Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Extant's Pull List - Debut of DC You

After a two-month crapfest that was Convergence (which was basically a continuation of Earth 2: World's End and a lead-in for the new Earth 2: Society book), DC Comics last week began its new DC You campaign. With a whole new set of first issues, new series and new directions, the idea of a shared universe has been replaced by the return of a multiverse, with a number of series not at all connected to one another.

The new strategy supposedly will allow creators to tell their own stories without concern of where it fits in the overall DC Universe, and it's first week did a great job showing off different sides to different characters.

I bought and downloaded nine DC Comics issues last week, including four new first issues, an annual and four books starting new stories or heading in new directions.

The New Series 

After years of being criticized for a grim outlook and taking the fun away from its heroes, DC Comics over the last year has been trying new things, with critical hits like Gotham Academy, Harley Quinn and a new direction for Batgirl. The new approach continued this week with "all-ages" miniseries, Bizarro and Bat-Mite.

While Bat-Mite, written by comics legend Dan Jurgens, was fun, it left something to be desired. Bizarro, on the other hand, was a fantastic first issue, introducing the premise of Bizarro going on a road trip with Jimmy Olsen to "Bizarro America," AKA Canada, to get him away from Metropolis. Writer Heath Corson set up a ridiculous premise for this six-issue miniseries and delivered a comic that can be enjoyed by any type of comic fan, with no need to keep up with anything happening in any other book.

Dan Jurgens also wrote the new Batman Beyond No. 1 last week, placing the Tim Drake of five years from now into the Batman Beyond suit to try and save the past, in a continuation of the weekly Future's End series. Omega Men rounds out the slate of new comics I picked up, as a group of freedom fighters try to make a point by "killing" Kyle Rayner. I'm willing to give these books a second look, but they're both on thin ice after shaky debuts.

The New Directions 

DC's Free Comic Book Day issue, Divergence, previewed "Truth," the new story running through the Superman books. The Man of Steel has been depowered and Lois Lane - his would-be wife, soul mate and best friend - discovered his dual identity as Clark Kent and then revealed it to the world. On top of that, the Fortress of Solitude has rejected him. With Action Comics 41, "Truth" kicks off in earnest with Clark Kent coming back to Metropolis and setting up new status quo. Aaron Kuder and Greg Pak set up an intriguing premise for the new direction, bringing the character back to 1938 power levels. "Truth" continues in a loose crossover in Batman/Superman this week, although DC has said that each book will provide its own story, with "Truth" just being a unifying feature.

The lack of a cohesive DC Universe is highlighted mostly in Geoff Johns' Justice League 41. The beginning of the long-teased "Darkseid War" features Bruce Wayne as Batman, a fully-powered Superman and generally ignores everything going on in other books. Last week's issue focuses on the search for an Amazon who gave birth to Darkseid's daughter the same night that Wonder Woman was born, while the Anti-Monitor (the main villain in Crisis on Infinite Earths) readies for an all-out assault on the Justice League's first opponent. Johns is amazing at setting the premise for a story and "Darkseid War" is no different. Although, given Johns' tendency to stretch stories out, waiting for the inevitable trade collection may be the more satisfying way to read the story.

Also in stores last week were new issues for Green Lantern and Green Arrow. Over in GL, the Corps is no more, Hal Jordan is a renegade and bringing in criminals using a Lantern gauntlet. Green Arrow steps back a bit from introducing concepts from the Arrow TV show (no Diggle or Felicity to be seen this issue) as Oliver Queens returns to Seattle after some soul searching.

Overall, a pretty good week for the new DCU. Hopefully, the levity introduced last week sticks around for a bit, as having some variety in your offerings is appreciated. Next week, we'll take a look at the all-new, all-different Batman in three books (Batman, Detective Comics and Batman/Superman), along with some first issues debuting this week.

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