Sunday, January 9, 2022

On the shelf: New heroes and spin-offs

 In 2019, Brian Michael Bendis, prolific writer, came to DC Comics, and launched the now-defunct Wonder Comics imprint. The first book under this umbrella was Naomi, the tale of a young woman from an alternate earth who lands on "our" earth, unaware of her powers.

There was enough interest in the character to the point where filmmaker Ava DuVernay was able to write a treatment for television, which was picked up by WB & the CW. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Naomi's exploration of her new home has seen her meet Young Justice and gain an, ah, internship, if ya will, with the Justice League, even before Bendis took over the latter series.

The problem I find in the book comes from Bendis. Much more dialogue heavy than anything else I've read by him. Bendis will also be involved with the Naomi series launching Tuesday on CW, his first live-action primetime project. Previously, his Powers had been adapted by Amazon Prime, and he'd been a writer-producer for MTV's ill-fated Spider-Man series in 2003. Artist Jamal Campbell became a superstar in the industry with his work on the series, and will return for a Naomi: Season 2 miniseries, launching in March. Campbell's art, especially with human characters like Naomi, is as realistic as possible. Bendis is no longer DC exclusive, as he is doing some work for Dark Horse on the side these days, and they've acquired his other creator-owned books that were published at DC & elsewhere.

Naomi: Season One gets a B+.
As long as we're talking girl power, let us consider Batgirls, which posits itself as sending Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain, & Stephanie Brown off on their own. Barbara, who now is alternating between being Batgirl herself and her other alias, Oracle, plays like she now has two "adoptive sisters" in Stephanie (who's back in her Spoiler gear) and Cassandra (who has also used the names Black Bat and Orphan), though some might see her as a "single mom" type trying to rein in two "reckless kids". Stephanie is also the ex-girlfriend of one Robin (Tim Drake), so she has something in common with Barbara.

The artwork is all over the place, reflective of the crazy quilt pace of the action. It'll grow on you. 

Rating: B+.
Someone wants Christopher Chance, aka the Human Target, dead. Writer Tom King is riffing on the movie "DOA" in this 12 issue maxiseries from DC's Black Label imprint, because Chance is tasked to find his assassin before he buys it. 

Trust me. Chance won't die. DC may need him again down the road, and Black Label books tend to be outside of continuity. They're regretting retiring the Elseworlds imprint years ago, I tell you.

Issue 3, just out during the holidays, includes a guest appearance by Green Lantern Guy Gardner, he of the Moe Howard tribute hairdo, who's still obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Ice. King has a tendency to take his books on bizarre tangents for no other reason than to pad the story. 

To think this story started with Chance being hired by Lex Luthor to impersonate him......

Rating: B-.
Marvel is spinning off a miniseries from the current What If? cartoon on Disney+, and this will make fans real happy. 

Captain Carter, launching in March, is centered on Peggy Carter, and the story of how she, and not Steve Rogers, became Captain America during World War II. The cartoon was a hoot, and this book should be, too.
We are so not digging DC Vs. Vampires from James Tynion IV, Matt Rosenberg, and Otto Schmidt. In the first issue, Tynion & Rosenberg have already killed off Zan, one half of the Wonder Twins (remember, this again is non-continuity), leaving Jayna to find her brother's killer. Schmidt is the reason I stopped reading Green Arrow a few years back, as his linework doesn't work for me. I'd rather have Stephen Byrne drawing this book. Then, I might not feel so bad.

Rating: D.
DC is planning a couple of big crossovers in March.

War on Earth-3 spins out of the core storyline in Suicide Squad, and will tie in with The Flash and Teen Titans Academy, the latter of which has fallen off the rails of late. It's a 5 week miniseries, launching March 2. 

Meanwhile, there's a separate arc involving Deathstroke, Inc.. Shadow War will tie into Batman, and, likely, Detective Comics, come April.
World's Finest returns in March, under the direction of Mark Waid & Dan Mora, and the opener will have several variant covers, including one with Super-fan Jerry Seinfeld. Batman & Superman get headline billing, but this book will be a revival of a classic brand to me. Tom King will write another Batman limited series, this time, a 6 issue mini, Killing Time, due in March. A number of variant covers in March will tie into the forthcoming "The Batman", starring Robert Pattinson & Zoe Kravitz. We are not digging the design of the Catwoman's cowl on Zoe (daughter of Lenny Kravitz & Lisa Bonet). Worst cowl ever. Whether the not the movie satisfies will be determined when it comes out.

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