Thursday, May 21, 2009

Remake, Remodel, Read Riverworld


With Wolverine, Star Trek, and (tomorrow) Terminator all sort of getting rebooted this month, it’s worth noting that this spring/summer is also a fantastic time to get in on the print relaunches of numerous DC Comics characters, if for some strange reason you want to transform yourself into a comics collector.

DC relaunches (not really planned as part of a simultaneous new era or anything) all taking place in mid-2009, give or take a couple months, include the following (all starting with an issue #1 unless otherwise noted):

•Batwoman (the lesbian takes the lead as of Detective #854)
•Batman #687 (new guy replaces the dead/time-displaced Bruce Wayne)
•Batman and Robin (the former nice and the latter nasty, in contrast to the formula in the simultaneous All Star Batman and Robin series)
•Red Robin
•Captain Atom (as a back-up feature starting in Action #879)
•Red Circle (the non-comedic Archie superheroes)
•Doom Patrol
•Justice League (adding a miniseries called Justice League: Cry for Justice alongside the regular ongoing series’ diminished team)
•Justice Society (reunited in issue #27 and guided by new writers after some dissension in the ranks)
•Legion of Super-Heroes and Superboy (in the new Adventure)
•multiple Lantern Corps(es) in the “Blackest Night” multi-series event starring Green Lantern
•Flash, Flash, Flash, and Kid Flash (they’d damn well better change their names by the end of the miniseries — I suggest Golden Flash, Silver Flash, Bronze Flash, and Dark Flash)
•Superman: Secret Origin
•Power Girl

As with the aforementioned movie franchises: I’m happy to stop my own participation here, though, in part because I’m satisfied just to see things in good enough shape to be fun for those who come after me — sort of like watching birds depart the nest.  (This summer also brings a beautiful-looking experiment from DC Comics called Wednesday Comics, a weekly newspaper-sized anthology of meticulously-drawn, accessible stories that sort of brings the artistic standards of Prince Valiant to Flash, Green Lantern, et al.)

One has to get off the renewal/remake merry go round at some point, though, otherwise you end up being suckered into watching rejiggered versions of things you just saw (and didn’t care too deeply about) sixteen years ago, like Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone (now they’re not even observing the wait-twenty-years rule that seemed to be in place for a while).  By contrast, there’s nothing wrong with a long-awaited first attempt at adaptation, and it sounds like Riverworld, about everyone who ever lived on Earth finding themselves waking up together on another planet, is set to become a movie.  I hope it’s great — and that they film all its book sequels before considering remaking it.


Sammler said...

It’s a shame that Riverworld is so very badly written and can’t do anything interesting from its premise. The implausibility of it all just sits heavier and heavier on you, steadily pressing the life out of your will to continue turning pages.

Eric Hanneken said...

new guy replaces the dead/time-displaced Bruce Wayne

What? Damn it. Is Batman going Azrael on us again? I wish D.C. would stop shifting the ground beneath their readers. This is one reason I stopped reading after Infinite Crisis. That, and D.C.’s annoying penchant for milking their customers with endless mega events and manifold tie-ins.

Todd Seavey said...

Actually, it’s funny you put it that way because, in fact, there is also going to be a new Azrael series later in the year (and there’s a miniseries about the new Azrael finishing up right now, in fact).

I’ll avoid saying who the new Batman and Robin are for those who want to be surprised, but they aren’t a non sequitur, if that helps — and written by Grant Morrison (who says it’ll be like the 60s Batman if David Lynch had directed it) with art by Frank Quitely, it’ll probably be quite good.

Still unclear, though, is who exactly will be the Batgirl and Red Robin of those new ongoing series (there are two or three plausible candidates for each mantle).

Todd Seavey said...

P.S. I haven’t been reading this, but I gather that one possible candidate for becoming the new Batgirl is Wendy, best known from “Wendy, Marvin, and Wonderdog” of the Super-Friends but lately affiliated with the Teen Titans.

But in current continuity, Wonderdog turned out to be a morphing monster (in the service of the demonic King Lycus), _killed_ Marvin, and long story short Wendy was last seen paralyzed in the legs, with her father — the villainous criminal strategist and armorer called the Calculator, it turns out! — vowing revenge on Barbara Gordon for somehow contributing to Wendy’s injuries.

Meanwhile, the spirit of Marvin has appeared (summoned by Kid Eternity) to warn one and all against joining the hard-luck and death-prone Teen Titans, which may be good advice.

It’s a much different world from the one some of us remember from circa-1980 cartoons.

Eric Hanneken said...

Those are some pretty heartless writers at Teen Titans. Helping out the Super Friends somehow seemed less dangerous.