Welcome to our first podcast of the new year! And the biggest thing in the DC Universe right now has to be Wonder Woman ’84 so join us as we discuss everything and we mean everything (spoilers) about the movie, then we talk about what DC stuff we’re looking forward to this year! (some slight audio issues with this one, Jim’s audio was taken from his webcam not microphone because sometimes computers go crazy!!)
Its just Jim and Mike this week talking comics, the give you their thoughts on the first Aquaman book in the New 52 ‘The Trench’, then Jim shares his thoughts on the Brian Michael Bendis run on Superman and Action Comics, Mike talks about the Greg Rucka Wonder Woman run and we find out whats next on our read list!!
If you asked most comic book readers from the 1990s who their favourite Flash was, the answer was likely Wally West, with older fans citing Barry as their favourite. If you asked most comic book readers about the Flash title during the 1990s, Mark Waid’s influence as writer is most likely to be mentioned.
That comes as no surprise, as he started on the book in mid-1992 and ended his run in mid-2000. He dominated that decade, but during that eight year period, many people forget there was a rather solid year where Flash was written by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar instead of Waid.
This run does not typically make top ten lists, and it is too bad, because there are some very memorable tales and concepts that Morrison and Millar tackled during this year, and really sort of broke the mould that the series had developed by this point.
Sure there is the usual stuff that you would expect in stories featuring Flash; (cosmic) races, Wally being in over his head, multiple speedsters and even a few hijinx along the way (as a cross-over with both Green Arrow and Green Lantern would entail). However, when have you seen a two major writers take over a character such as the Flash, and break both of his legs by the end of their first issue? That is the only spoiler that will be revealed, but that is indeed how their year long tenure begins.
The only thing that really harms this collection is the inconsistency in art. Paul Ryan’s style works great on a character such as Superman or saw Batman who have some very iconic and polished looks, but not so much as someone that is as visually kinetic as the Flash. Compared to many of the other artists that pencilled this title (Mike Wieringo, Carlos Pacheco, Salvador Larroca & Oscar Jimenez), Ryan’s work unfortunately comes across as very stiff. Newcomer (at the time) Pop Mhan brought back a lot of the visual creativity, but his time on the title was simply not long enough, with only three of his issues being collected in this package (out of a total half dozen or so issues).
This collection is still worth reading, but the reader should be forewarned; do not expect massive, big zany ideas type of stories from this collection; Morrison’s usual eccentricities seem tempered a bit with Millar on as co-writer, making it a rather traditional, yet still incredibly satisfying, read.
Note: neither the Green Arrow or Green Lantern issues collected are written by Morrison or Millar, but included for the sake of a story that ran through all three titles.
Collects: Flash (Vol 2.) 130-141, Green Arrow (Vol. 2) Green Lantern (Vol. 3) 96
Its that time of the year where everything takes a dark turn for it is Halloween! So we have put together a Halloween special for you featuring some of the best creepy comics and scariest tv characters and the best part is it’s all 3 of us together Jim, Mike and Rob so come have some spooky fun with us!
The early 2000s saw a majority of the DC’s major characters go through a creative renaissance, a rebirth, if you will. This happened to coincide with the second time in my life that I gave up comic books. One did not cause the other. In fact, I’m now trying to track down a lot of material some twenty years after the fact. You see, in the early 2000s, university demanded much of my time and money. Comic books were the first luxury to go.
As a result, I’m reading a lot of new material for the first time, two decades on. This was stuff I would have loved to enjoy when it first came out, but better late than never. This list looks at some of the best from this decade. Don’t expect the likes of All-Star Superman or Batman: Hush on this list. You know me; I like to dig a bit deeper with Curated.
Batgirl: Year One
I adore the concept of Batgirl. I adore Barbara Gordon in any identity, but the majority of Batgirl stories at this time, were ones that had already been published in the Silver Age. Few modern Batgirl storylines exists prior to the New52 reboot, yet when DC published a Batgirl story during these decades, they truly rewarded the reader for their patience. Batgirl: Year One is the benchmark for future writers.
Collects: Batgirl: Year One 1-9
Batman: New Gotham Volume One
Batman was experiencing big event fatigue by the end of the 1990s. Or at least he should have been just as exhausted as his fanbase that just experienced a decade that opened with a new Robin, continued into the Knightfall Trilogy, a plague, an earthquake, being declared a no man’s land that included a year of near anarchy in a city that already doesn’t really understand the concepts of law and/or order to begin with. And this all happened within 2-3 years of Bruce’s life, according to then published timelines.
The Batman franchise as a result took a slightly slower pace at the turn of the millennia. Greg Rucka was put in charge of Detective Comics, and with a highly stylized new look by Shawn Martinbrough gave us stories that largely eschewed the psychopaths in favour of more personal, intimate stories; more police procedural, more crime boss and gangs, less guest stars from a certain asylum. This ranks as one of my favourite Batman collections.
Collects: Detective Comics (Vol. 1) 742-753
Green Arrow by Kevin Smith
Green Arrow is a niche character, and one that is often considered a carbon copy of Batman. While some of these criticisms may have been true in the Golden and Silver Age of comics, there’s a very different Oliver Queen that ran around in the 1970s to 2010s. There have been many memorable runs for this character, but for me, the respect and reverence that Kevin Smith shows makes this a modern classic.
Contains: Green Arrow (Vol. 3) 1-15
Robin: Year One
Yes, I have raved about this book already. Yes, it is already on the Curated: Dick Grayson by Chuck Dixon list, and no I don’t care. I’m going to recommend it again. And I recommend it, because it dovetails beautifully with the Batgirl: Year One collection, but you’re going to just have to find out for yourselves!
Contains: Robin: Year One 1-4
Superman: The City of Tomorrow Volume One
If you haven’t noticed a pattern by now, DC franchises entered a period of either going back to basics as with Batgirl and others on this list, or did a soft reboot button as with Batman or Green Arrow. Superman, much like Batman, fell into both camps convenient, with an infusion of new talent such as Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke, Ed McGuinness, Mark Schultz and more. As a result, we got big action Superman but with some of the strongest characterizations not seen in some time. It appears DC is eager to get this material back into stores after a long period of being out of print. This first collection is well worth spending an afternoon over.
Contains: Action Comics (Vol 1.) 760-763, Adventures of Superman (Vol. 1) 573-576, Superman (Vol. 2) 151-154, Superman: Man of Steel (Vol. 1) 95-98 & Superman: Y2K
Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Book One
Diana of Themyscira can be a difficult character for me to invest in. Don’t get me wrong; she is a brilliant character, but I have found few creative teams that have made me really lover her narrative. John Byrne mostly succeeded at this with his run, as did Phil Jimenez. George Perez was just okay to me, and sadly Messner-Loebs run was by my estimation… a hot mess. As a long time fan of Rucka both in comics and in his novels, I had high hopes for this run. If anyone would understand her and write her, strangely a man like Greg Rucka could.
This collection has conflict, edginess, and doses of great humour in the right places. A new role for Diana gives us brilliant new dimensions to her character. Not just a hardcore feminist icon anymore, politics have become more varied and more nuanced in the modern age. This is the first book of a run that would define an already iconic character.
Contains: Wonder Woman (Vol. 2) 195-205 & Wonder Woman: Hiketeia