Comics 411 07.17.13: Superman VS the Flash Edition!

  

Comics 411 07.17.13: Superman VS the Flash Edition!

Posted by Steve Gustafson on 07.17.2013

Who wins in a race between Superman and the Flash? Plus news and thoughts on Iron Man’s new “Iron Metropolitan” storyline, Todd McFarlane giving his thoughts on Angela from Spawn joining the Marvel Universe, a review of Justice League #22 and more!

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Welcome back to the Comics 411! My name is Steve Gustafson and this is a corner of 411mania reserved for those interested in talking comics! As always, I want to thank everyone who took a few minutes to read and comment last week.

Check out this cool interview with the legend, Joe Kubert. Make sure you take notes!

And away we go…


READER ROUNDTABLE


Does Batman need Robin? That’s the question I posed to you all last week. The voting looked like this:

Yes! Robin bring balance to Batman’s darkness. 37.79%
No! He works better solo! 33.22%
Eh. Doesn’t matter either way. 29%

Pretty close all around. As always, let’s hear from the BEST Comment Board on 411mania.com! To Jay, As inappropriate as it was, I cracked up at your comment last week.

Joshua Sinason : “I’d say we need Robin more than Batman needs Robin. Robin is our point of view character and the character who is allowed to grow and evolve, Batman can’t grow because getting him any sort of development or step toward being at peace makes him that much more uninteresting, it’s like House, part of what makes Batman who he is is that he’s unchanging and unflinching in his ways but with so many years of stories that doesn’t work so we need Robin’s so that someone actually has some sort of story arch.”

CMWolf: “Batman and Robin, meaning Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson….the ORIGINAL team…need one another. Bruce Wayne spent every moment since his parent’s death on “the mission”. He NEEDED to go to the darkest of places to learn the skills he would need to become Batman. He then saw this young boy, a carefree, athletic performer….an embodiment of the boy he COULD have been. Then he saw that boy suffer the exact same loss he had. What Dick saw in Bruce/Batman was a teacher, a protector, one who would help him become what he wanted to be most…..exactly like his mentor. What Bruce saw in Dick, that link to his forgotten childhood….a grounding presence in the darkness. A lot of people choose to put homosexual slants on their relationship but Bruce and Dick are more than family, more than father and son, more than brothers. A bond not dissimilar from the bonds many soldiers have described having during time of war. That’s what I see the Batman/Robin relationship as. Could care less what anyone else thinks. =)”

Kyatollah: “Batman of course doesn’t need Robin in the traditional sense, but he has been defined by them. Robin is Batman’s link to his humanity, how he keeps himself from getting lost inside the monster, as TDK Alfred would put it. Jason Todd’s death did to comic Bruce pretty much what Rachel’s death did to movie Bruce. It tore up his world, and it almost ended the Batman. Every Robin has needed him for protection, training, and stability, and in a sense, he has gotten the same from them, although it’s possible he could have functioned without them, albeit not as well.”

Jayla Clark; “I’m with three of the Batman and Robin teams, Bruce/Dick, Bruce/Tim, and Dick/Damien. (I like it when comics take risks, and having Dick Grayson still under the cowl after Bruce returned was nice for a while. Probably all the way to New52, even. Remind me to find Dan, Jim and Geoff and flay them alive with my mind, by the way…)

Actually, the whole Bat Family had their own roles to play at the end, didn’t they? Bruce, Dick, Tim, Damien, Barbara, Cassandra, Stephanie and Katherine all had their own angles on the cowl, and their responsibility to the legacy. Then there was Jason, who had his OWN take on things, but I’m not so on board with there being a for-real Punisher in the DCU…”

KipSmithers: “I’m not sure Batman NEEDS Robin(I mean…he’s Batman!), but I’m sure an extra hand doesn’t hurt. After all, when you’re fighting alone, you’re not as much of a threat.”

james: “batman needs robin.. yes,,, even vigilantes need a hand.”


I’ve been wanting to pose this next question for a while. It’s one so tricky that DC Comics apparently shut down commenting on its blog The Source after things got ugly in a thread about it back in 2011.

Got your attention? Who runs faster: Superman or The Flash? We’ve seen them go at it in the comics but who really is the fastest superhero in the DC Universe?

My question to you:

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Who runs faster: Superman or The Flash?


NEWS!


IRON MAN! Tony Stark is the Marvel Universe’s go-to engineer. He’s built battle suits that allow him, and others, to fight against, and alongside, super powered beings. He’s also contributed everything from phones and cars that revolutionized the way people communicate and travel in the Marvel Universe.

Recently, Stark journeyed into space in search of new ideas on how to use science to better the lives of humanity and discovered some startling information about himself in the process. The current arc of Iron Man finds Stark coming to grips with both the validity and impact of what he’s learned. In November’s Iron Man #18, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Joe Bennett kick off a new arc titled Iron Metropolitan, which finds Tony back on Earth with big ideas about how to change the way people live in and interact with cities.

CBR News spoke with Gillen about the arc, reintroducing Stark’s supporting cast, and how the story ties into the lore of a classic Iron Man rogue. Gillen said, “It’s all part of the larger idea — this is about the after effects of what Tony’s discovered from 451, and the majority of it is set inside the Godkiller Armor. It’s the action climax to it all. We’re building towards the big showdown between 451 and Tony, which involves Death’s Head as well.

We’ve seen some big changes in this arc and more is uncovered later on. You’ve seen how fundamental these ideas are, but they all twist around and become something else before the arc is over. He went in space partly because he wanted to refresh himself with new ideas and he returns to Earth with one — Iron Metropolitan is about him putting that into practice. It’s like, “This is what I learned out there.” It’s the practical elements of what he saw out in space and where he decides to put them. This is his new project going forward.”

But what does the title mean? He went on to say, “There’s a quote from a designer who’s a friend of mine named Matt Jones that reads, “A city is a battle suit for surviving the future.” I love the quote. It’s an interesting way to think about cities and technology, and that’s what the story is about. Tony and his allies build a city.

Humanity is now primarily an urban species and that’s only going to become more so as we move into the 21st century. So this arc is about Tony deciding that he’s going to build a city that will be his test model for the future of where and how we can live. So hence the title Iron Metropolitan. Of course people try to stop him and things go amiss. That’s why we have a story instead of Tony building stuff for five issues. [Laughs]”

Thoughts on this new storyline?

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SALES! Sales of comics, graphic novels, and digital comics totaled $750 million in 2012, making that year the best of the millennium so far for the comics business, according to the retail news and analysis site ICv2. Total print sales were estimated at $680 million and digital at $70 million, a hair over 10 percent of print and almost triple the 2011 total of $25 million. The website also breaks down the top properties in eight graphic novel categories (superheroes, genre, manga, etc.), based on interviews with retailers, distributors and manufacturers. Interestingly, Hawkeye is nestled at No. 7 on the list of Top 10 superhero properties, between Iron Man and Spider-Man.

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McFarlane Speaks! She only recently appeared in the Marvel Universe during Age of Ultron, Angela has a long and somewhat tumultuous history in comics. Co-created by Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane, Angela was the subject of a ten-year legal battle between the two creators that resolved in 2013. Marvel Comics spoke with McFarlane about his feelings on Angela’s new role in the Marvel Universe, simultaneously debuting a new interior page by Sara Pichelli for Guardians of the Galaxy #5.

“Good stories and good characters are the backbone to our comic book industry,” McFarlane told Marvel.com. “I believe the Angela character can be one of those characters. Neil Gaiman has proven himself to be a much sought after author and I am sure he will bring some of his ‘magic’ to this character, whether it be as the actual writer himself or through his ‘Gaiman guidance;’ readers should be in for quite a ride.”

McFarlane’s quote echoes his positive attitude toward Angela’s appearance in the Marvel Universe when he spoke with CBR in June, when he discussed the resolution of the legal battle that involved Gaiman receiving rights to Angela and McFarlane gaining the rights to Dark Ages Spawn.

“We came up with a way for some of these characters that haven’t been around for a long time to actually come back, so people could see them,” McFarlane told CBR. “Whether it was me bringing them back, or Neil, or somebody else, it just got to the point where we realized when we were fighting that none of these characters were doing very much. We came up with a deal to allow all of these characters get back in the public and for us to have some fun with them.”

What do you think about the Angela character?

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What Does This Mean? Taking a page from Marvel’s playbook, DC Comics is in the midst of releasing a series of teaser images related to their September-debuting event Forever Evil. Start discussing what this could be foreshadowing in the Comments below!

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REVIEWS!


Do YOU want to be a reviewer for COMICS 411? Send me an email at stevethegoose@gmail.com to find out how! Take it away, RobF!

Justice League Issue 22

By RobF


So the much anticipated event titled TRINITY WAR has begun and Justice League 22 is the first salvo in a long line of crossovers. If you haven’t been reading Justice League (which I am), Justice League of America, and Justice League Dark (which I am not) you many have some trouble following the story. Geoff Johns assumes you have and hits the ground running and, boy, is there is much to follow.

We start with the framing device of a distraught young woman plagued with nightmares seeking aid from Madame Xanadu in her Greenwich Village fortune-telling shop. However, upon physical contact, the good Madame gets a vision of another “Trinity” – Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – hovering over a destroyed city. This compels her to go on a tarot card spree, wherein each card gives us a new snippet of story. One is Batson, who has decided that he needs to spread the ashes of Black Adam around his home country of Kahndaq, because “even bad guys deserve to be buried.” Even though he’s not burying him… but whatever. Also, Shazam is from Philadelphia now, so I guess there’s no Fawcett City anymore.

Then, we’ve got Superman – currently trying to avoid the fact that his girlfriend, Wonder Woman, kills people sometimes – getting approached by Pandora. She thinks that Superman is pure enough of heart to take the skullbox and put the Seven Deadly Sins back in, but it turns out that Superman is just as corruptible as anyone else, as he gets all black-suited and third-eyed and punchy until he drops the box. Pandora is claiming that she was manipulated by some god into picking up the box in the first place.

Anyway, the JL gets a report that Shazam has just flown into Kahndaq, so they have to go after him to make sure he doesn’t cause any trouble. That prompts the JLA to go after the JL, assuming they’ve finally crossed the line, and the JLA will have to do what they were designed to do. Shazam tries to give Black Adam a dignified scattering, Kahndaq soldiers shoot at him and destroy the urn before he can, he’s about to punch them back when Superman tackles him, and then they fight. Then the JLA shows up, ratcheting up the tension and making the Atom regret ratting out the JL. Dr. Light steps forward to try to calm tensions, as he’s apparently totally altruistic at this point and not the creepy rapist Old DCU fans unfortunately remember, but his powers react weirdly to Superman, he loses control and zaps Wonder Woman, prompting Superman to grab him and suddenly blast his head off with his heat vision. So it looks like Superman has killed Dr Light

Well, not really. There is a nameless guy who looks like a cross between the Joker, the Riddler and Alfred Pennyworth but with telepathic powers. He’s the one who mentally nudged Superman into murdering Dr. Light, which is part of a conspiracy to “impute” the Man of Steel – one that The Question is trying to suss out. But it’s too late – the fighting begins. And the distraught woman seeking help from Madame Xanadu is actually a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains named Plastique, who explodes and seemingly murders the soothsayer, and our mysterious no-name guy has plans to force Pandora into the SSSV fold.

Whew! This is a hefty amount of characters squeezed into one story that it might make you want to back away and instead read something less complicated. This is going to be something of a headache to keep up with, with it’s many crossovers and one-shots.

Something that will keep me coming back is the artwork of Ivan Reis. He takes this massive story and manages to make it fit within the confines of the pages.

Overall the story has a lot of moving parts to it and the JLD hasn’t even joined the fray. But I have faith in the combination of Johns/Reis that they will sort it all out.

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WEBCOMIC of the WEEK!


Do you have a web comic that you want me to push? Send it my way or mention it in the comments so I can take a look and share!

Last week Cuvis left me a comment: “You should definitely highlight Zebra Girl in your webcomic feature. The art is fantastic, the story is amazing, it’s just a great read. The first couple of arcs are really, really rough, but it gets so much better.” So I headed over to zebragirl.net and checked it out.

And so should you! As it states on the About page: Zebra Girl is a monochromatic urban fantasy, started in the halcyon year 2000 by Joe England and updated with mild consistency ever since. Start from the beginning and go forward.

For more, head over to zebragirl.net!

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Before I say GOODBYE!
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That’s all the time I have. See you next week!

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