Friday, August 14, 2015

On the Shelf: DC reimagines World War II history, and other things to talk about

DC has issued a series of figurines under the umbrella heading, "DC Bombshells", in recent months. Apparently, these figurines are selling so well, such that DC decided to create a comic series based on them.

DC Comics' Bombshells is set in the early days of World War II, and the artistic style reflects some of the poster art of the period. Variant covers on some of this month's DC books are tied to this theme in order to call attention to the new book. What they're doing is creating an alternate universe where some of the heroines we know existed in World War II, but in different ways, making this, really, not all that different from the concurrent Justice League: Gods & Monsters series, which we'll get to shortly. For example, it's suggested that Kara (Supergirl, not Power Girl) wound up in Russia, along with Stargirl. Batwoman and her life partner, Maggie Sawyer, are here, too.

The problem that exists, however, is the setting. Hasn't management figured out that a book set in wartime isn't selling anymore? Even though revivals of GI Combat, Men at War, & Star Spangled War Stories all crashed & burned over the last four years due to poor sales, Dan DiDio, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, and company are convinced that reimagining some of the company's better known females in a WWII setting can break the spell. Granted that the above war revivals were all set in more recent times instead of WWII, consumers weren't interested, period. Does that change here? Maybe. By the way, each of those revivals failed to reach a full year's worth of issues. If Bombshells can get past 8 issues, then maybe it works after all.

Grade: Incomplete. We'll need to study this further.

Speaking of Justice League: Gods & Monsters, we looked at the Batman 1-shot when it came out three weeks ago, with Kirk Langstrom as a vampiric Dark Knight. Time to talk about the other 1-shots before we get to the miniseries. The DTV was reviewed over at Saturday Morning Archives.

The movie explains how Superman, in this alternate reality, was the product of an unholy liason between Lara and General Zod, and, after being sent to Earth, wound up not in Smallville, but somewhere near Mexico. Wonder Woman's origins have her on New Genesis instead of Themyscira, a New God instead of an Amazon. To be honest, I wasn't totally on board with Wonder Woman's story, as it was the weakest of the three 1-shots. The miniseries is interesting. I was reading the first issue as I watched the movie. I'll just have to re-read it before assigning a grade.

Our next DC entry is Gotham By Midnight. On a lark the other day, I decided to sample this series, just to see where this fits in with the rest of the Bat-books. Writer Ray Fawkes is using this series to bring back the Spectre, once again an agent of the Wrath of God, something that has been consistent for over 40 years, dating back to Michael Fleischer's run in Adventure Comics. All that says to me now is that Fleischer, and most of the writers who've followed this tack, are ignoring the New Testament, and insisting on Spectre dispensing Old Testament justice. That is just SO last century.

It didn't help that DC brought in Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night) to draw the first 5 issues, which were just difficult to read. Templesmith's style just doesn't fit. Subsequent issues have gotten better artistically, but I fear that the series isn't going to be around too much longer, barring of course a crossover with the rest of the Bat-line, which I believe is nigh.

Rating: C.

Archie's Dark Circle line is expanding further with The Hangman bowing in November, and The Web after the first of the year. Not sure if Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid have another miniseries with The Fox on the drawing board for next year. Took a glance at issue 4 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the other day and came away satisfied with my decision to walk away after the 1st issue. Seems to me that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is better suited to writing fan fiction, and that's all I'm going to say.

In four of the last five issues of Scooby-Doo Team-Up, the Mystery, Inc. crew has met various Hanna-Barbera characters, including the Flintstones, Jetsons, Jonny Quest, and, in issue 11, Secret Squirrel. Unfortunately, Sholly Fisch either doesn't know Secret is marking his 50th anniversary this year, or doesn't care. Regardless of who's on a case with Scooby and friends, Fisch treats all of the stories the same, and I fear the same fate will befall Atom Ant, should Fisch decide to use him. Batgirl, Harley Quinn, & Poison Ivy guest in next month's issue, but why should I waste any more money on this series?

To sum things up, it's pretty obvious who the villain is in the Scooby-Secret team-up, and Morocco Mole gets the Rodney Dangerfield treatment, as in, no respect. Fisch is going through the motions, and, I'd imagine the same holds true for Scooby's monthly series. The Johnny DC line needs better writers that won't insult the audience's intelligence. Period.

Scooby-Doo Team-Up 11 gets a D.

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