Good, The Bad, and The Winick...
ways, Judd Winick's rise to the top of the superhero comic
book heap has been surprising and meteoric. A few years ago,
most people only vaguely knew him as "…that Real World
guy," if at all. Then he chronicled some of those experiences
in a brilliant graphic novel
Pedro and Me, while working on the hilarious
The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius for Oni Press.
Oni editor Bob Schreck moved over to DC, he thought to bring
Winick with him, originally to "create" the comic strip Kyle
Rayner was drawing. Instead, Winick took over writing the
book. And then Marvel asked him to do
it's his ability to put a particularly personal stamp on projects,
even when the books aren't particularly personal. At least,
that would seem to be the case on long-established titles
Green Lantern: New Journey, Old Path and Green
Arrow; the former definitely flourished under his stewardship.
Geoff Johns, Winick has proven himself prolific when he has
to be. Call him DC's utility guy; the company thinks enough
of him to sign him to an exclusive contract. (A move that
has caused Exiles to falter.)
this time to him? Because last week saw three DC titles from
Winick which prove his versatility, from intensely personal
to (perhaps for the first time) company hack.
worry, though. He's still got more wins than losses.
and Water #4
artist: Tomm Coker
that every creator secretly has his own take on the vampire
mythos. Winick has grounded it firmly in the area he knows
well: San Francisco. Though not a native, it is here that
he came to live in The Real World, and he literally
left his heart there, as with his wife Pam, he has become
a Bay Area resident.
too, seems to be a character in this book, disguised as Nicky,
a centuries-old vamp initially set up to be the one with all
the wisdom. Hinted at in earlier issues, though, is Nicky
having made one crucial mistake: ignoring her instincts that
screamed not to turn the protagonist Adam.
The answer, though not the resolution, comes in this issue
as Adam and Nicky sort through the death of her partner Joshua.
Their grief is palpable and realistically written; for the
effectively immortal, death may even be more stunning than
it is for the rest of us.
has spent the bulk of this mini-series exploring the vampire
lifestyle, keeping the actual plot in the background. Because
his characters are so vivid, though, it's not a hindrance.
In fact, the inevitable violent confrontation is almost disappointing,
because the ride has been so fun so far.
the popular Rice version of vampirism, these creatures really
are noble (save it - I dig Rice, too, but Lestat is an a**hole
no matter how you slice him) and extremely human. Their society
has been keenly thought out and far more reassuring than in
Vertigo's earlier take on the subject
the gritty and solid Coker is listed as co-creator, this feels
like a project extremely close to Winick's heart, and the
passion of both men for the form shines through.
be Winick's first movie deal.
artists: Ale Garza, Trevor Scott and Marlo Alquiza
then there's this DC "event" mini-series. Winick might have
passion for the characters, else he wouldn't have agreed to
spin from this into Outsiders. But getting from point
A (the old Titans) to point B is a joyless, almost mindless
exercise in sucking an extra $7.50 out of DC's readers.
it resembles nothing so much as the previous time DC
re-launched the Titans, with a JLA/Titans crossover mini-series
The Technis Imperative.
enemy appears, perhaps more misunderstood than really evil.
Said enemy possesses a character thought to be an ally (then,
Cyborg, now, Superman - okay, a Superman robot, but that was
meant to be a surprise). At the end, the status quo has changed,
but not really, with characters reaffirming their vow of loyalty
to their respective teams. Somehow it all gets stretched out
over three issues, and the reasons why it all happened are
left for a future story in a regular series.
Garza is one of the few pencillers working in a pseudo-manga
style that still has a classic sensibility. I've got no complaint
with the artwork. The fight scenes (the many, many fight scenes)
flow smoothly, jumping off the page. Garza has a good storytelling
heart just isn't in it; in a lot of ways, this series is an
arbitrary shuffling of characters, ready for relaunch starting
this week. It's so overt that I read the third issue twice
just to make sure: Metamorpho really, really doesn't serve
any purpose in this book. But he's there, because dammit,
he's an Outsider.
mind that you might think that Superman himself might
want to show up and stop a rampaging doppelganger he's responsible
for building. But noooooooo…
on this site, Troy Benson has kvetched
over the fate of Troia/Wonder Girl/Whatever Girl. (Who
mourns for Lilith?) But really, Donna Troy's death is an obvious
case of having your dramatic cake and eating it, too, because
if anybody decides they need her alive again, the stage has
been set. At least her revival won't be as forced as some
we could name this year, like …Metamorpho.
quickly thumbed through Outsiders #1, it's pretty clear
that you can skip Graduation Day. With artists Tom
Raney and Scott Hanna, Winick manages to sum the whole thing
up in one panel.
artists: Phil Hester and Ande Parks
Kevin Smith and novelist Brad Meltzer can't be a picnic.
But after dipping a toe in by writing a crossover with Green
Lantern, Winick has thrown himself into the pages of Green
Arrow with vigor. Where Smith and Meltzer were about re-establishing
the Emerald Archer in the DC Universe, Winick has the task
now of figuring out just what the heck the guy is supposed
initial arc, "Straight Shooter," Winick melds the die-hard
liberal with the billionaire lifestyle he started out having.
His battles aren't just fought in the streets; corporate evil
lives in the boardroom.
a sneaky way to introduce Black Lightning's daughter to continuity
- far more smoothly than Metamorpho popping up to say "what's
up?" or "thanks for helping me in my last adventure." (I'm
still reeling from that horrible moment in Birds of Prey.)
Constantin Drakon also appears to be a rare thing: a post-ironic
assassin who has a believable reason for being so. Maybe his
deprecating tone will wear thin, but so far it makes sense.
Perfectly comfortable with who and what he is, Drakon has
no patience for those who aren't. This arc just might end
with he and Oliver Queen debating, and it might be no less
exciting for it.
the book along, of course, is the original art team of Hester
and Parks. Their art style isn't particularly detailed or
even realistic, but it does what comic book art should do:
has a problem with this book, it's one that has cropped up
for Green Arrow all over the place: how to balance the supposed
classic love of his life with more than just a reputation
as a hound. Such moments are still a little awkward, but the
writer deserves the chance to work it out.
what the heck. Up above is a link for Kevin Smith's Quiver
storyline. Pick up the new
Green Arrow: Sounds of Violence, too, if you haven't