatch team. If nothing else, this bit of info says that, unlike the last history-erasing relaunch, the Superman Family books will not be a tightly interconnected soap opera in and of themselves. They will freely tie into other books within the new DCU as a whole, which, in this age of every website linking to other sites, seems like the right call to make.
And there you have it, folks, my thoughts on the new Superman books and the new Superman looks. I hope you enjoyed this analysis and, if you did (or didn't, I can take criticism), please send me a PM here on the Homepage. Until next Wednesday where everything changes, let me just say, to steal a bit from J. David Weter at Superman Forever Radio, "Keep on Fighting the Never-Ending Battle!"
2011 Comic NewsListed below are all the Comic News items archived for 2011.
- January 5, 2011: Fan Letters Return to DC Comic Books
- January 5, 2011: Details and Cover Image for Action Comics #900
- January 5, 2011: DC Comics Look at Superman in 2011
- January 6, 2011: Chris Roberson on Writing Superman
- January 7, 2011: Supergirl and Superboy vs Doomsday
- January 11, 2011: Eclipso Rises in Epic JLA Saga
- January 12, 2011: Superman in Des Moines, Iowa
- January 20, 2011: DC Comics Drops Comics Code Authority
- February 1, 2011: DC Joins Forces with Hero Initiative
- February 1, 2011: Reign of Doomsday
- February 2, 2011: Superman Variant Cover for DC Universe Online Legends #1
- February 2, 2011: Joe Shuster Award Nominees Announced for 2011
- February 10, 2011: Superman Skips Omaha in Grounded Comic Story
- February 11, 2011: A Call to Arms! - Dark Knight Over Metropolis
- February 21, 2011: DC Wins Big in 2010 Diamond Gem Awards
- February 24, 2011: Roberson Talks About Grounded Superman Comics
- March 1, 2011: Eddie Berganza Talks Reign of Doomsday
- March 7, 2011: Meet New Action Comics Artist Kenneth Rocafort
- March 10, 2011: Jeff Lemire Talks Superboy vs. Doomsday
- March 11, 2011: Cullen Bunn Talks Superman/Batman
- March 23, 2011: Paul Cornell Talks Action Comics #900
- March 23, 2011: James Robinson Talks Doomsday vs. JLA
- March 24, 2011: No Love for Lois Lane: Girl Reporter
- March 27, 2011: MegaCon Panel - A Spotlight on DC Comics
- March 28, 2011: A Look at Action Comics #900 and Superman After Grounded
- March 30, 2011: Paul Cornell Talks Action Comics
- March 31, 2011: Details on Action Comics #900 Short Stories
- March 31, 2011: Panini Comics Presents Special Superman Comic in Brazil
- April 4, 2011: Retro-Active Superman Comics
- April 7, 2011: Paul Cornell Talks Action Comics
- April 7, 2011: Kelly Sue DeConnick on Writing Supergirl
- April 8, 2011: Utah Comic Stores Prepare for Superman
- April 14, 2011: Tiny Titans Turns the DC Universe Pink
- April 26, 2011: Lost Mastermind Takes on Superman in Action Comics #900
- April 26, 2011: Pete Woods Talks Action Comics #900
- April 28, 2011: Superman Renounces U.S. Citizenship
- May 3, 2011: Happy 73rd Birthday Superman!
- May 4, 2011: Jeff Lemire's Superboy Nominated for Eisner Award
- May 5, 2011: Young Justice Part of Free Comic Book Day Sampler
- May 8, 2011: Superman Rated No. 1 Comic Book Superhero
- May 9, 2011: Paul Cornell Talk About Reign of Doomsdays
- May 12, 2011: DC Announces Superman Beyond One-Shot
- May 12, 2011: Marty Pasko Talks Retro-Active Superman
- May 23, 2011: Bombshell Superman Announcement Coming From DC
- May 25, 2011: Joshua Hale Fialkov Puts the Crime in Superman/Batman
- May 31, 2011: DC Comics to Relaunch DC Universe
- June 2, 2011: DC Comics Announces Printed/Digital Combo Packs
- June 2, 2011: Dan DiDio's Open Letter to Comic Book Fans
- June 6, 2011: George Perez to Write Superman #1?
- June 8, 2011: New-Look Superboy and Teen Titans
- June 9, 2011: New-Look Superman, Supergirl and Superboy
- June 10, 2011: DC Comics Announces Relaunch of Superman Titles
- June 10, 2011: Brett Booth Talks Relaunch of Teen Titans
- June 13, 2011: Grant Morrison Talks Action Comics Relaunch
- June 16, 2011: Missed Opportunity - Supergirl in the 9th Grade
- June 16, 2011: Berganza and Harras Talk New DCU
- June 17, 2011: The Marriage of Lois & Clark - Is it Over?
- June 20, 2011: Kelly Sue DeConnick Talks Supergirl
- June 21, 2011: Christopher Jones Talks Young Justice Comic
- June 22, 2011: New Contents Announced for Superman #712
- June 24, 2011: Can DC Comics Relaunch On Schedule This September?
- June 30, 2011: DC Comics - The New 52 Presentation
- June 30, 2011: Two New Men of Steel, But Only One's a Keeper
- July 1, 2011: DC's FAQ For The New 52
- July 6, 2011: Tom DeFalco Talks Superman Beyond
- July 7, 2011: DC Comics Announces SDCC Schedule
- July 7, 2011: Lobdell and Booth Talk Relaunching Teen Titans
- July 7, 2011: Comic Books - Digital vs Print
- July 11, 2011: Join the Justice League at Comic Con
- July 11, 2011: Brandon T. Snider Talks DC Comics: The Ultimate Character Guide
- July 13, 2011: Grant Morrison's Bruce Springsteen Superman
- July 13, 2011: DC's The New 52 Free Sampler Comic
- July 13, 2011: New Justice League Artwork on SDCC Souvenir Book
- July 14, 2011: Justice League and Teen Titans Comics for October
- July 15, 2011: Exclusive Interview with Joshua Hale Fialkov
- July 18, 2011: DC Comics Introduces the New Superman
- July 18, 2011: Dan DiDio on Making Superman More Accessible
- July 18, 2011: Green & Johnson Talk Supergirl
- July 18, 2011: Hardcover Publication of DC: The New 52
- July 18, 2011: Another Look at New Action Comics #1
- July 19, 2011: DiDio and Lee Discuss Superman, Marriage, Death and More
- July 19, 2011: David Goyer Talks Superman and "Action Comics #900"
- July 19, 2011: Grant Morrison Talks "Action Comics"
- July 21, 2011: SDCC - Grant Morrison Panel
- July 21, 2011: Lois Lane's New Boyfriend Revealed
- July 22, 2011: SDCC - Superman Panel Report
- July 24, 2011: Superman Family Preview Art from Comic Con
- July 25, 2011: Lobdell Talks "Superboy" and "Teen Titans"
- July 25, 2011: Mahmud Asrar on Supergirl's New Costume
- July 28, 2011: Grant Morrison Says We Should Emulate Superman
- July 30, 2011: Superman 101 Digital Comics Sale
- July 30, 2011: New DC Comics House Ads and Preview Art
- August 1, 2011: Jim Lee Talks "Justice League #1"
- August 2, 2011: "Justice League #1" Variant Covers
- August 3, 2011: Grant Morrison Talks Superman and "Action Comics #1"
- August 5, 2011: JMS Talks "Superman: Earth One" and Sequel
- August 9, 2011: "Action Comics #10" Sells for Record Price
- August 11, 2011: Three Comic Book Covers for November Releases
- August 14, 2011: Jim Lee's Rejected "Action Comics #1" Covers
- August 17, 2011: DC Comics The New 52 TV Commercial
- August 23, 2011: DC Pre-Order Sales Rise as Comic Stores Die
- August 23, 2011: Rags Morales Talks Action Comics
- August 23, 2011: Chris Roberson Talks Superman, Sharif, Grounded and More
- August 25, 2011: Interior Artwork from Superboy #2
- August 27, 2011: Don't Be Afraid of the Relaunch
- August 29, 2011: Grant Morrison on Reinventing Superman
- August 31, 2011: Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on ABC News
- August 31, 2011: It's Here! DC Comics - The New 52
- September 3, 2011: Super Sneak Peek Action Comics #1
- September 7, 2011: DC Reveals Variant Cover for Action Comics #2
- September 12, 2011: Justice League #1 is Top-Selling Comic Book of 2011
- September 13, 2011: Chris Conroy Talks Superboy and Teen Titans
- September 19, 2011: Johnson and Green Talk Supergirl #1
- September 20, 2011: DC Comics Panels at New York Comic Con
- September 27, 2011: All 52 First Issues of DC's New Comics Sell Out
- September 29, 2011: Grant Morrison Talks Action Comics
- September 29, 2011: DC Brings Graphic Novels to New Kindle Fire
- September 29, 2011: The Changing Face of Clark Kent in Superman #1
- September 30, 2011: Giffen & Jurgens to Replace George Perez on Superman
- October 3, 2011: Grant Morrison Looks at Action Comics #2
- October 9, 2011: Andy Kubert on Action Comics
- October 11, 2011: Green and Johnson Talk Supergirl
- October 11, 2011: Nicolas Cage Copy of Action Comics #1 at Auction
- October 13, 2011: DC Sells Over 5 Million Comics in 6 Weeks
- October 16, 2011: Superman Panel at New York Comic Con
- October 17, 2011: Dan Jurgens Explains New Superman Direction
- October 26, 2011: The Superman Comic Marvel Wanted to Publish
- October 26, 2011: Jim Lee on Why You Should Read Comic Books
- November 1, 2011: If you're not a comic book reader, why not?
- November 2, 2011: Nicola Scott Provides Art for Superman Comics
- November 2, 2011: Superman Plays Christmas Spirit in Batman: Noel
- November 4, 2011: DC Comics Overtakes Marvel For Top Sales
- November 8, 2011: Steel Debuts in Action Comics #4
- November 11, 2011: Lost & Found Action Comics #1 For Sale
- November 15, 2011: Supergirl is Still Relatable Say Writers
- November 22, 2011: DC Announces Launch of Amazon Storefront
- November 22, 2011: Dan Fraga Unveils Unpublished Superman Story
- November 22, 2011: Alvin Schwartz Dies Aged 95
- November 22, 2011: Best New Costume Design - Poll Position
- November 29, 2011: Superman Comic Set to Smash Expensive Record
- November 30, 2011: Action Comics #1 Smashes Expensive Record
- December 1, 2011: The Changing Face of Superman
- December 2, 2011: The Many Styles and Faces of Lois Lane
- December 6, 2011: Sholly Fisch Talks Action Comics Back-Up Stories
- December 12, 2011: DC Announces Superman Family Adventures Comic Book
- December 20, 2011: Johnson and Green Discuss Supergirl Comics
- December 20, 2011: Greg Weisman Talks Young Justice Comic Books
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