Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
Developed for Warner Bros. Interactive by Turbine, the free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game features player vs. player battles set within the DC Multiverse, where users can control different incarnations of their favorite heroes and villains.
If DC Comics’ announced overhaul of its publishing line in the aftermath of Convergence took you back nine years to Infinite Crisis and “One Year Later,” you’re definitely not alone.
“To me, the similarities between the two are quite prevalent,” DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio wrote over the weekend on his Facebook page. “In terms of expectations and challenges, the lessons learned in the ‘One Year Later jump’ were applied to insure our June series (hopefully) don’t experience some of the same pitfalls (you can draw your own parallels after reading).”
Launching in March 2006, the “One Year Later” storyline pushed the narratives of all of the DC Universe titles one year after the events of Infinite Crisis, allowing creators to explore the ramifications of the crossover’s continuity changes (there were also numerous series cancellations, launches, relaunches and renamings). That time gap was then filled in with the weekly series 52.
The 2005-2006 DC Comics crossover Infinite Crisis may be best remembered for Superboy-Prime’s “continuity punch,” and for a staggeringly high body count. However, it turns out that figure could’ve been a little higher, and perhaps even more controversial.
While cleaning his basement, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio uncovered the original whiteboard pages laying out the event’s timeline, as well as a “hit list’ (below), which is exactly what it sounds like — a rundown of characters marked for death.
“Always fun to see where we started now that we know where it ended up,” DiDio wrote on his Facebook page.
The sprawling intertitle crossover “Doomed” wrapped up this week with the release of Superman: Doomed #2. It’s a 40-page installment produced by writers Greg Pak and Charles Soule and artists Ken Lashley, Szymon Kudranski, Cory Smith, Dave Bullock, Jack Herbert, Ian Churchill, Aaron Kuder Vicente Cifuentes, and Norm Rapmund (assisted ably by colorist Wil Quintana and letterer Taylor Esposito). However, it’s getting some attention due to the final page.
Yes, “Doomed” began as a sequel to an as-yet-unseen event — the New 52 version of the monster’s first deadly battle with Superman — but it’s ended, like many a crossover before it, as a tease for the next big thing. Moreover, it’s joined by the only Futures End special one-shot without its own series (yet); namely, Futures End: Booster Gold.
Accordingly, today’s all about how everything might start to make sense, and how it doesn’t quite make sense for DC to go that way.
SPOILERS FOLLOW for the finale of “Doomed” and for Booster Gold.
A big part of me still thinks Forever Evil would have worked a lot better as one of those late-1990s done-in-five-weeks events. I did enjoy the final issue, but it was because lots of things actually happened, and it made me wonder why they couldn’t have occurred a bit more quickly.
Still, the last-page reveal warmed my withered nerd heart. It’s the sort of thing that cries out for a boatload of analysis based on a set of comics published when I was in high school. Could be a stretch, but I’ll risk it.
SPOILERS FOLLOW, therefore, for Forever Evil #7 and probably some other stories you have already read.
Fast on the yellow heels of Sinestro, Atrocitus will be set loose into the world of Infinite Crisis, the free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game from WB Games.
Available as a playable character beginning June 11, the Red Lantern Atrocitus is described as an Enforcer who “taunts his enemies and spews red-hot plasma across the face of entire teams.”
On May 21, WB Games will unleash classic Green Lantern foe Sinestro as a champion in Infinite Crisis, Turbine’s free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game.
Announced nearly a year ago, Infinite Crisis features player vs. player battles set within the DC Multiverse, where gamers can control different incarnations of their favorite heroes and villains. The open beta features three maps, including “Gotham Divided,” and nearly 30 champions — including Gaslight Batman, Mecha Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Blue Beetle and Nightmare Superman. PC open beta began in March; players can sign up on the game’s website.
In Infinite Crisis, Sinestro eliminates his enemies by spreading silence and fear to cull the weak, with a little help from Parallax. Check out the character profile trailer below.
WB Games has added yet another champion to the roster of Infinite Crisis, Turbine’s free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game: Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle.
Beginning April 30, Beta testers will be able to play as the fan-favorite character, who in the game world wandered into a dispute between warring superhuman gang and stumbled upon the object they were fighting over: a blue scarab. It, of course, bonded to Jaime, covering his body with battle armor, allowing him to flee to safety. After his escape he learned that while the armor wasn’t permanent, his bond with the scarab is. Check out the Blue Beetle trailer and screenshots below.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment this morning launched the PC open beta for Infinite Crisis, the free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game from Turbine. It’s been in closed beta for the past 10 months.
To coincide with the launch, Warner Bros. has released a new trailer titled “What Do You Fight For?,” which you can watch below.
The big news from DC Collectibles ahead of this weekend’s Toy Fair 2014 is, of course, the new collector’s line of 6-inch action figures based on Bruce Timm’s designs from Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, debuting in November. There are also figures from the direct-to-video animated films Son of Batman and Infinite Crisis, and Superman, Wonder Woman and Zatanna statues, among others.
However, for my money, it’s tough to beat the announcement of a line of action figures based on Li’l Gotham, the digital-first series by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, beginning with Batman, Robin, The Joker and Harley Quinn. Nguyen has posted his designs for the figures, which are just as adorable as you’d expect.
Last week DC Comics rolled out its February solicitations, but Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has already been talking up plans for April. He described the end of Forever Evil as the beginning of the New 52’s “Phase Two,” which would include a host of changes, introductions and reintroductions.
Of course, it’s not like the Internet needs an excuse for ill-informed speculation. In fact, I count just 46* ongoing series in February’s New 52 lineup — and one of those (StormWatch) will be ending in April — so DC will have some roster slots to fill. Therefore, this week let’s look at who might get called up and what DC might introduce.
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Initially, DC divided the New 52 into categories like “Young Justice” (like Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes or Blue Beetle), “The Dark” (I Vampire, Swamp Thing, Frankenstein) and “The Edge” (Deathstroke, Grifter, All Star Western) to go along with the more traditional franchise-oriented groups based around Batman, Green Lantern, etc. This doesn’t quite work any more, mainly because 21e original New 52 series have since been canceled, and a lot of those came from The Edge, The Dark, and Young Justice.
Over the summer I wrote about the rate of “idea generation” across decades of DC history. Essentially, I was talking about the number of new ideas (or new uses for old ideas) being produced under current superhero-comics storytelling trends. Idea generation and world-building go hand in hand, such that the more ideas you can harmonize into a reasonably coherent (and accessible) shared universe, the better.
The 2006-07 weekly miniseries 52 put DC’s shared universe to good use. Written by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid, laid out by Keith Giffen, and drawn by an array of artists, 52 had a handful of C- and D-list characters guide readers through various obscure corners of the DCU. 52’s locales included a Metropolis without Superman, Black Adam’s Khandaq, an island of mad scientists, and the farthest reaches of outer space. 52 also featured its share of new characters, like the Chinese super-team called The Great Ten, the intergalactic despot Lady Styx and the dark religion of the Crime Bible. Of course, it also debuted new versions of Batwoman, the Question, Infinity Inc. and Supernova.
Because it chronicled a year in which the Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman each disappeared from public view, and because it had that year all to itself (thanks to the other titles’ concurrent “One Year Later” time-jump), 52 gave readers a unique opportunity to poke into the dusty corners of DC’s attic. Due (mostly) to the vagaries of its truncated timeline, the New 52 apparently doesn’t have such an extensive history. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t take readers on a similar journey.
Here is what you need to know going into this week’s post: I sat down with a list of DC’s current and upcoming superhero-universe comics, and rearranged it into a big chart. Now I have to make that little factoid exciting. Join me, won’t you?
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The watchword of any shared universe is “consistency.” Superman’s adventures in Superman and Action Comics may be produced by two different creative teams, and they may even take place in different timeframes, but they be must at least coexist peacefully both with each other and with the rest of DC’s superhero line. That’s part and parcel of corporately-controlled superhero comics, regardless of any tension with a professional’s creative freedom.
DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio triggered a minor crisis of his own Saturday when he announced on Facebook that, “after further review, there have been no Crisis events in the New DCU.”
The proclamation sent blogs and message boards into overdrive as fans grappled with the ramifications of no Crises — no Infinite Crisis, no Final Crisis, and no Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 1985 “maxi-series” whose impact was so profound that DC history became defined by “pre-Crisis” and “post-Crisis,” comics’ answer to B.C. and A.D.
But clearly in the universe of the post-Flashpoint New 52 there was a Final Crisis, as Bruce Wayne “died” — or, rather, he was hurled back through time — and was temporarily replaced as Batman by Dick Grayson. There are undoubtedly other loose threads that are best not picked at, but that’s the one that springs immediately to mind. It’s one of the pitfalls of leaving the continuities of some characters, like Batman and Green Lantern, essentially intact, while sending dozens of others back to square one.
Noting the tumult his announcement created, DiDio returned on Sunday with clarification. Sort of: “For those in crisis over Crisis, let me clarify. The topic of Crisis was much discussed among the editors and talent working on The New 52. With so many characters and histories restarting, major events like Crisis are harder to place when they work for some and not for others. (that was one of the problems coming out of the original Crisis). While we are starting aprx five years into our heroes’ lives, we are focused on the characters present and future, and past histories will be revealed as the stories dictate. Yes, there have been “crisis” in our characters lives, but they aren’t exactly the Crisis you read before, they can’t be. Now, what this means for characters seen and unseen…… well, that’s the fun of The New 52, infinite stories, infinite possibilities, with the best yet to come. […] P.S. that’s the last time I try and answer a Facebook question before rushing out for dinner.”
That should clear things up! Right?
(via DC Women Kicking Ass)
While it might not be much, Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day will bring our first real glimpse at the world of Flashpoint. I’ve been looking at the looming alternate-universe epic as little more than a fun way to spend the summer — which would be fine, by the way — but apparently that is just crazy talk. Everything will change, as it always does; as it did with Brightest Day and Blackest Night and Final Crisis, etc., etc.
Naturally, there are different degrees of “change,” from wholesale reorganization to continuity tweaks. 1985’s Crisis On Infinite Earths gave DC carte blanche to rework characters from the ground up. 1994’s Zero Hour, 2005-06’s Infinite Crisis and 52, and 2008-09’s Final Crisis also allowed DC to tinker with the timeline, mostly on a small scale. More esoteric devices like Hypertime, Super-punches, and plot-specific time travel have produced and/or explained certain changes.
However, in practical terms, the post-COIE changes haven’t upset too many apple carts. Oh, Zero Hour tried to clean up Hawkman’s history, and it also facilitated a new Legion of Super-Heroes timeline, both of which were big deals. More recently, though, Infinite Crisis gave Clark Kent a “secret Superboy” career and restored certain aspects of Batman’s and Wonder Woman’s histories, but those developments stayed in the background. Accordingly, a change that doesn’t affect a title’s regular storytelling practice doesn’t seem like much of a change.
And therein lies the real puzzle of Flashpoint: what room is there, across DC’s superhero line, for the kind of change which excites more than it frustrates? Of the 55 DCU/superhero-line titles DC will publish in July (as the big event reaches its midpoint), 17 are part of Flashpoint, and many of the rest are dealing with their own ongoing arcs. Today we’ll look at who might be flexible, and speculate a little on what might happen.