Sunday, May 06, 2012

(links)

Hey look, Parademons on a 4x4:
That's from Earth 2 #1, penciled by Nicola Scott and inked by Trevor Scott, and taken from a preview of the book that DC Comics posted on their blog. It's a pretty neat image. Not as neat as a Parademon riding a motorcycle with a second Parademon in a sidecar, or as neat as two Parademons on a tandem bike, but neat nonetheless.

Ugh, but how about that narration, huh? Those two narration boxes are pretty much all I need to read of this book to know it's not for me...

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I gave Earth 2 #1 and Worlds' Finest #1 pretty thorough flip-throughs in the comic shop this past Wednesday, and I am pretty intrigued by the set-up. I would like to see those Golden Age characters retooled for the 21st century, which seems to be one of the prime objectives of the book, but the 20 or so pages of the Trinity fighting Parademons with all those annoying Identity Crisis/Justice League of America-style color-coded narration boxes didn't exactly sell me on the book (Couldn't they have started the story after the Trinity fell before the forces of Apokalypse...? Or was it necessary to show that battle occurring in order to set up sister book Worlds' Finest....?)

I was eager to read reviews of it though, to see if it turned out to be better than it looked (I'm sure I'll read it, in library-borrowed trade, someday). Here's Don MacPherson's review; he gives it a rating of six-out-of-ten, which isn't great, but isn't horrible either.

I agree with MacPherson about the tittle. "Earth 2" is just too specific of a thing right now, having referred to a particular setting for so many decades: The people who understand the reference and have warm feelings toward it may be put off that this is not at all the old Earth-Two, and to everyone else its just a generic, meaningless term. Additionally, DC's mutliverse is a little confused at the moment, given their still-emerging Earth-One line of graphic novels, which have nothing to do with this title.

That said, I'm not sure what a better title for the book would have been, though, aside from the obvious Justice Society, or something new but with the word "Justice" in the title. Maybe just Elseworld, singular, as this is more of a random Elseworlds setting than an "Earth 2" setting...? Or maybe even Elseworlds plural, if alternate Earths become a big part of the series, as some of the earliest promotional material suggested...?

I'm pretty curious to see how deep into DC's Golden Age writer James Robinson goes with the cast of this book, too. Flash and Green Lantern are somewhat interesting in that they're alternate versions of the "real" and "official" characters of the New 52iverse, but whaten you remove the specifics of their home setting—that is, taking them away from both the post-Crisis DCU and the pre-Crisis Earth 2—and then proceed to remove the specifics of their costumes and origins and so on, you take away just about everything there is specific to those characters, and thus Robinson and Scott have to essentially invent new characters to go with the old names, which is a pretty tall order.

I would love to see the 21st century version of Golden Age characters of more of the super-obscure characters Robinson so delights in writing that aren't present in the New 52iverse, as well. Are we just going to see new versions of the character that Julius Schwartz revamped into Silver Age stalwarts, or will we be seeing a new Vigilante and Crimson Avenger and Airwave and Robotman and so on? (Please don't do a Red Bee please don't do a Red Bee please don't do a Red Bee please oh please oh please don't do a Red Bee!)

As for Huntress/Worlds' Finest/Power Girl, that logo sure is awful, isn't it?
The title is actually just Worlds' Finest, but that's not what it looks like on the cover (Like Earth 2, that's another terrible title—just try saying it out loud in conversation—but I'm hard-pressed to think of a better title for the book, beyond the simple and obvious Huntress/Powergirl).

I also really, really hate the post-redesign redesign of Power Girl's costume too. When images from the book first surfaced, her costume was a Supreme-like white union suit with a simple red triangle icon on the chest, vaguely suggesting a "P" for Power
Now the red triangle has been moved over to cover her right breast, and it has a stylized "P" for Power half-hidden in it.
(Note the other tinkering that went on, including giving PG a new 'do, messing with the colors of her accessories, and the addition of a blue racing stripe on her pants).

It's pretty ugly, and it also reminds me of Jesse Quick's short-lived and awful costume which featured a circle around one of her breasts:

Here's some more discussion of the books, from people who actually read 'em:

Johanna Draper Carlson

Tom Bondurant

DC Women Kicking Ass

Brian Hibbs

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Oh SNAP!

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I thought this was a good idea, and sending in a $9 check to the Hero Initiative as soon as I got home from the theater sure helped me feel less like a total asshole wile watching the film. In fact, the only part that really made me fee a little sick about how insane it is that millions were spent on the creation of that movie and billions more were and will be made by it while the men who created all those extremely lucrative characters and concepts don't even get credit, let alone a meager share of the profits, was the appearance of the title, as "Marvel's The Avengers" instead of just "The Avengers."

(I'll share some thoughts about the movie itself later in the week, I think).

While charities like The Hero Initiative and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund getting a huge influx of movie ticket-sized donations all week can't really be seen as a bad thing by anyone, it's also worth noting that matching any money you spend seeing that movie with a donation to something other than Disney/Marvel is a solution to assuaging a fan's personal guilt over seeing a big summer movie while knowing that Disney/Marvel aren't behaving in a way that would make Captain America proud of the companies that have his likeness trademarked. It doesn't solve the problem in a way that, say, Disney/Marvel deciding to give the money they made in the course of, say, two hours this weekend on The Avengers movies to creators and their families.

I don't really know how to solve that problem, as it's hard to make someone do the right thing if they don't want too, and infinitely more so if that "someone" is an immortal corporate entity rather than an actual person.

I sincerely hope that the many, many folks currently profiting off of the "Intellectual Property" that Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and a bunch of other late, elderly and often uncredited and uncompensated—or under-credited and under-compensated—men will continue to be asked questions and generally shamed until they do the right thing.

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In a better world, this will be made enough of an issue that in a few years, Avengers 2 will have a "Based on the comics and characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee" in the opening credit sequence. And Namor will be in that movie, too.

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Yesterday was Free Comic Book Day, as hopefully all of you already know, having participated in it. I had to work, and didn't get to my shop until about 5:45 p.m., at which point most of the free books were pretty picked over. And by "pretty picked over," I mean "devoured, as if by locusts". That was bad news for me, as I didn't have many to choose from, and I didn't get the one I most wanted, Fantagraphics' Donald Duck Family Comics, but I did get Fantagraphics' Barnably and Mr O'Malley, which ain't bad as far as consolation prizes go.

I also picked up Showcase Presents: Superman Family Vol. 3, which was not free, but at 500,000,000-pages for $16 bucks, is probably as close to free as a comic book of that size can be.

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I participated in this week's What Are You Reading? column at Robot 6, which I really should do more often, though I sometimes think it's redundant of me, given have I obsessively write about every thing I read. I did cover a trio of books there that I haven't written about here on EDILW previously however, so that's fresh content! Plus, plenty of capsule reviews of plenty of comics from five other Robot Sixers and a special guest David Harper of Multiversity Comics.

4 comments:

Nick Ahlhelm said...

I think Earth 2 showed tons of potential, but this wasn't really a first issue. It was a 30 page preview. Skipping to issue 2 and starting from there would probably work for everyone just as well as reading issue 1.

I liked Worlds Finest. It set up the plans for the series and a bit of a Lost dynamic quite well.

Anthony Strand said...

I thought it was called "Marvel's The Avengers" to differentiate it from that other TV show/movie that people might remember.

Caleb said...

I don't know...I think it would be kinda weird if someone were in the theater this weekend expecting to see a sequel to the 1998 movie. Up until a few weeks ago, the movie was always simply referred to as "The Avengers" in all its PR stuff...I heard (On the Internet, so it must be true!) that it was actually retitled "Avengers Assemble" in the UK, where concern with confusion with the TV show is high.

Nicholas Yankovec said...

It was renamed the unwieldly "Marvel's The Avengers Assemble" over here, not that I think anybody would have got it confused with the TV show. But I did read Marvel was added in the States to differentiate it for the same reason