Sunday, December 26, 2004

This Week in Comics - Shipping 12/29/04

This week's top three books with a bit of my ranting for good measure.

First up:

THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1
Written by Mark Waid
Art and cover by Barry Kitson

One of the most anticipated returns of the year begins as Mark Waid and Barry Kitson — the critically acclaimed team of the miniseries EMPIRE — rebuild The Legion of Super-Heroes in a way no one can afford to miss!

The early days of the 31st century are a Golden Age for the galaxy, as poverty, famine, war and disease have become relics of the past, not only on Earth but on most other known worlds. The Dawning Millennium is utopian: shining, optimistic, bright…and deadly dull. That is, until a bright, defiant, energized team of super-powered teenagers from different worlds is assembled! They form a team of passionate activists and fierce dreamers crusading to make a difference and leave their mark on a society that has forgotten how to fight for change!

Every issue of this monthly series will be a whopping 40 pages for just $2.95 US. Get ready for The Legion of Super-Heroes: fighting for justice and tolerance while learning from — and learning to tolerate — one another!

On sale Dec 29 :: 40 pages :: $2.95 US :: Edited by Stephen Wacker

Buy this book. Or else!

The Legion of Super-Heroes is a funny thing. Not funny "ha ha". Just... funny. It's been going for almost fifty years and it... hasn't.
Seems that because DC "restarted" it's line-up back in the mid-eighties to try and make all their books interelate, they had to take out some inconsistancies. One of which was Superman's involvement with the group as "Superboy".

Instead of leaving it at that, they decided to rework their history. Not just once, either. It soon became a jangled mess of conflicting histories. And while the recent run by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning did bring a bit of fresh breath to the floundering series it didn't actually reach the same heights that the Legion had struck just before it's "Crisis" in 1985.

I've read several versions of the Legion. Classic stories from Adventure Comics that were reprinted in DC Digests, the old series that became Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes, the "Baxter" series that ran alongside it, a few issues of the series preceding the Abnett/Lanning run and of course it, itself.
And I still think that the Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen/Dan Jurgens era is the best.

From what I have read about this new series, Mark Waid is trying to recapture what made the Legion so popular to begin with. We get the clubhouse feeling, the -girl, -boy, -lass names, the costumes with insignias and we get deeper characterization. Add to that Waid's proven talent at writing character-driven books and art by the very talented Barry Kitson. The book practically sells itself!

I'm not so sure about the "future is a utopian society and the kids want to change things" angle, however. It does seem plausable, though, seeing how rebellous kids can be (I remember being one, myself). And a "utopian future" at least steers away from the countless dystopian futures that have been put to use in recent stories.

I plan on picking this up, at least for the first three or four issues. It looks like a winner to me.
Preview THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1


WHAT IF KAREN PAGE HAD LIVED?
Written by Brian Michael Bendis & Kevin Smith
Art by Michael Lark
Cover by Joe Quesada

The worst thing that ever happened to Daredevil was watching his one true love Karen Page die in his arms after a brutal attack by his archenemy Bullseye. The events that followed spiraled Matt Murdock's life out of control and he has never recovered. The award-winning team behind DD's monthly book join DD legends Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada in this shocking once-in-a-lifetime look at Daredevil.

December 29 :: 32 pages :: Marvel PSR :: $2.99

Featuring the artistic talents of Gotham Central's Michael Lark. This is Lark's first project for Marvel and will be doing the art for Pulse starting with #8. The Pulse is what many consider to be Marvel's answer to Gotham Central, featuring Spider-Man's Daily Bugle newspaper offices as the setting. Bendis is also the writer for Pulse.
Odd that they would let Kevin Smith co-write this book, considering he has two as-yet unfinished books under their name. The first of which came out waaaay back during the Daredevil movie.
Preview WHAT IF KAREN PAGE HAD LIVED?


WHAT IF JESSICA JONES HAD JOINED THE AVENGERS?
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Michael Gaydos
Cover by Young Guns Artist David Finch

Ripped from the pages of the Avengers and fan-favorite Alias — Jessica Jones, ex-superhero private eye was once tapped to join the Avengers, but chose not to and gave up being a super-hero altogether. But what if she had taken the job? The events that followed shake up both the Avengers and Jessica's life in ways no one could have guessed. Could Jessica have saved the Avengers from the disasters of Disassembled? For the first time ever Avengers' writer Brian Bendis reunites with Alias artist Michel Gaydos, with a special cover by Avengers’ artist David Finch.

December 29 :: 32 pages :: Marvel PSR :: $2.99

Look! Another Bendis book this week!
Y'know... it's getting where Marvel only has three writers. Guess they figure if it worked in the '60s...
Anyway, this proves to be an interesting read. Let me explain why.

Originally Bendis and Gaydos were going to do a book called Alias that didn't feature Jessica Jones. It was supposed to have been Jessica Drew (the '70s Spider-Woman -even had her own cartoon!). Unfortunately, Marvel thought that sex with another '70s star Power Man (Luke Cage) was a bit too much for their clandestine heroine and asked Bendis to change her name. So Jessica Drew, former super-heroine-turned-private investigator became Jessica Jones, former super-heroine-turned-private investigator. Pretty neat, huh?

It doesn't stop there! Nope. As luck would have it, Bendis was able to bring back Jessica Drew, this time as former-super-heroine-turned-private investigator-who comes out of retirement to join the Avengers. So now he's writing Jessica Jones in Pulse and Jessica Drew over in Avengers. Couldn't have just one, could he?

So this book looks at what would have happened if Jessica Jones had joined the Avengers.

You with me?

And it's written and drawn by the same guys who did Jessica Jones' first series, Alias. Alias also had a bit of controversy surrounding it, as well. Seems it led to a bit of confusion between it and the ABC television series which also first appeared about the same time. And now there's a comic company calling itself "Alias". Seems to be a catchy name.
Preview WHAT IF JESSICA JONES HAD JOINED THE AVENGERS?

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