Sunday, October 25, 2015

On The Shelf: It feels like old times

DC has launched a trio of books spinning out of the summer Convergence event, two of which have some meaning for old school fans.

Titans Hunt is a 12-part maxiseries that attempts to fill the holes in the franchise's history, specifically the team as it was constituted at the end of its initial run, circa 1972-3. You have to hope British writer Dan Abnett, writing alone, has done his homework.

Rating: Incomplete. This requires further study.

Superman: Lois & Clark is a definite case of fan-service for those readers offended by the editorial decision 4 years ago to end the marriage of the Man of Steel and his lady fair, Lois Lane. The way Dan Jurgens has drawn it up, the Kents have a child, likely an adoptee, and are adjusting to life on a new Earth. I'm one of those people who felt that if it ain't broken, you don't fix it, but there are too many morons in decision-making positions at DC & Marble these days. And you can't go wrong with a Superman drawn by Lee Weeks.

Rating: A-.

We won't even discuss the other book, Telos, largely because we don't see any staying power in it.

Dark Horse is providing some fan-service of a different kind, specifically, readers of Warren's The Rook from the late 70's and early 80's. Restin Dane, aka The Rook, is back after more than 30 years away. How Dark Horse scored this coup, I don't know. What I do know is that Bill DuBay's pride & joy is in the capable hands of writer Steven Grant and artist Paul Gulacy, whose pencils still kick butt more than 40 years after his debut on the original Master of Kung Fu at Marvel. Now, it'd be nice to chase down those old Warrens.......!

Rating: A.

After a lengthy delay, Archie's Dark Circle division rolls out their reincarnation of The Shield. This time, the character is a woman, Victoria Adams, and writers Adam Christopher & Chuck Wendig, have traced her history all the way back to colonial times. On the one hand, I can see a crossover with Black Hood, which returns this coming week, in the offing, since the basic concepts are similar, but aside from that, well, I do have some questions about this book that hopefully will be answered sooner rather than later.

Rating: B-.

Meanwhile, Archie has apparently written fini to the current Betty & Veronica series after 278 issues, for a grand total of 625 in two series (the first run ended after 347 issues), and that the reboot will launch after the first of the year as we've previously reported.

Marble has invested heavily in their Avengers franchise. Perhaps too heavily.

Avengers 0 serves as a preview for almost the entire line of titles under that brand name. This is what you call overmilking a golden cow after 2 hit feature films and 2 animated series. Marble does this all the time, moreso than the other publishers. Consider:

Uncanny Avengers includes in its membership the Human Torch, Spider-Man, and Deadpool, the latter of whom has a movie coming out next year, with Ryan Reynolds under the red & black spandex. Come to think of it, I'm not all that big on the now-elderly former Captain America, Steve Rogers being a part of this, too, but this book essentially replaces Secret Avengers on the schedule. Ex-New Mutant Sunspot (Roberto DaCosta) fronts the New Avengers. We've known for years that Roberto was somewhere near Tony Stark's tax bracket, dating back to New Mutants back in the 80's. Not digging the artwork on either book. The Vision, the de facto breakout star of this year's "Avengers" movie, gets his own solo series, positing him as an ersatz family man. However, he's also trying to reconcile his past with ex-wife Scarlet Witch. TMI, amigos, for my money. The Squadron Supreme has the best creative team with James Robinson & Leonard Kirk, but why invest in this if inevitably there's a crossover with the other books?

Ratings:

Squadron Supreme: A-.
Uncanny Avengers: C.
New Avengers: C.
Avengers 0: C-.

As for other entries in the "All-New, All-Different" Marble line, a Point One one-off was issued to provide some previews. To wit:

Contest of Champions is a literal reboot of a long-forgotten 80's miniseries, which Marble has reissued as a 1-shot volume, oh by the way. This time, the Maestro (a future incarnation of the Hulk) is challenging the Collector. Not interested. Rating: D.

Carnage gets an ongoing series, but then, what did that do for Venom? Not much. I don't see this lasting long, but I'm not the target audience, for one, and too smart for that company. Rating: D.

Rocket Raccoon & Groot merges two books from the Guardians of the Galaxy line. Not sold on Skottie Young as a writer any more than I was with him as an artist. Not feeling it. Rating: C-.

Charles Soule, fresh off Inhumans: Attilan Rising, will helm not only All-New Inhumans, but Daredevil as well. He's got some skills, although I'd have to ask, would it hurt Marble's bottom line to just go back to the old numbering for the latter book? Too many #1's of various reboots of series in the last 20 years makes me ill.

Daredevil merits a B. All-New Inhumans is a B-.

The TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will have a comic book bearing that name, after the last series was simply S.H.I.E.L.D.. Reads more like they're trying to write this as a cross between Man From U.N.C.L.E. & Mission: Impossible. Then again, Marc Guggenheim is writing the book. Rating: Incomplete.

Speaking of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., DC has snagged a license to bring the characters in for a team-up with Batman '66 in a miniseries launching in December. Open Channel D, and Channel B, too.

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