It’s another solid week for DC Comics! After the mess of Convergence, they have come out smelling like roses with new comics, new directions and a new sense of fun. I only hope Marvel has the same kind of response to Secret Wars, though Marvel was doing fine before they started their summer-long crossover.
This week sees new issues of Aquaman, Batgirl and Grayson, and the debut of We Are Robin, the comic I was most looking forward to with DC’s new rebranding. Does it live up to the hype? Mostly. It’s a relatively sparse first issue, but it starts laying some important groundwork.
Comic Book of the Week goes to Batgirl #41. No big changes here, just more Batgirl goodness.
Comic Reviews: Aquaman #41, Batgirl #41, Grayson #9, Ninjak #4 and We Are Robin #1.
Not much going on today, so I thought I’d share this awesome cover image from Batman and Robin #36, where Red Robin, Red Hood and Batgirl all get dressed up in Robin variants of their costumes to honor Damian! It was drawn by Patrick Gleason.
The image was previewed in USA Today, in an article about how the Batman and Robin team, Mahnke and Peter Tomasi, are taking over the Superman/Wonder Woman comic. Good for them. But I only really care about the Robin stuff!
Especially a quote from Tomasi about why everyone is dressed in these variant costumes.
“All of these characters at this point are in the Robin mix,” Tomasi says. “The Bat-family will, in the end, rise to the challenge of helping a new Robin come to be in the DCU.”
A new Robin? That sounds a lot more firm than just bringing Damian back from the dead. So who could it be? I really don’t know at this point.
Though I’m holding out hope that this ‘Bluebird’ thing is all a feint, and Harper Row really does become the new Robin.
San Diego Comic-Con is dropping all manner of cool pop culture news on us this weekend! If I was a better blogger, and didn’t have that dentist appointment yesterday, I would be covering more of it. But cavities make fools of us all, and I’m only getting around to some of the good stuff now. But you can bet there will be even more awesomeness over the weekend, so stay tuned.
Though for now, I can share with you this cool trailer for Arrow Season 3. It’s mostly awesome. I still don’t like Amanda Waller, though.
Also, for all you Arrow fans, one of the Season 3 episodes is going to be entitled ‘Oracle’ and will reveal Felicity Smoak’s backstory. We all know what that name signifies, and we might just learn that Felicity was college classmates with one Barbara Gordon! That would be pretty darn cool. Oracle was actually on my original list of DC characters I wanted to see on Arrow!
Moving on to another comic book show, we have a trailer for The Walking Dead Season 5. This trailer looks pretty awesome.
Obviously it spoilers the cliffhanger ending of Season 4…but I think I’m OK with that. The Walking Dead still looks great.
Now this is a legitimate surprise, and one I find myself welcoming with open arms. DC Comics has revealed a new creative team on Batgirl for this fall, and with it, I think they’re signaling a new direction for their entire company. At least I hope that’s the case. Forgive me for getting a little hyperbolic over here, but I like what I see and I see what I like.
Look at this picture, from artists Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr, and tell me it isn’t Batgirl channeling Ms. Marvel or Lumberjanes.
I don’t know how things look from where you’re sitting, but for me, we’re in the middle of a comic book revolution. Cute, quirky, artistic and personable comics are my favorites, these days, and Marvel is leading the charge. Hawkeye, Silver Surfer, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, FF and, especially, Ms. Marvel are the comics on everyone’s lips. They’re new and interesting, with a focus on both style and substance. These are comics that push the medium towards a true art form. Or at the very least, a great entertainment. In my curmudgeony old age, I find myself flocking towards these types of comics, ones that focus on the people first and the superheroes second, ones that love art and revel in how unique comic book art can be. There is also a stronger focus on women, both as characters and as creators.
Basically, everything Marvel and most Indie comics are doing these days.
But not DC.
Since the start of the New 52, DC has been glued to their House Style for the past three years. Comics Alliance goes into detail here, but basically, DC has strictly followed the designs and style of artists like Jim Lee and David Finch when making all of their comics. Whether it was Superman, Batman, Blue Beetle or Hawk & Dove, DC has only cared about creating grim, gritty, detailed and action-filled comics.
But who is talking about DC Comics these days? Aside from praising maybe Scott Snyder’s Batman or Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman, who out there has any kind words for DC? Nobody. There’s nothing but derision, for the most part. Whereas Marvel books are the talk of the town.
Well now it looks to me like DC is finally going to reach outside the box and try something new.
According to Mtv’s interview with the books creators, including writer Brenden Fletcher, Barbara Gordon is going to move to Burnside, the hipster borough of Gotham City, where she will immerse herself in youth culture. She’s going to build that new costume out of materials from vintage clothing stores. Barbara Gordon is going to become hip. She’s going to take selfies and probably drink coffee.
I’m not knocking these facts, I think they sound great. I love Gail Simone as much as the next person, but she was writing to the House Style Batgirl. That’s on DC, not on her. She even said so on Twitter that she was told to keep her Batgirl grim and gritty.
I never read Gail Simone’s Batgirl series because I just couldn’t bring myself to care, for some reason. I’ve never cared very much about Batgirl, and I loved Secret Six a bit too much to forgive DC when they launched the New 52. The point is, I am definitely going to give this new Batgirl direction a try in October.
I don’t know if DC can pull it off. I don’t know if their heads are in the right place or if they’re just playing copycat. But between Batgirl and Gotham Academy, I really think they may have finally caught on to the way the winds are blowing. Perhaps there is hope for them yet.