When you talk about Aquaman at any length, there’s always a certain conversation that hangs in the background: that of his relevance. For years, he was the butt of jokes, the man who talked to fish, the “also attended” of the Justice League. Despite numerous reinventions, despite his role as a founding member of the Justice League, the image of Aquaman in the public consciousness remained that of a spandex-clad seahorse riding buffoon. That stigma surrounding the character remains to this day, a permanent mark on the cultural zeitgeist that, in all honesty, will probably never truly go away. What I find fascinating about Aquaman, however, is that he exists as a part of a duality. You have your Super Friends incarnation, sure, but there is simultaneously a vision of the extreme that can ultimately be traced to Peter David’s post-Crisis treatment of the character. While directly at odds with the former “softer” interpretation, this rough-around-the-edges outlaw incarnation has carved its own space in the minds of the general audience, coexisting in an endless push and pull for cultural relevance. [Read more…] about The Old 52 – Heavy is the Head: The Influence of The New 52 on Aquaman
He didn’t even want the book, but to hear him tell it, Brian Azzarello saved the Wonder Woman New 52 series. In an interview with Boom Studios CEO, Ross Richie, Azzarello explained that he only took the Wonder Woman title because he was “appalled” at what DC was going to do with the character for the reboot. Azzarello recalls being at a dinner with DC publisher Dan Didio, where they discussed his plans for a different New 52 series. When Didio told Azzarello DC’s plans for Wonder Woman, which Azzarello thought would have “fundamentally hurt that character,” Azzarello spent the rest of that dinner coming up with a brand new pitch for the series that eventually became the Wonder Woman we got ten years ago.
At its core, this Wonder Woman series was a family drama. It worked because the creative team made the family a central part of the story. In fact, Wonder Woman doesn’t even show up until ten pages into the first issue because Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang devoted that space to the conflict surrounding a few important family members: Zola, a mortal impregnated by Zeus, and Sun, a god whose powers include clairvoyance. Aside from Orion, there weren’t any major characters in the series’ first 24 issues that weren’t part of the family. [Read more…] about The Old 52: Playing God in Wonder Woman
Alan Moore’s run on Saga of the Swamp Thing is really darn good. The story of a plant who believes it’s a man, wandering the universe trying to find its place in everything – it’s melancholy and introspective, and it’s one of the most acclaimed Big 2 comics out there. So of course, it’s a hard legacy to live up to. There have been plenty follow ups, most of them unremarkable – even from creators who are otherwise fairly noteworthy. But DC decided to give it another proper shake in the New 52, with Scott Snyder taking the reigns.
Snyder’s run immediately distinguishes itself as something quite different from its predecessors, establishing right away that Alec Holland is, in fact, a person. More than that – Alec Holland had died and been replaced by a plant who thought it was a man. But in an act of grace from The Green, he was eventually resurrected and given a new lease on life. It’s… a weird situation, especially in the context of the New 52’s branding as a complete beginner-friendly reboot. We’re expected to understand that the events of Moore’s run did occur, but now the original Alec Holland is back. Sure, whatever.
As its own entity, though, the run’s fascinating. It veers so hard into its new direction that it’s quite unlike everything that came before it. Swamp Thing is the Avatar of the Green, yes, but he’s more than that. He’s the Green’s sole warrior to defend against the Red (animals) and the Rot (decay). The entire run is focused around a war between these three forces of life, instigated by the genesis of a new Avatar of the Rot. It’s high stakes, constantly moving, and genuinely feels like an event comic before the actual event even starts. [Read more…] about The Old 52: Swamp Thing New 52 Omnibus Review!
Michael Straczynsk • Shane Davis • Ardian Syaf
Geoff Johns • Gary Frank
Grant Morrison • Yanick Paquette • Nathan Fairbairn • Todd Klein
Earth One: Genesis
By 2010, Marvel was deep into its Ultimates Universe, their alternate universe for experimenting with modernizing their heroes and taking big swings. By the same token, DC was mostly past the failure of its All-Star line, which attempted the same approach and met some success, but ultimately never coalesced into a cohesive vision the way Ultimates had.
Earth One is an attempt at replicating the first and fixing the second. Like Ultimates, the line focuses on retelling the origins of popular superheroes now recast in the 21st century. And like All-Star, it tries to do that by giving DC’s top talent a ton of freedom.
On February 25th, 2013, the New York Times arts desk column exclusively revealed that Damian Wayne would meet his untimely death at the end of Batman Incorporated #8, a story which naturally spread like wildfire among sites like IGN, ComicsAlliance, and Newsarama. DC then announced that throughout March 2013, the Bat-titles would take part in a month-long event called Requiem, with each issue adorned with an ‘R’ logo in tribute to the fallen Bat-family member. It was now clear why the second volume of Batman Incorporated was in-canon; DC wanted a news story and a sales boost. [Read more…] about The Old 52: Morrison’s Batman Incorporated Pt. 2