Tag Archives: DC Comics

ICYMI | DC’s WHO’S WHO Arrives on Digital

The classic encyclopedic compendium gets the digital treatment and helps to save countless amount of shelf space by providing fans with a directory to comic’s biggest players!

Feeling nostalgic yet? You will be once you deep dive into Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe released on DC’s and digital comics reader app. The full 26-issue initial run released in 1984 of the encyclopedic tome coincided with the publishing giant’s 50th Anniversary and was a invaluable companion piece to the world-changing Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-seres which would ultimately redefine and arguably alter many of the guide’s inaugural entires.

Imagine the task set upon by creatives to catalog and chronicle the various histories and power sets of an immeasurable cast of characters that had been accumulating for more than 50 years. That was the mission faced by the editors, writers and illustrators of the Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe. In 1982 Marvel Comics had led the way with their itemization of their cast of characters with the 15-issue Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. With a much more profound publishing history, DC had a Golden Age as well as a Silver Age to invest in.

Over the course of its 26-issue releases Who’s Who alphabetically detailed both major and minor characters from the DC multiverse, including Golden Age characters like the Superman of Earth-2 and the full roster of the All-Star Squadron, alongside their Silver Age counterparts including The Flash and more contemporary heroes like Nightwing the original Silver Age Robin. Who’s Who ran consecutively as Marv Wolfman and George Pérez begun the huge undertaking of redefining and streamlining the DC Universe in the now classic Crisis on Infinite Earths event.

Many of the heroes and villains populating the DC multiverse would inevitably become affected by the outcome of the earths-shattering event which resulted in a single DC Comics universe with a more historically fertile landscape. Some of the larger characters in the pantheon including Superman and especially Wonder Woman would be significantly affected and were among the first “revised” entries within the original volume to reflect the conclusion of the Crisis. Future installments of Who’s Who would more accurately define major arcs and changes to the timeline.

Superman as he appeared in the first release of “Who’s Who” which followed the hero’s reboot following “Crisis”.

From A to Z

An answer to the competitors massively indexed and popular Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe the two editions differed dramatically in their presentation of the material. Who’s Who attempted to incapsulate the individual entry to one page, even for its biggest players, while also elegantly adorning the entry with pin-up style artwork by the industries biggest names. It wasn’t uncommon for the most devoted fans to single out their favorite entries and pin them to their wall. Later installments of Who’s Who followed the same format.

Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe (1985 – 1987) all 26-issues are available for digital download via the DC comics reader app at $1.99 per issue from DC Comics.

Although he would ascend to assume the role of the Scarlet Speedster eventually, Wally West began his career as the superhero sidekick KID FLASH a founding member of the Teen Titans.
The most controversial of all the entries ever featured in the initial release, Wonder Girl would soon find her entire background upended by the introduction of the Modern Era’s Wonder Woman, though Wonder Girl remains a fan favorite.
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iEditorial | JUSTICE LEAGUE Vol. 2: The Villain’s Journey

Unsung tales and missed opportunities deeply diving into the JUSTICE LEAGUE archives reveals insight into narratives that might have been — or may yet — be brought to light from the case files!

For many, DC Comics “The New 52” relaunch was the publishing imprint’s most elaborate failed experiment. In 2011 the entire line of comics were relaunched and rebooted after the near-cataclysmic events captured in the FlashPoint story arc. Geoff Johns the author behind  the revelatory “crisis” event which centered arrived The Flash’s irrational decision to prevent his nemesis the Reverse-Flash from murdering his mother, the result of which has a drastic effect all-across the DC Universe.

The result was “The New 52” reboot which was an effort by the publisher’s to rewrite company-wide mythology and “clean slate” much of the major storylines especially among DC Comics greatest icons which included the membership among the World’s Greatest Heroes the Justice League, in fact when the Justice League #1 launched it inaugurated the arrival of “The New 52”. Johns and one of DC’s Finest Jim Lee teamed up for their revisionist view of many of the imprint’s long-standing characters including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

This week DC celebrated Lee by offering many of the artist’s most prolific works, among them the collected volumes of several series runs including Justice League Vol. 2: The Villain’s Journey which reprinted for the first time “The New 52” run of the title’s issues #7-12. It featured the Justice League’s confrontation with a new adversary who has been following their rise to fame, in a new world that heralds them as heroes, but are they really worthy of that title? The complex story arc actually features two additional prologues that reveal some interesting motives.

Unexplored, Not Pursued

Leading up to the league’s battle with Graves, there is an engaging story by Johns and drawn by Carlos D’anda, not Jim Lee, a Justice League team-up featuring Green Arrow. It’s the “first time” in the new continuity that the Emerald Archer crosses paths with the team, as he petitions for a position among their ranks. The League don’t appear all too impressed by the archer, who insists he helped them take down Amazo the Android, helped prevent an attack from the Court of Owls’ Talons, but is rejected by most of the current roster, especially Aquaman and Green Lantern.

The Aquaman snub is interesting because it reveals a dangling plot line that appears to have not been explored: one that placed Arthur Curry and Oliver Queen in directly opposing paths before they assumed their superhero identities. That Green Lantern isn’t impressed by Green Arrow is also of note considering that the pair have often shared adventures together, especially during the Bronze Age of Comics and into the Modern Era. Green Arrow isn’t brought into the inner circle but is approached by the League’s liaison agent Steve Trevor for another mission all-together.

At the conclusion of their adventure and after the Green Arrow pleads his final case, their part ways, but consider the possibility of opening their ranks. It’s then the Batman protests that it wouldn’t be a good idea, and insists how badly it went the last time that the League let someone in…leading to a dramatic double splash page with the Justice League locked in combat with the Martian Manhunter! Readers of the current volume of the Justice League will note that not only is J’onn J’onzz a member of the team, he’s the group’s current chairperson.

Cut To…

Without further integrating that bit of backstory, the Justice League would soon find themselves in a series of big scale brawls beginning with “The Trinity War” and leading into “Forever Evil”. These events brought them in direct conflict with a government sanctioned “Justice League of America” that included amidst its roster the Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter, and inducting several “rookie” members. Firestorm and an Element Woman were invited to train with the team, while the duplicitous Atomica was uncovered as a psychopath from an alternate-Earth.

The Justice League’s core members have pretty much stayed intact and only recently, after entering into the cross-publishing “Rebirth” and facing the dangers of the Dark Multiverse in “Metal” took a major step to reexamine their roster. The latest team includes many of the recent founding members including Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, but have now recruited John Stewart, the Green Lantern, Kendra Saunders, the Hawkgirl and brought Martian Manhunter back.

Still there is the dangling participle of what exactly transpired — in full detail — between J’onn J’onzz and the original seven members, and though perhaps the beef between Aquaman and Green Arrow may have played into some one-shot story in either one of their respective titles, they’ve never crossed paths since the apparent proclamation of disdain between the two heroes. In fact, the long-term history of the current era Justice League is in much flux, as recent events in the Batman/The Flash team-up arc “The Button” revealed a great deal of missing history.

As the current mythology attempts to restructure itself and open up the possibility that an eventual explanation will be laid out for diehard fans of the Justice League’s illustrious history, in the meantime devoted readers can dive into Justice League: The 100 Greatest Moments by Robert Greenberger and published Book Sales Chartwell. The hardback is available now from various retailers including Barnes and Noble.

DC Comics | WONDER WOMAN by John Byrne Book Two

Before the Amazing Amazon’s return to 1984 take a nostalgic look at her adventures from 1996 in the DC Comics legendary collected works of Wonder Woman by John Byrne Book Two!

When the legendary comic book writer/artist John Byrne took over the helm of creatively driving the adventures of the Amazing Amazon, the man that had redefined the DC Comics modern era of the Man of Steel, after Superman’s world was rocked following the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths the imprint decided to turn Byrne loose on one of the other premiere properties leading to a comparatively new direction for Wonder Woman. It was more than just a cosmetic reimagining, Byrne dove deep into the heroes mythology.

Though George Pérez had initially given Diana her most dramatic reimagining and reintroduction into the Modern Era after the heroine had been theoretically erased during the aforementioned Crisis, Byrne assumed the lead on the title after the landmark centennial issue, and navigated Diana into all-new territory. After a stint where the heroine had abandoned her familiar star-spangled attire and tiara, Byrne brought the Amazon princess back in her traditional warrior garb, though highlighted particular innovations in her design.

Celebrating the iconic creators run in the collected volume Wonder Woman by John Byrne Book Two several elements of DC Comics third most iconic pillar harken to her cinematic interpretation and even hint at the storyline that is speculated will be unraveling when Diana returns to the big screen in next year’s highly anticipated blockbuster sequel Wonder Woman 1984. Byrne simplified the lines across her suit, but also gave Wonder Woman the now established standard length and look of her ceremonial bracelets.

During his tenure on Wonder Woman Byrne elaborated on much of the mythology that Pérez had worked into Diana’s origins, cementing her legend in Greek myths and lore. John Byrne was also extremely diligent about her placement in DC Comics pantheon; even though she had served a term as a member of the Justice League International, Wonder Woman had been much of an outsider among her contemporaries, and it wouldn’t be until much later that aspects of her story would be retconned in order to more significantly place her at the cornerstone of the universe.

Wonder Woman by John Byrne Book Two examines her place in myth as Diana is a vessel of faith, hope and love — and her theology, much based in myth is peeled back like an onion. At the center of it all is Byrne’s interpretation of the Amazon’s most relentless and dangerous adversary. The artist introduces the most feral and ferocious Cheetah, perhaps the version that may be the inspiration behind the villain’s upcoming cinematic appearance in the next film. With all the excitement building this is the perfect opportunity to get caught up before 1984 hits theaters.

Wonder Woman by John Byrne Book Two collected volume is on sale now from DC Comics.

DC Comics | Collects TITANS Total Chaos

The past, present and future all collide in THE TITANS “Total Chaos” story-arc from  the 90s that continues to chronicle the enigmatic story of Donna Troy by Marv Wolfman.

During the 90s, the looks of some of our favorite heroes took the wildest turns following some of the more horrifying fashion trends including mullets as ladies bosoms became more profound. It wasn’t only the plunging necklines and enhanced codpieces of the significantly more muscular and heavily pocketed utility belts along with bomber jackets that permeated the pages of popular titles, there was also an “end of days” theme around some of the most obscure story arcs that often featured a James Cameron “Terminator-esque” theme as the future threatened to catch up with the present.

In 1992 legendary scribe Marv Wolfman continued an extraordinary run writing The Titans the all-grown-up iteration of the The New Teen Titans characters that he’d revamp with is long-time co-conspirator George Pérez. Though the artist had moved on from collaborating on the title that had made them a household name, the pair crafted many of the most defining moments in the long and illustrious history of second-generation of superheroes. Among those blockbuster moments came the celebratory issue when the team finally dropped the “Teen” in their title and became The Titans. The moment was marked with the landmark “Who is Donna Troy” storyline in Issue #50.

After the events depicted in the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths also written by the pair, among the many dangling participles was the origin of longtime Teen Titan, Donna Troy, Wonder Girl — who couldn’t have ever been the protege of Wonder Woman given the Amazing Amazon’s revamped continuity in contemporary DC Comics mythology. The pair went back to the drawing board and found a proper way to revitalize Donna Troy, turning her instead into an orphan rescued by the Titans of Myth. Her power set was slightly altered and her look was given a major rebrand; she also became now known as the formidable Troia.

Total Chaos

The Titans’ roster would continue to evolve and their origins further put under the microscope. Even their team leader, Dick Grayson turned Nightwing would have his early career further developed, in a “year one” tale that would also introduce the world to the latest sidekick to the Caped Crusader, Tim Drake, continuing the legacy of the Boy Wonder, stepping into the famous suit. Founding members would come and go, and new heroes would join the line-up including the peculiar Pantha and the enigma known as Phantasm. Donna Troy would take a major leave of absence when she becomes pregnant with her and her husband Terry Long’s first baby.

But not everything is as perfectly pristine as might have been expected; this was after all the 90s and the era of the anti-hero. Deathstroke the Terminator had also been launched into his own ongoing series at the time, and the inevitable crossover event with his former arch enemies, The Titans, was also marked with the intro of the next generation of heroes — The Team Titans! This makeshift collection of 21st century super rebels are on a mission from the not-too-far off future to stop the ascension to power of the godlike Lord Chaos — Donna Troy’s son!

The Titans now find themselves in a middle of a contentions situation between their heirs apparent from the future, the assassin caught in the middle and the interloper come to destroy them all and insure his own survival, no matter what the cost! TITANS: Total Chaos collects in one volume the entire crossover event from the 90s Deathstroke, The Terminator #14-16, The New Titans #90-92 and the premiere launch of Team Titans #1-3. featuring a crucial development in the historic chronicles of Donna Troy, a story that could have considerable implications in current history.

TITANS: Total Chaos written by Marv Wolfman and featuring art from Tom Grummett, Kevin Maguire and Art Nichols is collected in a paperback volume on shelves now from DC Comics.

$29.99 dcomics.com 

Diving Into DC Comics NEW AGE Of HEROES!

After METAL, DC Comics introduces a new line of rookie heroes (and some reimagined favorites) for a new generation of readers with no-assembly required from out of the Dark Multiverse!

Springing forth from the fountain of DC Comic’s most recent “earth shattering” event Dark Nights: Metal the publishing giant decided it was time to take the focus off its big guns and perhaps turn the spotlight onto some fresh new faces. At the conclusion of Scott Snyder’s overly hyped 6-issue saga (stay tuned for additional editorial on Dark Night: Metal coming soon) our trinity of heroes find themselves rejuvenated in their mission having prevented the planet from falling into the depths of the Dark Multiverse, but in so doing unleashed all new threats!

The Justice League will find themselves in uncharted territory and will revitalize their roster in Justice League: No Justice the upcoming follow-up to Metal. It culminates with the league taking in new members including Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern (John Stewart) and the return of Hawkgirl who has been reintegrated into the mainstream DC comics mythology, after being relegated to much of the Earth 2 storyline following “The New 52” rebrand of 2011. While many of the books get a polishing, an entire new line has appeared in the wake of Metal.

Enlisting much of the A-list talent on its payroll DC has given rise to what it’s calling The New Age of Heroes and with all the fanfare that such a prestige announcement should merit has introduced several new titles, sporting all new heroes, as well as some familiar faces for a fresh start. What all the heroes have in common is their connectivity or emergence after the events that took place during the arrival of the Dark Knights and the Dark Multiverse’s incursion. The new line-up of characters are also being positioned alongside some very familiar DC mainstays!

Meet THE TERRIFICS lead by Mr. Terrific, this group of misfits promise to take readers deeper into the most unsolved mysteries of the DC Comics Universe.

The Dawn of a New Age

For long-time DC readers, the interjecting of some fresh blood may have been a long time coming. The publishing giant has benefitted greatly from the milestone moments of its long list of icons including the long anticipated live-action Justice League feature film, the success of The CW primetime series including Arrow and The Flash, and the recently published #1000 issue of Action Comics marking Superman’s 80 years as the world’s greatest heroes. It was perhaps the perfect moment to give some legends in the making their own turn.

Leaping immediately (and literally) onto the scene were the premiere issues of Damage and Silencer. Damage created by Tony S. Daniel and Robert Venditti introduced Ethan Avery who becomes the living weapon code-named “Damage” a hulking monstrosity that is part of a secret, government black-ops group that is quickly getting the attention of Amanda Waller and her Suicide Squad. Comics legend John Romita, Jr. and Dan Abnett are trigger-happy on Silencer a masked assassin with a death wish and she’s a mom to boot!

Pulling together some fantastic established favorites are Ivan Reis and Jeff Lemire on The Terrifics which brings together the unlikely quartet of Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man (both who were an instrumental part of Metal) and Metamorpho who are joined by the alien Phantom Girl. This foursome find their fates irrevocably intertwined as they investigate the mysteries released from the Dark Multiverse and the dark matter energy unleashed on the prime multiverse. There is also the interestingly enthusiast addition of Sideways from Kenneth Rocafort and Dan DiDio.

All-New, All-Different (Really?)

There will be more new titles joining the “New Age of Heroes” including The Immortal Men by Jim Lee, The Curse of Brimstone and the much anticipated return of The Challengers of the Unknown, who played a significant part in Metal as well. Though many of these titles are setting up some interesting new characters, elaborating and bringing some classic faves back into the spotlight like The Challengers, DC is banking that these new story arcs will reel in more readership, though one thing is hard to mistake and that is the familiarity of this “New Age”.

Most notably Sideways teenage hero feels ad sounds like Marvel Comics web-slinging, wall-crawler Spider-Man, while The Terrifics seem to pay homage to that label first family the Fantastic Four down to mimicking the power set of that famed quartet. Whether these are subtle similarities, or some other clandestine evocation of those heroes remains to be seen, as DC continues to roll-out the “New Age of Heroes” through spring. Perhaps it’s a play by DC to snag some of Marvels audience, rather than accept the possibility that there really is nothing new under the sun.

iReview | DC Comics THE FLASH #39 Celebrates 700 Issues

The Scarlet Speedster moves toward a publishing milestone with its Issue #39 celebrating 700 issues ever! And the very dramatic return of one of greatest villains in THE FLASH mythology!

Welcome to the new Modern Age of Comics! Where comics embrace and actually celebrate their publishing legacies by reverting back to or embracing their original numeric issues. With everyone eagerly counting down to the return of the “classic” Superman in the historic Action Comics #1000 most recently DC Comics released another milestone with The Flash #39 the 700th published issue of The Flash.

The arrival of the Scarlet Speedster signified the arrival of the “Silver Age” of comics, a modern publishing renaissance that invigorated DC’s line and reinvented many of its classic heroes introducing their contemporary counterparts. Among the heroes that always stood apart from the rest was Barry Allen, The Flash — who after getting struck by lightning, is inspired by the “Golden Age” comics character of Jay Garrick to don a red suit and fight crime in Central City.

In the latest issue of the “Rebirth” line written by Joshua Williamson and illustrated by Carmine Di Giandomenico Barry is taking a very harsh look at the decisions he’s made and how they’ve impacted the lives around him, and most significantly compromised his relationship with Iris West. After being kidnapped by the evil Reverse-Flash and hurled into the future, Iris has finally learned the man behind the mask is actually Barry Allen.

Barry still has great affection for Iris, but whether or not their love affair will survive the latest turbulence in their calamitous relationship is yet to be seen, but he’s opened up his world as a superhero to Iris, and even brought her aboard the Justice League’s Watchtower headquarters. Just as it appeared that the ice between them had begun to crack, Iris became trapped in “Flash Time” as Central City came to a standstill around The Flash revealing an attack from Multiplex?!

Negative-Flash has brought about a Speed Force revolution and sides with the million-man mob squad and the recently introduced Master of Lightning, Raijin, but this evil threesome is only the first wave and the true mastermind behind the Scarlet Speedster’s recent woes is revealed — Gorilla Grodd is back and he’s hungry for some Speed Force! The latest arc of The Flash “Perfect Storm” Part 1 is available digitally and at your favorite comic specialty shop now.

The issue successfully capitalizes on the nostalgic popularity of the character of The Flash especially the Barry Allen iteration of the hero, which has soared in popularity (surely) with a little bit of support from his live-action CW counterpart played by actor Grant Gustin which (also) continues the spirit of celebrating the hero’s legacy featuring John Wesley Shipp (the actor who originated the role in the CBS series in 1990) who now embodies the “Golden Age” Flash.

Just recently the television series adapted “The Trial of The Flash” storyline and also paid homage to the 1990 series by reintroducing the villainous “Prank” played by Corrine Bohrer, who many consider the template for The Joker’s sidekick Harley Quinn. Mark Hamill, who voiced The Joker on the now classic Batman: The Animated Series also played The Trickster on both iterations of The Flash.

Mark the occasion by sharing your favorite moment in 700 Issues Celebration The Flash!