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DC Announces an Injustice 2 Comic, Continuing the Best Evil Superman Story Ever



One of the best-kept secrets of DC Comics’ lineup in recent years has been Injustice: Gods Among Us, a series that should’ve been a simple video game tie-in that transformed over the years into a remarkable examination of a broken and twisted Clark Kent. Which means it’s excellent news that DC is continuing the series for the newest game, Injustice 2.

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With the next entry in the DC fighting game on the way this May, DC Comics has announced a new digital prequel series, appropriately also titled Injustice 2, is on the way. The digital-first series will detail the events that take place in the run-up to the second game’s story, as former leader of the resistance Batman settles into a world where Superman’s tyrannical reign is at an end (for now) and tries to pick up the pieces that remain.



Cover art by Bruno Redondo

Tom Taylor, who wrote the first few years of the original Injustice prequel series, , as Bruno Redondo, who provided art for the initial Injustice series, will both return to the comic—so it’s pretty much a direct continuation of all the work DC comics has done with Injustice, another prequel to the first game that lasted far beyond the release of the original video game. That’s a welcome reassurance to fans that, hopefully, this Injustice 2 series will spawn something just as fun and fascinating as the original comic surprisingly turned out to be.

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The Injustice 2 prequel comic will begin April 11, with new chapters coming weekly before a twice-monthly physical collection of the comic launches alongside the game itself in May.

From: http://io9.gizmodo.com/dc-announces-an-injustice-2-comic-continuing-the-best-1791420413

Rogues’ Gallery: Superman’s Top Ten Villains

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A hero is defined by their villains, and the world of superhero comic books is filled with some of the scariest and silliest bad guys around. Rogues’ Gallery aims to settle the score and determine who is the true arch-nemesis for some of your favorite superheroes, and we need your help to do it!

You voted to see who the ultimate Superman villain was, and we’ve tabulated the results and assembled a video counting down the definitive top 10. Did your favorite make this list? There’s only one way to find out!

Show notes:

Keep an eye on Rogues’ Gallery to have your say in upcoming polls, and check out previous Rogues’ Gallery videos below!

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Next: The Top Transformers Villains

From: http://comicsalliance.com/best-superman-villains/

This Baby Batman And Superman Comic Is Painfully Adorable

What if Bruce Wayne] and Clark Kent attended the same kindergarten as Lex Luthor? Even DC fans have been feeling burnt out on grim stories about their favorite heroes, but JL8, an adorable AU web comic, has the antidote. The comic, created by artist Yale Stewart, has resurged in popularity on Reddit, and it’s a great reminder that superheroes are supposed to be fun, especially if they’re tiny.

The best of Stewart’s cutesy comic strips hone in on the things all fans know about Batman and Wonder Woman and their buddies, across universes. Batman is always cranky, for example, and Wonder Woman isn’t interested in boys so much as she is with doing well in school and pleasing her family.

Yale Stewart's 'JL8' #23Yale Stewart's 'JL8' #23

DC’s greatest heroes have appeared as different version of themselves for decades, but Stewart’s super-toddlers are so hilarious and engaging that it’s easy to imagine his comics being adapted into a cartoon. Of course, reverse-aging our heroes isn’t exactly new. DC’s Super Hero Girls, a contemporary cartoon about the company’s super women, redefines them as teenagers attending a single high school for exceptional girls. JL8 simply suggests that characters like Captain Cold, Joker and Martian Manhunter met when they were still learning to read.

'JL8' #30, Yale Stewart'JL8' #30, Yale Stewart

Check out the entire JL8 catalogue, totaling 226 strips, which is available for free online.

Photos via Yale Stewart

From: https://www.inverse.com/article/26497-jl8-web-comic-justice-league-fan-art-dc-comics-batman-superman

‘Injustice 2′ Story Trailer Reveals the DC Comics’ Darkest Timeline

injustice-2-trailer-superman-batman-wonder-woman

If you want your DC Comics superheroes and supervillains to battle it out, no holds barred, in the most brutal way possible and set within the darkest of narratives, then the brawler video game Injustice 2 is a must-buy for you. The story follows an alternate history in which the Joker tricked Superman into murdering Lois Lane (who happened to be pregnant with his child at the time) and destroying Metropolis; Superman responds by brutally murdering the villainous prankster and subjecting the world to his will. Batman teams up with a variety of superheroes from this universe and beyond (including … Lex Luthor?) in order to put a stop to Superman’s reign.

As the new story trailer for Injustice 2 reveals, this sequel game follows the efforts of Batman and his allies as they “work towards putting the pieces of society back together, but struggle against those who would restore Superman’s Regime. In the midst of this chaos, a new threat appears that will put Earth’s very existence at risk.” And that threat makes the new story trailer very much worth watching.

Look for the game to debut on May 16th on PS4 and Xbox One. Check out the new story trailer for Injustice 2 below:

The Lines Have Been Redrawn

 

The line between hero and villain has become blurred as the most epic battle in the DC universe rages on in Injustice 2. While Batman has emerged the victor in his battle against the Regime, a new threat arises and poses the ultimate threat to Earth.

 

Coming May 16th, 2017

So now that you’ve seen the reveal, YES, Poison Ivy and Robin (Damian Wayne?) look like they’ll appear in the fighting game, with Brainiac as the mechanical mind behind the curtain and Darkseid (!) available for folks who pre-order. Currently, there 20 characters who have not been officially revealed for the game, but that should change on February 7th when NetherRealm Studios unveils the full fighting lineup. Batman, Blue Beetle, The Flash, Superman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Deadshot, Gorilla Grodd, Aquaman, and Atrocitus have been profiled on the game’s web page. You can bet Green Lantern will join the fight since one of the pre-orders comes with the option of a second skin for the character, and it also looks like Power Girl will be available as a swap-in for Supergirl with certain pre-orders.

Are you hyped? Let us know in the comments below!

injustice-2-artwork

From: http://collider.com/injustice-2-new-trailer/

Dan DiDio Comments On New Superman Costume – Cosmic Book News

With the return of the real Superman during Rebirth, DC Comics is also introducing another new Superman costume. DC Comics revealed the look of the new Superman costume, which is pretty close to the original Superman costume, but again, we see minus the red trunks.

Fans have been going back and forth on the new Superman costume online, which has caused DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio to offer the following response.

My own two cents is that they should stick with the iconic look and keep the trunks. At least Superman is holding the American flag and is presently a citizen, right? He’s also flying and not walking.

The new Superman costume debuts this April in Superman #20 and Action Comics #977.

Via Dan DiDio Facebook:

Work’s been a little busy so I’m kind of behind on my posts. I’ve always enjoy a passionate discussion on our characters and I realize there are things that concern some people more than others. Since Rebirth (and even as far back as New 52), we’ve had folks lobby hard for the red boots with “v” cut and return of the red shorts. Superman’s costume, like all our characters costumes are in a subtle but constant state of evolution based on changing fashion and artist influence. The shorts (and the capes) were based on styles of the time and the limitations of the medium. Needless to say, things have changed over the last 70 plus years.

The purpose of Rebirth was to return the character traits and legacy that made the character great. Remind us of why we loved reading about them in the first place. So while the costumes may have changed slightly with the times, the people in them are true to who they are. New looks attract new attention and readers and grow our industry for a new generation. And regardless of the costume, Superman needed to be Superman, with a character this great, clothes do not make the man.

Keep the fires burning and here’s to a great year ahead.

Best, DD

From: https://www.cosmicbooknews.com/dc-comics-dan-didio-new-superman-costume

SUPERMAN Goes Old-School With His Newest Costume | Nerdist

Welcome comics fans, to your weekend edition of Comics Relief! In today’s edition, we celebrate the Man of Steel going back to a more classic look after several years of experimenting with his look. Read on for all the details.

We reported a few weeks back that the current Superman would be learning the truth about himself in the new DC Rebirth world, as well as that of the now-dead New 52 Man of Steel in the upcoming “Superman Reborn” storyline, which begins in Action Comics and Superman in March. As a result of said storyline, Superman will be getting a new costume, the second since Rebirth began.

So how new is it? Actually, it’s the closest to Supe’s classic duds we’ve had since the end of the old DCU in Flashpoint 2011. Although Superman’s Rebirth costume hued closer to his original look than the armor and high collar of the New 52 Kal-El, he still had blue boots and a darker blue color. Now, it’s the entire classic look restored, except for a red belt instead of red underwear. I think I can live with that one change. The full costume premieres on the cover of Superman #20 from artist Patrick Gleason in April. You can see a preview of the cover above. [Comic Book]

Last week we teased the Marvel’s new event series for 2017, The Secret Empire. All we knew from the image previously released was that Secret Empire would be a Captain America-centric event, one that would probably expose the Hydra agents living in plain sight across the Marvel Universe.

Now, based on their latest teaser, which features not only Cap, but also Old Man Logan, Black Widow, Black Panther, Deadpool, Rocket Raccoon, Captain Marvel, Black Bolt, and Spider-Man, this indicates that this will definitely be a Marvel Universe encompassing event, and not just within the Cap titles. Will Cassaday draw it? Too soon to say. In the meantime, you check out the teaser image above. [Newsarama]

Back in the early ’90s, Topps Trading Cards company ventured into publishing comic books as well (as it seemed everyone did back then) as making titles for Jack Kirby and Frank Miller among others. Now it seems they are dipping their toes into that well once more, as Topps has just announced a new Garbage Pail Kids comic, based on their classic ’80s trading card sensations, called “The Worst Of 2016”, which seems aimed straight at GPK collectors.

The story, by Pat Barrett and Brent Engstrom, is a only 6 pages long, with a cover bringing it up to 8 pages. there are 2 exclusive stickers from GPK characters Grim Jim and Nervous Rex that are also included. The comic humorously waves goodbye to the last year while dreading 2017 at the same time. You can see the cover from the new Garbage Pail Kids comic above. [Bleeding Cool]

The mystery of the Comedian’s bloody pin from Watchmen showing up in the Batcave in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 has been ongoing since April of last year. Now DC Comics has announced that the two greatest detectives in the Justice League, Bruce Wayne and Barry Allen, are teaming up together to solve the Watchmen-centric mystery.

The four-part crossover storyline in April and is called “The Button.” According to DC’s description, “the two greatest detectives in the DC Universe unite to unravel the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley face button stuck in the Batcave wall. However, what begins as a simple investigation soon turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party, and it’s not who anyone suspects. This is a mystery woven throughout time, and the countdown starts here!”

“The Button” will run through Batman #21 #22 and The Flash #21 #22. Tom King and artist Jason Fabok will handle the Batman issues, while Joshua Williamson and artist Howard Porter will be the creative team on The Flash‘s contribution to the crossover. Each issue of the crossover will also have “special lenticular covers.” For more on this event, please check out our full story by clicking the following link: [Nerdist]

Comics legend Garth Ennis is creating a new title for indie publisher Aftershock Comics, which has just been announced. Called Jimmy’s Bastards, the new title debuts this summer, with an artistic team to be announced soon. You can read After Shock’s full description of the series down below:

Jimmy Regent is Britain’s number one super spy, a devastatingly handsome secret agent with a license to kill and style to match. Sailing effortlessly through mission after mission with wit and panache, defying danger again and again, Jimmy always triumphs and always gets the girl- gets rather a lot of girls, actually. But now a new and particularly dangerous secret organization has arisen, their sights fixed firmly on Jimmy’s head. Two hundred young men and women in ultimate physical condition, trained in all the arts of deception and death, each bearing a curious facial resemblance to… Jimmy? Every one united with one terrible aim: Get Daddy.

The late Michael Turner, creator of Fathom and publisher of Aspen comics, did many, many convention sketches. Now, one of those sketches is becoming a cover for Marvel’s upcoming Darth Maul mini-series. Turner, who passed away from cancer in 2008, didn’t do very much Star Wars-related art, so this is a rare chance to see Turner’s take on one of the characters from the galaxy far, far away.

The Darth Maul #1 exclusive cover will be available for pre-order starting on Saturday, January 14th at noon (PST)/3:00 PM (EST) and will feature a color variant (limited to 3,000 copies) in addition to a special black and white sketch variant (limited to 2,000 copies and available only in the online set). Darth Maul #1 will be released February 1st. [Newsarama]

Marvel Comics announced this week that artist Francesco Francavilla will provide variant covers for all five issues of their upcoming Monsters Unleashed miniseries. Each of the five covers features a different and long-lost giant monster from Marvel’s early, pre-Fantastic Four years, drawn in the style of ’50s monster movie posters. Arriving in stores on January 18, Cullen Bunn’s Monsters Unleashed will also feature an all-star team of artists. You can see the variant covers down below in our gallery. [CBR]

Images: DC Comics / Marvel Comics / Topps / Aftershock Comics / Aspen 

From: http://nerdist.com/superman-goes-old-school-with-his-newest-costume/

SUPERMAN Goes Old-School With His Newest Costume

Welcome comics fans, to your weekend edition of Comics Relief! In today’s edition, we celebrate the Man of Steel going back to a more classic look after several years of experimenting with his look. Read on for all the details.

We reported a few weeks back that the current Superman would be learning the truth about himself in the new DC Rebirth world, as well as that of the now-dead New 52 Man of Steel in the upcoming “Superman Reborn” storyline, which begins in Action Comics and Superman in March. As a result of said storyline, Superman will be getting a new costume, the second since Rebirth began.

So how new is it? Actually, it’s the closest to Supe’s classic duds we’ve had since the end of the old DCU in Flashpoint 2011. Although Superman’s Rebirth costume hued closer to his original look than the armor and high collar of the New 52 Kal-El, he still had blue boots and a darker blue color. Now, it’s the entire classic look restored, except for a red belt instead of red underwear. I think I can live with that one change. The full costume premieres on the cover of Superman #20 from artist Patrick Gleason in April. You can see a preview of the cover above. [Comic Book]

Last week we teased the Marvel’s new event series for 2017, The Secret Empire. All we knew from the image previously released was that Secret Empire would be a Captain America-centric event, one that would probably expose the Hydra agents living in plain sight across the Marvel Universe.

Now, based on their latest teaser, which features not only Cap, but also Old Man Logan, Black Widow, Black Panther, Deadpool, Rocket Raccoon, Captain Marvel, Black Bolt, and Spider-Man, this indicates that this will definitely be a Marvel Universe encompassing event, and not just within the Cap titles. Will Cassaday draw it? Too soon to say. In the meantime, you check out the teaser image above. [Newsarama]

Back in the early ’90s, Topps Trading Cards company ventured into publishing comic books as well (as it seemed everyone did back then) as making titles for Jack Kirby and Frank Miller among others. Now it seems they are dipping their toes into that well once more, as Topps has just announced a new Garbage Pail Kids comic, based on their classic ’80s trading card sensations, called “The Worst Of 2016”, which seems aimed straight at GPK collectors.

The story, by Pat Barrett and Brent Engstrom, is a only 6 pages long, with a cover bringing it up to 8 pages. there are 2 exclusive stickers from GPK characters Grim Jim and Nervous Rex that are also included. The comic humorously waves goodbye to the last year while dreading 2017 at the same time. You can see the cover from the new Garbage Pail Kids comic above. [Bleeding Cool]

The mystery of the Comedian’s bloody pin from Watchmen showing up in the Batcave in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 has been ongoing since April of last year. Now DC Comics has announced that the two greatest detectives in the Justice League, Bruce Wayne and Barry Allen, are teaming up together to solve the Watchmen-centric mystery.

The four-part crossover storyline in April and is called “The Button.” According to DC’s description, “the two greatest detectives in the DC Universe unite to unravel the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley face button stuck in the Batcave wall. However, what begins as a simple investigation soon turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party, and it’s not who anyone suspects. This is a mystery woven throughout time, and the countdown starts here!”

“The Button” will run through Batman #21 #22 and The Flash #21 #22. Tom King and artist Jason Fabok will handle the Batman issues, while Joshua Williamson and artist Howard Porter will be the creative team on The Flash‘s contribution to the crossover. Each issue of the crossover will also have “special lenticular covers.” For more on this event, please check out our full story by clicking the following link: [Nerdist]

Comics legend Garth Ennis is creating a new title for indie publisher Aftershock Comics, which has just been announced. Called Jimmy’s Bastards, the new title debuts this summer, with an artistic team to be announced soon. You can read After Shock’s full description of the series down below:

Jimmy Regent is Britain’s number one super spy, a devastatingly handsome secret agent with a license to kill and style to match. Sailing effortlessly through mission after mission with wit and panache, defying danger again and again, Jimmy always triumphs and always gets the girl- gets rather a lot of girls, actually. But now a new and particularly dangerous secret organization has arisen, their sights fixed firmly on Jimmy’s head. Two hundred young men and women in ultimate physical condition, trained in all the arts of deception and death, each bearing a curious facial resemblance to… Jimmy? Every one united with one terrible aim: Get Daddy.

The late Michael Turner, creator of Fathom and publisher of Aspen comics, did many, many convention sketches. Now, one of those sketches is becoming a cover for Marvel’s upcoming Darth Maul mini-series. Turner, who passed away from cancer in 2008, didn’t do very much Star Wars-related art, so this is a rare chance to see Turner’s take on one of the characters from the galaxy far, far away.

The Darth Maul #1 exclusive cover will be available for pre-order starting on Saturday, January 14th at noon (PST)/3:00 PM (EST) and will feature a color variant (limited to 3,000 copies) in addition to a special black and white sketch variant (limited to 2,000 copies and available only in the online set). Darth Maul #1 will be released February 1st. [Newsarama]

Marvel Comics announced this week that artist Francesco Francavilla will provide variant covers for all five issues of their upcoming Monsters Unleashed miniseries. Each of the five covers features a different and long-lost giant monster from Marvel’s early, pre-Fantastic Four years, drawn in the style of ’50s monster movie posters. Arriving in stores on January 18, Cullen Bunn’s Monsters Unleashed will also feature an all-star team of artists. You can see the variant covers down below in our gallery. [CBR]

Images: DC Comics / Marvel Comics / Topps / Aftershock Comics / Aspen 

From: http://nerdist.com/superman-goes-old-school-with-his-newest-costume/

EXCLUSIVE: DC Debuts New Costume For Superman

This April, following the events of the March “Superman Reborn” event, the Man of Steel will debut a new costume in the pages of Superman #20 and Action Comics #977.

DC has provided ComicBook.com with an exclusive first look, which you can see in the attached image gallery.

Superman-new-Costume-teaser-image
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

The full costume premieres on the cover of Superman #20 from artist Patrick Gleason.

The cover for Action Comics #977, by Andy Kubert, presents a tableau of Superman’s history — including the iconic Neal Adams cover to Superman #233, the opening salvo of the fan-favorite “Kryptonite Nevermore!” storyline. It’s perhaps worth noting that shortly after the death of the New 52 Superman, ComicBook.com speculated that “Kryptonite Nevermore!” could provide some insight as to the nature of his death, and possibly even the nature of his very being.

Also represented on the cover: Lois and Clark’s wedding from Superman: The Wedding Album, and the birth of Jonathan Kent from Convergence: Superman #2, indicating that following whatever changes are made to the character and/or his backstory in “Superman Reborn,” he still experienced those events. His first appearance at the Daily Planet in his Rebirth duds appears to be one of the other images.

(…And is that thing with the American flag a riff on Superman IV: The Quest For Peace?!)

You can check out the official solicitation text for the issues below:

SUPERMAN #20
Written by PETER J. TOMASI and PATRICK GLEASON • Art by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY • Cover by PATRICK GLEASON • Variant cover by TONY S. DANIEL
“Superman Black” part one! A “Superman Reborn Aftermath” tie-in! As the smoke clears the Kents are faced with leaving Hamilton to go back to Metropolis, but someone or something doesn’t want them to leave! Batman and Robin discover something is mysteriously wrong with the son of Superman—he’s losing his powers!
On sale APRIL 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

ACTION COMICS #977
Written by DAN JURGENS • Art by IAN CHURCHILL • Cover by ANDY KUBERT • Variant cover by GARY FRANK
“Superman Reborn Aftermath” part one! Following the epic struggle against [REDACTED], Superman examines his entire history—the birth of Jon, the marriage of Lois and Clark, their lives at the Daily Planet—to discover who tried to destroy his life. Who is waiting in the shadows? Who is Mr. Oz? All questions the Man of Steel cannot answer alone. It is time for him to unite the entire Superman-Family!
On sale APRIL 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

…There’s a lot to unpack there. First, there is apparently a mystery villain to the “Superman Reborn” storyline who is likely not Mr. Oz. The big “REDACTED” in the Action Comics solicitation suggests somebody we didn’t know was coming, whereas Mr. Oz was mentioned, pictured, and marketed in the solicitations for March’s “Superman Reborn.”

If we’re to assume that Mr. Oz is in fact Ozymandias, as most everyone has speculated at this point, that Action Comics solicitation — by proximity alone — seems to imply that the individual “waiting in the shadows” is likely Doctor Manhattan. Coupled with the revelation that Batman and The Flash will be pursuing the truth about The Comedian’s button in April, it seems as though DC’s heroes are moving rapidly toward a conflict with the characters from Watchmen.

Lastly, the fact that the story arc in Superman is titled “Superman Black” seems to add credence to our previous theory that the “Superman Reborn” storyline is somehow tied to the concept of Superman Red and Superman Blue. You can read more on that theory here.

“Superman Reborn Aftermath” will run through the Superman family of titles in April. The full DC solicitations will be released on Tuesday.

From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2017/01/13/exclusive-dc-debuts-new-costume-for-superman/

Action Comics #971 Review

Action Comics #971 Review

After last issue’s cliffhanger, Action Comics #971 is poised to be one of this week’s most-wanted books. While everyone (except Zack Snyder) knows Superman wouldn’t let his greatest adversary be executed, DC’s made weird decisions before. Lest we forget, they allowed Snyder to kill off Jimmy Olsen in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and gave the Joker face tats in Suicide Squad. So does “Men of Steel” part five let us down harder than 2016’s comic book movies?

Absolutely not. If there’s one writer who knows Superman, it’s Dan Jurgens – and he’s written a corker of an issue. Similar in narrative to an episode of Superman: The Animated Series, it’s packed with Superman-Lex Luthor wisecracks, marvelous action scenes and intergalactic travel. There’s an unwavering sense that Jurgens is really enjoying writing this series, and its exuberance is contagious to the readers as well.

While Peter J. Tomasi’s Superman captures the spirit of classic Superman comics, Action Comics is channeling the DCAU’s fun factor. In an era where comics are too serious or too silly, it’s nice to have some balance without forsaking fun. If you haven’t noticed, Jurgens is applying the same principles to his Batman Beyond run, so be sure to check that one out, too.

Action Comics #971 ReviewAction Comics #971 ReviewAction Comics #971 ReviewAction Comics #971 ReviewAction Comics #971 ReviewAction Comics #971 ReviewAction Comics #971 Review

Click to zoom Action Comics #971 Review

Artistically, the tag team of Art Thibert and Stephen Segovia choose a minimalist approach to their sci-fi backdrops. Conveying the vastness and grandeur of the planets and space, their approach works effectively well. We don’t get lost in the detail because they constantly bring us back to what the story’s really about: Superman and Luthor.

What must also be commended is Thibert and Segovia’s handling of the action scenes. Often we see action sequences as two page spreads, which look like nice wallpapers but don’t really say much. The artists don’t abandon the story for grandstand moments here, choosing to show the battle over several smaller panels. Not only does this give us more action, but it builds up a better story as well. Hopefully, more artists will take note and apply this to their own series.

The long and short of Action Comics #971 is the Remnants want Superman to be judge, jury and executioner to Luthor. Naturally, he doesn’t go through with it and rescues Luthor instead. Using the Mother Box, Luthor plots their escape back to Earth by creating a boom tube. The Remnants have other plans, though, jamming the Box and stranding Luthor and Superman on a planet with a red sun. With Superman’s powers depleted, it’s up to Luthor to save them, but can he be trusted? Back on Earth, Lois and Jon break into the “other” Lois’s apartment to research more about the vanishing building. An unexpected visitor, however, drops by to really complicate matters.

While Jurgens might be known best for “The Death of Superman” storyline, his “Men of Steel” has been equally tremendous. Capturing everything we love about the character, he constantly delivers quality and engaging tales. The next time you argue with your friends why the comic books are better than films, hand them a copy of Action Comics #971. The book speaks for itself.

From: http://wegotthiscovered.com/comicbooks/action-comics-971-review/

DC Comics’ Rebirth worked because it’s actually good – Polygon

I am not doing a 10 best comics post for 2016.

There are a number of reasons for this. For one, a lot of the comics I really enjoyed this year are things I put on my list last year. For another, a lot of the comics I really enjoyed this year have been around for a while. For a third, I kind of already showcased some of my favorite comics of this year in Polygon’s comics webseries, Issue at Hand.

Instead, I’m going to talk about one particular event that has stunningly exceeded my expectations as a fan and a critic, and then I’m going drill down to talk about one single comic. It’s a book that perfectly represents how this event succeeded, and it was comic that I was most surprised to love this past year.

So, without further fuss, DC Comics’ Rebirth event.

The New 52 is dead, long live the DC Universe

One of the first posts I ever wrote for Polygon is entitled “The New 52 is dead: DC Comics details diverse, character-driven new direction” (click it if you must, I think it was the post where Chris Grant taught me how to do feature layouts and now it makes my eyes bleed). “The New 52 is dead” was not about Rebirth, but about DCYou, DC Comics’ 2015 summer relaunch, and the title wouldn’t turn out to be a prediction. It was more an expression of my own personal hopes and what I thought DC’s description of the goals behind its new … editorial … policies …

OK, it was mostly an expression of my own personal hopes. Perhaps even predominantly. I was trying to put it out there in the world, like the Secret. That’s the Secret, right?

I was trying to murder the New 52 with my mind.

I only had to wait a year, because that’s when DC Comics’ co-publishers, Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, first cryptically tweeted a tease for the company’s Rebirth initiative.

A brief summary

If you have been inside the comics world at all in the past five years, you already know this, but if you haven’t there is absolutely no reason for you to so I’ll try to nutshell it. The New 52 was DC Comics’ first complete universe-wide reset since 1985. It was supposed to galvanize the company’s dismal sales numbers and bring in new readers by modernizing characters and eliminating decades of backstory.

In the short run, it created a temporary increase in sales by encouraging existing DC Comics readers to buy more books. In the long run, it produced no appreciable increase in sales. It made sweeping changes that pissed off existing readers while simultaneously making continuity even more confusing for new ones. And while it produced a few genuinely great books in spite of itself, it also featured editorial oversight of creative teams so restrictive that for a while it seemed like an artist or writer was quitting or being removed from their book about once a week.

DC tried to make the New 52 work for five years. In 2016, it finally gave up.

DC Rebirth

The wrap-around cover of Rebirth #1
Gary Frank/DC Comics

As information on the Rebirth line was rolled out, I was cagey. The proof would be in the books themselves, not what the co-publishers said were their motivations. I’d been burned before!

Some of the biggest announcements played directly to my personal interests. Batwoman was back after her solo series floundered when its creative team quit because DC editorial refused to allow the character to marry her fiancée. She’d be in a team book where she works alongside Batman for the first time. One of my favorite writers and one of my favorite artists would be creating a new canonical origin story for Wonder Woman. DC editorial was talking extensively about how the company’s biggest priority was to restore a sense of legacy — a sense of the shared history between its characters — that the New 52 lacked. But my fears would not be assuaged!

Rebirth #1 teases the involvement of Doctor Manhattan

From the final pages of Rebirth #1
Gary Frank and Ivan Reis/DC Comics

So I was still skeptical when Rebirth #1 kicked off the new direction, not with a big crossover that would be incomprehensible to new readers, but with a single oversized issue that read like a textual apology for the New 52. I mean, it established, in canon, that most of what fans had hated about the New 52 DC Universe had been caused by a cosmic force that had literally stolen the good things from the DC timeline. Sure, that cosmic force was Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen and I still have mixed feelings about that, but Rebirth #1 felt both bold and even slightly insulting in its commitment to kicking sand in the face of DC’s biggest publishing event in decades.

The proof was in the books. And I’m happy to say …

The books are good

2016 was a year where I found myself feeling predominantly positive about the output of DC Comics for the first time in a long time. That’s not to say that there aren’t some things that still bother me, because there are, but in terms of the books themselves … there is a lot that I like.

It would be one thing if DC was simply earning my esteem, but it should not be omitted that Rebirth is working on a business level as well. DC has increased its market share of units sold in the American comics industry from 27 percent before Rebirth (compared to Marvel’s 40 percent, at the time) to 44 percent (Marvel, now: 31 percent). It’s the first time that DC has pulled ahead of its rival in years. The last time was that short-lived post-New 52 bump, and by some reckonings, Rebirth is selling significantly better than even that.

DC is making better money than it has made in a long time based on a more diverse creative pool than the New 52, a more relaxed attitude towards allowing characters to guest in other books (creating that important superhero sense of being connected to a wider universe), as well as pushing a slew of interesting new characters into the spotlight and taking a back to basics approach when it comes to the classic ones who were most struggling. This is a creative and editorial direction that I’m very, very glad to see be supported in sales.

And if I had to pick one book that exemplifies those changes, it’s Superman.

Superman and his son, Superboy

Superman and Superboy against the Eradicator
Patrick Gleason/DC Comics

And I’m just as surprised as you are

As you might have gathered from my work here on Polygon, I am a Batman fan, all the way. Which is not to say I think Superman is dumb. I respect him. He’s just not my favorite.

In 2016, I added the main Superman title to my pull list for the first time.

The only problem with this book is it’s rooted in some comic book shenanigans of the highest order — which makes it hard to recommend to new readers. But, Peter J. Tomasi, Doug Mahnke, Patrick Gleason, and the other creators on the book are using those comic book shenanigans to create some of the best character moments I read this year — exactly the sort of thing that new readers should be interested in.

Clark: What’s that, Lo? Lois: Just get your work done, you big lug. And by the way, I like the “no-beard” look.

Clark, Lois and Jon on the farm. He’d had a beard for a while.
Patrick Gleason/DC Comics

At its most simple, Superman is a book about Superman and his family: his wife, Lois Lane and his young son, Jon. Jon has nascent powers of his own and just found out that his dad is secretly Superman, Lois is restarting her career as a journalist after years of working anonymously and Clark is figuring out how to be Superman publicly again, after the death of the New 52’s Superman.

Oh, right. That’s where the comic book shenanigans come in: Clark, Lois and Jon are all refugees from the version of DC Comics continuity that immediately preceded the New 52, and they’re stranded in the modern DC Comics universe.

A brief summary

In DC’s 2015 summer crossover, Convergence, dozens of specific times and places from all over the DC Multiverse were pulled from their usual homes in the spacetime continuum and brought to a single planet and a single time.

These events were mostly laid out in Superman: Lois and Clark, something of a prequel book to Rebirth’s Superman.
Brad Anderson and Lee Weeks/DC Comics

This included a significant chunk of the pre-New 52 DC Universe (the post-Crisis On Infinite Earths DCU), and that chunk included Superman and Lois Lane. Lois and Clark have been married in post-Crisis continuity since 1996, and during the events of Convergence the two conceived and delivered a child. But at the end of Convergence, the family was not returned to their original time and place — instead they were stranded in the New 52 universe just before the rise of the superheroic era.

Alone in a strangely familiar but undeniably different DC Universe, witnesses to the rise of its Superman and its Justice League, Clark and Lois decided that it wasn’t their place to openly interfere with the development of this version of history. They took the surname White after their old editor, made enough money as reporters to buy a farm 300 miles north of Metropolis, and set about raising their son, Jon. Clark quietly and covertly worked to save lives around the world in a more stealthy version of his old costume, and Lois made headlines with her pseudonymously published investigative reporting.

That status quo lasted until the death of the New 52’s Superman, when post-Crisis Clark fought alongside his younger counterpart and made his first connections with the wider superhero community of the New 52. Now, for all that the public knows, he is their Superman; but among the Justice League he’s a mysterious, ludicrously powerful stranger wearing the face of their dead friend. And to Clark, the Justice League is a strange mirage of familiar and unfamiliar qualities mixed together — in exactly the same way the New 52 was for fans of the post-Crisis DCU.

Superman: I don’t regret returning to action, but I don’t think it’s the kind of life I want for my son. Wonder Woman: Perhaps the three of us reuniting goes beyond just defeating the villains of this world. Mysterious narrator: With enough patience and u

Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman, getting to re-know each other on the White farm.
Francis Manapul/DC Comics

But while Rebirth’s Action Comics focuses on Superman’s punchy, space-y adventures in Metropolis fighting Doomsday and Lex Luthor and space bounty hunters — Superman is staying close to home and family: Jon and Lois.

The second son of Krypton

Jon gives Clark that element so elusive in bad Superman stories and so abundant in good ones — it puts the focus on Clark’s humanity and vulnerability. It gives Clark moments to wonder what advice either of his fathers would have given him about parenting — when the ones from his old universe and his new adopted one are all dead. It packs the book with domestic family moments that give its wild, sci-fi action scenes weight, depth and contrast.

In fact, my favorite moment in the entire series is of Jon, peeping over his windowsill to see Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman on his front lawn. The twist here is that we see this scene — the first private meeting between the New 52’s Batman and Wonder Woman, still mourning their Superman, with an identical but older alien who says he’s from another Earth entirely — from Jon’s perspective. It’s not a reaffirmation of the Justice League or a gathering of the world’s greatest heroes.

Jon reacts with fear to Wonder Woman and Batman

Patrick Gleason/DC Comics

It’s two powerful, famous strangers who could be here to take his dad away, or worse: to take him away.

Rebirth Superman shows us the DC Universe from a very rarely seen perspective: that of a child in a living nuclear family who isn’t going on crimefighting patrol every night. Finding out that his dad is Superman and that someday he might have all of the same powers is cool for Jon. But the idea that his whole family is keeping a big, alien secret and that his dad is risking his life every day — traveling to space, putting down scientific monstrosities, nearly dying of the heat and pressure at the center of the Earth — is plenty scary, too.

Super-dad to the rescue

And that brings us right back around to how well Superman uses Clark-as-a-Dad to show the best of Superman as a character. Recently, while using Kryptonian technology to perfect Jon’s science fair project, father and son were transported to Dinosaur Island, discovered the final resting place of DC’s infamous World War II commando characters, the Losers, and fought pterodactyls and a giant albino gorilla.

And in the middle of all of that, Clark realizes that Jon has stopped taking all the weird science completely in stride.

Clark: The way you act and carry yourself like a big guy — Sometimes you make me forget. Jon: Forget what? Clark: That you’re only ten years old. I promise you we’re going to find this thing, we’re going to get home, and we’re going to get yelled at by yo

“What if we can’t get home, dad? We might never see Mom again.”
Doug Mahnke/DC Comics

It’s the oft voiced question of any modern Superman adaptation: How do you take a character like Superman and make him “grounded?” You don’t do it with realism of physics, politics or narrative rules — you do it with realism of emotion. Because once you’ve got dogs with laser vision and time-lost WWII vets riding tame pterodactyls, emotional realism is kind of the only realism you’re left with.

I mean, the audience has to connect with something. And dammit, I fucking connected with Superman being a kind dad to his son in a strange world.

Stranger in a strange DC Universe

Superman is performing a fantastic metatextual trick, where as Clark explores the way the New 52 differs from his native version of reality, the reader is reminded of the ways in which the New 52 differs tonally from what came before it. Clark remembers dying at the hands of Doomsday and being brought back to life — something that never happened, and, though he does his best to find a way, apparently won’t ever happen for the New 52’s Superman. In his own universe, Clark’s mother is still alive — in the New 52 the Kents were killed by a drunk driver before Superman ever put on the costume.

Superman: Jon, you’re not like the boy who outgrew this shirt and donated it. I’m afraid someday soon — too soon — you will have to pick it up and embrace the “S” for yourself. It’s not about our powers, or strength, or heat vision. It’s about character

It IS about character. CHARACTERS.
Patrick Gleason/DC Comics

Clark and Lois — who is every bit the emotional and romantic partner to him as her New 52 counterpart was never allowed to be — remember older, wiser, more centered versions of Batman and Wonder Woman. They remember Barbara Gordon becoming Oracle, the technological mastermind of the light side of the DC Universe. They remember Barry Allen’s young sidekick, Wally West, grown to adulthood and fully embodying his mentor’s mantle as the Flash. They remember the loving if tumultuous relationship between Black Canary and Green Arrow. None of those things existed in the New 52, but under Rebirth, they’ve all shown hope of returning.

Superman is constantly criticized as a concept too old-fashioned for modern audiences, and now he’s literally from an older universe. He’s always been a character whose main conceit has been about being an orphan from another world, and stranding him in another continuity only doubles down on the qualities that have made him so enduring.

And what better character to represent the success of an older version of the DC Universe than Superman himself, the first superhero? There’s actually a certain amount of precedent. And what better way to showcase the optimism and sense of moral duty at the core of his character — and so scorned by people who don’t get that that’s the whole point — than in how he imparts it to his son.

Jon: But what happens if— Clark: I said, do you believe me?

Doug Mahnke/DC Comics

Good job, DC Rebirth. And good job, Rebirth Superman. You did the most surprising thing of any comic in 2016 — you made me believe again.

From: http://www.polygon.com/2017/1/10/14119712/dc-comics-rebirth-superman

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