DC Comics’ Brave New World

Like any smart comic book company, DC Comics has seized upon the Infinite Crisis storyline to jumpstart their entire line up of comic books. Infinite Crisis has berthed the One Year Later issues, 52 and Brave New World. You can check out a short preview of Brave New World with a few preview panel shots right here. The Revolution has already talked plenty about the One Year Later issues and 52. I have run hot and cold with the One Year Later storylines. And I thought that 52 got off to a slow start with issue #1, but I think that 52 is going to heat up fast.

That brings me to this Brave New World gimmick that DC is unleashing on readers. It will start with a one-shot issue and then herald the release of six new titles: Martian Manhunter, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, Omac, The Creeper, the All-New Atom and The Trials of Shazam. DC is also teasing that we are going to witness the “shocking return of a character you never thought you’d see again.” I have absolutely no idea which character they are planning to bring back. Let’s hit the six titles one at a time.

Martian Manhunter: I like J’onn. He is a great character that works very well in the confines of the JLA. Do I think that he can support his own title? No. DC has never shown that they know what to do with this character outside of the JLA. Now, I will get this title because I like the character and I’m interested to see what DC has in store for him. I am not familiar with the writer, A.J. Lieberman. But, since I like the character, I’ll take a chance on this title.

Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. I have absolutely loved Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti’s work on Battle For Bludhaven. If Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters is anything like Battle For Bludhaven then I’ll be happy. Daniel Acuna’s artwork looks fantastic! This is the Brave New World title that I am most looking forward to. It should be fun to see how S.H.A.D.E. morphs into the Freedom Fighters. Plus, I’m interested to see what Uncle Sam has been up to. And is there a connection between him and Father Time. The two characters seem very similar.

I think that this title has an interesting cast of characters and should be a great read. Having said that, I do have a problem with killing off characters just to replace them with characters with the same name and powers. I mean, c’mon, we kill the Human Bomb, just to replace him with…..The Human Bomb. He looks the same. Has the same powers. Has the same name. Then why did DC have to kill the character in the first place? Same goes for Phantom Lady. She is replaced by a character with the same name, same powers and same costume. I just don’t get it. Plus, it appears that we are going to have a new Ray. Why? We already have the Ray. And he is a great character. Why not use him?

Omac. It is being written by Bruce Jones and I can barely stomach what he is doing over in Nightwing. The fact that Jones is the writer and I don’t really have too much interest in Omac means that I’m going to pass on this title.

The Creeper. I have never been a fan of this character. Honestly, I’m surprised that DC is coming out with a Creeper comic book. If the art looks interesting I may pick up the first issue and check it out. But, my pull list is already pretty crowded so The Creeper will have to blow me away in order to shove its way onto my pull list.

The All New Atom: Now, I have seen the preview and the art looks nice. I have never read anything by Gail Simone, so I don’t know if I will enjoy her style or not. The preview article stated several times that the comic is set in Ivy Town which is going to be portrayed similar to Twin Peaks. The Revolution is a huge fan of that talented gringo, David Lynch and I loved Twin Peaks. So, I’ll be checking out this title.

Now, the Revolution has a huge problem with the fact that DC is not using Ray Palmer in this title. Instead they have replaced Ray with Ryan, an Asian guy. But, this “new” Atom has a very similar costume, same name, same powers, is set in the same city and Ryan has the same job as Ray. I mean c’mon, DC! Just use Ray. This is the most blatantly obvious PC move to junk a white character and replace him with a minority character. Now, the Revolution has been very vocal about the need for more Hispanic and Asian characters in comics. But, not this way. This is so weak and makes this new Atom seem nothing more than a simple quota. It is horrendously unoriginal.

The Trials of Shazam: I know that many people are unhappy with Billy ditching the red costume and sporting a white costume with a hood. Captain Marvel, Jr. has now ditched his blue costume and is sporting the vintage Captain Marvel red costume. Personally, I have no problems at all with the costume changes. The Marvel family has been so terribly stagnant under DC that I’m just happy to see some progress on these characters. The fact that DC may be willing to put some effort into these characters and develop them and give them some direction makes me happy.

Now, I’m not a big Judd Winick fan, but I did like his earlier work on Shazam. I think that Winick will do a good job on this title. The preview shots looks good to me. I actually like the new white outfit for Billy. And, what the hell, I’ll go one step farther and say that I’m actually digging the hood that he is sporting. Yeah, it puts me in the minority, but so what.

Overall, I am looking forward to these Brave New World titles. However, two of these titles really highlight that sometimes DC makes unnecessary changes. DC seems obsessed with taking a name, costume and powers and constantly giving to a new character. Marvel has never suffered from that affliction to the same degree that DC has. And many times it is totally unnecessary. It is either done as a blatant move to satisfy a quota like the new Atom or it is done because the writers have no idea what to do with the older characters like the Freedom Force. It is much easier for a writer to kill of characters and replace them with new ones rather than taking the time and effort and figuring out how to handle the older characters.

Of course, these Brave New World titles also show the kind of change that is refreshing and much needed. The Trials of Shazam is an excellent example of that. I’m very interested to see what DC has in store for the Marvel family.

I will give DC credit that even though I think Infinite Crisis under delivered and was anti-climactic, the changes in the titles that have ensued are great. 52, the One Year Later storylines and the Brave New World titles have me more interested in DC than I have been in years. This is the first time in a while where I’m actually more excited about what is going on in DC universe than I am about the Marvel universe.

1 Comments

  1. As for the returning mystery character, the outline on the front of that comic looks a lot like “The Monitor” from Crisis on Infinite Earths. The DC Universe could stand to have a master chronicler of sorts.. so could be.

    I’ll be giving OMAC and Martian Manhunter a try, but any of these titles start off on a probationary period anyway 🙂

    And while I don’t think characters should be changed to meet some quota, the President’s Cabinet appears to have more “diversity” than the DCU. I wish the process would have happened more organically, but the DCU overall is getting a more realistic approach, and this is part of it.

    I’m glad they (and this is the part thats probably going to get me in trouble) have been using characters that can use a refresh. Both Firestorm and the Atom are sound, solid concepts, but have already had long succesful runs that have played out a lot of their concepts. Having another generation take over, of whatever ancestry, allows them to retool and revitalize the character (i.e. the generations of the Flash) rather than modify an exisiting character almost beyond recognition (i.e. Hal Jordan/Parallax).

    As always, I have the tiniest bit of vested interested. I like the DC Universe, and hope things turn out well for it 🙂

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