Schachat's Occasional Breakdown
Schachat left the Earth
five years ago to explore his roots.
It turns out they were dyed.
always hard to resist an 80-pages-for-a-buck oneshot like
DCU Brave New World #1. The combined
might of volume, low price, and the ever-tempting “#1"
usually mean it’s a good deal. The reality? Well,
the sampling of stories is often just a bunch of lame prologues
to upcoming storylines.
The first of
these is an intentionally confusing relaunch of Martian
Manhunter. Writer Tony Bedard’s idea is that there’s
another J’onn J’onzz running around: the real
one. Our beloved green machine is an impostor, and the original
isn’t going to take it any more. He bitchslaps some
punks and makes a good show of being a real manhunter (while
looking oddly Skrull-like).
it’s just too weird. This sample is afraid to give
us any of the real story coming in the new Martian Manhunter
book, so it just drops some details and totally confuses
issues like how many Martians are still alive and how J’onzz
got his weakness to fire.
The second entree
is just as confusing. It’s all about OMACs, but doesn’t
really tell us anything. There’s this guy, and he’s
a loser, and the OMACs, heroes, and villains are all chasing
him down. Why? We never find out, since it turns out to
be a dream in the end (OR IS IT?!?!?!). Renato Guedes gives
us some interesting art, and the production is nice, but
Bruce Jones’ story is bland overall.
and Justin Gray try to resurrect Uncle Sam and the Freedom
Fighters, but the execution isn’t as strong as the
ideas behind it. Still, despite the horrific new costumes
on the team members, Daniel Acuna’s art makes a great
case for giving this book a chance.
The fourth story
tries to bring back The Creeper, and I don’t know
why. DC was smart to put Steve Niles on the team, and Justiniano’s
pencils are definitely creepy (though possibly too “superhero”).
The problem is that this is too far removed from the pulp
styling that gives Niles so much to work with.
betting on The Atom being an Alpha.
perspective comes from Jack Ryder (known by night as The
Creeper), so we’re almost noir... but the
story definitely isn’t noir. It’s just
too safe, so we end up with something neither mysterious
nor creepy. The setup in the ending might make this new
take on the Creeper more interesting, but the style shown
here doesn’t have much promise.
as it looks like no good will come of this oneshot, we get
a sample of Gail Simone and John Byrne’s all new Atom.
And it is awesome. Pulling from ideas developed by Grant
Morrison, we get a bunch of rookies taking up the mantle
of the Atom and fighting off a microscopic race of mind
art is perfect for this ultra-magnified world (you can almost
smell the mile-high carpet fibers), and Simone weaves her
tale like a loom enthusiast on crystal meth. This is the
only story featured here that’s turning into an ongoing
series, but it’s also the only one you’d want
to buy month after month. If the team sticks to it, this
book could be amazing.
final story, leading into The Trials of Shazam!
isn’t so thrilling as the new Atom, but it does promise
some interesting developments in the Marvel Family. It suffers
from the confusion of post-Infinite Crisis “when the
heck are we?”, but Howard Porter goes the extra mile
to deliver the best art in DCU Brave New World.
It won’t lead to another ongoing series, of course,
but it might make for an interesting maxi-series.
Ron Marz has talked a good game in interviews, but Ion:
Guardian of the Universe #3 shows he’s
much better at outlining stories than fleshing them out.
Like his notorious ruination of Hal Jordan, this book is
trying to reinvent a character DC editorial wants out of
the picture (but still close enough to be there when the
1st stringer goes down).
Kyle Raynor’s catastrophic loss of control and flight
from justice, he now finds himself on Mogo, the living planet
that is itself a Green Lantern. While Mogo gives Kyle the
“It’s a Wonderful Life” treatment using
dead ex-girlfriends, Hal Jordan tries to track him down
and help him out.
The issue plods
along until a rather satisfying ending, but this maxi-series
is pushing it’s luck. Now that Hal is in the picture,
we really need to get in his head. After all, he’s
the only Green Lantern to commit genocide and walk back
into the light. The role they’ve set up for Kyle works
to satisfy his fans (even if he’s being canned), but
it ultimately makes us question why we won’t have
an ongoing series about a flawed everyman with truly godlike
powers (rather than a tired everyman with flawed powers).
it would happen, but New Avengers #21
finally faces the hard truth: it’s playing second
banana to Civil War. Rather than building on the
event, this issue merely fills in a couple of boring blanks
(Where’d Captain America run to when S.H.I.E.L.D.
messed with him? Who’d Cap first recruit into his
army?). But these are questions we never asked. Frankly,
these are questions that aren’t worth our time.
America hates shilly-shallying.
may be great writing Spider-Man or Daredevil, but Cap’s
always been a strange fit for him. He may understand him,
but you get the feeling he doesn’t quite know him.
And his version of The Falcon is pretty much Luke Cage in
a dopey costume. After some traditionally decompressed storytelling,
we still find ourselves in a prologue to the events of the
last issue of Civil War.
the most jarring aspect of this issue is Howard Chaykin’s
art. True, New Avengers has gone through a few
artists now, but this look is quite foreign. Bendis may
be a master of paneling and pacing, but Chaykin’s
art gets a little fugly on the extreme close-ups and doesn’t
weather repeat panels very well. Hopefully, next month will
give us more of the New Avengers we love, ‘cause this
better Bendis book this week is Ultimate Spider-Man
#96, despite the presence of that harbinger
of mediocrity known as Morbius. Sure, this outing doesn’t
give us much more in the way of sexy vampire babes, and
the only lasting effect is that Peter and Mary Jane are
on speaking terms again, but it’s fast-paced and fun
For the most
part, it seems like they just wanted to blow off some steam
and quickly introduce some new Ultimate characters (Blade
and Morbius) rather than plunge us into another drawn out
arc like “Silver Sable” or “Deadpool”.
Granted, this one is titled “Morbius” and serves
the same purpose, but it does the job in two easy-to-swallow
just hope the same happens with the upcoming “Scorpion”