I’ll be talking about two main things this month in more depth than I usually do for these posts after the break. One is about the new lineup of writers for the “Green Lantern” family of titles. The other is the announcement of “100 Bullets: Brother Lono,” the follow up to Azzarello and Risso’s great crime series. One provides me with everything I was hoping to see. The other... well, it could surprise me but I’m not expecting much at this point. That said, DC’s big launch of the month kicks things off from here.
Superman Unchained #1: As I understand, this has been some time in the pipeline to coincide with the premiere of “Man of Steel” later in the week which it ships. After so many years, DC is finally tapping into that movie synergy that brought us such titles as Fraction and Larroca’s “Invincible Iron Man,” “The Mighty Thor,” the latest arbitrary renumbering of Ed Brubaker’s run on “Captain America,” and the soon-to-be-cancelled-I-believe “Avengers Assemble.” So yeah, launching new titles off of movies has had kind of a checkered history over these past few years. Fortunately, DC is going as A-list as they possibly can, getting Scott Snyder to write this, Jim Lee to illustrate it, and Dustin Nguyen to draw the back-up stories. As Snyder’s strengths are geared towards finding new spins on familiar genre tropes, I see no reason to not pick this up in its inevitable hardcover edition unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong. Which it won’t. Right?
Larfleeze #1: This, on the other hand, strikes me as a bad, bad idea. Now I like Larfleeze’s schtick in “Green Lantern” because extreme avarice can be funny in small doses. Giving him his own title and letting him run loose for issue after issue, that’s going to get old real quick no matter who’s writing or drawing the series. In this case, Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins, respectively. Now the smart thing to do would’ve been to run this as a six-issue miniseries to see if people were receptive of the idea of Larfleeze as a starring character. As it is, I can see its association with “Green Lantern” giving it some good sales out of the gate, but they’ll come crashing down in short order. I give this 18 issues, maybe 24 if they decide to run a crossover or two during its first year.
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1: The mysterious hooded woman who looks like Zealot from “Wildcats” gets her own series to hype the upcoming “Trinity War” mega-crossover. Personally, I think the most interesting thing about her is her resemblance to Zealot. I think I’ll be able to find out why just by following Bleeding Cool rather than reading this.
Green Lantern #21, Green Lantern Corps #21, Green Lantern: New Guardians #21, Red Lanterns #21: Welcome your new writers Robert Venditti, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Justin Jordan and Fialkov again, respectively. When I heard that they’d be taking over, I was... underwhelmed. Now I could be forced to eat my words as they could be exactly what this franchise needed to get me reading a book not written by Geoff Johns or Peter Tomasi. Yet it does not inspire confidence to see that DC has gone with decidedly B-list talent for their second-largest comic book “family” of titles. Yes, Venditti gave us the great “Surrogates” graphic novels, I enjoyed Jordan’s “The Strange Talent of Luther Strode,” and... I’ll have to go back and re-read Fialkov’s “Elk’s Run” to get a better handle regarding how I feel about him.
However, each writer also has a New 52 title that has either been canceled or is quickly getting there under their belt. “Team 7” lasted eight issues under Jordan, “I, Vampire” made it to nineteen with Fialkov and I expect Venditti’s “Demon Knights” to join them if sales don’t improve. I realize that I’m being excessively negative regarding the fate of series that won’t exist for another three months, but it’s hard to feel optimistic when DC didn’t care enough to put an A-lister like Morrison or Snyder on the main title or to snatch someone away from Marvel for this purpose either. Well, they did get Billy Tan as the new artist on “Green Lantern” so I guess they’re hoping he’ll prove to be enough of a draw there. While these titles have produced some of the better sales for the line, expect that to change over the next year or so.
100 Bullets: Brother Lono #1: Now this, on the other hand, is (on paper) everything that I could’ve wanted after reading the end of the original series. While I could live with Lono’s fate being left ambiguous, it always bothered me that we never got to find out what America would be like without The Trust pulling its strings. I remember suggesting to a friend of mine that all I wanted was a 96-page graphic novel epilogue to answer this. He told me that it was because of people like me that we get stuff like “The Dark Knight Strikes Again” and things just got uglier from there. The moral of this? Well, there isn’t one but I’m betting he hasn’t heard about this yet so I’ll be telling him all about it tomorrow.
Anyhow, the only indication regarding the actual story of this project is that Lono is now in Mexico “working on the side of the angels.” Riiiiiiiiiiight. It wouldn’t be implausible to think that the events of the final volume showed the character the error of his ways, but I doubt it. He’s either biding his time as part of some plan, or already working his own angle on something, or the “angels” he’s working for are all Angels of Death! This being written by Azzarello, it wouldn’t surprise me if he decided to keep the title character off-panel until the final page. He’s always been about trying to give the audience what it needs rather than what it wants. So seeing Lono be a complete badass while perpetrating actions of the most dubious moral standards is likely off the table. What I’m hoping is that Azzarello will use the character as a vehicle to show us how America has changed in the wake of The Trust’s violent dissolution. Of course, that’s what I want so that may very well be off the table as well. What’s left? The unknown, which is how I think the writer wants it. Can’t wait to read the collected edition next year.
American Vampire: The Long Road To Hell #1: A one-shot featuring the “return” of greaser vampire hunter Travis Kidd. My money’s on this taking place before his “blaze of glory” finish in the series proper. That’s because I can’t see Snyder or artist/co-writer for this special Rafael Albuquerque wanting to spoil his ultimate fate before people read the story. Should be good, and its accompanied by news that “American Vampire” will be resuming regular service later this year.
The Unwritten #50: Part one of “The Unwritten Fables” which sees Tommy Taylor crossing over into the world of “Fables.” It’s a one-sided crossover, though, as this won’t be reflected in “Fables” itself. At least, not yet. I can see Willingham making this particular storyline an in-joke in his series, but not a major plot point. That’s mainly because this story appears to take place before The Adversary was defeated over there as the solicitation text tells us that the witches of Fabletown are trying to summon the greatest mage the worlds have ever seen in order to help them in the fight. No points for guessing who they wind up getting. I’m certainly intrigued by this premise and it’ll also have regular “Fables” artist Mark Buckingham contributing art as well. Also, what we can see of Yuko Shimizu’s cover looks really sweet. Is there more? Because if that’s only half, it looks almost poster-worthy as it is.