Daniel's Comic Book Column
# 12: A
YEAR, A FEW MORE QUICKIE REVIEWS, SOME TV
October 2002 by Daniel P. Dern
Ern's 2 cents (put more sciffy in your
A YEAR OF WRITING ABOUT COMICS
This is the twelfth of these columns, which means I've been doing this
for a year now. I've got no cosmic thoughts about this. I've been
enjoying it. I'm still paying for all the comics I'm talking
about -- nobody's (yet) sending me any free
reviewer's copies. (Not a complaint, just an
observation. OK, and a hint.) Oddly enough, I haven't gotten
any reader email -- do I need to insult somebody, or say I like
Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern (I'm not saying I do or don't), or
what? Offer a prize or two?
TO WATCH FOR: BATMAN
I could have sworn I said something about this last month.
Jeph Loeb & Jim Lee are talking over the help on BATMAN, starting
with issue #608, due out later this October.
DC's web site for more info.
It promises to be a doozy of a ride, plotwise, and the art will be
I've already told my comic store to pull (save a copy of, add to my
reserve list) this one for me.
Also worth considering is Alan Moore's imminent
A FEW MORE QUICKIE REVIEWS OF (SOME OF THE) COMICS
I'VE BEEN READING
#190 (November 2002) (DC, $2.25) "Rat
Race" Geoff Johns, writer; Justiniano,
penciller; Wallace Wong, inker
For those of us who were kids during the "Silver Age," the Flash was in
many ways emblemmatic, or whatever of the era: lovely art by
Carmine Infantino, great (often whacky)
super-science plots by Garner Fox, Murphy Anderson, etc.,
and/but relatively simplistic characters and relationships. But
at some point, Silver Age Flash Barry Allen
got caught up in a long, downward spiraling plot.
Barry Allen bought the speed farm towards the end
of the Crisis of Infinite Earths, and Wally West upshifted from
"Kid Flash"to "The Flash." (Quite a few years ago by now, to be sure.)
Things got often more interesting, to say the least. A great supporting
cast has developed, including young speedster
Impulse, who's had his own often-great comic for
a few years now.
Lately, the story arcs (plotlines) in the Flash have been intense, dark,
even somewhat gruesome over the past year -- but also compelling. The
artwork has also been, well, different --
that's not a criticism, it's simply a statement.
The bunch of rogue Rogues trying to take over Flash's town just got
whupped last issue, now the question is, what happened to the
Pied Piper, who had become Flash (Wally
West's) friend some years back.
The mayhem continues in
I'm not sure whether this is turning into a train wreck I can't take
my eyes off of, or an engrossing story line.
THE LEGION (of Super-Heroes), DC, $2.50
Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, writers
The Legion of Super-Heroes (LSH) has numerous dedicated fans. Sometimes
I'm almost one of them. I tuned in a bit late to the great
Levitz/Giffen years, catching up mostly
through the reprint issues and the quarter bin.
I bought and read Bierbaum/Giffen or whatever
I-thought-often-hard-to-follow multi-year saga
of Mordru/Universo/Emerald Empress/Vat SW6 (or whatever), which I think
made slightly more sense when I reread them in one or two
Then I gave up again, two "reboots" ago.
But while I wasn't looking,
LEGION got interesting and good-looking again. (I couldn't stand
the art on the previous round.)
I'm dipping my toe in again. We've got more familiar characters again,
albeit not always with the personalities
long-time fans remember. Some new names, some
costume changes, and I've clearly missed a lot of plot stuff. The art's
very strong again. I'm wavering on this title, but going to keep
watching it for a while.
(Marvel, $2.99) Brian Michael Bendis, writer;
Alex Maleev, artist
A few issues ago,
got "outed" in terms of his "secret identity"
of Matt Murdoch, blind lawyer, being revealed.
Now he's dealing with the consequences. It ain't pretty.
But it's well done. I loved Frank Miller's run on Daredevil
years ago; I don't know if I can watch old Hornhead get dragged
down again, though.
COMICS MENTIONED LAST MONTH AND STILL WORTH
I did quickie reviews of these titles last month; based on subsequent
issues, I still recommend 'em: GREEN ARROW,
HAWKMAN, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
And again: a) hop on BATMAN with the issue out this month (October), and
check out the next issue of SUPERGIRL (#75), so we can find out
who the blond in the rocket is.
SOME COMIC RELATED TV SHOWS FYI
The Tick: Arguably, the brief
live-action version of The Tick was the truest
to the spirit of comics TV show I've seen in a long while. (I
hadn't read the comic, FWIW.) But there's still some stuff worth
First of all, if you haven't been watching Smallville (Tuesday
night on WB, right after Gilmore Girls),
you've been missing a great show.
Smallville gives us
Clark Kent before he became Superman -- "no tights,
no flights." (Also no glasses.) (Not clear whether he'll start
flying this season, though.)
The tweaks on continuity have been
remarkably minor, for a TV adaptation -- Clark Kent's a
high-school teenager in more or less the
present year, his rocket from Krypton was
accompanied by a heavy duty Kryptonite meteor shower which turned lots
of the area into a locus of
Kryptonite-enhanced weirdness (think "Roswell Creek"
meets the Sunnydale "menace/monster of the week" phenom). Clark's
powers are still emerging (we've seen him
discover X-ray vision -- yes, he does briefly
see into the girl's gym locker room). But it's true to the spirit; like
Buffy, it's also the story of the challenges
of becoming an adult -- with the added layers
of irony and foreshadowing because we know how a lot of it all comes
Smallville site for additional info.)
DC's starting up a
Smallville comic book tied to the
of Prey: This show premieres after I've
submitted this column (even granted that I'm late with it)
In the comic book of the same name, the
Prey are Black Canary (Dinah Lance),
Catwoman (Selina Kyle) and Oracle (Barbara
Gordon), plus occasional guest birds, as it were, e.g.
Power Girl. The comic's set in current DC Batman continuity.
(E.g., Oracle's getting it on with Nightwing,
a.k.a. Dick Grayson, the former Robin.)
Unlike Smallville, the premise of the Birds of Prey TV show is way
different from that of the comic book. It's a decade or so after today.
(That's all I'll tell you.)
I'm prepared to overlook that. It's still three women (in impractical
but visually interesting -- dare we say "effective but alarming" --
costumes), fighting crime. (Quote is from
"Pirates of Penzance.")
I dunno if the show will be good, but natch, I'll watch at least the
first episode (which is 70 minutes, hope you remembered to set your VCR
Charmed: Normally, I don't watch this,
but the Sunday, October 13 episode apparently
has them turning into comic book superheroes, so what the hey.
Daniel P. Dern is a free-lance technology
writer. He was previously Executive Editor of Byte.com, and still has a supply
of Byte.com pocket protectors* to prove it,
and no, these are not, repeat not, Motie watchmakers who ate
Tree-of-Life root, even if this is SFRevu.
Though I've been a Marvel Fan most of my life, and
though Daniel loves the classic DC titles, there are some hot Science
Fiction titles coming out from DC and some of the other brands it
owns...like Wildstorm and Vertigo. I really think they're worth checking
out. Consider: A Star Trek comic written by David Brin. Isn't that worth
(Note: Comic descriptions lifted directly from the DC WEBSITE)
RESISTANCE #1 Written by Jimmy
Palmiotti and Justin Grey; art by Juan Santacruz and Francis Portela,
Cover by Tom Taggart, J.G. Jones, John Cebollero, Juan Santacruz and
A new WildStorm series debuts! The year is 2280 and things are not
good. Brian Strum is a kid whose existence has been hidden from the
government for his entire life - he and others like him are seen as a
threat to the common good of humanity, a parasite on Earth's precious,
dwindling resources. Now Brian has been exposed and he finds himself
marked for death. His only salvation? A small band of resistance
fighters called the Strayz, determined to fight for their right to live
- even if it kills them.
RATS #7 Written and illustrated by
John Byrne; cover by Byrne DC UNIVERSE | Color, 32 pg. $2.50
An interplanetary adventure begins! Rocketed into the depths of space,
the Rats find a world utterly devoid of life. But there's something on
that planet that's stalking our intrepid explorers...something they find
strangely familiar. Are the Rats being haunted...by themselves?
TREK®: THE NEXT GENERATION - FORGIVENESS Written
by David Brin; painted art and cover by Scott Hampton WILDSTORM | Color,
96 pg. Softcover $17.95
Best-selling science-fiction author David Brin tackles his first-ever
Star Trek project, and first-ever graphic novel, collaborating with
acclaimed painter Scott Hampton. Captain Picard and the crew of the
U.S.S. Enterprise® NCC-1701-E spot a stray transporter beam in deep
space carrying a living being inside. When they bring it aboard, they
encounter a mystery for the ages!
TEAM ACHILLES #4 Written by Micah Ian Wright; art and cover by
Whilce Portacio and Scott Williams WILDSTORM: EYE OF THE STORM |
Color,32 pg. $2.95 MATURE READERS
Following their harrowing trial-by-fire, the new members of
StormWatch are settling into their new headquarters -- in the basement
of the United Nations! As the hunt for Ivana Baiul begins, a new member
of the team is activated, and he may hold the key to locating one of the
world's most dangerous terrorists. Except a certain team of super-beings
might stand between StormWatch and bringing down the bad guy!
Now, doesn't that all look like fun?