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
Sean Dillon: Ok, so… The Multiversity. It’s, uh, it’s a lot. There are many places we could start with this one, so let’s begin with something basic: What was your first Grant Morrison comic?
Ritesh Babu: Amusingly? It’s tied up in this. All-Star Superman was the first, proper, full Morrison I read. It was a complete story and collection of a years-old book. It was, also, ‘out of continuity’ and an ‘Elseworlds.’ So I was interested in them as a writer and wanted more. And what do I hear about and find but this dashing new comics event called The Multiversity! It was the first Morrison I read as it came out. In that sense, I consider this thing to be my ‘first, proper Morrison.’ It’s not the hermetically sealed, self-contained epic that is All-Star. [Read more…] about The Old 52: The Multiversity Chat
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!