DC Rebirth Fantasy Draft Part 1

Yes, I have come out of hibernation.  No, I don’t want to talk about it.

DC Rebirth!  I’m excited for it, I think it has a lot of potential to right some of the many wrongs done to the DC Universe over the past four and a half years.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been a lot of things that have worked and been done right since the New 52 reboot, but many things have gone wrong and the glaring lack of history in the current universe has been a prevalent issue for me.  So, just for fun, here’s a fantasy draft for all 32 titles DC will be releasing under Rebirth, creator wise.  I’ll also give a brief overview of what I’d like to see done differently with certain characters, things I think currently work and what team dynamics I’d like to see.  So, alphabetical order, it’s just easier.  Also, this is not a prediction by any means, this is just my ideal line up.  Finally, I’ll be doing ten titles today, ten on Saturday and the remaining twelve on Monday.

Action Comics

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: RB Silva (Pencils)

                Norm Rapmund (Inks)
                Blond (Colours)

Make Action Comics big, fun and explosive.  This should be the platform where Supers are brought together, maybe giving some of the Super characters that don’t have their own book the spotlight for one shots or a even mini arcs.  Utilising Action Comics in such a way would allow more open stories involving other characters to be told, preventing the need for these frequent crossovers that result in people having to buy books they wouldn’t normally to get a complete story.  That does not drive sales, it drives people away.  Having a writer with the experience of Dan Jurgens running this title would allow order to be kept in place while providing stories that are enjoyable.  RB Silva worked Action Comics before the reboot, I’d love to see him back on the book and he’s easily got the chops to pull off a major DC book.  Norm Rapmund has a proven track record, having inked many great comic books with skill and style.  Blond has a lovely, warm palette on many books and I think warm colour use is a great way of keeping the book from going to grim.

Aquaman

Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Dustin Nguyen

I think Aquaman needs two things to make it work: a writer who can write a badass with genuine character, one who understands the history and importance to fans, and an artist who can capture unfamiliarity in an almost alien manner, whilst being able to capture human emotion in facial expression.  Tom Taylor has proven time and time again that he not only understands the characters he’s worked on but writes them with love and care.  He also knows dialogue better than most other writers out there, and scripts some incredible fight scenes.  As for the art, let Dustin Nguyen cut loose and paint the whole thing, deep underwater might as well be an alien planet for everything weird that’s down there, I think he’d make it perfect.

Batgirl

Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artists: David Lopez (Pencils)
                Alvaro Lopez (Inks)
                Jason Wright (Colours)

Coming out of the left field a little here, but bare with me.  Let’s have two Batgirls.  Why not?  We’ve got two Batgirl books, one solo and one with the Birds of Prey, let’s have two characters using the name.  We’ll come to the team up book next, but for the solo title let’s bring back Cassandra Cain under the mask.  Marjorie Liu has tackled a character raised and trained to kill struggling to do the right thing before, successfully I think, with X-23.  She has a fantastic knack with characters and motivation, and while there would be crime fighting and mystery solving, I believe this would need to be a title driven heavily by character progression and motivation.  David Lopez is one of my favourite artists, I’d love to see him take on a Gotham based book and I think a Cass Cain Batgirl book would be a perfect fit, Alvaro has inked David’s work before and I think they make for a wonderful team.  David can ink himself extremely well but I think having an inker he’s worked with before would alleviate some of the deadline pressure.  Jason Wright has a very diverse palette colour wise, I think he would be a great fit for a Gotham book while also being able to brighten things up any time Cassandra’s story allows her some joy.

Batgirl & The Birds of Prey

Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Annie Wu
                Lee Loughridge (Colours)

Yep, a completely obvious choice on the writer I think, but Gail Simone is fantastic at writing teams, injects a wonderful sense of humour into her stories and dialogue and can tell big, action packed stories with meaning and fun.  Gail is one of those writers that I can read anything from, but she also has experience with the Birds of Prey and with Batgirl.  Annie Wu has an art style I think would jam really well with Gail’s writing, and again not only has she proven her ability to draw Black Canary in a way that is both respectful to women and respectful to the character and her history, she’s also proven her ability to handle a cast of regular characters about the size of the Birds of Prey on a regular basis.  Lee Loughridge has worked on Annie’s art on Black Canary before and has a good understanding of how to give her work the final pop it needs, I think this would be a solid team.  As for the characters, that’s easy; Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Black Canary, The Huntress, Spoiler and Bluebird.

Batman

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Marc Silvestri (Pencils)
               Danny Miki (Inks)
               FCO Plascencia (Colours)

I know, I know, the chances of this particular line up are extremely unlikely, but I’m admittedly a huge Geoff Johns fan, he is the reason I have faith in DC Rebirth since it seems like he’s leading the charge on this one.  I also appreciate the fact that even ignoring the fact that Silvestri has a company to run he probably couldn’t keep to a twice monthly schedule, but this particular team would rock it.  I’d envision the Batman title to be the big, action packed title with the epic story arcs and with Bat family members popping up to provide support to Bruce, whether he wants it or not.  Sure, you always need some character growth going on, and I think Johns could provide that quite easily, but similar to Action Comics for Superman, you could use this book to bring in characters from other books to save having to cross over all the time for events.  This practice, as I said above, would keep all the books as reader friendly as possible while also brining occasional big events when it’s warranted.

Batman Beyond

Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Linda Šejić

Yup, keeping in with the Top Cow talent theft for this next “fan casting” of sorts, Matt Hawkins has a mind made for science based fiction, he does proper sci-fi, by which I mean his futuristic (near or far) writing is always grounded in science that’s either readily available today or being heavily researched right now.  It makes the worlds he creates and writes feel more believable, I can immerse myself in his work much easier than many other science fiction stories because everything just makes sense.  Linda Šejić has already shown her ability to draw fantastic sci-fi with the Top Cow comic based on the series of novels from David Weber, Tales of Honor.  Linda has such a visually pleasing art style and over the years has developed a wonderful talent for not only drawing the weird and crazy, but capturing raw human emotion in both facial expressions and body language.  Much of her work could quite easily exist without words and you’d still have a firm grasp on what’s happening, and her use of colour is always very well suited to the situation on page and the mood.  I think this pairing would absolutely kill it on a Batman Beyond title.

Blue Beetle

Writer: Keith Giffen & J. M. DeMatteis
Artists: Yildiray Cinar (Pencils)
                Matt Banning (Inks)
                Hi-Fi (Colours)

Blue Beetle needs to have Ted Kord in it.  I have absolutely no problem with Jaime Reyes, in fact from what I’m hearing it’s going to be both of them in this new title with a mentor/pupil relationship, which sounds pretty cool.  But for me, first and foremost it needs Kord.  Secondly, while having plenty of superhero action, it needs to be funny.  Thirdly, and by no means the least important point, if it has Kord it needs Booster Gold even if only sporadically.  To make all of these things work, it can only be Giffen and DeMatteis on the book.  In my opinion.  I’d use Cinar for the pencils because I think he has a wonderful style that would fit this kind of book well, I’d use Banning for his very clean, neat inking approach which I think would compliment Cinar’s pencil work nicely, and I’d have Hi-Fi because the colours would need to be fairly bright and sharp and, well, just go look at any Hi-Fi coloured superhero book.  They’re perfect.

Cyborg

Writer:
Artists:

Sorry, I know I said I was doing all 32 of DC’s books but there isn’t a creative team I can put on a Cyborg book that would make me give a shit.  Not that I don’t like Cyborg, I think he’s a great supporting character with the odd leading story, but carrying his own book?  No thanks.  They should have jettisoned this title from the DC You line up, left it to die, moved Cyborg on to the Teen Titans (I’ll explain later) and used this publishing slot to give us a Legion of Super-Heroes monthly instead.

Deathstroke

Writer: Brian Buccelatto
Artists: Clay Mann (Pencils)
                Seth Mann (Inks)
                Christina Strain (Colours)

A Deathstroke title needs to be bold, both in terms of it’s story and it’s art, which I think this team up could easily achieve.  Buccelatto has had an immense amount of success on DC’s digital first title Injustice, now in it’s fifth year, taking over the writing reigns from Tom Taylor and frankly, he has managed to fill those rather large shoes.  Clay Mann and his brother Seth would be great on the pencils and inks, they make for a great team and are often paired up on books already, and I think they could capture the fast paced, violent nature of Deathstroke with ease.  Christina Strain has had a fantastic career as a colourist already, and that experience along with her smart and stylish colour selections could be just what a Deathstroke comic needs to make it pop off the shelf and in to peoples hands.

Detective Comics

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo (Pencils)
                Jonathan Glapion (Inks)
                Alex Sinclair (Colours)

Scott Snyder works better on smaller stories.  I don’t particularly rate him on the big, epic story arcs that span six months to a year, and I don’t particularly like him constantly telling us that his next arc will be even bigger.  No, I think Scott Snyder is at his best when he’s working on smaller, personal stories with a mix of mystery and general weirdness.  Detective Comics, for me, should be smaller personal stories, this should be where a lot of the character growth for Batman happens.  It should be shorter story arcs, taking on cases in and around Gotham.  It should be working closely with the GCPD to track down escaped Arkham inmates, solving murders and taking down smaller, street level villains.  This is where Scott Snyder would be in his prime for me.  And you can’t have Snyder on a Bat book without Capullo.  Throw in Glapion on inks, who inked the Court of Owls story line and Alex Sinclair on colours, who most famously worked on Hush with Jim Lee and I think you have the perfect team for a quieter, darker and moodier Batman title.

That’s a wrap on part one, agree?  Disagree?  Let me know!  Be sure to check back Saturday for Earth 2 through to Justice League America.

Stupid Machines

So yeah, got about half way through a post doing a fairly in depth review of my time with Halo 5 so far, last word count took it to just over 2,400 words.  Logged in today to finish it off and it’s gone.

Instead I’m going to sit and watch Ip Man and forget all about it.  The long and short of it is I really like Halo 5.

NYCC Blues

Well another major US convention comes and goes, and I’m still on this little island just next to mainland Europe, not at said convention.  Honestly, I guess the title is a little misleading since even though I’d love to be there, I’m quite used to the idea of not being.  Still, we’re around five weeks away from Thought Bubble in Leeds which I was already excited enough for, but a couple of days ago I sorted out a pre-show commission with Bengal that I am hugely excited about.  The show was already looking good but man, this has massively boosted my excitement.

Another good week of comics this week too, much heavier week than last week especially with the addition of Bitch Planet volume 1 to the pull list.  More on that later in the week though.

Lots of superhero books again this week, nothing on the indie front however but my pick of the week I wouldn’t actually call it a superhero book necessarily.  Two drops from Marvel’s All-New All-Different initiative and while both were good, my overall pick of the week goes to:

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Doctor Strange #1 from Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo!  This was a book I dropped on my pull list pretty much on good faith of friends who were fans of Strange and the fact that I loved Jason Aaron’s run on Thor God of Thunder and the follow up before Secret Wars, Thor.  Turns out, this series has a serious amount of promise.  So long as it carries on with this trajectory and there’s not some irritating creative team change or, worse, relaunch then I’ll be sticking with this for the long run.  The first issue manages to set up a potential long term story arc, an immediate hook and sets Stephen Strange up as human, just like you and me, but extraordinary at the same time.  Sorcerer Supreme, a man with a huge amount of power and the will to do good, but feeling the weight of all that responsibility.  Within that you have the masterful work of a writer who can throw all of this together with a pinch of humour, bringing levity during sometimes unexpected moments without weighing the book down in cheesy lines and jokes.

To top it off, the art team of Chris Bachalo on pencils and colours and Tim Townsend, Al Vey and Mark Irwin on inks have made this a really beautiful book.  It takes all sorts of visual twists and turns, going from an extra dimensional fight, to a casual walk down the street where Strange can see all of this crazy shit no one else can see, to a grubby little bar for magicians where Strange comes across such characters as Doctor Voodoo and The Scarlet Witch.  It might be a little off-putting to some due to the $4.99 price of entry but honestly, it’s well worth it.

Squiggles and Scribbles

The internet has once again been ablaze with conversations, thoughtful pieces and uncontrollable rage (OK, maybe not so much the last one) surrounding the idea of creators charging for signatures at conventions.  It’s been interesting seeing people’s varying opinions on this subject, while many have dropped blanket condemnations on those who do charge, others have taken a more sympathetic view depending on many potential situations and scenarios.  I thought I’d take a few minutes to give my opinion and drop down a few examples to help explain said opinion.

DSC_0192

First off, I think it’s incredibly important to look at a creators current situation, specifically their level of involvement in the creation of comics.  Nobody in their right mind can disagree with the fact that life as a comic creator, whether a writer, artist or in some cases both, is an easy life.  There’s a huge amount of work that goes into each and every issue and due to the high level of work, long hours and in some cases a level of pressure that can prove hazardous to health, it should come as no surprise that this industry can burn people out.  It’s happened before, and I can appreciate that towards the twilight of a career creators will want to cut down on the amount of work they’re doing, be it for health reasons or perhaps to be able to spend more time with family and loved ones.  The problem, of course, is that if a creator were to cut down to, say, one book a month then that one book may not be enough to pay essential bills, let alone be able to enjoy their lives.  In this instance, who’s to deny their right to supplement their now relatively small income by placing a charge on signing books, particularly after a long and colourful career of entertaining us.

Of course, there’s the mitigation of the speculator market too.  Some creators, Dan Slott being a good example, will charge people that arrive at his table with multiple copies of the same issue.  It’s plainly obvious these people are showing up at his table to get a quick signature then flip the books online for a tidy profit.  Maybe on of those copies are for themselves, maybe none of them are, but I have a relatively low opinion of people who do this since they’re both looking to profit of the back of someone else’s work without any real effort of their own and frankly they can be selfishly holding up the line for the genuine fans that may only have a couple of books they want signed.  I think this is totally reasonable, since they either get a cut of any potential profit unfairly made by these “flippers” or they stop them from doing it at all by killing any profit at all, which then gets the line moving again.

There is one more prime point to make with regards to writers charging for signatures at conventions, that being that artists have two very good points of income during shows; commissions and prints.  This is an option that I’d say most writers don’t have, since there are only a few in the industry that do both.  The more talented the artist, the higher the price of a commission (and rightly so) which means more profit.  I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with dropping cash on a talented artists table to get an awesome sketch, I’ve done so many times before and will continue to do so moving forward.  But for some writers, those who are maybe having a bit of a hard time making ends meet (it happens to the best of us) this is a great opportunity to make up for not being able to add to their income with something like a sketch list.

The other side of the argument has merit too, don’t get me wrong, but without knowing the exact personal and financial situation of any creator that is charging for signatures there isn’t a single one of us in any position to judge them for it.  All we have the right to do is decide whether we want that signature enough to pay or not.  We live in a capitalist society, we get to choose what we spend our hard earned money on outside of necessary things like food and bills, exercise that choice.  But try to be less judgemental about those you probably know less about than you think.

Oh boy

I said I’d keep up with this better, didn’t I?  Well, that theory flew right out the window.  I apologise.  I’ve had a whole mess of switching from overnight shifts back to day shifts, then back on to overnights and now seem to have settled back in to working regular day shifts again.  All this for a job that is usually regular day shifts that either start at 7:30 the earliest and end 20:00 at the latest.  It’s been tough, to say the least, especially the one week where I worked 72 hours over the course of 6 days.  Oh yeah, and I caved and bought The Elder Scrolls Online on Xbox One.  Whoops.

Enough excuses, I’ve found it extremely frustrating that I’ve either not found the time to update this blog more often or not looked hard enough for the time, so I’m pushing myself to do it.  The funny thing is, I enjoy it but I think part of the problem was the way I’d set myself up for it.  I wanted to keep to a rigid structure of posting certain things on certain days, which is totally against my nature.  I don’t do regular patterns, I don’t like routines, I’m just not wired that way.  So from here, I’ll try and get two or three posts up a week but frankly those could drop on any day of the week.  It’ll be a minimum of two, but I guess based on what’s happening during any given week it may well be a little more.  I think this will fit my life and my style much better.  I accidentally sucked all the fun out of my own hobby!  No more!

So, consider this an All-New Slightly-Different start, still looking at the same kinds of things as before but less structured.  We’ll see how things go.

Fallout 4 Announced!

It’s official folks, we have been waiting for this moment for so long and words cannot describe how excited I am right now!  Before we get properly started, for those of you who haven’t seen the official announcement trailer from Bethesda, here you go.

Officially announced by Bethesda Game Studios today, the sequel to 2008’s sprawling, post-apocalyptic RPG is set to land on PC, Xbox One and PS4 sometime relatively soon.  Hopefully.  We don’t have an official release date right now, so it’s purely down to speculation as to whether we’ll be seeing it this year or next.  If it is this year, you can guarantee it’ll be towards to holiday season, I’d wager November at the earliest, but with confirmation from Bethesda that we’ll be seeing gameplay at their first ever keynote presentation at E3 this year that they’re pretty close to completing the game, we may even get a solid release date locked in at E3.  One can only hope.

Fallout 4 is to be set in The Commonwealth, an area in the Fallout-verse mentioned in previous titles, which I believe is where Massachusetts is(?) so we’re looking at a new zone, one which is ravaged by war and violence, a description handed to it by denizens of the Fallout-verse.  If it’s a point those people feel necessary to make then it must be pretty bad, seeing as the nuclear wastelands and violence go hand-in-hand already!  Aside from these details, little is known right now.  It’s unclear the exact gameplay direction Bethesda are taking, but I sincerely hope they take a few lessons away from Obsidian’s 2010 title, Fallout New Vegas.

Fallout 3 was a hell of an accomplishment, I spent an awful lot of time wandering the wastes and meeting as many of the people in that game as I could, but New Vegas felt a little more, complete maybe?  That might not be the right way to describe it, but there were two key features in New Vegas that weren’t in Fallout 3 that I’m really hoping are brought over to Fallout 4, as they simply pulled me further into the game, fully immersed in the wonderful world of Fallout.  The first, a fairly simple and maybe quite insignificant addition was the ability to aim down the sights of your gun.  As I said, it’s not a huge addition, but that one thing sunk me way further into the game than I thought it would, simply because that’s what people do.  If you’ve got a semi automatic rifle and are trying to pick a decent shot from a way out, you’re simply not going to sit just the other side of a rock trying to hit your target with hip fired shot.  That’s a sure fire way of wasting your ammo, giving your position away and eventually getting killed.  Putting this mechanic in Fallout immersed me so much that, lights off and headset on, it really made you feel like you were there.

The second of New Vegas’ additions I really, really hope Bethesda put in Fallout 4 is hardcore mode.  Oh boy, that really put your wasteland survival skills to the test.  Requiring to eat, drink and sleep on top of stim packs not insta-healing you and everything weighing a relatively realistic amount, therefore limiting how much ridiculous shit you could carry on you, that was fantastic.  You know you’re going off to fight something big and nasty?  Well sure, take a Fat-Man and some mini nukes, but don’t expect to be able to take your other plethora of weaponry, you have to make cut backs somewhere.  I’d like to see Bethesda expand on this system, bringing in weather effects so long periods of time in the scorching heat will tire you and make you thirsty quicker.  Maybe if you spend a long period of time with your pack almost full of stuff that’ll tire you quicker too.  Hardcore on New Vegas also presented by with some hilarious moments, one of which resulted in me slowly crawling back to a town after a run in with human enemies, one of which crippled my arm.  Those enemies were also accompanied by dogs, who broke both my legs.  Then, on my way back, I got attacked by giant bugs and got poisoned by a stinger.  It was awful at the time, but I couldn’t help but laugh at the truly dreadful state my character was in.  Moments like that set the game above anything I was playing at the time, it’s the RPG equivalent of “Battlefield moments”, situations you’re unlikely to come across in other games that make great stories for gaming friends.

A large amount of customisation will be expected too, not just in terms of your characters appearance but in regards to your gear.  Armour, clothing and weapons all need customisation and upgrade paths, whether they take the form of cosmetic changes or full on performance upgrades.  No doubt there will be a crafting mechanic in there, and if hardcore mode returns then it’ll be required for making food and staying alive.  Only time will tell exactly what we’ll be getting, but since we’re getting a full on gameplay feature at E3, which is about a week and a half away, it looks like we’ll be getting answers to these thoughts and questions very soon.

Exciting times indeed.

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly

Please do not adjust your set. In all seriousness, I apologise for my really lengthy absence of late, I’ve had a few new commitments pop up and a few personal issues to work through so, much to my dismay, I’ve had to bench my nerdy blog. Well, things are shaping up a little better recently and I think I need this, it’s a great outlet for my own personal frustrations with the many facets of geek culture and, you know, it’s good to look at the things that are being done right too.

Anyway, I just really wanted to drop by and let you all know (any that are still around anyway) that we will be back in business from this Sunday, I would start Saturday but it’s Guardians of the Galaxy night (admittedly for the thrid time in it’s run). If you’ve stuck around following this up-until-recently-defunct blog you have my eternal thanks, things will be much more regular now.

Remember, keep fighting the good fight people and don’t let anyone put you down! See you Sunday!