It’s been more than a year and a half — 19 issues and an annual — but the New 52 version of Earth 2 still feels like a work in progress.
The series began with the last battle of an Apokoliptian war that claimed the lives of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, which was followed soon afterward by the debuts of “wonders” (not “marvels,” no sir) like the Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. To a certain extent, each was meant to remind readers of the heroes of the original Earth-Two, where Superman and Lois Lane met in 1938 and married in the early 1950s, and where Batman and Catwoman saw their daughter Helena become a successful attorney. When everything started getting organized into a Multiverse in 1961, Earth-Two became the home of DC’s Golden Age characters, including Jay Garrick’s Flash and Alan Scott’s Green Lantern. Indeed, for more than 70 years Jay and Alan were part of DC’s first generation of superheroes, serving as inspiration for the many who followed.
Not so with the current Earth 2, where Jay and Alan are themselves inspired by the heroic sacrifices of that world’s Trinity. On one level, Earth 2 is a way to reintroduce those characters in a present-day context, breaking them down into more basic forms and building them up through a series of fiery trials. Talk about a “never-ending battle” — in Earth 2, war is never far away, whether it’s the reminders of past devastation or the dark portents of new tragedies. Originally I thought this might be writer James Robinson’s way to evoke the world-at-war atmosphere of the 1940s, but now I’m not so sure. Current writer Tom Taylor may simply want to put the “wonders” through a pretty rigorous series of tests. Now, that in itself has become a well-worn DC trope (Geoff Johns personified it some 10 years ago with his updated Reverse-Flash), and it’s not one of which I am especially fond. It has tended to emphasize the “testing” more than the eventual triumph, so it threatens to become a trial for the reader as well.
And yet, like Caleb appreciating the Taylor-written Injustice: Gods Among Us,I have looked forward to each new issue of Earth 2. It’s definitely not the original. Sometimes it’s barely an homage to the original. However, it needs to be its own thing, and this week I’ll tell you why.
Or: ”How I Learned to Quit Worrying and
Love Like Injustice: Gods Among Us.”
Knowing me as well as I do, I would have expected to absolutely hate Injustice: Gods Among Us, the digital-first comic based on the fighting game from the makers of Mortal Kombat, written by Tom Taylor and drawn by some eight different artists. It’s newly available in a hardcover collection of the first six issues that bears the tagline “The World-Wide #1 Bestselling Comic,” which I found dubious without qualification. (The whole world? Even counting Japan, where they have the One Piece and what do the kids read these days, the Naruto?)
Why would I expect not to like it? Well, a couple of reasons.
The costuming is pretty extreme. I was aesthetically offended by many of the New 52 costumes, which in general seem to be a compromise between the characters’ most popular outfits, whatever was in style at Image in 1992 and something that a Hollywood costuming department might put together for a live-action superhero movie or television series. Injustice took many of those designs even further, so that its Flash, for example, was wearing at least as much padding as NFL Super Pro.
Editorial cartoons | The Durban, South Africa, police have confirmed they’re investigating criminal charges against cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, who goes by the pen name Zapiro, stemming from a cartoon that portrayed the Hindu god Ganesha in a manner many Hindus found offensive.
The cartoon, which criticizes the local cricket organization for corruption, depicts a scowling Ganesha holding a cricket bat and piles of cash while the head of the cricket organization is being sacrificed before him. Businessman Vivian Reddy, whom the newspaper The Citizen notes is also a benefactor of the African National Congress, filed a criminal complaint; the cartoon has also sparked protests among local Hindus, who marched on the offices of the Sunday Times last week. The ANC is also taking the anti-Zapiro side, perhaps in part because of his depictions of its president, Jacob Zuma. Zapiro, meanwhile, isn’t taking calls, but he stated a few days ago that he stands by his cartoon, adding, “It didn’t cross our minds that so many people would be upset.” [The Citizen]
The success of DC Comics’ digital-first Injustice: Gods Among Us comic comes to an end this week — at least temporarily. The comic book prequel to the NetherRealm Studios fighting game finishes its first digital run with Injustice: Gods Among Us #36, but there’s still more to come.
Writer Tom Taylor will return in 2014 for new weekly installments of the series, picking up where Issue 36 leaves off.
“I said early on that we had a definite ending in mind for our story,” he told IGN. “I knew that the story we were telling in these 36 chapters was essentially the break-up of the World’s Finest friendship. When Superman and Batman’s relationship became irreparable, that’s when our story would end. That tale is told now. However, we have another story to tell in the pages of Injustice, and that story will begin in January 2014.”
In addition, an Injustice Annual issue is solicited for Nov. 13, written by Taylor with art by Xermanico, introducing Lobo to the world of Injustice and pitting him against a super-powered Harley Quinn.
Legal | Singapore cartoonist Leslie Chew apologized today for four comic strips that were formerly posted on his Facebook page Demon-Cratic Singapore. In a statement released by his lawyers, Chew said, “I accept that (the) comic strips had misrepresented to the public that the Singapore Judiciary administers differential treatment to individuals based on their nationality, social status and political affiliation, and that there have been specific criminal cases in which decisions were made by the Singapore judiciary on the basis of the above factors rather than on the merits.” In light of the apology, and the fact that the strips have been taken down, the Attorney-Generals Chambers has dropped contempt of court charges against Chew. The cartoonist was also charged with sedition in April, but those charges have been dropped as well. [Straits Times]
DC Entertainment will release a motion comic the explores the backstory of the upcoming Mad Max video game from Avalanche Studios and WB Games.
Written by Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Earth 2) and illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander (Legends of the Dark Knight), the story introduces Max’s trusted mechanic Chumbucket, who plays a central role in the game, which will be released next year in conjunction with director George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road.
“I love the Mad Max movies,” Alexander tells USA Today, adding that the motion comic “was a great bit of nostalgia for me and also an opening to lend my own touches to this iconic character.”
In the game, set in the post-apocalyptic world of the movie series, Max must cross a desert wasteland after his Interceptor his stolen by a gang of marauders.
History | Scholars will present their research this week on The Glasgow Looking Glass, which is believed to be the very first comic book, at the International Graphic Novel and International Bande Dessinee Society Joint Conference in Glasgow Published in 1825, the work is a satire of early 19th-century Scottish fashions and politics. [ITV]
Retailing | Aaron Muncy, owner of The Comic Shop in Decatur, Alabama, is matter-of-fact about his business: There isn’t much of a kids’ market, he says, and he has no time for collectible comics: “Since it’s worth so much money — it’s just straight to eBay and get rid of it. I’ll leave it in the store for a week or two if I pick it up, just to give my customers a chance but it’s worth too much money to have sitting around.” [WAFF]
The first issue of the improbably titled Injustice: Gods Among Us includes a dystopian future featuring a fascist Superman, a half-dozen or so superheroes, a handful of supervillains, a pregnant Lois Lane, the deaths of multiple characters, a submarine hijacking and the detonation of a nuclear bomb.
I was most interested in what everyone was wearing.
Injustice is the print version of the digital-first comic based on the upcoming fighting video game from the makers of Mortal Kombat. The game is, of course, based on DC’s characters, so with the release of this issue, the circle is complete: This is the precise part of the tail where the transmedia ouroboros chomps down.
The aspect of DC’s overall New 52 refurbishing — from the de-cluttering continuity reboot to the costume redesigns — that has most fascinated me is that the timing seemed to indicate it was part of a transmedia strategy, which of course has led to months of trying to figure out why particular changes or decisions might have been made, and what that indicates about the publisher’s priorities.
This deep in to the New 52, it’s clear DC eschewed making its comics universe more closely resemble that of the popular, all-ages cartoons like Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans, the decades of assorted Batman shows and even Young Justice, which seems rather remarkably able to synthesize aspects of complicated comic-book continuity. And it’s clear the publisher has instead focused its energies on the older teen/adult audiences of video games Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and, to a lesser extent, Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies and their DC Universe Online video game.
So here’s a comic book based on the company’s next big video game, which was being developed and produced just as the New 52 line was being developed and produced: What will this comic look like? What will it be like?
Creators | Artist J.K. Woodward (Fallen Angel, Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who) recounts how he and his wife lost everything but their cat and the clothes they were wearing during Hurricane Sandy — and how what happened afterward changed his perspective: ““When things are going right, you really don’t know what kind of world you’re living in. You tend to be cynical. But there has been such an outpouring of support not just here but from the comics community — we did a podcast interview, for example, and I mentioned how we had to go to the laundromat every day because of our clothing situation. As a result of that, two days later I went to my studio was packed full of care packages with toiletries and other necessities. It showed that what should have been a real tragedy turned into a blessing. It gave me a much more positive outlook.” [The Conway Daily Sun]
With the release this afternoon of DC Comics’ January solicitations arrives the official announcement of Injustice: Gods Among Us, the prequel to the upcoming fighting game from WB Games and NetherRealm Studios.
Studio Co-Founder Ed Boon beat DC to the punch a week ago when he revealed at EB Games Expo in Sydney, Australia, that a comic was in the works. He expressed a desire to see the Injustice version of the DC Universe expand into other media.
Debuting in April for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii U, Injustice: Gods Among Us features such DC characters as Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Harley Quinn, Green Arrow, Cyborg and The Flash fighting on multiple levels in such locations as the Batcave and the Fortress of Solitude. NetherRealm, a division of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, developed the 2011 remake of Mortal Kombat.
The 40-page Injustice: Gods Among Us #1 is written by Tom Taylor (DC Universe Online: Legends, Star Wars: Invasion) and illustrated by Jheremy Raapack (Resident Evil, Batman: Arkham Unhinged). Curiously, the solicitation states, “The first time in print for these digital-first stories.” However, there’s no indication they’ve appeared online — at least not yet.
Happy Sunday and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our guest today is Kevin Church, writer of The Rack, Signs and Meanings, the new Monkeybrain series Wander: Olive Hopkins And The Ninth Kingdom and many other comics.
To see what Kevin and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
On the eve of the debut of its digital-first Batman comic, DC Comics has revealed the line-up for the first six chapters of Legends of the Dark Knight, along with art from Ethan Van Sciver.
Announced in April at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo as part of an expansion of the publisher’s digital-first slate — Ame-Comi Girls launched May 28 — the out-of-continuity series features standalone stories by different creative teams chronicling some of Batman’s cases.
The first chapter, by Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Animal Man), premieres Thursday and takes place early in the Dark Knight’s career when, as Lindelof recently told Comic Book Resources, Batman is “still working out the kinks, as it were.” “One of the things that I really like about Jeff’s writing that not a lot of people are doing right now in the industry is that it’s funny. It’s fun,” he said. “It’s not funny like a wink outside the panel where it’s broad humor. There is just a sense of amusement about everything.”