Wizard World Philly & Heroes Con Coverage: Day 2

June 17, 2007

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Before anything else, HAYDEN PANETTIERE was tonight’s guest of honor in Philly tonight. And you know, that’s really all the reason I need to post the pic above. But here’s the one thing she said about HEROES that’s got everyone talking:

“If the first season was ordinary people dealing with extraordinary situations,”she said, “the second is extraordinary people trying to be ordinary again.”

Now…

So… much… comics news for you. I’m not sure any of the anouncements match yesterday’s, but there was certainy a good deal more of it. Enoy more opinionizing from yours truly…

Messiah Complex: Now this one has me excited. Like many children of the 80’s, I’ve longed for a return to the X-Men’s modern era glory days. I’m a huge fan of the Mutant Massacre-Inferno era, all the way to Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld’s rise to prominence on the titles. Its only recently though, that the books have become readable again. Whedon, Brubaker, Carey, and David have all been writing great stories.

Still, no one can question that The X-books, for the first time in decades, are no longer the anchor of the Marvel U. Will this crossover help them get some of the mojo back? Too early to say, and details are scarce, but one teaser released give us hope…

Apparently, this new crossover will focus heavily on Scott Summers, Cyclops. Good call. The best stories in X-Men history revolve around the Summers family. One reason the movies never took me was their constant fixation on Wolverine. Logan’s a fine character, and no question a fan favorite (though many current readers feel the clawed Canuck is more than overexposed), but he doesn’t really work as the central core of the X-books. Cyclops does, and it looks this crossover aims to make that clear. He’s one of the most complex leader figures in comics, and he’s been neglected too long. Good call Marvel.

Dwayne McDuffie takes over Justice League of America: And here I had hoped by some miracle that Meltzer would stay on. This has become one of my favorite books, and The Lightning Saga crossover with Justice Society is probably the best storyline in comics right now. Brad just has a way of capturing personalities and tapping into nostalgia, which is where DC’s characters shine brightest. McDuffie’s FF has benn just okay for me (not bad, though), but his work on the instant classic JUSTICE LEAGUE animated series gives him plenty of cred coming in. I’ll give this a shot, but I’ll sure as hell miss the old guy.

Peter David takes over She-Hulk: It looks like there might be a little switcheroo going on here, with David heading over at SHE-HULK while exiting writer Dan Slott moves over to the Spidey-books (or at least, that’s the popular rumor). At any rate, David’s a great choice. His current work on X-Factor is top-notch. Look for the tone shift to fall right where that book is these days– witty, but not straight-up comedy. I think that will be a good move for the book, sales-wise.

Bendis on Ultimate Origin: Is this what the Marvel guys were talking about earlier this year as the big ‘Ultimate Event’? Hmm. I’m intrigued, it seems like a way to explain the whole Ultimate U in a Heroes/4400 vein, with conspiracies and secrets abounding. I have to say though, I’d really rather see a new Ultimate ongoing or two this year… maybe Daredevil or Hulk?

J. Torres on Wonder Girl and Black Canary Wedding Planner: First up, Cassie (Wonder Girl) needs a new costume, Mr. Torres. Jeans do NOT look good on comic book pages. Help us out with that, would ya? As for Black Canary (and fiancee’ Green Arrow), I really think this marriage idea is a good one– it makes sense for both characters, and I doubt writers will be trying to get out of it in 10 years. Still… is that cover insinuating that Superman is the stripper at her bachelorette party? Ummm…

Other tid-bits: Hulk will fight Juggernaut sometime soon in World War Hulk– what an entertaining and fun story that’s turned out to be! … One of my favorite artists of all time, Walt Simonson will draw Superman #666, which finds Supes in Hell, fittingly– can’t wait for that… Christos Gage will return to the world of House of M for a mini-series focusing on Luke Cage’s Avengers. Its an interesting alternate reality to explore, but those things are hard to go back to… They’re waiting til they have a few issues of ALL-STAR BATGIRL in the can before they release, which is a very good call. Now, how about getting Jeff Smith to keep doing Captain Marvel by adding ALL-STAR SHAZAM?

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All the news from Wizard Philly!!!

June 16, 2007

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I’m not covering Wizard Philly live. This makes me sad. But luckily for us, Newsarama and CBR are doing the usual bang-up job covering the event, and I still have opinions.

So here’s some round the clock punditry to match those great panel discussion summaries:

Mark Waid returns to Flash: Sad as I am to see Marc Guggenheim go, this is probably the right call. The reality is the Flash reboot with Bart Allen in the suit just didn’t take with most fans. The reasons are myriad: DC didn’t have the guts or sense to kill Wally West, so there was never a clean changevoer. The first arc of the new series was botched horribly. Aging Bart was a strange creative choice. I could go on, but why?

The bottom line is the guy who most people feel is THE defining writer of this book is coming back to it. Like most fans, I’m pretty pleased with this news. But I think it only increases the chances that we’ll see Barry Allen, NOT Wally West, back in the suit. Its hard to imagine that Waid has any more stories about Wally to tell; the only way he’d likely come back is to take on a NEW challenge.

One thing I’ve found strange is the lack of a fandom drive to bring Wally back. Most talk about Barry, even though really, Wally became a much more interesting character. Any writer that takes on Barry (who could be a bit boring at times) has a lot of work to do, but the fans will be pulling for them. I think this may be a sort of Hal Jordan side effect. For a while there, DC was dedicated to making a generational shift in their titles: Wally West as Flash, Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern, Conner Hawke as Green Arrow… I was a big fan of this direction for DC (the best use of it being Morrison’s JLA), and I’m sad to see it fall by the wayside.

Amazing Spider-Man goes almost-monthly: I liked this news. Instead of 3 Spidey titles, we just get AMAZING 3 times a month. This wil no doubt be a big sales boost to Marvel, too– plenty of fans only bought Amazing (well, or FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD for the anti-Stracynski set) and skipped the other two. That’s no longer an option, which means these folks effectively just added two titles to their weekly pull lists (or I suppose they could just drop Spidey all-together or go with ULTIMATE instead).

To my ears, though, this would’ve been a much bigger and more exciting move if they’d decided to just go weekly, maybe with some scheduled off-weeks to ease the burden. As ballsy as 52 was, it would be even bigger to see a company make one of their existing top titles weekly. If this Spidey move works, look for this to happen on other books, somewhere. Top candidate: X-Men, which has 3 titles now (Uncanny, Astonishing, and Adjectiveless) which see uneven sales currently.

Terry Moore takes over Spider-Man loves Mary Jane: This one warmed my cold heart up. Mary Jane has been one of my favorite books for a long time now, and I was very worried about writer Sean McKeever’s exit. But Terry Moore, of STRANGERS IN PARADISE fame, is far and away the best possible replacement. No word on an artist yet, but I’m hopeful they’ll stick to the manga style, its a huge part of the book’s appeal.

I’d like to take moment to interrupt this self-important pundritry and urge all of you to go out and pick up the digest versions of this book. With all due respect to ULTIMATE, or FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD, this is the BEST Spidey book you can find, and one of the best ever. I pitch it to folks as the SMALLVILLE/BUFFY version of Spider-Man, and people seem to dig that description. Really, just a wonderful book, and the art is gorgeous.

Now, onto some amazing artwork after the break…

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