The New DC Explosion - teenage dreams

Today brought the news many fans have been waiting for, confirmation that Tim Drake has a place in the new DC Universe. But that's not all in the latest batch of announcements ...
Teen Titans #1 by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth
DC says: Tim Drake is forced to step out from behind his keyboard when an international organization seeks to capture or kill super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he must team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and a hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash.

So yes, Tim is back, but he's a changed young man. New costume, tweaked background. But I'm sure he'll be essentially the same - the serious-minded Red Robin of old. Actually, if Scott Lobdell lightens Tim up - and the ex-Generation X writer is a former stand-up - I'll be grateful. The boy who once told Batman to cheer the heck up seems to have himself forgotten the advice. 

Wonder Girl sounds like she's not the same Cassandra Sandsmark we know and, er, well, not the same Cassandra Sandsmark. If a new background is necessary - and given likely changes in Wonder Woman, either Cassie gets a new background or she books a single room in Limbo for a few years - it's good that the changes are at least intriguing. 'Belligerent' certainly sounds an improvement on 'mooning over Superboy'. And a hyperactive Kid Flash? Sounds like Bart may be coming over all Impulsive again - hoo-blooming-rah, away with you, blandness! The aforementioned Conner's there too; I hope the sweet kid of recent years isn't gone in favour of the grumpy sod from the Young Justice TV show. And there are a couple of new characters (who look rubbish).

So, do these new costumes spring from the mind of Jim Lee? Doesn't he like these kids? Has he been sniffing too many old comic books? Red Robin has ditched his Dr Midnite Jr look to become Black Condor Chick. Conner has a Kick Me sign on his back. Kid Flash is the personification of Tragedy. And poor Cassie looks like an evil postbox. Good luck to the talented Brett Booth, late of Justice League of America, with making these monstrosities work on the page.
Static Shock #1 by John Rozum and Scott McDaniel
Virgil Hawkins has been gifted with incredible electrical powers. Adopting the persona of Static, he faces super-powered street gangs, raging hormones, homework, and girls in STATIC SHOCK #1.

Milestone Media's most popular character sounds to  be getting a reboot, but I doubt line veteran John Rozum will wish to tinker with a winning formula. But co-writer Scott McDaniel might. I've been loving Rozum's Xombi but I may not stick with this after the first issue. While I've enjoyed the odd bit of McDaniel artwork lately, I generally don't enjoy his style. But who knows, he may have writing talent, and the artwork could soar. I do want to know more about Static, as I managed to miss his series, dropped Teen Titans during his stint as a member due to poor writing, and I don't think Static Shock ever came to the UK (incidentally, why the 'Shock'? Is that part of his name now?). A young hero discovering himself in New York? If it has the vibe of early Spider-Man, Nova or Firestorm, I'm there.
Hawk and Dove #1 by Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld
It's up to the living avatars of war and peace to root out the hidden forces who look to plunge the country into a deadly civil war in HAWK AND DOVE #1.

Now here's a surprise, I assumed Hank Hall and Dawn Grainger would return to supporting character status post-Brightest Day, but here they are with their first series since the debacle of  Armageddon 2001, 20 years ago, when Hawk >ulp< murdered Dove. I do hope issue #1 is entitled 'Before we were so rudely interrupted ...' Sterling Gates worked magic as Supergirl writer over the last couple of years, and I fully expect him to shade the Hank and Dawn relationship beautifully. If, as the precis hints, they'll be back in Washington DC, we may even catch up with their enjoyable, vanished supporting cast. Rob Liefeld, the pair's original penciller, is drawing - that, I really never saw coming. There's no inker announced, but DC really should persuade his original H&D partner - and the book's longtime co-writer - Karl Kesel to jump on board and smooth out those rough edges/lunatic chests.
Legion Lost #1 by Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods
Several years ago we had a series entitled Legion Lost, recently collected, which saw some members adrift in a far-off dimension. A few years prior to that, a sub-team was stranded in the 20th century. The new comic combines the title of one series with the concept of another.  

Seven heroes from the 31st century have traveled back to the present day. Their mission: Save their future from total annihilation. When the future tech they brought with them fails, they find themselves trapped in a nightmarish world and an ultimate struggle to survive.

I take it from this blurb that the heroes start off in the (new) regular 21st-century DCU and wind up somewhere else, as even post-Flashpoint, I can't see Earth meriting the tag 'nightmarish' for a bunch of ruff, tuff super-heroes. The cover crowd's also a bit of a giveaway. That's a great set of Legionnaires right there, so Nicieza - one of the best writers of young adults in comics - has plenty of raw material for character dynamics. He also has a dream partner in artist Pete Woods, who has been known to construct computer models of entire cities, so keen is he to get the details right. This will be a fabulous comic.
Legion of Super-Heroes #1 by Paul Levitz and Francis Portela
And this could be even better. The book I was most worried about is, says DC, the series that's changing the least post-Flashpoint. Paul Levitz carries on current storylines without interruption, though the Legion Lost series adds a twist.

In the 31st century, the Legion of Super-heroes is reeling from the loss of seven of their finest - and trying desperately to keep their youngest recruits alive against a series of terrible new threats.

So, while the excellent Legion Academy series in Adventure Comics is no more, it sounds as if a few of the characters are joining the team, as should be the case. Levitz's scripts have been getting better by the month, and Portela's gorgeous art has been a regular feature since the latest incarnation began - I could not be happier.

How about you? 


  1. It's like a miracle - no Legion reboot.

    I would love it if Karl Kesel were inking Hawk & Dove. But I think you're right that they'll be leaving Gotham - it's way too crowded there, and it prefers its heros non-powered - so I'm also hoping for Washington DC. *And* that supporting cast. Ren Takamori had to have been at least part Japanese, giving DC some of that diversity that they're flag-waving for, and surely Liefeld must want to have another go at the glorious bad taste of Captain Sal's Hawaiian shirts?

    (Untucked shirts do much to hide concave chests, after all. And nowadays Sal is the only one who still needs to come back from the dead so that Armageddon 2001 can be buried without trace as it deserves.)

  2. So, SO happy about the Legion news. Very interested to see Tellus & Gates on 21st century Earth, particularly!

    Looking forward to Static, too. ("Static Shock" was the name of his cartoon, back in the day; he still has a lot of recognition from that, apparently, though I never saw it.)

    As for Titans and Hawk & Dove, there are too many other worthy titles for me to even consider picking these up.

  3. Thanks for the comments, Jule et Rob. There's an interesting interview with Dan Didio and Jim Lee about DC's teen titles at io9 (I've not come across that site previously

  4. Over the moon that my lovely Legion escapes Flushpoint, for the most anyway.
    Thinking about it, it could be a good move. I still dont like the team splitting up but the 'fish out of water' scenario has potential for numerous storylines. As you said in your piece theyve been split into two teams twice over the years and its worked. And lets not forget during the 80s the LSH often had missing members who were stranded somewhere [if only for an issue or two] as they rarely had a full complememt of members all in one place.
    It could work..
    who are the stranded LSHers though? I can make out Gates, Wildfire, Dawny, Tellus...who are the rest? Are those new costumes?
    And I LOVE the possibility that the Academy students may be promoted to official LSH status in the other book! It actually makes a good tie-in to the Academy arc just ended in Adventure [almost like it was planned all along!].
    You know...Im really rather looking forward to both these books!
    I plan to get this new Hawk and Dove too, tho for my mind I miss when they were both brothers. Dawn is alright but I miss the original Hawk and Dove [careful, showing my age here]. Looking forward to it all the same.

  5. Another person pleased that the LSH managed to play the 'reboot? we already gave at the office." card.

    The news that DC is trying to have their artists have three books of material ready by September + the hiring of Rob Liefeld = COMEDY GOLD (seriously, I suspect a ghost artist will show up on Hawk & Dove rther quickly).

  6. So the Legion escapes *Flashpoint* yay! NOT overly excited about the idea of *Legion Lost* (didn't care for the first one--didn't really love the story arc that sent a bunch of Legionnaires back in time). Still, I'll probably read it.

    I don't entirely hate the new WG costume: in fact--I kinda like it. (The homage to at least two older WG costumes is cool--although the hood thing HAS GOT TO GO! Connor Kent as vaguely gay goth doesn't fly with me and when did Silhouette jump to DC from Marvel? (I know it's not really her--but that costume is just BAD!) Wonder if Shadowguy might be a revived Danny Chase. (Please Ghod NO!)

    Static Shock! One word; NOOOOOO!!!

    Hawk and Dove: never cared--never will.

  7. Just a quickie, chaps - the Teen Titans pic has been updated, a couple of extra characters are in there.

  8. Just thought I would put my thoughts on the changes to the DC Universe:
    For me numbers matter and titles like Detective, Batman, Action comics starting at number 1, I find a little sad. Why could they not have kept the numbering the same on books that are continuing and just have a banner on the cover saying New Universe, Reboot or New World anything to set it apart from what went before. I know DC say starting all the comics at number 1 helps readers to understand its a new jumping on point, but come on give us some credit if we can understand how to managed our daily life, house payments, balance work and family life then a comic reboot is not too much of a stretch. The Dark Knight has only reached issue 2 and will be lucky to reach 3 by September the way its going, so do they really believe readers would be confused with the back history of that book?

    John Constantine in a team book I cannot see this working, I have read Constantine since his conception and he is a loner and only thinks of himself so he wont work in a team book. Now if this is a different Constantine due to the changes then he is not the same character and they have lost one reader here.

    Tim Drake not on the Bat books, don't think I have to expand on that one.

    I was enjoying Justice League, and had been informed by all sources that I read or listened too that a long term plan was in place, at last I thought what should be DC premier book finally had a planned direction. Seems I was miss-informed and we are going back to putting the big hitters in there once again, only to change it in around 2 years time and I am been kind giving DC two years.
    How many reboots has this book already had, is another going to make a difference.

    Excited About:
    The bat books all look good, I don't include Birds,Batgirl or Batwoman in that statement, as I didnt read them before so I wont be picking them up in the shake up.
    I can live with Dick Grayson back as Knightwing as I loved that book before his change to Batman.

    The anthology title DC Universe Presents I love the idea of a book that can showcase characters, that would not always support a book of their own. My only hope is that the main DC characters don't have main story lines in this book.

    All the Green Lantern books, I just hope the GL universe hasn't changed too much.

    I have enjoyed the resent JLI book in Brightest Day so will be picking up the new one, just a small complaint where is Blue Beetle and I would have liked to see the Captain Atom stay in there.

    Worried About
    JSA, Power-Girl, American Vampire, Zattana and Batman Beyond who haven't been mentioned as of yet.

    Will I buy the books that are the same or similar to what I buy now, yes I will, will I continue only time will tell. Will I buy any of the new books, I will listen to your reviews before deciding what's best for me.

    On a final note we are holidaying in New York from September 12th for 5 days, so I may be able to get to some book signings whilst I am there if any are happening, glass half full as they say.

  9. I TOTALLY agree about getting Karl Kessel to ink Hawk & Dove. I remember reading the mini-series as a kid and LOVING the art. With hindsight I can say that Kessel's inks were a big part of that, because I really don't care for Liefeld's art twenty years down the line. I was really pleased to see Sterling Gates get this title, but when I saw who the artist is my heart sank. I will be trying it out tho.

    Over the moon about the Legion. I'm disappointed that Adventure is gone, and I also find myselff a little sad that Dragonwing appears to have made the grade rather than likes of senior Academy members Lamprey, Power Boy, Nightwind, etc.
    Couldn't be happier about Portella getting the art gig tho. His work is great.

    As is Pete Woods. I've long been a big fan of his work. I know some have reservations about the Legion in the 21st century, but I really enjoyed the Post Zero Hour Legion's stint in the past around the time of Final Night. It gives my favourite team a chance to link in with the wider DCU that it otherwise doesn't normally get the chance to.

    I'm a little unsre about the Teen Titans redesigns. That new girl, the sppidery one, looks like something from an Image book over a decade ago. Hardly bringing things up to date.

    All in all I'm finding this DCnU reboot quite exciiting. There are disappointments like losing Secret Six and Xombi and no apparent jobs for people like Jamal Igle, Nicola Scott, James Robinson and Frazer Irving (maybe that's their choice, who knows?), but I've not been this excited about the whole line of books foor years!

  10. I think the idea of a Legion book set in the 21st century is a smart commercial decision. It allows for the Legion to interact with more of the DC roster, for example crossing over into Super titles or GL titles as they explore the 21st century universe, which might bring new readers to the main 31st century book.

  11. Has anybody noticed that the Lost team includes all the non-humanoid Legionnaires? This will probably make for a more interesting time trying to blend into the 21st century, but it leaves the regular team looking awfully... bland.

  12. Craig, positivity is cool. I usually manage it ... Supergirl costume, grrr.

    Karl, I never read the original Hawk & Dove, the only time I ever saw them was in Alan Brennert's classic Brave & Bold tale, Time See What's Become of Me. But I was with Dawn and Hank from the start, and felt a connection. They're my H&D and I'm glad to have them back.

    Knightsky, I reckon you're going to be proven right there.

    Ah Baron, the idea of a returned Danny Chase made me laugh. And while I quite like the new WG look, it just doesn't say Cassie to me - I'm used to her as the tomboy type. That lasso is scary, too.

    Rob, cheers for sharing your thoughts. I'm with you as regards the lack of a need for titles to go back to #1. Just stick a big #1 on the issue as DC occasionally did in the Seventies when there was a 'bold new direction', and call them #1 in the digital listings. Or go the dual number route.

    John Constantine in a team book is a weird idea, which rather makes me keen to see it. I'll be reading Justice League Dark considering this 'a' John Constantine, rather than 'the'.

    I'm peeved Power Girl, along with the rest of the JSA, isn't around, but I'm suspecting there's a 'yet' and that (new) Earth 2 will be discovered before long.

    Enjoy New York, I've not been there for a couple of years - jealous!

    Mr Oddly, I'll be so peeved if Dragonwing were the only Academy member, cos I don't like the girl. Happily, the solicitation indicates more than one.

    Rob, fair comment about why an LSH title set now might be a good idea. I'm probably wrong about them being diverted away from Earth.

    I'd not noticed that David, verrrry interesting!

  13. Wow, Hawk and Dove have feet! Seriously though, I find this whole reboot scary and needless, DC already has published tales of Earth-1, which rebooted Superman, and fairly recently. They could have continued on with more characters, made Earth-1 the DC equivalent of Marvel's Ultimates line. And, why no JSA?? Hey, I'm still recovering from COIE!
    As Rocket Red would say "To be giving me breakage!"

  14. Ah, Cabin, you're making sense - stop that at once!


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