Three Joker’s Thoughts

The Criminal. The Comedian. The Clown.

Bruce. Barbara. Jason.

Three Joker’s meet three heroes.

Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok present us with The Three Jokers nearly 5 years after the concept was first introduced during the Darkseid War storyline in the Justice League book. Teases of it showed up here and there in the Batman books for DC Comics. By moving it to the Black Label line it is not shackled by that continuity of the regular comic books.

If you ask anyone I am not the biggest fan of the Joker. This is a character that is often overexposed to levels usually limited to Batman and Wolverine in today’s comics. Because of that sometimes alternate takes on him do not seem to fit together and want nice neat puzzle. By creating the concept of the Three Jokers, Johns nicely wrote a way out of this particular conundrum.

The art is wonderful. Jason Fabok’s work has been missing for far too long. He had really come into his own during the Darkseid War storyline. Which unfortunately seems like the last time we saw Fabok’s work. Besides depicting the current day story He also depicts scenes from the past most notably some of the more chilling scenes from The Killing Joke and Death in the Family.

This is one of Johns strengths-pulling from DC Comics history as a foundation for new stories. This is not simply a story of Batman versus the Joker. I would say in this first installment it is much more about Jason Todd and Barbara Gordon. Red Hood and Batgirl.

Of all the members of the Bat family they have suffered far worse than anyone else. And the Joker’s desire to make them suffer has little to do with either Jason or Barbara, it is all about hurting the Bat.

The best and probably most disturbing moment of this issue came when the Joker was reliving his beating to death of Jason Todd. Not only did Jason, just a kid then, beg for his life He also said he would do anything if the Joker would spare him.

He said he would be HIS Robin…

And in a way he has. Taking the moniker Red Hood(one of the Joker’s earliest aliases), at times becoming a criminal and then a merciless vigilante breaking Batman’s one rule. You could say that Jason’s change it since coming back from the dead may hurt Bruce even worse than his death.

This is just a first issue. There will be much more to unpack and I’m sure many more twists and turns before we come close to the finish. But it was a very good start.

And one that may even soften my personal stance on the Joker.

That in itself is a huge accomplishment.

Not Your Father’s Legion

6 years. It’s been over six years since we had a Legion series.

It’s been five years since they guest starred in Justice League United.

A long time for a book that has been more or less a constant since the 70s. There had been a couple of pieces of it coming back with appearances Justice League United and Saturn Girl showing up in Doomsday Clock. Truthfully I thought we were going to have to wait until the often delayed Doomsday Clock finished. Things change.

Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook changed all that. On November sixth we saw the first of a new series of the Legion of Superheroes written by Bendis with art by Sook and colors by the fantastic Jordie Bellaire. As far as a creative team you could not ask for much more.

It is early but promising. The Legion is a tough nut to crack. So many characters, so much history. It is hard to know where to start. A chase through the remains of old Gotham is nice. Leading off with Ultra Boy is even better. Some things change, some stay the same.

We got to see some nice throwbacks to Legion history: A reimagined Mordru, a changed Earth(calling back to the destruction of Earth in the five years later era), a new Superboy and a new connection to modern day DC Comics with Aquaman’s trident.

There are several new threads to pull here. Possibilities abound.

Are there concerns as a long time Legion fan?

Of course. We have been burned so many times that we have grown cynical. But there is light in the darkness. Hope.

And at least for me that is what the Legion has always been about.

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.

Coming Home

Life is a journey

Journeys end. Time comes for a man to find his way back home.

Before I sweep the cobwebs away and dust off my trusty typewriter (laptop) I have a story to tell.

I started The Pulp Chronicles in the summer of 2013. I had been doing some freelance sportswriting and I wanted a venue for some of my other writing endevours.

And write I did. I am still proud of the work I produced under this banner. But it was not easy writing here, doing my sportswriting, not to mention my day job that paid the bills. Something had to give, something needed to change.

So in 2015 I had a bright idea. I would create one site to put all my creative pursuits under. No longer would I have to run multiple sites, just distill it down to one with separate sections. OneTrueGeek.com was born. I could see it: Sports Geek, Comic Geek, Writing Geek, etc…

It simply never became what I envisioned. Life got in the way, writing did not come. One True Geek slowly withered away.

Last year some friends and I started a comic news and opinion site ComicBook-Underground.com (come take a look). I was writing again. I was not on my own anymore. A team of writers and editors talking about the things we love.

Still I found myself longing for more. Sometimes you need a place all your own. A place that feels like home.

So I returned to a place I loved. After I unpack a bit I hope to get right back to work. Talking about movies, writing and yes comics. And not just other people’s stories. I have my own to tell. It may take a while. I feel like I am chipping away at a grand canvas but I am sure that it shall be worthwhile.

And the journey begins…again.

Finding Superman

Clark Kent. Superman. They are American icons, two sides if the same coin. The All-American son and the Man of Steel. Where are you Superman?
I know what you are thinking…Superman is everwhere. From the Man of Steel movie to his appearances in Action Comics, Superman, Justice League and more recently in Superman Unchained and Batman/Superman it seems like he is ever present. But is that really the Superman we all remember or is it just a shade of the hero we knew?

Writers Greg Pak (Batman/Superman) and Scott Snyder (Superman Unchained) seem to have a handle on the whole character of Superman/Clark but that is not always the case. In other books, with other writers this heroic icon is largely hit or miss. Why is it so hard to write a character that has been around for 70-plus years?

Some will blame the New52, DC comics recreating-rebooting of their comics universe, it does get the blame for so many things. Others will say the death of Ma and Pa Kent has changed things. Of course there are those who feel we need to bring back the red-underpants and everything will be right with the world. (Really??!!) While we are at it we could just lay it at the feet of Grant Morrison’s new Irvine for the Man of Steel. I do not think that is where the problem lies, it is much simpler.

Too much Superman, Not enough Clark Kent.

I think it comes down to the issue of Masks. It’s all about secret identities: Batman is the true identity, Bruce Wayne is the mask he hides behind. I’m Superman’s case Clark Kent is the true identity. Superman is not simply a man with incredible powers, he is Clark with those powers. An all-American boy wanting nothing more than to help those in need. We cheers seeing Superman save lives, but even without powers Clark Kent would run into fires to help others. That is simply who he is.

So perhaps we have discovered the problem…How do we fix it? Well DC has set up the perfect set of circumstances to fix this very problem. Forever Evil. Coming out of Forever Evil Superman might easily be feeling guilt for what has happened, that is understandable. So take a lead from the ‘Exile in Space’ storyline along with the crosscountry adventures of Green Arrow and Green Lantern from the 70s…roadtrip baby!! Send Superman on a journey of self-discovery, preferably with Bruce, a trip to rediscover what it means to be a hero. Batman and Superman in a beat up pickup-almost writes itself, while allowing creators to bring Clark/Superman back where he belongs…

Don’t Call it a Review: Forever Evil

The bad guys have won. The outlook is bleak. The heroes are not just defeated. They are gone…?

That’s how Forever Evil, DC Comics first company wide crossover in the New 52, begins. It begins with despair, hopelessness. It starts with that sinking feeling where you cannot imagine how the heroes will over come. It starts with questions.

Lots of questions.

Is the Justice League really dead?

What happened at the end of Trinity War?

What will happen to Nightwing?

Questions are good at the beginning of an epic storyline. You slowly start filling in the answers as you get to the end. These questions are good ones. But I have an even better one.

 Why should we believe anything the Crime Syndicate tells us?

They are the epitome of a ‘unreliable narrator’, they are the bad guys. They should be lying to us. It is kind of their thing.

They tell us they have killed the Justice League, they tell us they ruled their world, they tell us they destroyed the world there. That is what they say.

The truth may be very different. The populace of their world may have finally stood up and said “no more”. They may have rebelled, fought back and finally vanquished the villains. At this point we just do not know.

That is what makes it interesting. What is the truth, what is the lie? In between perhaps we discover what the heroes will need to triumph.

For the first time in a long time I am excited about one of these epic, company wide stories. Time to show me what you have got.

Before I forget. Favorite part of the issue. Kord Industries. What does that mean? I may be dreaming but it may mean…Ted ‘frickin’ Kord. And that cold mean the return of Blue and Gold…I’m pumped.
Bwahahahahahahaha…

Villain’s Month…How about an Heroes Month?

Villain’s Month is here.

It is a wonderful idea. One shot comics spotlighting our favorite bad guys as we head into Forever Evil, DC Comics first company wide crossover epic in the New 52.

Going into a major storyline featuring the villains who have won it only makes sense to give readers the opportunity to learn more about the characters. The comics themselves have had varied success. I am sure everyone has their favorite books, along with those they could have done without. But it begs the question: What about the Heroes?

These are the comics after all. We know at some point the heroes will return, the heroes will vanquish the villains. But which heroes?

Why not a Heroes Month? I mean we all know about Superman, Batman and the like. But what about the other heroes. What about the ones we have not seen in the New 52 or ones who were needlessly cast aside?

There is an opportunity here, a chance to present characters to readers they may not have seen otherwise.

There could be a Doom Patrol hiding somewhere. What about a re-imagined version of the Freedom Fighters trying to undermine the Crime Syndicate?

There is a chance to bring Ted Kord, the former Blue Beetle, back. Not to mention giving us an updated version of ‘Blue and Gold’. Maybe even a new version of Detective Chimp?

The possibilities abound.

That is what comics are about aren’t they. Possibility…

The Secret Adventures of Wally West

In DC Comics New 52, something is wrong, something is missing.

They tell me that Barry Allen is the fastest man alive. They tell me that Barry Allen is the Flash.

They are wrong. While Barry Allen is one of the fastest men alive, he is only ‘a’ Flash.

              art by Brett Booth

art by Brett Booth

Wally West is the Flash.

More importantly he is my Flash. For some Wally was always the Flash, Barry a distant memory. I remember Wally as the original Kid Flash. I remember him as Dick Grayson’s best friend. I remember the Teen Titan. I was there when he hung up the Kid Flash costume and I was there when he first donned the scarlet colors of the Flash. Nothing can ever take those memories from me.

Barry Allen is a great hero, but for me he is just kind of there. He never really connected with me.

Wally on the other hand. I watched him grow into the hero he was. It was a true heroes journey. He had given up the super-hero life only to pick it back up to honor his mentor, his friend. Wally wanted to be the Flash but he never wanted to replace Barry. For years he was the fastest man alive, still never faster than Barry had been. In time he realized his potential, he realized being the hero he was meant to be did not mean making people forget about Barry. It meant reminding people of the man who came before, reminding them of his legacy.

From sidekick to man to hero to legend, Wally had a long twisting journey till he found himself side by side with his heroes. No longer the sidekick, the little brother, now he was a legend in his own right.

Now he is gone…

The Flash is dead. Long live the Flash.

Long live Wally West.