If I had to sum up this week of comics in one phrase, it would be this: “set-up supreme.”
The Creators have shown us the path to the promise land, tantalizing we readers with providence! Whether that be in defining the DC COMICS Multiverse, keeping an eye to the Future to the degree BOOM! STUDIOS and IMAGE COMICS have shown, or killing a MARVEL COMICS darling: Wolverine (“who you calling ‘darling,’ bub?”).
In moments like these, we readers find ourselves in such a vulnerable position: “I’ve been burned before (insert publisher here), don’t do me again.” I’m here to point out what I see as a potential, bright future ahead. Without reading any copies in advance, let’s unpack this week and revel in where our titles are going.
With the introduction of The Multiversity, the success of Earth 2 and its merited World’s End book, as well as the Godhead story arc for our Green Lantern/New Gods Universe, DC COMICS has proven that the scope of its Multiverse is expanding and the response is positive. While many initially responded well to the New 52 reboot, it didn’t take long before the questions started coming: Where is this going? How are they going to address this? I need to know X before you move on to Y.
I believe the key to a truly cohesive and engaging universe is delivering on the periphery, individual-titled books, and their inclusion into the larger picture. Some might say “easier said than done,” but I caught a glimpse of what I’ve needed to see in this week’s issue of GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #35, Act I, Part 4 of GODHEAD. It might seem like an oddly specific beat to be talking about in the grand scheme, but that is exactly what is needed.
First off, let us establish who Kyle Rayner is nowadays, and who he’s always been. Kyle is the wielder of the White Ring. It has forever been his responsibility to shoulder the greatest power of the Green Lantern Universe, to be the Torchbearer (i.e. receiving Ganthet’s ring after the near-extinction of the Corps, serving as vessel for Ion pre-Sinestro-Corps-Wars, and inhabiting the role of White Lantern post-Brightest-Day). Needless to say, he has clout, yet he does not receive the recognition he often deserves. In this week’s issue, he is quite literally pulled from his own affairs to address the needs of The New God’s Highfather. To recap, that’s a central figure of one title, pulling another character into the bleed of two Universes, to address a threat to the Multiverse.
This is what has been needed for quite some time. At the start of the New 52, we had to first define each hero in their new existence, making it almost impossible for any cohesion to be established. Now, individuals are being recruited to take place in a larger event. The more DC includes their periphery characters, the more credit those characters and the Multiverse itself accrues. INFINITY MAN AND THE FOREVER PEOPLE is another example of a positive for the DCU/DCM. This is a property established by Jack Kirby himself, whose lore essentially pulls itself from the Bible itself! Again, another title that deserves more recognition than it’s gaining, yet slowly rises through to the spotlight again.
In short, I see what you’re doing DC COMICS and I approve in a big way!! I think it is very clear that the goal is to reach for something to the extent of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, and the challenge ahead will be what can add to that story, rather than how can we re-market the same story over again. It would not be the first time that has crossed anyone’s mind, but at least after this week, some of the pieces are in place to do exactly what is needed.
DC COMICS, tip o’ the cap to you, ol’ sport!
Now that the DC-Gushing is out of the way, let’s spend an equal amount of time on the IMAGE/BOOM!-GUSH-FEST! The reason I choose to pair these two this week is because of the effect each of their titles had on me, and just so happened to be paired in the same week. The titles in question are IMAGE COMICS’ SUPREME BLUE ROSE and BOOM! STUDIOS’ EVIL EMPIRE.
This would not be the first time that I mentioned MAX BEMIS and ANDREA MUTTI‘s sadistic EVIL EMPIRE on this site, nor do I imagine it will be the last. The reason issue #6 gets a mention this week is compliments to the diagram drawn immediately, and aptly titled “HOW SAM GOT TO BE SO FUCKED UP.” This is intentional, as the steps shown to depict fucked-uppery in a human development display ways in which 90% of Americans as a whole are fucked-up. Thus, the dystopia is almost legitimized as a probable fate. The issue presses on to construct a deeper depiction of the concept of the “celebrity politician.” The strength lies in an inarguable sense, to an extent, of wanting to see that world, “to an extent” being the key phrase. The book challenges you to think about what you truly want to see in politics/society. Do we want the pomp-and-circumstance to be dropped, to bring about actual change? Is there danger to that? Is the danger worth it? Yes, this book has fun and goes to extremes we probably won’t see played out, but that’s not to distract from what could very much be true. An example of what I believe Evil Empire is predicting played out this week, as a few viral videos of First Lady Michelle Obama were released. They were premeditated, videos, clearly created for the sole purpose to entertain. There is a part of me that very much enjoys watching the President/Presidential family show they can have a sense of humor from time to time, but does comedic ability have the potential to become a prerequisite considered when voting in the next election? Will a simple party-friendly demeanor outweigh a positive political track-record? It is not an unfair question to ask, and Evil Empire indirectly teases out that question through hyperbole. I look forward to seeing what inadvertent or intentional predictions Evil Empire offers in the issues to come.
In the case of SUPREME BLUE ROSE #4, the idea of the “future” transcends politics for temporal positioning, or lack there of. I was immediately charmed by the work of both WARREN ELLIS and TULA LOTAY on SUPREME BLUE ROSE, but wanted to wait till the narrative was teased out further. ELLIS is well-known, but I would venture to say that many a fan will still be surprised at just how good of a story he can continue to deliver. Issue #4 seemed a perfect place to put the title on the radar. The series takes some getting used to, due to the fluid nature of time and the characters’ positions within time. We are encouraged immediately to get comfortable within a less-defined space, catching glimpses of futures, taking mantras from distant voices as we pass. Inserted into each mainline of action, we detour to a “pseudo-broadcast” from Professor Night. His questions are always blatant in tone, but we lack the context of which he speaks, to a degree. One could say he is clearly foreshadowing our suicidal destruction of the planet, yet there are so many other warnings hidden just out of reach. One character that appears to have the potential to answer some of these questions is Doc Rocket, who bears a likeness to an urban Albert Einstein. “Doc” is an insertion of catalytic energy, actually speeding into the narrative, seeking to unearth answers, quite literally trailblazing for the previously introduced characters. We’ll see just what Doc and the rest of the characters can do for space/time as we know it, check out SUPREME BLUE ROSE!
Finally, we have the moment, oddly enough, a good deal of us were hoping for: Wolverine is dead.
I could spill how he dies, but I’ll leave that for you to read/have spoiled for you elsewhere online. What I want to take the time to say is, I hope he stays dead. If you’re going to take away the surprise of his dying, then I have to imagine to give it any weight at all, you’re not going to bring him back until close to the release of the next film featuring Wolverine (Huge Jacked-man). I think nearly every fan would be disappointed to have an arc leading up to the arc leading up to his death, which was advertised as a historical event, just to have him return immediately. I would gain a great deal of satisfaction in seeing his “body” on display in the comics for a full year or two (human years, not comic years), before he’s brought back. If you share a similar sentiment, let us know! In the mean time, enjoy the closing chapter of THE DEATH OF WOLVERINE!
That’s all for this week, but before you go…TWO THINGS!!
DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT “COME & KNOCK ON OUR DOOR: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN RITTER” THIS FRIDAY, OCT. 17!
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