new 52

SW27Swamp Thing has easily been one of the most intriguing and consistent series of the New 52 (Rot World art issues not withstanding).  The series has done an amazing job of weaving a mythos incorporating elements introduced as far a back as Alan Moore’s shatteringly brilliant run on the series with new and original takes on both the character of Alec Holland/Swamp Thing and the powers he wields.

I’ve particularly enjoyed the work of writer Charles Soule thus far in the series.  That being said, this issue was something of a mixed bag.  Following the events of issue #26 and the long boiling confrontation with Seeder/Woodrue, Alec Holland has been given his “reward” for his time as the Avatar and is now living fully within the Green.  However, Swamp Thing needs desperately to return to Earth and put a stop to Woodrue/Seeder’s time as the Avatar.

Perhaps most intriguing is the revelation of what the Parliament of Trees ACTUALLY is, beyond the understanding that they are former Avatars themselves.  I won’t spoil anything here, but suffice it to say what we see on Earth is not necessarily the true form of the Parliament and as we’ve com to see with the Green, the Red, and the Rot, all things come with a price and being a member of the Parliament is no different.

The ending of the issue, while startling, follows logically with the world that Soule has created.  But I can’t help but feel that it rendered the entire Seeder plotline ultimately moot and severely undercut the impact of the previous issue’s finale.  Unless Soule has something more in store for Seeder/Swamp Thing thread, a lot of effort appears to have been needlessly thrown into what amounted to a 5-6 issue plot device.  That being said, the ending does represent an interesting shakeup to the series status quo and an intriguing wrinkle to an already intricate mythology.

7/10

The long wait for an announcement from DC Animation, as to what their next release would be, is finally over.  By way of a tweet from PR rep Gary Miereanu,Untitled we now know that the New 52 will be coming to DC’s Animated Universe in the form of Justice League: War.  This film will be an adaptation of the best selling Justice League Vol. 1: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee and has been slotted for a 2014 release, though no specific date was given.  To go along with that big news, Miereanu also announced that Shemar Moore (“Criminal Minds”) would be voicing Cyborg and that Jason O’Mara (“Vegas”, “Terra Nova”) will be voicing Batman.

Since Justice League: Flashpoint was announced last year it has been speculated that the Flashpoint event might do to the animated films, what it did to the comics and make way for New 52 content, and now we have our answer.  DC is not planning on shying away from their newest published works in development plans in favor of continuing to use more evergreen works.  This is certainly a bold approach, and one I applaud as I’m hoping this will signal a more unified approach to their Animated Universe, in the same ways that DC Entertainment is now discussing doing for their live-action films.  This also throws the doors open on some storylines that have become instant classics with fans and have sold exceptionally well both in floppies and collected editions.

For my own tastes the obvious choices that leap to mind for future development are Batman’s “Court of Owls”, the Aquaman/Justice League crossover “Throne of Atlantis”, and the Justice League Backup story for Shazam.  With 52 titles rotating in and out over the past 2 years there are dozens of serious contenders to continue bringing New 52 tales to home theaters everywhere.

What New 52 arcs would you love to see brought to the small screen?  Let me know in the comments!

Injustice: Gods Among Us & More

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Adam talks about his experience with the game Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game features an original DC super hero story centering around the Justice League and is a classic multiple Earths story. After that they talk about where the New 52 is and what is working and what isn’t. In addition, they talk about some of their favorite books like Hawkeye, Batman, and Age of Ultron. Check it out!

Listen to the Episode Directly.

Listen to the Episode on iTunes.

iTunes listeners: HELP US OUT!

Win Free Marvel Comics of your choice by leaving us iTunes reviews. Click HERE to find out how!

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Batman Loves Sitting

dc paul jenkins new 52

If you haven’t read the Bleeding Cool Article that details Paul Jenkins struggle dealing with New 52 DC Editorial, do yourself a favor and do so now. The gist of it is that former Dark Knight writer, Paul Jenkins, was given the note by editorial that he needed to change a panel he storyboarded that depicted Batman sitting. He was told he didn’t “get” the character because, according to this (for some reason unnamed) DC editor, Batman does not sit down.

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Jenkins was really surprised by this “fact” and found it pretty easy to disprove it with some very famous panels showing Batman sitting. He sits in the Batmobile, in the Batcave, when talking to the Joker, and many other times. The micromanagement by DC editors on creators keeps coming up as reasons why many are jumping ship. This seemed like an amazing example of shortsightedness.

tumblr_mo7q2zxPC31sug50so1_500Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool ended his article by asking someone to create a Tumblr with images of Batman sitting. I was eager to see what people came up with so I went right to Tumblr. I was really surprised to not find one already made. Since I have a number of Tumblrs, I figured I could put one together quick. I created “Batman Sits” shortly after and Rich updated his article to include a link to my Tumblr. I’ve since added an e-mail address where people can send me images of Batman sitting (and a number of people have already done this) as well as a Twitter account that is retweeting people talking about Batman sitting and sharing the Tumblr posts.

If you have an image of Batman sitting you want to see on Batman Sits, send it to – BatmanSits@ComicBookPanels.com .

Make sure to follow Bruce Wayne’s sitting exploits on Twitter – @BatmanSits

June 2013 Solicits

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We discuss the comics coming to stores in June 2013, what we think about many Marvel and DC titles, and Marvel Now vs. The New 52. We also look at some of the quotes Marvel is using to promote their books. They are so boring! Stuff like, “I Love This Book” – IGN. Seriously…you can do better.

Listen to the Episode Directly.

Listen to the Episode on iTunes.

iTunes listeners: HELP US OUT!

Win Free Marvel Comics of your choice by leaving us iTunes reviews. Click HERE to find out how!

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

This Week’s Best

spider-man batman superman reviewsI read about 30 new books a week. This is a pretty good sized haul considering that the overwhelming majority of books I read are from Marvel and DC and are super hero books. It’s not like all I like is Big Two capes books it’s just that these stories work in this format for me the most. The rest of what I read comes in trade paper back for me. Since Marvel and DC books are so interconnected, I like to keep up.

That all said, I’ve been dropping more DC books than I have in a long time and picking up many more Marvel books. It’s been widely reported that DC is losing market share as well as critical acclaim as the New 52 continues. The Batman books have been the only DC books that have consistently stayed at the top of my pile. Animal Man and Aquaman have and continue to be some of my favorite books while Scott Snyder leaving Swamp Thing has me worried. Either way, here are the standouts from this week:

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_5Uncanny X-Men #5

Marvel Comics

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Frasier Irving

This is starting to really feel like an X-Men book now. It’s a totally new era but what makes X-Men books work is all intact here. Enemies from all sides, love triangles, mysteries, an all powerful villain, humans fearing them, in-fighting, new mutants, powers not working…this really has it all! This was billed as the true flagship X-Men book before it came out and I found that hard to believe. Wolverine and the X-Men felt like the true flagship book to me. Then I thought about it more. Wolverine and the X-Men represents the Morrison-era X-Men style of a book while Uncanny X-Men represents the more classic X-Men team. Uncanny has more baggage and is the outlaw team with a manageable roster. I think both styles work and are just as legitimate. This issue let the action die down just a bit in order for the interactions to have their place. The expansion of this team feels organic and really has me wanting more.

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Batman-Inc-10-variantBatman Incorporated #10

DC Comics

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artists: Chris Burnham & Jason Masters

While not my favorite issue recently, Batman Inc. books are still some of the best on the shelves. This one felt a bit slow till the last page and somewhat redundant but I see why Morrison made these choices. With three issues left in his HUGE run on Batman, this issue brought in elements from a variety of his past stories that are all going to build towards the finale. I love the idea that Batman is pulling out all the stops to take on Leviathan. Incorporating his Batbots, the Suit of Sarrows, and the Man-Bat Serum to give him the edge he needs makes this feel as big as it should be. The Al Ghul “family” is coming apart and it’s going to be a factor for the future of Batman. This had one of the best last pages of a Batman book that I can remember. If this was a Rocky movie, it’s where you would hear his theme music starting up. Game on!

Avengers_Arena_Vol_1_8Avengers Arena #8

Marvel Comics

Writer: Dennis Hopeless

Artist: Kev Walker

Last issue took time away from the main story (which had one crazy ending) to give us the set-up of Arcade to the way we find him in issue #1. This issue takes us back to the scene of Kid Briton’s death and we see how everyone is dealing with it. With as many characters with powers there are in this book, this never feels like a super hero book. These teens are confused real sounding characters who are way out of their element. This title grows on me with each issue. Once I got over if this whole story was happening in a virtual reality or not I finally fully committed to what’s been going on. Combining all these eras of Marvel teens from every corner of the Marvel U really works because the cliches feel very tenuous and alliances feel strained throughout. I’ve read many of these characters in the titles they came from so the accumulation of all those stories really enhances this for me. As a Darkhawk fan from the 90s as well as someone who has never missed a Runaways appearance, this book had a great twist for me. I recommend this book to non super hero fans as well as seasoned Marvel Zombies. There’s really something for everyone here and Kev Walker’s art is always crisp and approachable.

This week’s Worst

X-Termination_Vol_1_2

X-Termination #2 – Conclusion

Marvel Comics

Writers: David Lapham, Marjorie Liu, Greg Pak
Artists: David Lopez, Guillermo Mogorron, Raul Valdes, Matteo Lolli, Don Ho, Lorenzo Ruggiero, Carlos Cuevas, Allen Martinez
It’s really rare that I use this space as a place to complain about comics. For the most part, I’m dedicated to talking about what I like in comics and letting people know about it. This storyline and this issue (in particular) is awful. Uncoordinated collaborative writing and art made this feel like the obvious editorially mandated story that it was. Two so/so X-Men books that everyone knew would be canceled crossover with the least important X-Men title (Astonishing) to combine into a really basic story that ends two titles. Extreme X-Men was the new version of the Exiles which means it was a reality jumping title that was basically Sliders meets the X-Men. Crossing that title with Age of Apocalypse makes sense because that’s another alternate reality X-Men title with low sales. The contributions made by the various artists seem rushed and are very inconsistent from page to page. It was jarring. The ending was obvious from the from the first page and it felt like everyone was just going through the motions. The upshot is that I will be picking up two less mediocre books from now on so at least there’s that.

Panels That Stuck In My Head

Many of the best panels of the month came from the Batman family books. (check those out here), but there were others that were full of bad-assery. Check out some of my recent favorites here:

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Kate Bishop steals every panel of Marvel’s Hawkeye. This is one of the best comics I’ve read in years.

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Panel composition alone should have you picking up Hawkeye.

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I didn’t see this coming! The ending of Uncanny Avengers #4 was a jaw dropper.

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Luke lets him know how hardcore Leia is.

buddy baker rotworld

When Buddy Baker’s daughter got turned by The Rot in Animal Man it was shocking.

massacre death killing

Is killing killers “superior” behavior? What do you think?

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I think this is Doc Ock’s biggest win. He figured out J. Jonah and tricked him to be on his side. Genius!

wolverine avengers doc ock

It took the Superior Spider-Man to show Wolverine just how tough he is.

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B’DG everybody!

thunderbolts marvel now

US Agent once again has arms and legs due to medical techniques in another dimension. Anyone else still reading Dark Avengers?

hulk smash rob robot marvel now

Ever since the Marvel Now teaser came out, we wanted to know what this robot following Hulk was. Now we know.

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Cap is really in a bad place these days.

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Cyclops had to ask this before he blasted Wolverine. At least this younger version of him is polite.

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Uh…things just got real!

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Kyle’s destiny is to be a White Lantern. I think they should keep him as one.

into the darkness animated series

My jaw dropped when I saw this panel in Star Trek Countdown to Darkness but…I doubt many others had the same reaction unless they are mega fans. My first though was…is he canon now??

I have tons more panels at ComicBookPanels.com

The Best Of March Comics

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Adam and Nick choose their favorite comics coming out in March. Wrath of the First Lantern, Constantine #1, Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy #1, and many more books previewed and discussed.

Listen to the Episode Directly.

imagesGreen Arrow has had a pretty sordid creative history the last couple of years.  Following the characters return to prominence under Kevin Smith and then Judd Winick, DC decided to make Green Arrow the focus of of the ill-conceived “Cry for Justice” and the follow-up “Rise and Fall”.   Those series, I would argue, systematically stripped the character of the very qualities and supporting cast that fans had grown to love.

Then the New 52.  It’s not a secret that I’m not a fan of the reboot as a whole, although I do read and enjoy some of the titles.  Oliver Queen is one of the titles that really seemed to suffer further under the New 52 banner, which was a big disappoint for me.  Sales have struggled and there hasn’t seemed to be a place for Ollie in the universe at large.  Thankfully, I can tentatively say that may be changing.

Green Arrow #17 introduces a new creative team – Jeff Lermire and Andrea Sorrentino.  I’ve been a fan of Lermire since his work on Superboy in the Pre-New 52 DC and his work on Animal Man has been impressive.  Lermire clearly has plans for the character and is pushing for an entirely new direction.

Lermire is, in essence, burning Green Arrow’s world to the ground.  The issue opens with well-orchestrated attacks on every facet of Green Arrow/Oliver Queen’s life – his inheritance, his friends, his reputation.  By the end of the issue Green Arrow is potentially wanted for murder, has lost his fortune, lost his support team, and has been utterly defeated by another archer.  Perhaps most intriguing, the issue is taking a cue from the excellent WB series, “Arrow”, and hinting at some deeper intrigue surrounding Ollie’s time stranded on an island.

I also have to give a nod to Andrea Sorrentino who I was not at all familiar with coming in.   Sorrentino handled both the art and colorist duties and the work is pretty striking.  He does a great job framing the action and using perspective and cues with the colors to draw the reader’s eye.  I particularly liked the way he’d fade out to black and white for certain parts of a panel using brighter colors (generally greens or reds) to a highlight a particular area of the panel.  It’s a well used technique.

Notice the first panel - black and white with the green accent on the building.

Notice the first panel – black and white with the green accent on the building.

So, final verdict?  Green Arrow #17 puts the right foot forward, stripping Green Arrow of all the trappings that have come to define the character in the New 52 universe.  I was actually pleasantly reminded of Mike Grell’s revamp of Oliver Queen in “The Longbow Hunters” which is one of my favorite mini-series, and one that I consider a must read for Green Arrow fans.  I’m intrigued.

(On a side note:  Bring back the Errol Flynn goatee, DC!)

9 out of 10

Well, it’s definitely a fuller week for my pull list.   Here are my highlights:

 

dec120180Green Arrow # 17

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Jeff Lermire

Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

It’s new direction for everybody’s favorite emerald archer spearheaded by a new creative team, Jeff Lermire and Andrea Sorrentino.  I’ve been a fan of Lermire’s work since his run Superboy in the pre-New 52 universe.  I’m a big Green Arrow fan and really haven’t cared for the direction of the character since Judd Winick’s run so I’m looking forward to what Lermire can do.  I’m guessing we’ll start seeing the comic move more in line with WB’s “Arrow”.

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dec120297Swamp Thing #17

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Yanick Paquette

It’s been awhile coming, but I’m guessing it will be worth the wait.  Scott Snyder is bringing the Rotworld storyline to a close and odds are no one will make it out unscathed.   Scott Snyder is currently one of the best in the business and this series is well worth your time.

 

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dec120982Red Team #1

Publisher: Dynamite

Writer: Garth Ennis

Artist: Craig Cermak

It’s no secret that Garth Ennis is one of my all time favorite writer, so I give basically anything he writes a shot.  Red Team follows the NYPD’s elite anti-Narcotics unit, they’ve been highly successful but a new case threatens to push them to their limits and likely beyond .  Given Ennis’ penchant for well-written ultra-violence eccentric characters, this title has a pretty good shot at snagging a permanent spot on my already crowded pull list.

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thumbnailDaredevil: End of Days #5 (of 8)

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist:  Klaus Janson

Daredevil was the book that catapulted Brian Michael Bendis into the spotlight at Marvel and his epic run  elevated Daredevil back to Frank Miller levels both in terms of character work and popularity.  If you are a fan of either Bendis (and his more existential, gritty work) or of Daredevil, then this book is one you need to check out.

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dec120622New Avengers #3

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Steve Epting

I’ve been a fan of Hickman’s work so far on the main Avenger’s book, but for money, New Avengers has been the stronger and more focused read.  This issue sees the Illuminati venture out to bring together the Infinity Gems.  The character work and dynamics so far have been superb and no one writes the Black Panther better than Hickman.

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nov120715Secret Avengers #37

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Rick Remender

Artist: Matteo Scalera

Rick Remender’s last issue and the conclusion of “The Rise of the Descendants”.  ’Nuff said.

 

 

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dec121268Shadowman #4

Publisher: Valiant

Writer: Justin Jordan

Artist: Patrick Zircher

Shadowman is probably my favorite series in the current Valiant line.  In the last issue, Jack has finally, if tragically, accepted the mantle of Shadowman and now all bets are off.  This issue promises a showdown between Shadowman and Twist.  This is a great series and definitely merits some attention.

 

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There you go.  My picks for the books you should check out this week.

Did I miss something?  Do you disagree with one of the picks? Do you agree with the picks?

Sound off below!