Category Archives: Comic Books

SUPERMAN REBORN:: It’s a Whole “New World”

A year into the DC Comics “Rebirth” SUPERMAN is “Reborn” and for the Man of Steel the aftermath is about to yield a “New World” as the Earth’s Greatest champion reacquaints himself with his own historic legacy.

With a history that has spanned more than 75 years, it is safe to say that Superman has seen it all! The Man of Steel has survived numerous crisis, reboots and even returned from a fatal confrontation with doomsday — the most recent “FlashPoint” event rendered him nearly powerless, and when that event played itself out, it introduced a new “Superman”. This younger, rawer version of the Metropolis Marvel single-handedly took on the underworld and courted Wonder Woman.

But it would appear that from the onset, this Superman’s fate was sealed, and after discovering a whole super-power — the ability to cause a near cataclysmic super nova that would render him human and powerless for 24 hours — and facing several other challenges, “The New 52” Superman soon learned that he was dying. Perhaps it was the exposure to the fire pits on Apokolips during “The Darkseid War”, or the kryptonite crypt beneath ARGUS, or the power struggle with Rao that did him in, but Clark soon learned his body wasn’t made of steel.

Fortunately for him and the ever-faithful reader, there was already another Superman already waiting in the wings, and by the time “The Final Days of Superman” (collected in one hardback volume) ran their course, the “original” Superman — the one that existed prior to the “FlashPoint” incursion — had been in hiding. That Superman was a victim of Brainiac’s “Convergence” experiment which had preserved and imprisoned portions of chronicled history and dropped them all onto the surface of a living planet named Telos.

It’s a long and rather complicated story, but in the end, Superman was dead — but not really! As we recently learned in the aftermath of the recent “Superman Reborn” four-part arc, Superman had been split into two beings — one “The New 52” Superman; the other “pre-FlashPoint” Superman! When Superman’s son Jon was threatened with being written out of history, the combined energies of Superman and Lois Lane reasserted themselves and it sent out a wave throughout the continuum that began to fix the timeline.

Though there is still a presence out there in the multiverse that has tampered with the continuity on “Earth-0” (or “Earth Prime”) — the mystery is about to unravel in the pages of Batman and The Flash in the much publicized arc entitled “The Button” Superman is left to put back together the pieces of “The New World” that he’s now a part of. The storyline begins in Action Comics #977 on sale now and written by legendary Superman scribe Dan Jurgens. And if you’ve been nostalgic for the return of everyone’s favorite hero, this is the perfect launching point!

Clark and his wife Lois Lane are busily putting their lives back together in Metropolis after their recent misadventure battling Mxyzptlk — the fifth dimensional imp may have been looking to tear apart the Super-Family, but in the wake of his dastardly plan, he instead brought them all much closer together and restored Lois and Clark to their former glory, but not all is entirely right. Now Clark is determined to get to the bottom of his “missing time” and hopefully solve this latest mystery surrounding our heroes “Rebirth”.

Superman in Action Comics #977 — “The New World” Part One written by Dan Jurgens with art by Ian Churchill is on sale now from DCComics.

   

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The title may cause you a moments pause but really The Final Days of Superman written by Peter J. Tomasi is a fascinating account of “The New 52” Superman’s ultimate sacrifice. The entire saga is now collected in one-volume and is in the perfect lead into “Road to Rebirth”. Concerned about his continuing legacy, the Man of Steel recruits his best ally Batman to help him track down Supergirl, but when a mysterious energy source appears and claims to be the real Superman, it’ll take the combined might of the DC Universe Trinity to prevent this imposter from destroying everything — and in the end a startling revelation calls to question who or what Superman really is.

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Marvel Comics :: The All-New, All-Different X-MEN PRIME #1

It hasn’t been easy for the mutants of the Marvel Universe and after a battle with their Inhuman counterparts, the X-MEN are returning and reclaiming “Prime” time with some help from DC TV’s Marc Guggenheim.

In the recent evolution of the Marvel Universe the story arcs that have commandeered the center spotlight have included those of the heroes and characters that have emerged as major players of the Marvel Films Cinematic Universe or their comparatively running television paramours. Although the X-Men who arguably lead the charge (alongside Spider-Man) to the big screen have gotten sidelined by the rising popularity of the Avengers.

Earth’s (so-called) Mightiest Heroes have found themselves again and again at the center of a civil war that has torn alegeneance and pit brother against brother. The X-Men have largely found themselves on the outside of these internal squabbles, but it looks like the mighty mutants are getting themselves a much-needed re-alignment!

Entertainment Weekly unveiled the cover to the first issue of the all-new X-MEN PRIME on newsstands now.

The latest relaunch set to reboot the all-new, all-different mutant line-up begins with X-Men Prime #1. The first issue follows up on the heals of the Marvel Universe wide challenges that included the recent Civil War II and the just ended X-Men vs. Inhumans storyline. Given the recent acceleration to the forefront that has been allotted to the Inhumans (especially with their recent inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic continuity via a season-long arc on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD) that these two evolutionary branches of man have again risen.

With the irrational fear of mutants having continued to escalate, and the infighting among the various factions of the species escalated those tensions, the X-Men have had little resort except to move their entire operation off the grid — literally! The school that had become home to so many generations of mutants has had little other resort but to seek shelter in Limbo, the inter-dimensional hell that is controlled by the “Darkchilde” X-Man Magik.

After a sojourn guarding the galaxy Kitty Pryde has returned to fertile ground and has been doing her best to reestablishing a “normal” existence, that is until her former teammate, and one-time leader of the X-Men Storm seeks the young woman out. Storm has a request for Kitty: she wants her to return and lead the X-Men, especially since the time has come for her to move on. Not entirely convinced that this is the move for her, Kitty agrees to accompany Storm.

Echoing a moment from when they first met in an original issue of THE UNCANNY X-MEN, Kitty and Storm sit in a local diner to talk about the future and what’s in store for them in life as X-Men.

Unprepared for the journey into Limbo, Kitty is heavily discouraged to find little of the intention her mentor Professor Charles Xavier always had and especially the dream of peaceful co-existence between regular humans and mutants. With the X-men in hiding in Limbo, they are basically no working towards that goal. The worst of it all, Kitty learns that the time-displaced “original” five X-Men have gone off on their own!

Determined to set things on a course that is more aligned with all they’ve learned, Kitty agrees to lead the X-Men, on several conditions, the first of which is that Storm must remain a part of the team, and the second that they rejoin the rest of the world. Kitty has Magik transport the mansion, the X-Men and their students back to Earth and places them squarely in the middle of Central Park. Just how New York City is going to respond to that bit of prime real estate being taken over…

It is for all intents a new dawn for the X-Men, but with so much against them, how will they reacclimatize to life on Earth, or even the Marvel Universe for that manner? Are the X-Men even relevant anymore? Even with Marc Guggenheim the executive producer of DC TV’s Arrow at the helm of this reboot, the X-Men just don’t feel fresh, and at least on the outset don’t have the cohesion — that sense of family — that has been at the fundamental core of the group’s storytelling especially at the height of its popularity.

With so much competition coming at them from all directions, Marvel’s decision to return to the X-Men as a viable aspect of their overall brand is a formidable task. The X-Men hasn’t lived up to the box-office figures of its Avengers counterparts on the big screen, although the recent solo film featuring the lead star of the mutant franchise, Wolverine in Logan did very well with critics and on first week sales.

But in today’s market, a good reception with theater audiences translates to decent sales on books, at least that’s the lesson that Marvel seems to have adhered to over the several last cycles of the publishing imprints company-wide initiatives. With Guggenheim a talent that is easily recognizable to a television audience, perhaps they are looking to cross-pollinate their worlds and see if the X-Men can be rescued from obscurity.

X-Men Prime #1 written by Marc Guggenheim and James Tynion IV with art by Steve Epting is on sale now from Marvel Comics.

DC Comics :: A DARK NIGHTS Rising!

Two of the most popular creatives in DC Comics, BATMAN’s Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo return for the highly anticipated event DARK NIGHTS: METAL that will separate the true super powers in the DCU from the wimps!

This current industry wide publishing “reboot” has truly lived up to its name! With “Rebirth” DC Comics has returned to telling stories with their core characters that emphasize the importance of the legacy our favorite characters have trail-blazed throughout their more than 75 year history. The last reboot, 2011’s “The New 52” dramatically retooled most of the pantheon and the extensive continuity, and mostly left diehard fans in the dark.

Now with nearly a year of “Rebirth” continuity effectively and positively pulling a much appreciated retcon of “The New 52” effect, the heroes — including all the major players — are returning to form, but as everyone knows as with every good drama — it’s always darkest, before the light! The comics industry, parrying the film industry in many ways, has relied on creating its own “blockbuster” story arcs, and this season DC will be taking its heroes into a Dark Nights.

Batman like you’ve never seen him before and “darker” than ever!

There aren’t very many details released yet about the upcoming Dark Night event except that it will affect all the major players in the DC Comics Universe in a very dramatic way. Comic book greats Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo will be reuniting for the Dark Nights: Metal arc which the pair have suggested to in stories appearing in Batman during their very inspiring collaboration on the Dark Knight’s title. Metal will be taking our heroes to some very “dark” places.

Snyder said in a recent press release, “I’ve been planning Metal for as long as I’ve been writing Batman, but this is bigger than Batman.” The pair have been leaving clues that
go all the way back to their arc that introduced the Court of Owls, and continued through their stories that pitted the Caped Crusader against his most infamous adversary the Joker. “Our biggest hints in the run culminated with Batman #50, and now we’re back to tell a story that breaks everything apart.”

The pair have suggested that Dark Nights: Metal will be the definitive project of their careers, but as fans of their work on Batman hope it will not be the last time that these two work together. “I’m looking forward to rock’n’ and roll’n’ together again,” Capullo admitted. “Fans have been loud and clear – they want more from us. We’re primed and ready to blow it up!” Building on the foundation they’ve worked on, the expectations for Dark Nights: Metal couldn’t be greater!

Dark Nights: Metal will be terrifying the thrills out of readers beginning in August of 2017.

DC Comics “Rebirth” Gives us a SUPERMAN REBORN!

After more than a year of grieving, then (re)introducing the Man of Steel back into proper continuity SUPERMAN REBORN reestablishes the role of greatest hero as the mystery surrounding “Rebirth” continues!

When we lost Superman in the present evolution of the DC Comics universe, readers couldn’t have ever imagined that there was another Man of Steel waiting the wings to swoop in and save the day, unfortunately this version of Superman wasn’t ready to steep into the boots especially given he has a family — a wife and child — to protect. Nonetheless he couldn’t stay hidden, and before to long this Superman revealed himself to the members of the Justice League. Imagine having to explain to them including Batman and Wonder Woman that he was not “their Superman”.

So who is he? Well that’s part of the mystery surrounding the current company-wide reboot of the DC Comics line entitled “Rebirth” and as Superman returns to reclaim his proper place as the Earth’s Greatest Champion, the recent 4-issue arc Superman Reborn which ran its course in recent issue of Superman #18 and #19, and Action Comics #975 and #976 worked to answer some questions including who may be behind all the mischief that has been plaguing the Super-Family recently.

At the center of the entire drama is the son of Superman Superboy! First introduced during the final days of “The New 52” Superman, the child of Clark Kent and Lois Lane from an alternate timeline (specifically the one prior to the “FlashPoint” reboot) survived during the Convergence event, which claimed pieces of previous versions of DC Comics continuity and kept them inside of a living lab watched over by Brainiac and the living planet Telos. When the “Covergence” wrapped up Superman, Lois Lane and Jon (Superboy) escaped to the Prime-Earth (or Earth-0).

Once they arrived, they kept themselves hidden and avoided attracting attention, but were immediately wrapped up in the death throws of Superman’s dying counterpart. Upon the death of “The New 52” Superman energies were released that resulted in the emergence of a Superwoman (the adventures of Lana Lang are evolving in her own title out now). There was also an imposter Clark Kent floating around, but we’ve recently learned that this was the Fifth Dimension menace of Mr. Mxyzptlk who had also been held prisoner by the mysterious Mr. OZ.

Mxyzptlk kidnaps Jon and effectively erases him and all trace of Superman’s and Lois Lane’s life on earth while stealing Superboy and brining him into an “Infinite Planet” dimension. There he forces Superman and Lois to play his game to rescue Jon. There he reveals to Superman that he’s been split into two — including his “New 52” persona as the other side of the coin. During the ensuing challenge, Jon comes across two, distinct energy sources that prove to be the displaced energies of the recently deceased “New 52” Superman and Lois Lane.

Superboy convinces the pair of his sincerity, that he is indeed their son, and convinces the pair to realign themselves with a glowing set of blue energy that represent his parents. Once the energies all come together, the histories of Superman and Lois Lane begin to realign themselves into one, elements from both pasts and present, filling in the gaps. With Mxyzptlk effectively defeated, Superman and Lois Lane finally restored to their proper selves, along with their son Jon, the Superboy return to earth, unaware that they are being closely watched!

Although the place of the Man of Steel within the current world has been reordered and (somewhat) corrected, the mystery of “Rebirth” continues and will be further explored in an upcoming arc appearing in the pages of The Flash and Batman. Stay tuned!

Superman Reborn written by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Dan Jurgens with art by Patrick Gleason and Doug Mahnke is on sale now from DC Comics.

DC Comics: Rebirth Focuses on BATWOMAN

How a Silver Age character from the extended “Bat-Family” emerges in contemporary mythology as perhaps the most influentially powerful heroine of this generation! DC Comics’ BATWOMAN gets a “Rebirth”!

As the Caped Crusader enjoyed a peripheral amount of relevancy during the Silver Age of comics, that time between the 1950s and late 1960s when the Golden Age characters were mostly being revitalized due the advances of the Atomic Age, Batman and his ward, the Boy Wonder, Robin would find themselves often sharing their colorful exploits with a pair of female crime fighters setting trends of their own and taking down evil-doers.

Cast in an uncharacteristically bright golden suit with vamp red accents the original Batwoman and her sidekick, the original Bat-girl created a formidable force of their own, and helped tame the hallowed halls of Wayne Manor with their presence. According to Wikipedia the characters were created by writer Edmond Hamilton and artist Sheldon Moldoff and were introduced in Detective Comics #233 released in 1956.

When the company-wide reboot that took effect with the Crisis on Infinite Earths during the 80s, secondary supporting characters like Batwoman were folded into history, retroactively erased from history. Although their alter egos still existed, and the original Bat-Girl, Bette Kane, was reintegrated into the revamped continuity as the Teen Titan “Flamebird” post-Crisis the caped heroic escapades of the Batwoman were effectively hung out.

After the events of Infinite Crisis (2005) the proper sequel to the Crisis on Infinite Earths there were “52 Weeks” without heroes and Batwoman was revisited. Well-to-do Gotham City socialite Katherine “Kate” Kane is raised as a military brat, and when her mother and twin sister are murdered, it appears that her life begins to spiral out of control. She follows her father, Colonel Jacob Kane and pursues a career in the military, but is discharged when she reveals she is gay.

Interestingly when the Batwoman character was written into Silver Age mythology, it was as a potential love interest to Bruce Wayne, in an effort to divert attention from what had become popularly gossiped culturally that Batman was perhaps homosexual. The billionaire playboy sharing a home with a teenage ward and both men physically fit as they were…well, you can see where this is going. The introduction of Kate Kane was intended to change that perspective in readers.

Batwoman gets a “Rebirth”.

The Modern Era Kate Kane is alongside Midnighter perhaps the most high-profile LGBTQ character appearing in their own title and published by DC Comics. After the events of the recent New 52 reboot, Batwoman survived the FlashPoint aftermath and as the publication entered into its “Rebirth” arc Batwoman: Rebirth #1 has ensured that this heroine’s story continues to expand. Recently Kane was recruited by the Batman to train an army to protect Gotham City.

Batman has placed a lot of faith in Batwoman, and not only because unlike some of his other acolytes and sidekicks, Kane is actually related to the Dark Knight by blood. Bruce Wayne and Kate Kane are cousins, which makes her a unique accomplice in his fight to rid Gotham City of crime and corruption. Now under the helm of writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV with art by Steve Epting the Batwoman is rising no longer in the shadow of Batman!

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After the recent attack on Gotham City by the Monster Men, Kate is taking the fight on a global scale. On a mission set upon by Batman, Batwoman will use all of her skills and wits to prevent the sale of the lethal “Monster Venom” on the Black Market. If any unfriendly forces got their hands on this mixture, they could introduce a terrible menace — an army of uncontrollable monsters — on an enemy.

With her life — and loves — still sorting themselves out, one thing that Batwoman can be counted on is that she is a dependable soldier and ready to undertake any challenge! With the release of the new series Batwoman #1 has Kane globetrotting in exotic locations and guided in her fight by Julia Pennyworth code-named “Tuxedo One”. There adventures may have only (technically) just begun, but Batwoman will undoubtedly emerge as one of the most relevant reads of the “Rebirth”.

Significantly raising the profile of LGBTQ characters within the DC Comics universe is not a stunt the publishers are pursuing to enhance readership, but more importantly create substantive characters that resonate with readers and also allow for broader storytelling. With Batwoman leading the charge in her own title, she will most likely establish herself as the benchmark by which all other LGBTQ heroes and heroines are metered, but Bennett and Tynion are proving themselves in spades!

Batwoman: Rebirth and Batwoman #1 written by Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV with art by Steve Epting is on sale now from DC Comics.

Cover-to-Cover • Entertainment Weekly’s First Look at THOR: RAGNAROK

The Mighty God of Thunder goes missing during the last major big-screen brawl between his teammates in the Avengers, but there’s a really good reason why this big gun sat our the Civil War, and Entertainment Weekly has got it covered in its exclusive look at THOR: RAGNAROK!

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Imagine how Marvel Films’ Captain America: Civil War would have ended up had the Thunder God, Thor and the Green Goliath, Hulk been asked to pick a side. The entire melee would have ended in under 2 minutes with a slam dunk in favor of whomever decidedly courted either one of these powerhouses. Fortunately for everyone involved, it didn’t have to come to that, but it did leave fans wondering about the whereabouts of these two titans. The question behind that missing time is about to get answered when Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters in November.

For the third chapter in the continuing adventures of Thor starring Chris Hemsworth expect plenty of fresh faces and major changes! Entertainment Weekly put the flick still in production on its cover this week and gave fans their first looks at Kate Blanchett as Hela Goddess of Death, who unleashes chaos on the denizens of Asgard including Thor and his wicked half-brother Loki played once again by Tom Hiddleston. At the climax of the last film, the God of Mischief had assumed the mantle of King of Asgard, impersonating a now missing Odin.

Presumably Anthony Hopkins will return in the role of the mighty High-Father, after all, Thor has enlisted the help of Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange (yes, Benedict Cumberbatch) to assist him in the quest to locate the missing as seen in the stinger at the end of Strange’s own film. Though the title would suggest an end-of-days motif, Ragnarok will largely center on a vision quest of sorts for Thor who is seeking answers to the mystery surrounding the forces that may be manipulating the fates of his friends on Earth.

Thor’s journey takes him across several worlds and universes, eventually landing him on the planet Sakaar and in the grips of the Grand Master played by Jeff Goldblum who presides over an intergalactic arena. It’s there that Thor runs into his teammate Hulk (Mark Ruffalo returns in the role) and at the whim of the Grand Master, the two Avengers will come to blows! Directed by Taika Waititi Thor: Ragnarok is a departure from the normal superhero franchise film, as it promises to take full advantage of Hemsworth’s comedic charisma!

Read the full article in this week’s Issue of Entertainment Weekly March 17, 2017 available on stands now and digital download.