Tag Archives: DC Comics

DC Comic’s “Rebirth” Titan(ic) Turn

The DC Universe continues to reshape itself and at the center of it all the former sidekicks are proving centrifugal to the legacy.

Titans-Rebirth-1-review-DC-Planet-img-02
Wally West returns to make things right and rejoins his friends as the Titans begin to take shape in the current issue of Titans: Rebirth #1.

(Now) DC Comics promised that when it would enter into the Rebirth the latest companywide “reboot” would be anything but that, and the proof is fair enough in the pudding. The Rebirth was intended to (re)introduce into the line an element that had been missing since the imprint’s last major shift several years ago when it promoted itself as The New 52 — a more contemporary and condensed version of its previous self that after the events in the FlashPoint reset the entire universe.

The DC Comics multiverse was reignited as a younger, sleeker version of itself. With only some minor exceptions, most of the major heroes including SupermanBatman, and Wonder Woman were still a bit green and hadn’t established themselves as similarly as any of their previous incarnations. It was a very bold strategy on the part of the publishing house that was responsible for more than 75 years of continuity and mythology, but DC Comics was in a position to compete with a changing market.

For a short time the strategy worked, but there were some elements missing from the mythology that had endeared these characters with its audience for decades. Although brought up to speed to attract new readership, The New 52 reboot had all but done away with most of the heroes’ longstanding legacies, their profound connection to one another that ultimately had made them standouts in the competitive publishing market. Looking to balance things out DC reestablished interest in its multiverse.

This opened the door for creatives to further push the envelope and think outside the limitations of comic book cannon. Writers were given the freedom to delve into any part of the DC Comics continuity that interested them and tell stories that fit those parameters without fear of damaging the current “timeline”. The Convergence came and went and soon the readership began to lose touch with the direction the stories were going in, until it was decided that a “rebirth” was inevitable.

DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns had been responsible for relaunching two of the bigger titles in the line when he brought back two of its major headliners back from the dead. The Silver Age characters Hal Jordan the Green Lantern and Barry Allen The Flash had both been lost to major crisis, but were returned into mainstream continuity and given all new relevance and a purpose by Johns that returned them to their rightful places among the pantheon of heroes.

That single initiative has made both heroes top sellers for the publisher. Hoping to capture lightning in a bottle (so to speak) a second time, but this time on a much broader scale, Johns along with DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee decided the time was ripe for the entire DC Universe to “rebirth” beginning with the most obvious omission post The New 52 history and answer the question: Whatever happened to the original Teen Titans more specifically Where did Wally West go after FlashPoint?

TR1-3

Taking that as the springboard for Rebirth the “original” members of the Teen Titans, former sidekicks RobinSpeedyAqualad and Wonder Girl found their way back to one another in the recent Titans Hunt mini-series. Within its pages the story establishes that the original sidekicks, now all grown-up, had their memories wiped and have forgotten their time as one of the DC Universe’s premiere team of allies. For many of them, especially Donna Troy the former “Wonder Girl” their histories were rewritten.

At the conclusion of that series, when the group found themselves reunited (and it feels so good) Nightwing (the former “Robin”) is very conscious of the fact that “something is still missing”. It isn’t until the one-shot special release of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 that we learn the truth — Wally West, the original Kid Flash who inherited the mantle of The Flash has been aimlessly floating between here and every other part of the multiverse. The FlashPoint event simply pushed Wally into nonexistence and he’s trying to get home!

It’s been an uphill battle and just as Wally is preparing to give up he pays one last visit to the one person that has made the greatest impact in his life, and is ultimately rescued from oblivion by Barry Allen The Flash. Now he’s back and slowly but surely everyone is beginning to remember who Wally is — or more accurately: who he was! Memories all realign when Wally decides to visit his former teammates in Titans: Rebirth #1 and literally uses the Speed Force to shock everyone into remembering him.

Thus reestablishing the Titans into the current continuity! There are plenty of gaps to fill in, that’s for certain. Chief among them is why Wally West returned from the ether younger than when the timeline became compromised after FlashPoint and whether he’ll resume using the name “Flash” even though there is still Barry Allen running around. West can’t go back to using “Kid Flash” — that name has already been taken (twice in fact in The New 52 timeline).

More importantly, it appears that it will be the role of these “new” Titans to determine why there is still a 10-year gap of missing memories, and exactly who took them! From the perspective of fans, who stuck it out through every incarnation, it is a very gratifying feeling indeed to see that legacies are once again taking shape and especially that an entire generation will soon properly reconnect with DC Comics second generation of heroes as the Titans come back together again!

Advertisements

DC’s (Next?) Legends of Tomorrow

With The CW series returning for a Second Season, the path is laid out for a “legacy” to take explode onto the primetime landscape!

NewsletterHeader_DCTV_Legends_Logo_640x200

At the close of the final act — the “stinger” if you would — in the climax of Season One of The CW hit show DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (the second spin-off from Greg Berlanti’s production house inspired by DC Comics properties) the remaining members of revolutionary time-tripper Rip Hunter’s (Arthur Darvill) rag tag team of “legends” are about to board their time ship, when another “Waverider” appears out of no where and delivers an unexpected interloper into their midst…

When Rex Tyler (guest star Patrick J. Adams) introduces himself to the group, who stand aghast at his arrival, he declares himself “a friend” — a member of the Justice Society of America, and he’s here in the present to stop them from killing themselves! And scene! What Tyler’s very cryptic message might mean is going to be rattling around the inside of fans’ heads at least until San Diego Comic-Con, where the cast will gather in Hall, for the first time to tease exactly what is in store for Season Two.

dcs-legends-of-tomorrow
In a final attempt to stop the tyranny of Vandal Savage the team of “legends” including White Canary (Caity Lotz), The Atom (Brandon Routh) and Heatwave (Dominic Purcell) travel back to World War II.

For the initiated audience the trajectory that is going to be explored in the upcoming fall when all the DC TV Universe series premiere on The CW, there might be a familiar thread running through (at least) two of the series coming back. Tyler’s Hourman isn’t the only well-known JSA member introduced into the #DCTVCW during the spring finales. Hourman may have saved the legends from a fate worse than death, but on The Flash finally liberated from the villainous ZOOM!’s prison on Earth-2, the “man in the iron mask” was revealed to be none-other than Jay Garrick — the Golden Age Flash!

To make matters more interesting for our hero Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) the “original” speedster bares a very striking resemblance to his recently departed father Henry Allen and in an even greater twist of fate — the actor playing the “real” Jay Garrick is John Wesley Shipp. The stunning move was very shocking to fans especially since Shipp played the role of Barry Allen in the “original” CBS series The Flash from the 1990s. At the conclusion of The Flash season finale, Garrick indicates that he’s returning to his own parallel earth, and indicates that to be Earth-3.

Jay-Garrick-John-Wesley-Shipp
The Flash — “The Race of His Life” — Pictured: John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick/The Flash — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

With the DC Comics multiverse having played so predominantly this past season on the show, and Legends traversed the time-stream, when the shows return in the fall we’re not guaranteed viewers will be jumping into familiar territory. For one, Barry traveled back in time and into the Speed Force and enacted a “FlashPoint” butterfly effect that may be felt across the primetime spectrum. Barry prevented his enemy, the Reverse-Flash from murdering his mother.

Altering his own past, will no doubt affect the present, but like in the comic book version of FlashPoint will the entire #DCTVCW universe be affected? With Supergirl joining The CW next fall, is this the way in which they universes will crossover to create one cohesive TV universe? It’s too soon to say, but certainly legacies will play an important role in fall. The writers of the returning Supergirl have indicated that Superman will be appearing in an early story arc when the series launches.

On Legends with Hourman filling one of the vacancies left by departing cast members including HawkgirlHawkman and Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller, who will be returning to his proper place as a recurring role on The Flash), announcements have already gone out that Vixen will be joining the series. Introduced first in animation, before appearing in the flesh on Arrow the role of the beastly beauty was inhabited by Megalyn E.K. but the producers have indicated that the Vixen joining the cast will be an “earlier version” of the contemporary Mari McCabe. In essence,  Legends will introduce a “legacy” version of the character.

Leaving many fans to wonder if the final seat on Legends might be filled by Jay Garrick. Actor John Wesley Shipp has indicated that playing the Golden Age Flash has opened the door for many story possibilities, especially on The Flash. This will undoubtedly include major crossover potential among the various primetime shows that might interject Garrick, Hourman, etc. How the JSA arc will play itself out on Legends will be as interesting as imagining how FlashPoint will evolve on The Flash, but one thing is for sure, the DC TV Universe continues to expand beyond any fans expectations! Legendary, indeed.

The-Flash-season-2-finale-man-in-the-mask-jay-garrick

Supergirl…Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Looks like Supergirl is going to be getting a “super” scene-stealer moving in on her primetime appeal next fall.

295759-g8

As if the news that The CW had decidedly adopted Supergirl the fourth in a series of hour-long dramas produced by Greg Berlanti after CBS dropped the Maid of Metal from their 2016 fall line-up, and guaranteeing a DC Comics sweep of primetime on a single network, news has just begun to circulate that her famous cousin Superman will be joining Kara in National City next season!

Of course, this is all still rather speculative. Warner Brothers had insuniated that there was a mandate on not utilizing any members of the publishing imprint’s “big three” — including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman — concerned that the small screen appearances of these characters might impact their big screen appeal. What might have incited the change of heart? Could it have something to do with the lukewarm reception that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice pulled  in at the box office?

The film that finally introduced the DC Comics Trinity wasn’t all that well received by reviewers, who have deemed the cinematic world created by its director Zack Snyder is desolate and bleak in comparison to the television universe that Berlanti and his team have continued to evolve. Now that Supergirl is joining her other super-siblings on the more properly situated CW network, with The FlashArrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow next winter’s crossover event is sure to power-up in the ratings.

variety-flash-supergirl-banner.jpg
Producer Greg Berlanti carries the battle for truth, justice and primetime dominance with his television adaptations of the DC Comics properties The Flash starring Grant Gustin and Supergirl featuring Melissa Benoist.

When Supergirl which stars Melissa Benoist as the Last Daughter of Krypton, featured a guest-starring turn from Grunt Gustin who portrays the lead Scarlet Speedter on The Flash the joint-network stunt, landed Supergirl her biggest ratings since her series debut. With her move to The CW imminent, it’s only fitting that when Kara returns this fall, after a heart-stopping cliffhanger (exactly who is inside that rocket that crash lands on earth?) the Girl of Steel is joined by the Man of Steel!

Casting notices have gone out for an actor to play Superman, a role that is currently in the hands of Henry Cavill on the big screen, and was last vacated by Tom Welling who played Clark Kent as a young man growing up into the legend on Smallville. Fans are hoping that the producers will bring Welling in to (once again) fill the boots and fly the cape as Superman. Another former TV “Superman” Dean Cain, actually plays Kara Danvers Earth-born father on Supergirl.

Historically, Berlanti and his fellow producers including Andrew Kreisberg have cast actors in roles on their shows whom have a connectivity to DC Comics or have played pivotal roles in previous superhero incarnations. Namely, The Flash guest-star John Wesley Shipp who played the role of Barry Allen in the “original” CBS series The Flash, returned to the reboot as Henry Allen — Barry father. After a fatal confrontation with the villain ZOOM! this season, Henry was murdered — but it appears perhaps has been “reincarnated” as none-other than Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash!

Now that the stakes are so high, and that DC Entertainment has a lot to prove — no pressure having to dominate an entire network’s primetime line-up next fall — bringing in the big guy back to the television landsape may be exactly what Supergirl needs to make an impact next season. Superman’s storyline is expected to have the character appear over the course of the two premiere episodes of the show’s second season. And who’s to say that the occupant of the space ship that crashes isn’t maybe a young Kal-El…

With the multiverse having played such a significant part of The Flash story arc this last season, the possibilities are (dare I say) infinite!

Supermen Clash in Action Comics #52!

NEWSHEADER-TRIN04_640x200_Feb2.3.jpg

It’s the “Final Days of Superman” and all the Supermen are getting in on the ACTION!

Superman is dying! In the final arc encompassing all of the DC Comics Superman titles entitled “The Final Days of Superman” the Man of Steel has discovered that he is indeed vulnerable. After having faced the threat of the alien Rao, the immortal Vandal Savage and fired himself up in the unholy furnaces of Darkseid’s Apokolips, Superman has begun to deteriorate — his body succumbing to the various stresses he’s put upon himself.

Going through the efforts of cleaning house, making certain that his adopted home world will be properly protected after he’s gone, Superman is joined by his two closest confidants and friends. Both Batman and Wonder Woman have rallied alongside Superman to help him on his quest, and perhaps uncover the true identity of the super-powered imposter that’s walking around, bright as the sun, looking to replace him.

Several months ago, after facing the nearly unstoppable alter-universe alien might of Ulysses, Superman uncovered a new ability that allowed him to flare up the solar energy that is stored in his cells — the same energy he utilizes to power up his Kryptonian cells and makes him a “superman”. Whenever he uses this new power, Clark Kent becomes powerless for up to 24 hours as his body “recharges” and rendering him vulnerable.

Action-Comics-52-variant-cover-by-Ben-Oliver
The alternate cover to Action Comics #52 pays homage to the arrival of Superman in “The New 52”.

In this state Superman becomes as human as the rest of us, and unfortunately using this new ability has come with some consequence that has left him open to a type of blood poisoning that is affecting him down to the DNA level. Superman and Batman were able to trace some of his failing health to China and some experiments that have been performed by the dreaded Dr. Omen.

Now the three heroes are giving perilous chase to the energy entity that has escaped capture by A.R.G.U.S. and is claiming to be Superman. Batman traces the creatures energy to the West Coast and there they find the irradiated imposter, who has attacked the home of “Clark White” otherwise known as the Pre-New 52 Superman a survivor of the recent “Convergence” event that has been hiding with his Super-Family here on Earth!

So now the trinity have their hands full facing the energized “Superman” imposter and ultimately discovering the mystery behind the other Superman, while deciding the fate of Superman himself! “The Final Days of Superman” storyline have been all leading up to the upcoming publishing-wide event being billed as “DC Universe: Rebirth” and DC Comics Chief Creative Office Geoff Johns continues to insist that it is not a new “reboot”.

The entire line of DC Comics publications were made more contemporary and redesigned after the 2011 “reboot” of the imprint that was marketed as “The New 52”. All the heroes in the DC Comics Universe were reintroduced and most were reimagined to more accurately take to the readership’s more modernized sensibilities. The launch occurred after the events of “FlashPoint” and launched with the flagship title of Justice League #1.

As most of the DC Comics publications begin to hit the respective issues #52 this month, next month most will be rebranded as “Rebirth” One-Shots before returning and renumbered with all-new storylines and some minor cosmetic changes. Batman has already been “rebirth” so to speak. Writer Scott Snyder who has been writing the Dark Knight for most of his “New 52” run, will be handing the title to Tom King.

They are promising that the passing of the baton will usher in and “unleash a new Bat-era” for the beloved character. Snyder won’t be vacating Gotham City all too quickly as he’ll be at the helm of the new title All-Star Batman which will have him teaming up with the legendary John Romita Jr. the same JRJ who has been onboard since joining forces with Geoff Johns on Superman recently.

As for the Man of Steel, “Final Days” scribe Peter J. Tomasi has been promising that the end result of Superman’s fate will have major repercussions for the character, in fact when the hero returns after the “Rebirth” it’s all possible that he will be replaced by his “pre-52” counterpart who is married to Lois and the two have a son, Jonathan who will be taking up the tradition and share in some super heroics of his own.

5120603-5917485685-STL00

Lois Lane will also be gaining some abilities of her own and launching the new title Superwoman written by comics great Phil Jimenez who will also be drawing the title. Left with the task of protecting the planet Supergirl will be moving to National City and take up a job at the DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations). The title will be written by Steve Orlando who just ending a brilliantly stunning run on Midnighter.

So what does all this really mean for Superman? Is it true that these are indeed perhaps the final days of the character which still remains one of the tentpole heroes for the publishing giant? Whatever happens you can expect that it will be unique indeed, after all it isn’t everyday that a Superman dies…only to be reborn from the ashes.

Want more? Follow-up with The HQ with a visit to the home site at ThrillseekerHQ with more extensive insight and editorials including links to the Internet radio show Out Loud & Live! with me and available on iTunes!

 

The Life (and Days) of Superman: The Road to “Rebirth”

The Man of Steel faces his own mortality in a race towards a publishing wide DC Comics imprint “Rebirth”.

action-comics-51-top-179044

Superman is dying…and there’s no escaping his fate!

For more than 75 years Superman has stood as the unparalleled most powerful being in the DC Comics universe (give or take the unexpected immovable force, megalomaniac or two) but as the Man of Steel’s storyline spirals headlong into the midst of “Rebirth” this spring, the Man of Tomorrow will be facing his own mortality in the most unexpected and unconventional arc of his career yet. As the imprint prepares for the latest publishing-wide special event of the season “The Final Days of Superman” are being explored across the hero’s multiple titles.

With the advent of most major titles including Superman and Action Comics about to strike their respective issue #52, the entire line of DC Comics will soon be revamped, and as Creative Director Geoff Johns described “the dawn of a brand-new era of DC Comics adventures” is about to begin. For Superman it’s been a treacherously exhaustive couple of months. The Earth’s most able champion was doused by the unpredictable energies inside the fire pits of Apokolips, faced the villainous Vandal Savage inside the A.R.G.U.S. kryptonite chamber and battled the otherworldly Rao.

These three events contributed to the perfect storm, ultimately compromising the Last Son of Krypton’s constitution at the genetic level, and causing the unthinkable and yet inevitable: Superman is dying. In the first chapter of “The Final Days of Superman” arc published in Superman #51 and written by Peter J. Tomasi the premiere comic book writer has the Man of Steel begin to take the first steps to insure that his legacy will continue. Clark is especially concerned that after he is gone there will no longer be a “super-man” around to protect the innocent.

Batman-Superman-31-spoilers-preview-DC-Rebirth-2
The legendary John Romita Jr. delivers on this iconic cover detailing “The Final Days of Superman” in the dynamic duo’s own title.

Tomasi has also made it of particular importance to the character that Superman and Clark Kent’s personal story does not go forgotten and he seeks out Lois Lane, who only recently was responsible for revealing to the world Superman’s secret dual identity of Clark Kent. Unlike Superman’s once historic confrontation against Doomsday and the brutal battle that ended him that time, this time around it would appear that Clark can’t escape the cellular degradation that is threatening his life. Upon seeking the help of his fellow Justice Leaguer Batman in Gotham City, Superman refuses the Dark Knight’s help.

Instead, in the second part of the story appearing in Batman/Superman #31 also written by Tomasi, Superman asks his friend to help him locate the now missing Maid of Steel Supergirl who he intends to leave in charge of defending the planet once he’s gone. The two heroes are attacked by the mystically charged embodiment of Chinese Zodiac dispatched by the mysterious Doctor Omen who is gathering genetic information on the Man of Steel, though to what end no one is clearly certain. Locating his cousin, Superman frees Supergirl from the D.E.O. (Department of Extra-Normal Operations).

Inside Action Comics #51 he learns that Kara’s visit to National City and her incarceration at the D.E.O is entirely voluntary especially after she also succumbs to some power fluctuations of her own. It appears that Vandal Savage’s attack on Superman had an affect on her as well leaving Supergirl vulnerable. She came to National City at the invite of the D.E.O. who promised to help her sort out her issues. Instead after she learns of her cousin’s fatal situation she goes with him to his Fortress of Solitude to continue the work he has already started as the supreme protector on the planet.

They are both surprised by the arrival of the Amazon Queen and Superman’s former paramour Wonder Woman and unbeknownst to any of our heroes, there is a stranger exhibiting some incredible powers entering into the Daily Planet claiming to be Superman and leaving a wake of destruction in his path! “The Final Days of Superman” are chronicled up until the launch of Rebirth #1 which will then continue with the renumbering of all the Superman titles with the exception of Action Comics which will reset to its original #957 and will be published twice a month!

With the magnitude of such a huge event taking place — and including the impending publication of the #1000 issue of Action Comics — Superman fans are in for quite an unprecedented shake-up that will undoubtedly have repercussions across the line. The publishing imprint is promising that in the wake of this history-making leap Superman will emerge stronger, faster and more powerful than a locomotive — and he’ll have a whole lot of help coming his way.

• This feature premiered on the DCComicsNews.com network as contributed by myself.

The Super Bowl Pulls No Punches

Heading into the midst of a golden Super Bowl weekend, the studios hard hit with their own brand of “super” indeed.

12486036_457812651085987_6494375070813564566_o.jpg
The Man of Steel faces off against the Dark Knight in a confrontation so epic it’s going to spell “doomsday” for one of them and bring in the dawn for a league of justice.

It may only be the beginning of the year, but with Super Bowl Sunday captivating more than 100 million television viewers world wide, the studios have upped the ante with longer teases and full-on trailers for their upcoming summer movie slate — and then some! Warner Brothers and Fox studios were leading the pack running cleverly marketed ads that promoted the upcoming Marvel property Deadpool but with the most anticipated game of the year on everyone’s mind, it was a no-brainer that the summer’s big screen brawl took some honors.

Gotham City and her sister city Metropolis were both at the center of airline tourism ads to position Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) encouraged visitor come to Gotham and enjoy the nightlife as well as visit the opera, and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) suggests that the newly rebuilt Metropolis has even more to offer. Either way it’s fans who end winning as the messaging is clear…the dawn is near!

Another trailer that garnered just as much attention and is also pitting two of its titular tentpole stars against one another is the trailer to Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War the sequel to Winter Soldier takes much of its cue from the events in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron — that film’s most pivotal scene came from a quiet moment between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) as the two friends and warriors discuss their mission and the consequences of their heroics.

Captain-America-Civil-War-Teams.jpg
Whose side are you going to be one when Civil War breaks out this summer on the big screen?

In the upcoming Civil War Cap finds himself choosing sides when a close friend and ally becomes a target and lines are drawn in the sand. Interesting that two of the big blockbusters and major superhero franchise films are pitting its big guns against one another! Undoubtedly one day Captain America versus Batman will draw just as much attention. Other Avengers making Super Bowl appearances included the diminutive Ant-Man stealing a Coke from the incredible Hulk.

Also making the grade for raising the stakes is the next installment from Michael Bay’s revisiting of his 80’s toy box as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is introduced and reveals some fan favorites that just didn’t make it into the first film. Bay has practically thrown everything but the kitchen sink into this sequel including some classic sidekicks and villains. Fans can expect Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) and the evil Krang to pop in!

One thing is for certain with millions tuning in, the super franchises are ready to make plays of their own to pull us in and keep us engaged this season at a theater near you!

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in March with Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War premiering in May.