Danny, Nick and Chris, our intrepid crew of Relauncheteers, are back this week to take on the filthy hordes of new titles. And by new we mostly mean regurgitated detritus from the spectator boom.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Rags Morales, Rick Bryant
Danny Djeljosevic: Here is my bottom line about the great, big DC relaunch: I can easily ignore anything that jams in my craw so long as I get a Grant Morrison book to read every month. Batman Incorporated won’t come back until 2012, but as a generous quid pro quo we get Grant Morrison on Action Comics every month. Plus, Rags Morales, who was once the awesome artist on the underrated/criminally cancelled Hourman long before he was the guy who drew Superman raping somebody or whatever Identity Crisis was about.
Nick Hanover: I know Danny is all a’flutter over Rags Morales but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed by his presence on this book after getting spoiled by team-ups like Morrison and Chris Burnham and before that Morrison and Frank Quitely. No offense to Rags, but for quite some time Morrison has worked with artists who are as interested in reinventing super heroics visually as he is interested in permanently altering the philosophy. But hey, small quibbles, all you need to know about this book is that MF GRANT MORRISON is writing it.
Writer: George Pèrez
Artist: Jesus Merino
Chris: Okay, okay, I take back that comment about the Huck Finn pants! I think DC should embrace the backlash and slather the cover of this first issue with pull quotes about how horrible the new costume looks. “The worst thing to happen to Superman since Richard Pryor!” “Mattel called…They want their lost Masters of the Universe figure back!”
Danny: God, that costume. At least, with George Perez drawing the breakdowns of his own book, we’ll have some crazy intricate page layouts.
Writers: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Chris: This book is being written by guys who wrote for Smallville and Heroes, so you know they understand what superheroes are supposed to be like. To be fair, Green and Johnson did write some issues of Superman/Batman that were pretty well received, so they might be legit. I do worry, though, about their seeming plans to write Kara as some kind of Kryptonian brat.
Nick: So, Supergirl finally gets written by a woman, the fabulous Kelly Sue DeConnick, and it’s widely praised by critics. It’s the first time in ages that anyone has really given Supergirl a second thought (be honest). And how does DC handle this? Well, the company slogan is “Three Steps Back for Every Step Forward!” for a reason, so they’ve given it to the writers of two terrible, vaguely superhero-like tv shows. Let’s just go ahead and make the honey badger DC’s mascot because clearly they just don’t give a shit.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: RB Silva, Rob Lean
Nick: I’ll confess I used to love Scott Lobdell. Generation X was truly the shit…when I was 12.
Chris: Oh, man! I can’t believe they got the guy who writes Red Hood and the Outlaws to do this!
Legion of Super-Heroes
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artist: Grancis Portela
Nick: It’s so hard for me to care about any Legion book anymore since DC likes to fuck around with the creative teams so much but I guess the lack of that kind of shake-up here leaves me mildly excited? Like “Ooh, Pawn Stars is on tv and my only other options are a spelling bee and soap operas!” excited.
Chris: Somewhere around a year and a half ago, DC pulled Paul Levitz, a writer that people liked a long time ago, out of the front office and had him write the Legion again. Unable to resist the possibility of catching mediocrity in a bottle once more, they’ve gone for the exact same strategy on half the new line. What a fun, sexy time for all of us!
Nick: I think we broke Chris, Danny.
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Pete Woods
Chris: Calling this book Legion Lost only reminds me of the fact that the Abnett and Lanning version of these characters (who once appeared in a miniseries by the same name) are never coming back. The franchise has actually been rebooted twice over since they last appeared. The premise for this series — seven Legionnaires from the future are left stranded in the 21st Century — sounds more like the basis for a single arc than an entire ongoing.
Nick: So let me get this straight…this book is an arc Nicieza had left over from when he wrote a few of the several thousand X-books in the ’90s but it’s got art from Pete Woods? Well shit, I just don’t know what to think.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Nick: Plus there’s the fact that it’s written by Lobdell, who wrote my pre-teen fave Generation X, themselves more than a little like Teen Titans. I agree, though, that the Silver Agey aspects are the best part about the Titans, as that excellent Cartoon Network show ably proves. No, really, guys, it’s amazing. Shut up.
Chris: Ohhh, I get it. It’s a clever satire of the excessiveness of 1990’s comics culture. Very crafty, DC! The subtlety might be lost on the average reader, but smart people who read The Comics Journal and know about art and stuff will be eating this up.
Writers: Scott McDaniel, John Rozum
Artists: Scott McDaniel, Jonathan Glapion, LeBeau Underwood
Danny: At least John Rozum has something to do after Xombi ends. I’m not a fan of Scott McDaniel’s art, but yay diversity. There are like three black people-centric DC titles. Which is like 1/17th of the entire line, but when you consider the ratio before the relaunch, it’s quite the spike.
Nick: This strikes me as one of the biggest contenders for luring in new readers that DC has. There was a Static Shock TV show that is fondly remembered by kids who are probably buying their own comics by now or would if any looked interesting to them and it’s a different beast than most of the DC titles wrapped up in this relaunch. Will it be great? I’m not sure, but at it least it will be somewhat fresh.
Hawk and Dove
Writer: Sterling Gates
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Danny: To be honest? I’m not sure how or why this is happening. Hawk and Dove? Why make such a low-profile team part of your powerhouse barrage of 52 all-new series? All respect to Sterling Gates (I liked what I read of his Supergirl), but this feels like filler quota material. At least you’ll know what to expect from the art.
Nick: I’m sorry, but was anyone asking for this? Is there some rabid subcult of Liefeld fans who miss his Hawk & Dove work the most? Is it because they’re superheroes with claws instead of feet?
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy
Danny: Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke on pre-relaunch Green Lantern was batshit insane, so I’m glad they’re actually staying around for the new series. And why wouldn’t they?
Nick: This is kind of the biggest example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” in this entire relaunch. There’s not much to say other than that.
Green Lantern Corps
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Fernando Pasarin, Scott Hanna
Nick: See above.
Chris: If you fear going through an entire month without reading the word “poozer” in at least five or six discrete lines of dialogue, then this is the book for you!
Green Lantern: The New Guardians
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artists: Tyler Kirkham, Batt
Nick: Unless there’s some kind of Captain Planet angle where all those different colored power rings come together to call forth some mulleted weirdo I’m not interested.
Danny: Kyle Rayner running the New Guardians? At least he won’t be killed off or retconned.
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artists: Ed Benes, Rob Hunter
Danny: With the exception of X-Statix, Peter Milligan has almost always fared better in the DCU than over at Marvel. I don’t know why that is, but I’ll gladly see what he does with the Red Lantern Corps. I imagine it’ll be a monthly 20 pages of existential handwringing and vomiting blood. I’m weirdly okay with that.
Nick: I couldn’t give less of a shit about the Red Lanterns and yet I’ll be buying this book, simply because of Milligan. I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that it will be cancelled after a dozen issues or so but dammit, I’ll be there anyway. Milligan is just such a sorely underrated writer that I feel like I owe it to him to buy everything he does regardless of quality. Which is why I have his entire X-Men run.
Our relauncheteers have made it through this round, kiddos, but only barely! Tune in next week to find out if they can survive the terror that is…the books that won’t fit into any handy groupings.
Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book writer, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no followup questions), film/music critic for Spectrum Culture and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter as @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat.
When he’s not writing about the cape and spandex set, Nick Hanover is a book, film and music critic for Spectrum Culture and a staff writer for No Tofu Magazine. He also translates for “Partytime” Lukash’s Panel Panopticon.
Raised on a steady diet of Super Powers action figures and Adam West Batman reruns, Chris Kiser now writes for Comics Bulletin. He’s currently in the midst of reading and reviewing every tie-in to a major DC Comics summer event and regretting every second of it.