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Three makes it a trend, right?: The new JLA is A-OK with using lethal force

Justice League #3

“Should Batman kill the Joker?” is a perennial favorite among superhero fan conversation topics, always leading to a variety of different answers. A Golden Age appearance aside, Batman’s bosses at DC Comics have always answered the question the same way, however: Hell no.

Part of the reason for that is practical. You don’t kill off a popular, money-making character (well, you can now and then if it will make more money, but then you have to bring the character back to life somehow). Part of it is smart franchise management. If Batman kills off his enemies, then he runs out of guys to fight awfully quickly. There’s a reason Spider-Man has such a big and colorful rogue’s gallery to fill movies, cartoon and toy lines with, while The Punisher  doesn’t. But a big part of it has to do with Batman’s characterization. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to not kill a mass-murderer you find yourself in deadly combat with on a bi-monthly basis, and sure, it makes even less sense to go out of your way to save the life of said mass-murderer as Batman regularly does for The Joker and his other foes, but then, dressing up as a bat to fight crime doesn’t make much sense either—Batman’s weird, and that’s what makes him so appealing. Of course his moral code is weird too.

The red, un-crossable line Batman has drawn between beating someone within an inch of their life and actually killing them is one shared by most superheroes. The hero pushed to the limit finally getting the villain at their mercy at the climax and forced to decide whether or not to end the villain’s life of evil once and for all is a staple of super-comics.

And it hasn’t changed all that much in the years since, say, “The Trial of The Flash.” Particularly in the DC Universe (The Marvel heroes embraced killing foes en masse during 2008’s Secret Invasion, in which they went to war with the alien Skrulls).

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Trailer emerges for DC’s Resurrection Man #1

Another day, another trailer from David Macho promoting one of DC Comics’ relaunch titles. This time it’s Resurrection Man #1, by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino, which marks the return of Mitch Shelly, the character created in 1997 by none other than Abnett, Lanning and Jackson Guice.

It’s the return of Mitch Shelly – and he’s still dead.

Resurrection Man can’t stay dead for long, though – and with each rebirth comes new and unexpected powers. But his many returns have not gone unnoticed, and forces are gathering to learn what’s so special about him – and to see which of them will finally stop Resurrection Man dead.

Resurrection Man #1, which sports a cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, debuts Sept. 14.

DC reveals The Flash #1 variants by Francis Manapul and Ivan Reis

From "The Flash" #1 variant by Ivan Reis and Tim Townsend

DC Comics continues the promotional onslaught for its line-wide relaunch this morning by unveiling the variant covers for The Flash #1 – one by series artist and co-writer Francis Manapul, and the other by Ivan Reis and Tim Townsend.

The Flash #1, which pits Barry Allen against an all-new foe who can be everywhere at once, debuts Sept. 28.

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Ivan Reis draws the Justice League for New York Comic Con poster

Jim Lee’s Justice League proved very popular at the San Diego Comic-Con; they appeared on the show’s official shirt, and many people lined up for a good hour to get one. Now DC’s premier team makes an appearance on the official poster for this October’s New York Comic Con — this time drawn by Ivan Reis. The show takes place Oct. 13-16.

Via Convention Scene

First look at art from relaunched Aquaman and Wonder Woman

Cosmic Book News continues to parcel out scans from the DC Comics: The New 52 preview, offering a look at a page from Aquaman #1 by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, as well as penciled art from Wonder Woman #1, by Cliff Chiang and Brian Azzarello (see the full pages at Cosmic Book News). It’s worth noting that the latter provides further confirmation that the star-spangled shorts are indeed returning.

Check out the Aquaman art after the break. DC Comics: The New 52 preview will be available later today at Comic-Con International in San Diego and in comic stores nationwide. Wonder Woman #1 goes on sale Sept. 21, followed a week later by Aquaman #1.

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DC relaunch scorecard: DCnU or DC No?

Green Lantern #1, by Dave Johnson

Although it seems like DC’s big relaunch announcement came out an eternity ago, it actually took the publisher less than two weeks to roll out the 52 titles and their creative teams for the big relaunch/reboot/overhaul coming in September. Now that the cats are out of their respective bags, I thought I’d see where various creators and characters will land after the reboot.

So I went back through DC’s August solicitations to see who was writing or drawing what, and tried to map everyone to their post-relaunch project — if they had one. However, looking at DC’s August solicitations, there seem to be several fill-in issues, so where appropriate I tried to map the most recent ongoing creative teams to their new projects (for instance, I consider Gail Simone and Jesus Saiz the regular creative team for Birds of Prey, even if they aren’t doing the last two issues before September hits). Keep in mind that I just went through the ongoing series and skipped over all the miniseries … of which there are a lot, what with Flashpoint winding up in August.

It’s also worth noting that although several creators didn’t appear in the “big 52″ announcements, that doesn’t mean their tenure with DC is necessarily over — some, like Frazer Irving, have said they have future projects that haven’t been announced. So I tried to note where creators have talked publicly about their post-relaunch plans with DC (or lack thereof, as the case may be). The same could probably be said for some of DC’s characters as well. Or, as Gail Simone said on Twitter: “Again, September is NOT THE END. There’s still plans for characters that we haven’t seen yet.”

So let’s get to it ….

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Because nothing says ‘mainstream comics’ like a good decapitation

Flashpoint #2 variant cover

Ouch. Above is the variant cover to Flashpoint #2 by Ivan Reis and George Perez. I wonder where the rest of Mera could be … maybe in a refrigerator?

Grumpy Old Fan | Kiss this Day goodbye, the sweetness and the sorrow

Ivan Reis' small-cast variant cover for Brightest Day #0

Once dead, twelve heroes and villains were resurrected by a white light expelled from deep within the center of the Earth. The reason behind their rebirth remains a mystery. But it will not be a mystery for long. This is the Brightest Day.

So reads the mission statement which began each issue of the year-long, twice-monthly, just-concluded Brightest Day miniseries (written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi, drawn by various artists). One might therefore be forgiven for thinking that BD would have used this premise to mold those characters into an imperfect ensemble, in order to explore collectively what “life after death” meant in a superhero context.

Instead, BD farmed out almost half its potential cast to other titles, thereby transforming itself (rather quickly) into a multi-headed Rebirth-style rejuvenation. From there it reintroduced readers to Aquaman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Firestorm, J’Onn J’Onzz, and Deadman, and used them in turn to reintroduce … well, you probably know by now, but let’s wait a while to talk about that.

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WC11 | Ivan Reis and Joe Prado to draw Aquaman

Brightest Day #20, by Ivan Reis

The newly announced Aquaman series will re-team Geoff Johns with Brightest Day artists Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, the writer revealed today at WonderCon 2011 in San Francisco.

“I don’t think you can get much better in comics,” Johns said during the DC Nation panel. “Everything the do elevates the characters they work on, and we hope to do the same for Aquaman.”

Announced last weekend during MegaCon, the new Aquaman will mark the seventh series for the 70-year-old character. Although he was left dead with the cancellation of Sword of Atlantis in 2007, the sea king was resurrected during Blackest Night before going on to play a central role in the current Brightest Day series.

Johns has insisted that Aquaman is one of DC Comics’ A-list characters, telling Comic Book Resources in December that, “He’s got to be showcased like that, and he’s got to kick ass like Green Lantern or Batman or the entire Justice League.”

Aquaman #1 is expected to debut later this year.

Talking Comics with Tim | Nicola Scott

Teen Titans 93

For longtime comic readers like myself, there’s nothing quite like when a team book introduces a new character to the mix. This Wednesday, artist Nicola Scott gets to bring Solstice, a character she designed, into the Teen Titans mix with the release of Teen Titans 93. In addition to discussing Solstice, Scott notes the shift in tone/sense of fun that series writer J.T. Krul has brought to the series; how she considers herself a character-driven artist; as well as the lessons learned from collaborating with the likes of writer Gail Simone/dealing in subtext (among other topics). At the end of the interview, she invites fans to suggest characters we’d like to see her draw in the future–be sure to chime in with your ideas in the comments section.

Tim O’Shea: Over at the Source, you expressed part of what appealed to working with J.T. Krul on Teen Titans. ” Character, tone, direction. He has blown me away.” What is it about Krul’s approach to character and tone that appealed to you?

Nicola Scott: Over the last couple of years the tone of the book seemed to have become quite dark, and seemed to be missing youthful energy and a sense of fun. The characters weren’t quite connecting in the way DC hoped for them to. Straight off the bat JT had them feel exactly like their regular selves. The comradery had returned too and that’s such an important ingredient with the Teen Titans. The script for the first issue was fun, a great recap of the characters and who they are to each other. There were some gags and some drama and it felt like young people with huge responsibility. Another ingredient that I think was important, was bringing it back to the core members. A couple of new additions is fine but when most of the cast is unrecognizable to outside readers, it’s hard to grow the audience.

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C2E2 goes green in official poster by Ivan Reis

C2E2 poster by Ivan Reis

Both The Source and C2E2’s Lance Fensterman share the official poster for next year’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, which will take place March 18-20. The art was penciled by Ivan Reis, inked by Joe Prado and colored by Rod Reis

SDCC ’10 | DC’s ‘Brightest Day’ poster hints at some dark secrets

DC's "Brightest Day" poster

DC's "Brightest Day" poster

With just two days until Comic-Con International, DC Comics early this morning unveiled a poster for its Brightest Day event. Created by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis, the poster — in keeping with tradition — is chock-full of clues and Easter eggs, from the pile of boomerangs and the broken trident to Martian Manhunter stoking a fire and Deadman engraving “RISE” on a tombstone. Plus, there’s that whole Hal Jordan-White Lantern thing. And that energy ring-constructed coffin. And … well, there’s a lot to take in.

You can see a much larger version of the poster here.

DC kicks off its Comic-Con programming at 11:30 a.m. PST Thursday with a panel titled, fittingly enough, “DC Nation Convention Kickoff!”

What Are You Reading?

Revolver by Matt Kindt

Revolver by Matt Kindt

Happy Sunday and Happy Fourth of July, as we once again delve into what the Robot 6 crew are reading this week. Joining us as our special guest this week is Jeff Lemire, creator of Sweet Tooth, The Nobody, The Essex County Trilogy and Lost Dogs, and the writer of the Atom strip in Adventure Comics and the upcoming Superboy series.

To see what Jeff and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below …

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Grumpy Old Fan | The gospel according to Geoff

Blackest Night #8

Blackest Night #8

Blackest Night, written by Geoff Johns and pencilled by Ivan Reis, is the culmination of at least five years’ worth of Green Lantern storylines, not to mention elements from DC’s recent Big Events. It sets up several more storylines, both in the GL books and throughout DC’s superhero titles. It also lays out a new way to look at the very nature of life in the DC universe.

These are all elements of what I’ve called “process” stories: vehicles for taking characters from one basic setup to another, many times without much more depth than that. Process is a big part of Blackest Night — these rings work together thusly, these beings power the rings like so, etc. I haven’t had much use for process stories. Indeed, if BN were merely a process story, it would be an eminently appropriate way to cap DC’s perpetual-crossover period. One more cog in the four-color Rube Goldberg device.

Thankfully, Blackest Night aims higher — and that ambition saves it from the tedium of pure process. BN isn’t perfect by any means: it’s a gruesome spectacle of ripped-out hearts and (literal) emotional manipulation, Geoff Johns’ dialogue can be clunky, and Ivan Reis’ pencils are sometimes overwhelming. Ultimately, though, the miniseries is an engaging diversion with its own point of view, and I ended up liking it well enough.


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Bon voyage, Blackest Night — but where was the Final Crisis love?

Darkness and light: Final Crisis hardcover by J.G. Jones; Blackest Night #8 variant by Doug Mahnke

Darkness and light: Final Crisis hardcover by J.G. Jones; Blackest Night #8 variant by Doug Mahnke

Yesterday the eighth and final issue of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’s hit event comic Blackest Night came out, and DC has been celebrating its successful conclusion (how about that fold-out spread, huh???) in grand fashion. On Tuesday, DC’s official blog, The Source, hosted an open thread for fans to share their favorite Blackest Night moments and memories. Source blogger and PR guru Alex Segura posted a heartfelt encomium to the series, its spinoffs, and its creators once it wrapped on Wednesday. Today, editor Eddie Berganza contributed a eulogy of his own.

All well-deserved, as far as I’m concerned: Blackest Night clearly worked for its intended audience, myself included. A hook everyone could understand, a huge (and fun!) expansion of the Green Lantern mythos that convincingly roped in characters from the Flash to Lex Luthor to Hawk and Dove, rock-solid art from Ivan Reis, perhaps the most t-shirt-friendly concept in comics history…I had a hoot with this book and its parallel Green Lantern tie-ins as well, and judging from the uniformly positive fan feedback in the comments for Segura’s tribute, I’m far from alone.

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