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A. Heathen

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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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