Month: June 2013

In the year zero

Batman 21 Zero year coverBatman #21 was the beginning of Scott Snyder’s next storyline in Batman, “Zero Year.”  I guess he didn’t want to write a Year One story of Bruce Wayne becoming Batman.  So, he wrote a story that takes place before that.  Before Bruce Wayne becomes Batman.  In which Bruce Wayne is already Batman.  I’ll give you a moment.  Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense to me either, but I’ll deal.  It’s only a title.

The issue starts 6 years ago, showing a kid catching a fish from a very flooded subway entrance.  The kid is attacked by masked men, but is saved by Batman.  The kid is very surprised to see Batman, because he thought “He” killed him.  Batman is fine with people believing this, cause then “He” won’t see him coming.  I want to pause here, a few pages in and make sure you noticed a line.  Yes, the kid caught a fish from a flooded subway entrance.  We’re talking about flooded all the way up to street level.  And Gotham looks incredibly overgrown.  Like, New York in I Am Legend overgrown.  It’s kind of silly.  But moving on.

We’re next taken to 5 months before that.  So, we’re now 6 years and 5 months ago.  Bruce Wayne is in disguise, and running from the Red Hood Gang (see issue #0).  Even cornered in a box truck, Bruce is able to make a daring, and ill-advised escape. Back at…well, it’s not a cave.  We’ll just call it headquarters.  Back at his headquarters, Bruce and Alfred discuss not only the Red Hood gang, but also Bruce’s decision to stay legally dead.  You see, he had disappeared for several years, and had been declared dead by his uncle (mother’s brother).  Speaking of which, he (Phillip) had just happening to follow Alfred, and sees him with Bruce.

Phillip wants Bruce to return to the land of the legally living, and claim his rightful place as the head of Wayne Enterprises.  However, Bruce tells him that he’s not interested, and has other reasons for being back in Gotham.  Afterwards, Phillip meets with Edward Nygma, who tells Phillip that to ultimately reach their goals, they’re going to have kill Bruce Wayne.

For some reason, Snyder seems to be really interested in expanding the history of Gotham City.  First, there was the Gates of Gotham mini-series.  Then, there was the entire Court of Owls storyline.  Now, he’s decided to give us an extended origin story.  Will he stick with tradition and have the Joker be one of the Red Hood gang?  I don’t know.  But that’s not what I am looking forward to with the rest of this storyline.  I’m more interested in what is likely to be the Riddler origin story.

We all know the most widely believed origin of the Joker.  It’s not really going to add anything to the character to re-tell the same story once again.  However, the Riddler’s origin isn’t as widely known.  Hell, I can’t remember what the official version of it was pre-New 52.  So that’s the story that I’m looking forward to.  I’ll get more into critiquing the story once we see where exactly it is heading.  If you’ve liked Batman so far, then there’s no reason you won’t like this issue.

The Prodigal son returns

Any reader of CW! knows that J.R. has been a huge fan of the recently relaunched Young Avengers, but thus far I haven’t taken the time to give it a read.  That may change with next week’s release of issue #6.

The guy on the right is David Alleyne, also known as the former New X-Man Prodigy, who debuted waaaaaaaaay back in 2003’s New Mutants relaunch.  Now that I think about it, it’s really hard to believe that Prodigy is a decade old.

Anyway, of that new crop of characters, Prodigy was always my favorite, as his storyline involved his lightening up, mostly thanks to his friendship with his roommate Elixir and his relationship with his teammate Surge.  When M-Day hit and ravaged the cast of New X-Men, Prodigy was one of the few de-powered mutants to not only stay at the school (and on the team, for that matter) but also stay alive as Craig Kyle and Chris Yost took their glee in slaughtering the former cast of the title.

Just before Messiah CompleX spelled the doom of New X-Men, Prodigy got an enormous power upgrade when the Stepford Cuckoos unlocked all the skills he had mimicked when his powers were still active.  And then no one ever bothered using him again, save for a panel or two of fixing computers.  It was a huge waste for me.

He came around during the Schism as one of the students who elected to remain on Utopia and fight for Team Cyclops, but whatever might have come from that was quickly ended in AvX.  Prodigy was amongst the kids sent off to the Avengers Academy for safe-keeping, and that’s pretty much where he stayed.  When the other kids emerged, he was not amongst them.  He might have been in one of the closing issues of Academy, fighting amongst the other kids, though it was impossible to tell as the character had no lines and basically did nothing.

According to the solicitation for issue #6, not only will Prodigy FINALLY get some kind of story, but it will also explain why he’s been the only X-Kid to not show up in any of the X-Books since AvX.  And this makes me excited.

I have a special place in my heart for the New Mutants and Hellions created by Nunzio DeFillipis and Christina Weir, and practically none of them get used anymore.  For that matter, neither do any of the “Lights” that popped up after Second Coming.  For a line based on training young mutants, any kid post original New Mutants tend never to last long.  At least Prodigy is getting his.

And that makes me happy.

Comic book dictionary

When conversing with friends, I have certain words and phrases I’ve put together to describe some things I see in comics, and I thought it would be fun to share it with all of you.  The phrase might be a name transformed into a verb, and it’s not really meant to slight the person.  It’s just a way to describe it.  Today’s phrase is “Geoff Johnsed.”

Geoff Johnsed.  verb.  to quickly build up a character so that their impending death has an emotional impact.
i.e:  Joss Whedon Geoff Johnsed Agent Coulson in The Avengers.

This may or may not be a fair, but whatever.  It’s not meant to bash Geoff John’s writing.  I happen to really enjoy his writing.  There’s just one big example that resonates with the writers here at Comicdom Wrecks.  That moment is of course the death of Ted Kord in Countdown to Infinite Crisis.  That issue did a wonderful job in building Ted Kord up as a legitimate hero.  Well, legitimate to those that didn’t already think he was legit.  In that issue Johns wrote him to be too legit to quit (sorry).  But all of that character building was to just kill him off at the end to show Max Lord was a villain.

Comic Book Movie Review – Man of Steel

I’ll admit to being cautiously optimistic heading into this film.  Sure the trailers looked good, and we’d actually get a Superman story with some action in it, but trailers can make almost anything look good.  (Note:  I was going to say anything and post a trailer to Speed 2, but upon watching it, I realized it even looked bad in the trailer.  Carry on.)  That level of cautious optimism took a bit of a hit when I saw the 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  But then I saw a bit of news that intrigued me.  While looking up whether or not there was an after credits scene (there isn’t), I saw that the film currently had an 8.4 rating on IMDB, and an A- on Cinemascore.  So, ordinary people that actually went to see the movie on opening day fairly well liked it.  Cautious optimism restored.  And it is with that feeling that I sat down to watch the movie.  There will be some spoilers after the cast list.

man-of-steel-poster-02Man of Steel

Directed by Zack Snyder

Written by David S. Goyer (screenplay & story) and Christopher Nolan (story)

Starring
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Kal-El
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Michael Shannon as General Zod
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Russel Crowe as Jor-El
Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent
(more…)

Superman Unchained #1

Superman Unchained 1 coverSuperman Unchained #1 by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee hit shelves this week, just in time for the release of Man of Steel.  I’m of two minds regarding the issue.  First, I did like the issue.  I thought it was nicely written, and you get the Jim Lee art when he’s had time to work on it.  Not the more “scratchy” style it takes on when he’s in a hurry.  Here you have a friendly Superman doing Superman things.  Early on, he absorbs the impact of a space station, saving the people inside it, and where it was going to land.  And yes, that sounds a bit ridiculous, but come on.  It’s Superman.  It was written and drawn in such a way that the reader is just pulled into the scene.  It was awesome.  And it was followed up with Superman joking about how the people on the space station should got out for drinks and celebrate, being that they just broke about 7 Guinness world records.  I like that Superman.  Clark Kent written just as well.  The exchanges between Clark and Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane were just as good.  I highly recommend that you read this issue.  But, I really emphasize the “read” part of that last sentence.  Should you buy the issue though?  That’s a different issue and question.  Which takes me to my second mind.

The book cost $4.99.  It cost $5 for what was in actuality 24 pages of story.  Sure, two of those pages are the size of a small poster, but there was no reason for it.  One side might make for a decent poster, but you have to leave it with the comic because the other side is part of the story.  Therefore, it can’t be hung on the wall, like poster-sized things should be.  And it looks like things only get slightly better.  The next issues will be $3.99.  Unfortunately, it seems like the page count is going to remain the same, making this DC’s first 32 page book that is $3.99.  Normally, their $4 books are expanded to 40 pages and contain a backup story.

I hate talking about price points.  It’s boring, and it’s all relative whether or not something is worth the price on the cover.  There are some books that I wouldn’t pay $1 for and some I’d pay more for.  You get the idea.  In short, I hate paying extra for gimmicks that add nothing to the issue.  And yes, the “unchained” part of the title is silly.  But who cares?  It’s just a title.