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.

 

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.

Lex Luthor leads to Doom.

injustice league

Some ideas seem like no-brainers to me. After the events of Forever Evil, it only made sense that Lex Luthor would see himself as a hero. After all with the Justice League out of commission it was Lex, along with other villains, who saved the world from the invasion of the Crime Syndicate. The very basic question is what is next for one Lex Luthor?

Why the Justice League of course. Seeing himself as the worlds greatest hero of course he would feel he deserved a place among the greatest hero team around. The ideas is ripe with possibilities.

How long can Lex play the hero?

How will Batman, Superman and the other heroes react to his prescence?

Is this all part of some long game, some new nefarious plot to unleash his villainy on the world?

The key to however this story plays out is Lex himself. He is one of the most brilliant men in the entire DC universe, even smarter than Batman or Mr. Terrific. The problem is he knows it. His overwhelming ego is often his own downfall. Lex finds it hard to believe that anyone could possibly be his peer, his equal.

In my eyes that is the source of his disdain for Superman. Lex believes that he should have been the hero, everyone should have been looking up to him. Instead they applaud this alien with fantastic powers. How much of his desire to be a member of the Justice League comes from a desire to show that he is better than Superman? How better to prove that than to take his place?

Lex is his own worst enemy, always has been. In time his true nature always reveals itself. It will not be good enough to be a hero among the Justice League, in time he will need them to do things his way. After all his way is surely the best way. That is when things begin to unravel.

That is when things should get good.

In Forever Evil he created his own team to fight the Crime Syndicate. I would expect him to do the same as things with the Justice League deteriorate. Lex would of course want to surround himself with those he feels most comfortable. He understand villains motivations, I believe the heroes motivations are slightly foreign to him.

In the past we have seen Luthor lead the Secret Society of Super-Villains, the Injustice League and other villain teams with the names often used interchangeably. In my world I would see this teams as there own unique entities. The Secret Society and the Injustice League should have there own defined rosters. With the Secret Society composed of villains more on the edges of the world, while the Injustice League would be decidedly more mainstream.

For my purposes Lex would create the most important villain organization. The Legion of Doom. Pulling from the old Super Friends show. Give them that Darth Vader-like skull base and a small roster of powerful villains. I easily see Lex surrounding himself with Grodd, Black Manta, Felix Faust, Cheetah, the Riddler (the Joker would be to hard to control)and his own creation Bizarro to round out the group. More brains than power but plenty of power.

Hero groups do need great villain groups and the Legion of Doom does fit the bill nicely. It also returns Lex Luthor to where he belongs: at the top of the villain hierarchy.

Enter Grayson

Nightwing8

Everything changes. That is the reality of life. Nothing is as we remember it. Life evolves and so do we.

Coming into the Forever Evil event we knew things would never be the same for Dick Grayson, for Nightwing. Most of the other major DC heroes, the Justice League’s, were missing, defeated, possibly dead. The villains had won, not the villains we knew but different more sadistic ones from another world. Worse still they had captured and unmasked Nightwing, the highest profile hero left standing. His secret identity was revealed to the world. The world knew that Grayson was Nightwing. Where does he go from here?

We learned where he will go this week. DC comics announced the new Grayson series written by Tim Seeley and Tom King, featuring art by Mikel Janin. The series begins in July. Honestly I felt a little column-blocked by the announcement (I started this column Monday morning). The series promises to show the former-Nightwing delving into the spy world. All the while allowing the world and his friends to believe he is dead.

Some have been critical of the direction of his new series, I simply ask why? It makes sense. Dick no longer has an identity to hide behind, his outing puts his closest friends and colleagues at risk. Before the new series was announced I had thought out a few ideas for how DC should proceed with the character. At no time did I think to kill him off. That made no sense, it would be a waste of a great character. I thought he should go into the espionage world, perhaps even leading a Team 7-style team for a time. Becoming a super-spy works.

What else would he do, just go back to being Nightwing? Another hero identity? No. For the time being there should be no Nightwing. Not Mr. Grayson and definitely not someone else taking his place. Nightwing is Dick Grayson accept no substitutes.

This avenue opens up worlds to explore, it gives writers opportunity to grow the universe. Best of all it puts Dick Grayson in situations that are far outside his comfort zone. Dick is a good man, he has always been. In a world where he has to lie to survive, even lie to his closest friends, how will he survive? How long before Dick reaches out to Barbara and reveals his secret?

Even better than the struggles Grayson would face ethically in this new world are the opportunities to bring characters into the New52 through this series. We have seen Argus, S.H.A.D.E. and the Suicide Squad, what other spy agencies abound. We have seen Amanda Waller, Slade Wilson, Steve Trevor even Cole Cash, could this series bring us Rick Flag or even better introduce us to King Faraday. Faraday could slide into this series as Grayson’s untrustworthy mentor. Dick is so used to implicitly trusting Bruce, how will he relate to someone who he cannot possibly trust. Another character who could be brought in is Travis Morgan, perhaps showing the mission that eventually reveals the world of Skataris and the origin of the man known as Warlord.

So many possibilities, so many adventures. It is time for Dick Grayson to step out of the shadow of Batman. Time for him to kick in that door and Enter Grayson.