While all of us at Multiversity are fans of a wide spectrum of comics, there are a few of us that tend to self-identify as “DC guys.” We’ve cried for justice; we’ve been through the blackest nights and the brightest days. And now, we’ve been culled together for a new column to focus on some of the bigger goings on in the world of Detective Comics Comics. If you’re wondering who is going to stand up and discuss what is happening at DC – don’t worry:
Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something…well, there are some blue things here, I guess. DC’s latest Free Comic Book Day offering adheres to the old wedding adage fairly well, with the various writers and artists blending bits and pieces of DC history with some bold new takes on DC’s biggest characters.
Be warned, SPOILERS will abound…
Batman: The Rookie
Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Greg Capullo
Following the devastating fallout of “Endgame,” Snyder and Capullo present a Gotham City that is once again without its Caped Crusader. It’s slightly difficult not to be a little cynical about this. It’s been only a little over five years since Grant Morrison killed off the Dark Knight, albeit in a more fantastical and convoluted fashion. Furthermore, comic book deaths don’t mean quite what they used to, regardless of “Endgames” apparent stark finality.
We’ve been on a cycle of identity deferred for years, ever since Superman bit the dust and Batman broke his back. There’s something undeniably fascinating about this type of story, see someone new take on the mantle of the hero. In choosing that new hero, Snyder has managed to blend disparate aspects of the Batman zeitgeist, from the current-big-thing Gotham, to the beloved “Batman Beyond.” Ok, for real, I’m about to talk about the new Batman, so SPOILERS.
As our esteemed Brian Salvatore correctly predicted, the new Batman is none other than Jim Gordon, by way of Geri Powers, of Powers International. Of all the people to take on the mantle of the bat, this is one of the most interesting. While we don’t know a lot about the details regarding this new arrangement, it’s obviously a fairly controversial one, both in the real and comic book worlds. Unfortunately, the revealed is marred by questionable characterization of the ex-Commissioner. It’s extremely odd, as Snyder has excelled in honing in on Gordon’s voice throughout his long tenure in the Bat-office. Perhaps there’s more to the picture than we’re presented with, Gordon has been through a lot lately. Could this have precipitated such a grim, action hero-esque shift in Gordon’s demeanor? I hope so, as the whole affair comes off as more than a little two-dimensional.
The odd portrayal of Gordon continues in his physical depiction. Capullo’s rendition of a buzzed, clean shaven Gordon feels particular off-model compared to how the artist usually presents him. If the words weren’t on the page telling me otherwise, I’d assume Jackie Earle Haley’s Rorschach was the new Batman. Otherwise, Capullo’s work is as spectacular as ever. The double page spread of mourners holding vigil in under a sea of Bat-signals is intricately crafted, and FCO’s neon color palette is both powerful and haunting. The story’s final panel calls back to the 90’s animated series, a common source of inspiration to this team, and the imagery is as effective as ever.
“The Rookie” doesn’t ensure full confidence in this new status quo, the level of quality that this team is known for is on full display, promising good things to come.
Final Verdict: 7.0
Written Gene Luen Yang
Illustrated by John Romita, Jr.
‘Exposed’ is special in that it’s the only vignette to debut a new creative team. Gene Luen Yang makes his debut as the new “Superman” writer, joining continuing penciller John Romita Jr. The relatively short story doesn’t quite showcase Yang’s unique voice as much as one would hope. The story feels very much in line with the current tone of the Superman books. Not that that’s a bad thing, as the line has been very strong of late. There are a few hints of what Yang will bring to the table, mostly in the snappy dialogue and modern approach.Continued below
Use of social media in comics is very tricky. It can be a great tool for conveying the state of world, for creating tone and atmosphere. However, it’s often marred by silly corporate analogues or dated, out-of-touch depiction of how social media actually works. Yang’s use of Twitter, YouTube and the like isn’t perfect, but it’s a far cry from the embarrassing attempts present in other recent DC books.
The truth behind “Truth” is a major shake up for Clark. Many heroes have been outed to the public over the years with varying degrees of success. The story has fantastic potential, especially for Lois, a character who has arguably been grossly overlooked in the New 52. Of the three stories featured in “Divergence,” ‘Exposed’ expresses the most potential.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Justice League: The Other Amazon
Written Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Jason Fabok
If you’re off-put by the fact that only two-thirds of the DC Trinity, the male two-thirds, are represented in this issue, take heart; this prologue to the upcoming “Darkseid War” has deep roots in Wonder Woman’s rich mythology. While each member of the Justice League gets a nod, it’s Diana of Themyscira who gets central billing.
Following up on “Justice League” #40’s fan-gasmic romp through Days of Crises Past, ‘The Other Amazon’ explores the secret origin of Darkseid’s Daughter, Grail. The prototypcial antithesis of Wonder Woman, an Amazonian of godly lineage, Grail looks to make a formidable foe to Diana and League alike.
While exploring the birth of Grail, the issue also includes a prophetic “flash-forward” that has become standard to Johns’ event prologues. We get a glimpse of a great battle between, arguably, the biggest villains in the DC universe. We see the members of the League entrenched in various dire straits, some of which are of particular intrigue. For instance, it seems that Johns is poised to do pull a trick that I long suspected of Grant Morrison, with a particular Leaguer ascending to godhood.
With an arc now under his belt, Jason Fabok is at the top of his game. Seemingly blending Ivan Reis’ bombastic widescreen super heroics with David Finch’s dark, gritty detail, Fabok proves that he’s more than capable of matching Johns for this event. The previously mentioned battle of gods is both titanic and dynamic in presentation. It’s not easy to make sequential artwork that both flows naturally and also showcases scenes in statuesque glory, but Fabok toes the line with skill.
Unlike the two stories that proceed it, ‘The Other Amazon’ doesn’t look to redefine the status quo for the book it represents. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, it’s the most successful in drumming up excitement for the book it represents.
Final Verdict: 8.8
In the opening foreword to “Divergence,” Dan Didio makes bold promises regarding the future of DC Comics. After a few rocky years, the Co-Publisher expresses a goal of “celebrating the past while reinventing the present,” bringing “diversity not just in character, but in creator, in voice, tonality and storytelling.” Words like these are sweet music, soothing the cries and critiques leveled against the New 52 over the past 4 years. Of course, words are nothing without action to back them up. In that regard, “Divergence” is a strong foot forward toward realizing these sentiments. We still have one more month of “Convergence” and while I’m enjoying it more than I expected to, June can’t get here fast enough.
What are your thoughts on the future of DC? Does “Divergence” inspire hope of things to come, or have you been spurned one too many times by false promises? Sound off in the comments, and be sure to continue following Multiversity Comics and The DC3.