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Yeah, I didn't want to mention it, but the artwork didn't look right for Liam Sharpe either. His artwork usually looks a lot better than this. It must be the inker is hurting the quality. Either that, or he was rushing to meet a deadline.

I still don't see how Morrison and Shape could ever go wrong on a comic....

I'll definitely give the first issue a chance....because, could a Morrison book really be as bad as the preview pages make it appear? That would be a shame if DC published the worst couple of pages from the entire issue for their preview, and the book gets "wicked shredded!!!" (see what I did there?*) on the next page.

*Yeah, I'm not even really sure what that means.

Otherwise, if DC published that preview, and I didn't know Morrison was writing the book, I would think, "Another poorly written DC superhero book. Skip!".

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Heroes in Crisis 1 - not sure what to think of this. It's not poorly written, but I follow so little DC stuff that I am not sure what's really going on. And, the powers that be certainly over-value Harley Quinn.

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I think they're promoting her to appease people who like to cosplay at conventions happy, Lou.

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She's become DC"s answer to Deadpool. No one is sure why they got so popular, a lot of readers are annoyed by the characters, but yet both companies continue to push both characters very heavily.

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Nope.

And her initial set up that made for some good stories about abusive boyfriends treating women like shit and then expecting them to be grateful to be getting any attention at  all was pretty much exhausted by Paul Dini in the early '90s. Why the character still lingers like a fart in a lift now that the whole point of her has been dumped is puzzling.

[ETA] Maybe there's a metaphor there about how DC sees the comics fans who keep clamouring for more Harley?

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Yeah, she was a pretty interesting character in her initial appearances under Dini, but the character today bears pretty much zero resemblance to the original interpretation.

I do wonder, since I didn't follow DC as closely as Marvel, how Harley went from "former psychiatric nurse who falls in love with the Joker" to "bad-ass chick hanging out with superteams". It's an evolution that doesn't make any sense for the character.

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Absolutely. What's interesting about her in those early stories is that the whole manic badass persona comes across as a front and she's obviously a very fragile, needy personality under all the bluster. That doesn't seem to even get mentioned anymore, does it?

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Seems to me that the Dini/Animated Series Harley Quinn was replaced by the Suicide Squad/Margo Robbie version a while back.  The Injustice games and comics play into that a lot as well, since she's one of the main characters there.  I don't get her appeal at all, she grates on my nerves whenever she appears (much like Deadpool, in fact).  I flipped through Heroes in Crisis and wasn't too impressed, it was a bloodbath with the barest attempts of resonance other than "look at all these characters we can kill off, guess who's next!".  Easily the least engaging comic I've read from Tom King by a mile.  

Nice artwork, though.

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https://www.newsarama.com/42168-young-justice-wonder-twin-dial-h-for-hero-more-part-of-bendis-led-dc-teen-imprint.html

Bendis is launching and overseeing a new teen character imprint at DC called "Wonder Comics."

The main attraction DC's trying to sell is Young Justice by Bendis, but the title that will probably be most of note to posters here is Mark Russell's Wonder Twins (Stephen Bryne on art duties).

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Green Lantern & Huckleberry Hound Special #1 (by Mark Russell)-Unfortunately, this was the weakest comic by Russell I have read so far. I am of two minds about it. It's not a horrible comic book. It's just not handled very well. For the first time, Russell failed to blend together the absurdity of his subject matter with the seriousness of the topics he is addressing.

This would have worked a lot better had it not been shoehorned in to a superhero comic universe. The first half of the comic was very good, dealing with real-world historical material. The second half of the comic really falls apart.

Huckleberry Hound served no purpose in the comic after the first half. I think he worked well for the first half, and I wouldn't say that he was totally unnecessary to the story, but Russell pretty well just dropped him by the second half of the story. That didn't really work.

Then, the ending, where the teacher wants the student to rebel, and that's the big lesson for the student to learn.....very cliché. If Family Guy mocks it in an episode, it's best not to try to use it for serious effect in literature again.

So, there's one-half of a very good story in here, it just doesn't all hold together. Maybe had Russell stuck closer to writing an homage to the O'Neil/Adams Green Arrow & Green Lantern comics, it could have congealed in to something complete.

As it is, I can't help but, regretfully, mark this comic down as a failure. A very promising failure (due to that first half), but still a failure.

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Sideways Annual #1-Morrison wasn't writing the back-up strip in this comic, after all. It's hard to tell how much of the writing is Morrison's versus how much is Dan DiDio, as not a lot of Morrison's voice comes forth in the comic.

On the plus side, the story uses the Seven Soldiers of Victory and the New 52 version of Superman.

On the negative side, while Morrison's story does incorporate red-ant head Superman, it's the Dark Multiverse counterpart of these really fun Silver Age characters, meaning they are not fun at all. They are very early-90s and angsty. There's probably nothing worse than seeing porcupine lad Jimmy Olsen bemoaning his transformation as a curse. Or, a stupider name for said character than...."Spiner"....Ugh.

Why, oh why, couldn't they allow Morrison just to have fun with these ideas (also big brain Lois Lane), without making them all dark and twisted? That just makes me sad.

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Green Lantern #1-OK, that was actually really, really good.

It turns out that DC really was stupid enough to pick the worst couple of pages out of the entire comic to publish as a preview. That seems....defeating.

It makes me wonder if DC editorial requested that Morrison write a really stupid sequence in the middle of the comic, just so people would think the comic was going to be bad.

The rest of the issue read fine, then suddenly, right in the middle, it's like Morrison turned the writing over to, oh, I don't know, let's say Dan DiDio, while he took a lunch break. Then, he came back and finished writing the issue.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes.

It makes me want to dig out my Showcase Presents: Green Lantern volumns.

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Martian Manhunter #1 (of 12)  - By Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo

Steve Orlando was a writer who was initially on my radar because I enjoyed his Midnighter run that came out during the end days of the New 52 era, but he since fell off it due to several subpar DC Rebirth books.

I'm not too big a fan of the Martian Manhunter, but I'm guessing Orlando's reinvention of the Martian Manhunter as a Martian dirty cop with a strained family life could be a turn off for some fans.

The book is split between flashbacks of Martian Manhunter's time on Mars to a present storyline of him masquerading as a cop on Earth and solving crimes while haunted by his past. Orlando tries for blend of noir and sci-fi, but the murder investigation of the present segments are decidedly duller than the Mars segments, which let Riley Rossmo unload and draw weird aliens having weird alien sex. Alien sex aside, there wasn't too much in this book that stood out for me and I probably won't be back for #2.

Shazam #1 - By Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham

This is Geoff Johns' first DC ongoing since his New 52 Justice League, and the only thing I believe he's writing for them atm besides his perpetually delayed Watchmen sequel fanfic.

(Coincidentally, this book's future issues have also been hit with delays)

It picks up from the status quo he established New 52 Shazam story, with Billy Batson and his family of foster siblings functioning as a team of superheroes through the power of Shazam. The bulk of the issue is dedicated to reintroducing the character and establishing the state of his world, ending with a cliffhanger for the next issue. Billy Batson's characterization is closer to his pre New 52 self, and the overall tone is much lighter. Eaglesham's art does a great job of continuing the style established by Gary Frank in the New 52 story, while also fitting the lighter tone.

Shazam's a likeable, lighthearted read. While I didn't love it enough to plan on sticking with future floppies, it might scratch that itch if you're nostalgic for a DCU before the era of grim and edgy or Geoff Johns story before his runs became consecutive events.

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I didn't buy the Martian Manhunter comic, just paged through it, reading some of it, at the store. I agree with your assessment completely. I did like the Rossmo artwork, but that's not enough to sell a story, which looked quite flimsy for a first issue. I wouldn't say it accomplished the high praise of Tom King's quote on the cover, that's for sure.

I think DC was hoping for another critically acclaimed introspective character study, ala King's Mister Miracle. Orlando doesn't seem to have the skill to pull that off though, instead turning in something quite average. However, as I'm about to point out, metaphorical characterizations of the Martian Manhunter has already been suitably mined, unlike a character like Mister Miracle. So, that was always going to work against Orlando too.

I am a fan of the Martian Manhunter. The J.M. DeMatteis mini-series and the John Ostrander series were pretty well perfect comics using the character to explore the themes of loneliness  or loss. I also do have a soft spot for some of the Silver Age stories featuring the character from the Showcase Presents books,.

Also, the best Martian Manhunter story in ages, even while not actually featuring that character, is Weird Detective by Fred Van Lente from Dark Horse. It's like Martian Manhunter, as a a noir detective, meets H.P. Lovecraft. That's a very fine comic mini-series, indeed.

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DC has announced plans for the upcoming Detective Comics #1,000, which is going to be written by that hot superstar writer....Peter J. Tomasi? That guy sure did luck out being the current regular writer on Detective Comics, giving him the nod to pen this landmark issue.

Of course, DC will also be featuring short stories by lots of other celebrated comic creators to make the issue actually feel special.

It would have been nice had DC tried to get some of the big names from the past who actually made a mark on the Batman franchise, instead of including a bunch of writers who aren't exactly known for their work on Batman.

I was pleased to see that, at least, Denny O'Neil will get a story.

Warren Ellis gets a story....for those (what?) two stories (that no one remembers) which Ellis wrote for a Bat-book. I remember an awful LOTDK story by Ellis, and a forgettable back-up story in that Batman black and white on-going series....I forget the title now. Was it called Dark Knights, maybe?

It would have been appropriate to see Steven Englehart or (especially) Alan Grant featured. DC continues to undervalue the contributions of Grant to the Bat-franchise.

Considering the book will cost close to $10, I have no interest in picking it up just for the O'Neil and Ellis stories.

https://www.cbr.com/detective-comics-1000-creator-lineup-announced/

At least it'll be more special than Batman #500.

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Of all the past Batman creators to get for an anniversary celebration, Kevin Smith would probably be on the bottom of the list.  Who in their right mind would read Cacophany or Widening Gyre and then say "yeah, Kevin Smith GETS Batman"?  To think, there's no Grant Morrison, no Alan Grant, no Chuck Dixon or Doug Moench, but we get Smith.  Seems fair.  🤮

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4 hours ago, Ixnay by Night said:

Of all the past Batman creators to get for an anniversary celebration, Kevin Smith would probably be on the bottom of the list.  Who in their right mind would read Cacophany or Widening Gyre and then say "yeah, Kevin Smith GETS Batman"?  To think, there's no Grant Morrison, no Alan Grant, no Chuck Dixon or Doug Moench, but we get Smith.  Seems fair.  🤮

You'd think that Paul Dini might have warranted an invite as well, come to that.

(ETA) He did. He has a decent artist as well. My mistake.

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TBH, no Dixon is probably a good thing since his story probably would've consisted of Batman teaming up with Trump and Bane to put those Libs back in their place!

But just the prospect of reading more Kevin Smith Batman is enough to avoid a purchase of that!

Tomasi's always struck me as a competently unremarkable at best writer, in that he's never written anything blatantly offensive or terrible but never has quite written anything that would rank up there amongst the greats. I wonder if that's a better or worse fate for Detective Comics than Action Comics, which was taken over by Bendis after its 1000th issue.

Johns and Bendis are pretty big name writers, but Batman's not exactly the first character that pops to mind when you think of their all-time must-read comic runs. In the case of Johns, his Batman Earth One books probably skew closer to the must-avoid stories! Likewise, Ellis and Priest are good writers, but they're not exactly writers I'd associate with Batman.

In that list, O'Neill and Dini seem to be the only non-recent major Batman writers doing stories. No Grant, Englehart, Moench, or even Miller. Morrison somehow missed out on both the 1000 celebrations for Batman and Superman, and while Brubaker seems to have sworn off Big Two work at the moment with his Image exclusive contract, where's Rucka for that matter?

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To be fair, Kevin Smith isn't the worst name there as the dreaded Tynion IV is scripting a story for the special as well...

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Peter Milligan is another name that comes to mind now who'd have been a good choice too. That "Dark Knight, Dark City" story-arc he wrote was good enough to warrant him getting an invite, especially over some of those names.

Dixon is the one famous Bat-scribe I can do without. I didn't enjoy any of Dixon's work on Batman. Moench had a famous run on Batman in the early-1980s, and his work with Kelley Jones on Batman in the mid-'90s was one of the classic Bat-books. So, Moench is more than redeemed for his early-'90s stupidity, unlike Dixon.

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Les Batman-y but spoilery: some notes that may reveal plot points about the first issue of Goddess Mode. (Said spoilers are freely available elsewhere, including on the comic's cover, but are still a big first issue climax so  are being hid below. It's dubious that anybody wants to read a review of this anyway.)

 

For a piece of fiction by an unethical gamer journalist, this is rather fun. Some of the dialogue is a bit off (far too much infodumping by telling rather than showing), but there's much worse offences on that level out there, some of it from big names. There's been a lot of fiction about "futuristic" extensions of social media's pervasiveness over the last few years, but this is the first comic I've seen that sets up a literal rather than metaphorical darknet. Doubtless some will complain that this sort of shoehorning occult-y stuff into cyberpunk is out of order, but they presumably had no problem with all of the voodoo talk in Gibson's sequels to Neuromancer, and it's not like Quinn doesn't do a much smoother job of integrating the two elements than Alexander Besher or Christopher Fowler managed. There's some nice ideas dumped in with the infodumping, and there's more than a hint of Mark Russell's Prez to the mis en scene. The pop culture parodies and exaggerations cyberpunk requires are all present as well: we get to meet a snotty CEO and a self styled boy wonder tech genius who makes Elon "We all live in a useless submarine" Musk look like a functional human being by comparison. There's a nice gloss on enforced wage slavery that's more Varley than Gibson, and Robbi Rodriguez's art is, unsurprisingly, a pleasure to look at. (Has he fled Marvel as well now?)

As for the other apparent influence, it seems to be Sailor Moon. On one level, patching the whole magical transformation into a cutesy warrior thing into cyberspace is a clever flourish (and I'm sure people who are better up on that type of manga can name more relevant models than the one even old farts my age have heard of), but making it a real magic-y thing in the real magic-y realm that underlies cyberspace nixes the notion that this is a hard SF reading of that stuff. Not necessarily a criticism: assuming that the whole of the internet is a structure assembled upon some infernal realm or other is quite a neat one, and it'll be interesting to see how that gets developed here. Given all of the fuss that was made about Jeff Noon's first couple of novels in the mid '90s, it's surprisingly how little has been done around a mix of magic and virtual reality since then.

Hopefully this'll last long enough to get developed in interesting ways. This is a comic that has a lot more going for it than the fact that it'll piss off a few twats on 4Chan just by existing, and it'd be a shame if it doesn't get a fair chance because of those mouthbreathers.

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