Justice League Dark: Act II

Once upon a time(or 2011) writer Peter Milligan and artist Mikel Janin teamed up to give us comic fans a wonderful gift. Justice League Dark. The team(don’t call them that) that was certainly not a team. Bringing together some of the more occultish characters in the DC Universe(with a healthy nod to the Vertigo imprint) it was one of the best surprises of the New52 era. Unfortunately it has been conspicuously absent from the otherwise wonderful ReBirth run.

That is no longer the case.

James Tynion IV(on words) and Alvaro Martinez(on art) debuted their version of Justice League Dark last week.

Spinning out of Dark Knights Metal and No Justice, we find Wonder Woman attempting to put together a team of magic/occult based heroes to combat new threats from that world. Magic is malfunctioning and Diana believes it will only get worse.

The set up works. As much as many look up to her the magic world sees her as an outsider. She may have been born of gods and magic but that does not mean she is one of them. Initially her only recruits are Detective Chimp and a decidedly more docile Man-Bat. Of course by the end of the first issue Swamp Thing and Zatanna have joined the fray.

The art by Martinez is clean and imaginative. Tynion seems to have a good handle on each characters voice. This book has so much potential.

I have a fondness for titles that play around the fringes of the comic universes. Added to the main cast you have potential appearances by John Constantine, Dr Fate, Etrigan/Jason Blood and many, many others.

It was a great start.

Things are about to get weird in here. Can’t wait.

Marvel Really Wants X-Men to Succeed

(There is a reason I used a Russell Dauterman X-Men piece here…more on that later)

At at San Diego Comic-Con Marvel Comics released few pieces of X-Men news that should have gotten everyone’s attention.

As expected they officially announced X-Men Black. Rather than a new Black Ops team led by Magneto like many speculated about. We will be getting a series of one-shot books featuring the premier X-Men villains. Honestly it feels like Marvel wants to channel DC Comics New 52 villains month.

These books should build anticipation but anticipation for what.

Well we got the answer to that as well. In November, Marvel will be premiering a new Uncanny X-Men book.

Yes you heard that right. The granddaddy of them all, the first mutant book by Marvel Comics is coming back. No creative team has been announced but just the fact that the Uncanny X-Men is returning should be enough to whet the appetites of many fans.

Marvel has tried hard over the last few years to bring the X-Men back to the level they were when Chris Claremont and Jim Lee will working on the title.

From from the Astonishing X-Men to teams such as X-Men Blue, X-Men Gold and the more recent X-Men Red it has been clear that Marvel has not quite managed to hit the right formula.

The creative team for the next Uncanny title has not been announced but I do have speculation.

With Chris Claremont writing the Magneto X-Men Black issues it only makes sense to bring the greatest writer in mutant history back home. There may be other options but this just feels right.

If you have Clermont writing it then who should draw it. Are you bringing back a name from the past or something new.

Well it just so happens that Russell Dauterman, who did an incredible job the last few years on the Thor titles, has been without a book since he finished Jane Foster’s journey as Thor.

Told you there was a reason I chose that picture earlier.

Dauterman would be perhaps the best artist on X-Men since Jim Lee left for Image Comics. His art simply comes alive on the page. So let him bring the X-Men back from the dead.

Make it happen Marvel.

We will be watching.

DC Universe Presents: The Titans

The first day of San Diego Comic-Con and DC Comics has hit the ground running with the first trailer for the new live-action Titans series. This is just the first of a slate of brand new programming for the DC Universe streaming service which it was announced will cost approximately $75 a year.

I thought they did I good job. Raven seeking out Dick Grayson is a nice callback to Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s run on the New Teen Titans in the 80s. That run is still considered one of the all time greats (not just for Titans but for comics period).

Brenton Thwaites makes a believable Dick Grayson-his anger at Batman may have been a little over the top. Raven as portrayed by Teagan Croft seems to have combined several of her previous versions into one. It works for me.

You only see glimpses of the other main characters but at the least they look the part.

It was just enough of a tease to leave me wanting more.

Broken Bat

The Bat and the Cat.

Batman number 50 has come and gone. By now most everyone has probably seen the issue but regardless…

Spoilers, spoilers and more spoilers

Yes the wedding did not go off as planned but then again that was spoiled ahead of time(thanks to the New York Times) and some fans lost their bloody minds.

The issue itself was wonderful. From King’s writing to Mikel Janin’s wonderful art to the pin ups from nearly every artist to ever draw the bat that fit so nicely into this issue. This was everything that you want from a 50th issue, ok except that no one said I do but we all knew that. The fact that it  was spoiled ahead of time did not  take away one moment of enjoyment. The story played out just as it should have been. The huge storybook wedding with a thousand guests was never going to happen. The Bat and the Cat would have had a spur of the moment private intimate  affair, just the two of them with the witnesses. And can I say Alfred was absolutely the right choice. Alfred has been there every step of the way in Bruce’s life to witness all the ups and all the horrific downs. He should absolutely have been there for the happiest day of his life.

Showing the dance that Bruce and Selina have always done was wonderful way to frame the story. This is not just the dance they’ve been doing for the last 50 issues but the dance they have done since Catwoman was first introduced(in Batman #1 in 1940) and I don’t believe for a second the dance is over. King has said this is a hundred issue story and I for one believe at some point we will get that wedding.

But by and large I am a journalist for all the spoiling that they did, they buried the lede.

Yes they spoiled that Selena leave Bruce at the altar so to speak but they did not spoil the best part of the issue

The best part of the issue the last two pages. The best part was seeing that not only has Bruce had his chance at happiness taken away but that it was done to him. The best part was that it did not just happen but that someone did this.

I love love love that they had Bane be the one to bring him down. They had Bane once again break Batman.

Too often they focus on Bane’s physicality. Far too often we forget that Bane is brilliant. He has a great strategic mind that is how he broke Batman in the first place it wasn’t just Venom coursing through his veins, it was setting loose Arkham Asylum to wear Bruce down.

This time it’s not breaking him with his fists but breaking the man emotionally and the imagery in the last panel of all the different pieces of the last 50 issues culminating and being seeming victory that was perfect.

The last panel that’s the turn, the penny dropping. It was that moment that changes everything that came before.

And after.

I know everyone is diving back into their comics and just looking for the little hints spread throughout this run.

Here’s too another fifty.

 

Interview: Ethan Kennett

This week I sat down at Hourglass Brewery in Longwood, Florida to talk to comic creator Ethan Kenneth. Returning to the scene of his comic release party Saturday June 8th.

“The book is called Torlena. I thought I actually created that word.”

As Ethan tells me it is hard to come up with a name because everything you can think of is already taken.

“I come up with this word… Torlena. It’s a woman’s first name.” After doing a little research…”In Hindu it means fractured…it kind of fit what I’m trying to tell.”

Sometimes things fall into place.

This is the story of the man behind Torlena. It starts in a lot of places Megacon 2017, Wheaton College, as a kid having his mom telling him the story of The Incredible Hulk. Like I said in a lot of places. It is a journey as they say.

Drawing since he was a little kid, Ethan just wanted to make comics he didn’t even want to go to Art School. But eventually he did go. He went to Wheaton College in Massachusetts he was so excited but all I want to do is make comics.

“My first drawing class-my teacher was like ‘we have to start you over from the get go, we need life drawing’. That was the last thing I wanted to hear-Dude I want to draw comics.”

By the time he was finished up at Wheaton he was burned out on drawing so he went with his other passion music. He moved down to Florida in 2001 to try to make it as a rock star and he had some success. According to Ethan more people know him as a musician than as an artist right now. I believe that is about to change.

It took a friend practically dragging him to Megacon in 2017 to put that change in motion. (Megacon is Orlando’s premier comic convention. I have spent many a weekend there myself.) Six hours in artist alley changed his path. He met artist Sorah Suhng(who had done covers for Ninjak among other projects) talking to her got the blood flowing. She suggested he speak to Nick Bradshaw then it was Clay Mann and others. Something in the universe touched him. It was time to make some comics.

Fast forward to August 2017. He quit his job, this is going to happen. The next day he was already working on getting his chops back. Looking at anything to do with the art of making comics because that is what he was going to do. By February of 2018 he was starting to work on Torlena, by March he was treating it like a job. Getting trademarks and copyrights and doing all other things we never think about when we pick up the books at our local comic shop.

I met Ethan a new Comic Book Day first Saturday of May. He was drawing in the back of my local comic book store working on Torlena. I talked to him for a few minutes. I already knew I wanted to see the final product. And I was happy for him that he had gotten that ‘zero’ issue published.

Asking about Torlena. The first and second issues are written and he is working on the 3rd. He figures it will go eight issues but then again the zero issue was originally going to be 25 pages and ended up at 28.

Initially he wanted it to be like Spawn and just go on forever. Todd McFarlane is one of his comic heroes after all.

This is the start of something. Hope it is a long, long ride.

Torlena # 0

A team of scientists must save

a little girl before she brings

her bad dreams to life.

You can order Torlena from EthanKennett.com or Torlena.com.

Enjoy.

Solo: Finally

So this week we finally get Solo: A Star Wars Story.

I have been waiting for this movie for a lifetime it seems.
Since before it was announced.
Since before Rogue One, before The Force Awakens.
I have been waiting for this movie since 1977, since I first saw Han Solo kick the Millenium Falcon into hyperspace like a space cowboy.

While some have been enthralled from the start by the mysteries inherit in the Jedi Knights that did not do it for me. Luke was meant to be the great hero of Star Wars but he was always overshadowed by Han.

With each trailer I have gotten more and more psyched. There is always a concern whenever a new actor is put in a role made famous by someone else but I feel Alden Ehrenreich has taken to the role very well. He looks to be every bit the young, cocky scoundrel we have fallen in love with over the last forty years. Add to that the work Donald Glover does as Lando Calrissian you may have something special.

George Lucas gave us all a huge toy box to play with. Too often we barely touch the rest of that galaxy far, far away. That is what I loved about Rogue One-exploring the universe Star Wars has given us.

I do not need Jedi or Sith or the Force. I will gladly take smugglers, criminals, rascals.

Here is to Solo shooting first and hitting the target.

It’s Booster(Gold) Time

It is time. Time for DC comics to give us a Booster Gold ongoing once again.

Actually it is well past time. Michael Jon Carter, that’s Booster, has been on the sidelines for far too long.

I firmly believe a title is on it’s way. Whether a solo book for Booster or every fans dream of a Blue and Gold team-up book(Ted Kord and Booster…is it really that hard). Moves by DC Comics seem to suggest it will happen.

First there was the recent team up with Superman in Action Comics written by Dan Jurgens. Jurgens is the man who created Booster in 1986. Then we have this week’s Batman #45. More a Booster Gold comic than a Batman comic it was weirdly fun. Which is a prerequisite for Mr Gold. Tom King who does excellent work everywhere seems to have Booster’s voice down perfectly.

Booster always tries to do what is right but tends to trip over his own feet getting there. This is the man responsible for making sure history happens the way it should (in between fart jokes and bantering with his robotic pal Skeets). Think of the WB show Legends of Tomorrow if it was one guy and much funnier.

He is the greatest hero the world never knew. It is time that we reminded them of that fact.