Remember how Scott Snyder (emerging into the height of his popularity) and Jim Lee (in his final longform comics project) launched a new Superman ongoing for the character’s 75th anniversary? Remember how it was unceremoniously demoted to a nine issue miniseries (over the course of eighteen months) because by the end no one much cared, and now it’s almost entirely forgotten? Have you ever really let that set of facts sit in your head in all its plain absurdity? [Read more…] about The Old 52: Superman Unchained – Lost In The Darkness
I’d never thought of Aquaman as anything less than cool.
Hell, I remember the first time I encountered the idea that he was boring and uncool (it was in high school) and being baffled.
How was this guy anything except the most slick superhero?! I was truly, properly, confused by the notion. [Read more…] about The Old 52: On Jeff Parker/Paul Pelletier’s Aquaman
Grayson is a comic that, by all rights, should not have worked. It’s a follow up to a Grant Morrison concept done by people who aren’t Grant Morrison. A spin-off of a Geoff Johns comic. The first comic by a co-writer whose sole writing credits prior to this are a short story and a middling novel (who only got the gig because he’s ex-CIA), another co-writer whose superhero work has (largely) been more supportive of other visions than expressing his own, and an artist whose work has mostly been on covers rather than interiors. Worst of all, it has a central premise that is, to be quite blunt, a bit trite and obvious, especially in the context of the New 52. Yet another spy comic released by DC about some nebulous organization out to do dirty deeds while the superheroes look clean. SHADE, Blackhawks, ARGUS, and now Spyral. These are not the elements of a successful comic. And yet, Grayson surprisingly works. It’s a fun, action packed adventure full of intrigue, espionage, and shirtless men. [Read more…] about The Old 52: “You Don’t Know Dick” – Grayson by Tom King, Tim Seely, & Mikel Janin
Buddy Baker, Animal Man, is often referred to as DC’s “everyman.” In Jeff Lemire, Travel Foreman, Steve Pugh, Rafael Abluquerque and John Paul Leon’s 30 plus issue Animal Man run under New 52’s first wave, Baker was given his most recognizable roles as a faulted (but familiar) father, a friend, an activist, and even as a struggling actor. Lacking both the power set and emotional capacity to emulate Clark Kent, Buddy Baker is no Superman. No, Buddy Baker is a man, and a man is little different than an animal.
But Buddy is also the inauspicious figurehead for something much larger than himself. He’s the eyes and ears of the animal world, beautifully sharing and communing with it — the Red — in a way few can, as a citizen and a family member. He’s also their avatar, their immune system, and their mantle for responsibility, a superhero. More often a victim than not, his life with all of its individualized traumas expresses the global trauma and rot begetting the New 52 world. [Read more…] about The Old 52: Animal Man’s Autopsy
When they began their run on Action Comics in 2011, Grant Morrison was at a crucial juncture in their comics career. After returning to DC in the early 2000s following the end of their run on New X-Men, they launched into a staggering creative frenzy that took them through the first act of their Batman epic, their cult classic take on The Seven Soldiers of Victory, and the multi-Eisner Award winning All-Star Superman with their defining artistic partner Frank Quitely, along with significant contributions to the acclaimed 52. Their mid-naughts imperial phase culminated when Dan DiDio finally handed them the keys to the kingdom and allowed them to do their take on a classic DC Crisis event, leading to the seven-issue Final Crisis with J.G. Jones and Doug Mahnke. Instead of delivering a classic crossover action comic (heh), Morrison wrote a baroque, austere story about the apocalypse powered by symbolism and metaphor as much, if not moreso, than by narrative logic, an ontologically dense exploration of DC’s icons that contrasted them with grimy images of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World New Gods to advance Morrison’s concept of the Justice League as the gods of the Fifth World. [Read more…] about The Old 52: Action Comics & The Birthplace of Modern Morrison