So today DC Comics, at Wondercon, announced the creative teams who'll be handling the various series come the line-wide revamp which begins on 25 May with the 80pp, $2.99 DC Universe Rebirth special. Just look at that great Gary Frank cover.
Co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee first took to the stage, and admitted that they came to realise, after the fans, that they hadn't quite got everything right with 2011's New 52 revamp. Which was pretty refreshing, how often do corporations admit they blew it?
One of the most interesting bits of information was that we're getting new costumes for the characters. Lee, who came up with most of the looks for the 2011 revamp, revealed that this time the artists on the books had more input, which should allow for a more varied approach - put away those Nehru collars!
Superman isn't getting his trunks back, but he gets a less fussy look. Why the heck the red boots have gone, I don't know.
Supergirl pretty much goes to the TV version, which makes sense - the New 52 outfit never became less than horrific.
Black Canary looks a lot more classic Dinah than she has of late.
Batman's in the outfit that debuted in this week's #50... it looks way too slinky without shorts.
Wonder Woman gets her brightness back, while the kilt thing goes skimpy, at least in Jim Lee's promo image up top.
Green Lantern Jessica Cruz... can anyone actually remember how she looked as Power Ring? I just think of her as Green Popeye.
Helena Bertinelli goes from Spyral to a pretty trad Huntress look.
And Ollie gets the goatee, on the basis that every great Green Arrow story that Geoff johns ever read has the beard.
DiDio and Lee were joined by chief creative officer Geoff Johns, who reiterated his line from recent interviews that what's been missing from DC Comics since 2011 is legacy. He spoke a little about the 80pp giant, and how it's not going to restart the DCU so much as reveal secrets that reposition characters, as did his Green Lantern and Flash Rebirth books. The story opens with Batman 'trying to solve a big big problem with the Joker and it all goes from there'.
Writers and artists were then invited onto the stage in 'families' to give a brief preview of their approach.
Let's take a quick trip through the titles.
Oh, now this is a surprise. I was hoping pre-Crisis Lois and Clark, and son Jon, would stick around after their current mini-series, and they're getting the legacy title, as Action returns to its original numbering. The story will see them in Metropolis, with another Clark Kent around, not in the way we expect, apparently - so does that mean New 52 Superman is going away? The Action preview art shows Superman without the beard and in the new costume, and looks like the same guy in the Superman preview art. The adversary, you'll notice, is Lex Luthor, in full-on super mode. Colour me intrigued, and rather excited. Dan Jurgens was at the presentation and seemed, as they say, stoked to be back on a mainline Superman book. And the art line-up is good, especially Patrick Zircher, who I've been wanting to see in a big DC book for years.
Patrick Gleason is a good pick for artist, Doug Mahnke does a beautiful Superman, but I'm so over the flarey eyes. Writer Peter Tomasi wasn't at the event, and nothing was revealed. Dang. But recent Superman writer Gene Yang was onstage, to surprise us with...
Fan expectation, based on a Justice League #50 preview cover, was that this would be Lex Luthor, but no, it's an all-new character, a young guy in Shanghai - which Yang notes is a true 'city of tomorrow' - who gains Superman's powers and starts off as a jerk, but goes on a heroic journey. Another hint that New 52 Clark is going away? That might be why there are powers knocking around to be passed on. It sounds interesting, and will hopefully allow Yang to play more to his strengths than did the main Superman title.
Damian Wayne. Jon White (probably Jon Kent by the time this hits). No more details, but that's enough for me - we know Damian is super-cocky, while Jon has his dad's powers and his mother's nature, so there'll be a fun dynamic. No creative team announced, mind.
I mustn't prejudge. I mustn't pre-judge... but Steve Orlando promises the Cyborg Superman trying to seduce his daughter with promises of a reborn Krypton, because she's not necessarily content on Earth. Which is pretty much the godawful H'el storyline. When Orlando mentioned that Cyborg Superman was Zor-El the audience gasped, obviously not realising this idea was introduced a couple of years back. When last Kara had her book she was in a good place, having begun to embrace her life on Earth, and I really wanted to stay there awhile. I've really enjoyed Orlando's work on Midnighter, so this won't be a bad comic book. He promises a new love interest for Kara - which again, we don't need, as she had a new friend, Mike. Of course, if the new love interest is the chap on the cover it could be Mike with a new look, and having regained the use of his legs. I really thought DC would just continue with Kara as was, have her one day hear about a job from someone collecting a TV mogul's coffee in the shop where she works...
Hmm, is that Cat Grant on the cover?
And blog chum Anj of Supergirl Comic Box Commentary, notes that '...Orlando also talked about compassion and heroism .. Not isolation and anger'. Good points!
I've not read anything by artist Brian Ching, that I know of, but checking around the net shows he draws people well and knows his way around a page. Basically, I'm thrilled Kara gets a book back, it has good creators... bring it on!
Again, we know nothing of the story - maybe Lois Lane also getting powers? - but heck, written and drawn by Phil Jimenez, with former Supergirl artist Emanuela Lupacchino also on board? I'm there.
Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman by some very good creators. Worth a look. Hopefully Manapul will employ some of the panache he brought to Flash in the early days of the New 52.
Greg Rucka is back writing the book, having lost the title when Infinite Crisis hit about a decade ago. His run wasn't my favourite, it was a tad slow for me, but he's a great comic writer and will definitely have some ideas worth considering. And the preview art from Britain's own Liam Sharp looks stupendous. He reckons he's doing the best work of his career and I don't think he's wrong. He's not the only artist on this bi-weekly book, though, as the excellent Nicola Scott returns to DC. The surprise is that she and Sharp will alternate issues, with Rucka giving us two distinct stories. Odd issues see Sharp drawing The Lies, a tale set in the present, with Wonder Woman looking into confusion around her past (please God this is Rucka undoing the rapist Amazons business) while the even issues are Scott drawing Wonder Woman Year One.
It's Tom King, currently writing the best comic at Marvel in The Vision and underrated DC gem The Omega Men. Former CIA guy, comic formalist par excellence, longtime DC fan and idea machine. This is going to be very, very good. Pretty decent artists too!
Oh, now this is interesting. Batman and Batwoman training a new generation of the Batman Family in a very classic-looking Tim Drake, along with Spoiler and Cassandra Cain in her new identity as revealed in Batman Eternal, according to writer James Tynion IV. I'm looking forward to this hugely, especially as regards Clayface's role. And Eddy Barrows is always great.
It's the now DC-exclusive Scott Snyder and a bevy of guest artists, including John Romita Jr and Tula Lotay, sending Batman and Two-Face on a road trip, pursued by Gotham's worst villains. Should be a hoot.
Back in black and blue and Gotham City. And written by Tim Seeley, who's done a tremendous job co-writing him in Grayson with Tom King. Add in two good artists and I expect great things.
Taking over as Barbara Gordon's writer is Hope Larson, whose work I don't know, though she's done lots of indie stuff. I do know artist Rafael Albuquerque - I think we all do from his superb work on Blue Beetle and American Vampire - and he's a huge plus. If Larson said anything about the direction of the book, I missed it, but it seems Babs is off backpacking to Asia.
The best BoP stories focused on sisterhood so it's interesting that this series will be written by siblings Julie and Shawna Benson. They're making their comics debut, after writing for such TV shows as The 100 and Emma Approved, which don't seem to have made it to the UK. The story sees Babs reaching out to Black Canary for help when someone starts using her old Oracle identity, while Huntress is back fighting the Mob. I've completely lost track of whether Babs was Oracle post-2011, it seems to change with the wind - hopefully DC will stick with the story point from now on. But I'd be disappointed were Babs' recent Burnside flatmate, IT genius Frankie, to be sidelined, she really should be DC's Oracle by now. I don't know the art of Claire Roe, and it turns out she lives half an hour from me here in Scotland. Waving! Anyway, what I've seen of her work online looks rather spiffy.
Brian Hitch moves from his JLA book to the main title, but he's not drawing this time, instead sticking to the writing side. The line-up looks to be the same as the one we've had since 2011, bar the inclusion of two Green Lanterns, current Power Ring Jessica Cruz and (Whatever Happened to) Simon Baz. I fully expect Hitch to give his two decent artists big, daft stories to go wild with.
It's a mystery!
I'd dropped off Flash, I got bored with the repetitive storylines, but the new direction will get me back. A Speed Force storm over Central City gives many people super-speed. Some embrace the powers and Flash trains them. Some just want a normal life. Some become villains. And one becomes a killer - Godspeed. Good artists again, I'm optimistic.
It's Simon and Jessica, rookie GLs and partners trying to protect Earth. Sam Humphries comes over from Marvel to write, while the superb Robson Rocha shares art duties with Ardian Syaf. I'm optimistic.
The Green Lantern Corps has lost control of the universe. Sinestro rules from Warworld. Hal, John Stewart and Guy Gardner must restore justice. It's a great set-up, let's hope the creative team can make it sing. Heck, Ethan Van Sciver loves GL like no other, so at least it'll look amazing, and Rafa Sandoval is no slouch.
A new writer to DC, John Semper, takes over the series. He's in animation, worked on the likes of Spider-Man and Static Shock, and wants soul to be the heart of the book. When you're man and machine, where's your soul? He came across as a nice, sharp guy on stage, and I'm itching to see what he can do with artistic collaborators Will Conrad and Paul Pelletier. I'm amazed Cyborg keeps his series, never mind gets promoted to twice monthly, but that's being in a big film for you.
Colour me delighted. Dan Abnett, who showed up for the most recent issue and did a wonderful job, is the ongoing writer. Co-penciller Brad Walker has tweeted that to the best of his knowledge, he isn't co-writing! Walker pencilling is enough for me, he's a big talent. Also drawing are the always fine Jesus Merino and recent Suicide Squad penciller Phil Briones, whose work I enjoyed loads. Aquaman is 'the most misunderstood, the most mysterious and the most complex' character in the DCU, said Abnett. The book will continue his current storyline, as Arthur and Mera bid to make Atlantis a partner with the surface world.
And here's Abnett again, continuing on from his current Titans Hunt series, strands of which will feed into the DC Rebirth 80pp giant which kicks off the new directions while revealing 'the biggest secret on the DC Universe'.
So we have Dick, Donna, Garth and Roy, still in the ridiculous baseball cap that makes him look like a fratboy Hillbilly. But who's the woman in green with the awkward hips and scary face - I hope that's not a new look for Lilith, who should only ever wear green plaid. Silver Banshee gone green? Artist Brett Booth could tell us. Abnett told the audience: 'These are heritage characters. This is about DC's legacy. I know it's not trendy but this is a book about friendships and relationships'. This makes me happy, one of the weaknesses of the New 52 was the way so many heroes simply didn't like one another. This can only be an improvement.
Damian Wayne decides he should lead the team. Everyone else disagrees. Discuss. With fists. This could be interesting, is Damian being aged up? Writer Ben Percy impressed on Green Arrow, let's see what he can do here with artist Jonboy Meyers. The presence of New 52 Wally West means we're not getting classic/real Wally back, it seems.
Everything continues as normal, but with more guests stars, especially Power Girl and Poison Ivy. The now DC-exclusive Amanda Conner joked that they were considering not a Harley Rebirth but an Afterbirth. Lovely. Interestingly, Jim Lee acknowledged that after Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, Harley is their biggest character.
Rob Williams loses Martian Manhunter but gains Suicide Squad, comprising Harley, Killer Croc, Deadshot, Katana and... Geoff Johns, I think, yelled out not to give away the surprise characters, but I swear I heard someone mention 'Flagg'. Jim Lee - who turns out to be an incredibly charming chap - is drawing, as is Philip Tan. I suspect it will sell; I just hope Amanda Waller is herself once more.
Ben Percy stays onboard as we get the first meeting of current continuity Ollie and Black Canary. I suspect sparks will fly. Juan Ferreyra is a talent, but I don't know Otto Schmidt. Brilliant name, though.
Scott Lobdell remains, and brings in new members Bizarro and the Amazon Artemis - have we seen her since 2011? The weird character combo will see me give it an issue or two. Dexter Soy! Not seen his work in ages, I look forward to it.
John Constantine teams with Swamp Thing to rescue Abby Arcane, written by Simon Oliver and drawn by Moritat. This cannot be anything but excellent.
I hate this character. But the always thoughtful, often witty Christopher Priest is writing, so it'll get a couple of issues.
Same creative team as ever. Terry McGuinness is back in the suit. I've never been interested in the character, but the audience was cheering.
So, what do you think?