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Comics Picks of the Week 04.09.2013

DC’s Villain’s Month kicked off in style last week with several one-shots featuring some of DCU’s biggest villains, plus the first in Geoff Johns’ new event series. Its certainly been a power month for DC. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to read any Marvel comics this weeks, which sucks, but hoping to change that this week.

One can hope!

So once again, in no particular order, here are the comics I read this week, the reviews I put up for them, and my top picks. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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The A-to-Z Comics Survey

Last week I posted a book survey, in response to a similar post by a blogger friend. I had a lot of fun writing that post and I immediately wanted to do a comics version of the same. In addition, I’ve talked two other friends, fellow The Founding Fields reviewer Bane of Kings and blogger Stefan at Civilian Reader, into contributing to this survey.

My post goes up today. Bane’s post will go up tomorrow (For those interested, you can check out Bane’s own A-to-Z Book Survey on his blog). And Stefan’s post will follow the day after. Do keep an eye on them!

Hope you enjoy! And even if not, do share your thoughts in the comments! And remember, all my comics reviews can be found here.

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DC Cinematic Universe: Some Concerns

So apparently, we are definitely getting a new Batman in about two-years’ time, and the role will be played by actor/producer/director Ben Affleck. For the uninitiated, we saw Christopher Nolan wrap-up his Batman movie trilogy last year with the Christian Bale-starrer The Dark Knight Rises and Ben Affleck has done comic book roles before in Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil.

This is certainly an interesting time for DC/WB since they just recently launched their own cinematic universe with this summer’s hit Man of Steel and we know that there are going to be three more movies in this “phase 1” at the least: Batman vs Superman (2015), The Flash (2016), and Justice League (2017). I blogged a while back about how DC could start building its own cinematic universe to counter what Disney/Marvel have been doing with an incredibly successful line of Marvel movies.

This “plan” of mine, called Justice League: Strange Union, called on WB studios to make movies with characters that we haven’t yet seen in a live action adaptation for the cinemas and to keep any characters they wanted to reboot for the eventual Justice League film where Martian Manhunter could be added in as a new character for people to get to know.

As things stand though, based on the information that came out of San Diego Comic-Con last month and from all Hollywood sources last night, my plan is pretty much what I knew it would be: a mere hopeful fantasy.

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The Flash Annual #2 by Brian Buccellato (Comics Review)

An episode of Superman: The Animated Series, in which Superman and Flash have a race around the world to determine who is the fastest among them, was where I first met the character, having had no prior knowledge of him. Then I met him in the Justice League: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited shows and I pretty much fell in love with the character. Wally West made for an excellent foil for pretty much everyone else on the team and his dynamic with the others was one of the best things that the shows did. Much as John Stewart is THE Green Lantern for me, so is Wally West THE Flash for me.

This is why I was rather saddened that there was no Wally West in the New 52 reboot of DC Comics. I was further saddened to hear that Wally West was being considered a “toxic” character at DC editorial. C’est la vie. Still, I was willing to give the “new” Flash a chance and I picked up Francis Manapul’s first three issues of the new series last year. However, they didn’t work for me since I just wasn’t able to get into the story and the character. And I gave up on the book after that, preferring to read about Barry as things happened in Geoff Johns’ Justice League.

But then fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings started to praise The Flash, especially the recent issues, and I thought, might as well try it. Seeing that a relatively stand-alone annual issue was coming up, I included it in my “Top DC Comics For July” post, expecting some great things out of it, since it had a different writer than Manapul.

And you know what, I loved this issue!

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Best of 2013 Part 1

I did two “Best of the…” lists last year, one for the half-year from January to June, and the other for the half-year from July to December. The lists proved to be quite popular, and I was recently asked if I was going to be doing any more. To which I said yes. I like putting together lists like this. It gives me a chance to reflect a bit on all the good stuff I’ve been reading in novels and comics, or listening to in terms of audiobooks, audio dramas and so on.

You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

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Justice League: Strange Union

Its absolutely no surprise that following the immense success of Marvel Studios’ various superhero movies, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers have announced their own plans for movies based on DC’s famous characters. Over the last eight years we’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, and Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern. There has been next to no continuity between these films, unlike the Marvel films which have all been connected through various agents of S.H.I.E.D and their infamous Director, Nick Fury. In fact, such interconnectivity has been one of the selling points of Marvel’s films.

You might ask, why is that? What makes the Marvel movies so different from the DC films?

Its straightforward. Marvel Studios stepped into the business with a clear direction of what they wanted to do. I don’t know exactly if it was the intention or not, but all of their films, especially from Iron Man 2 and out, have been building up towards a specific point, The Avengers. One by one, they released movies that would all tie-in together to culminate in the premier Marvel superhero team-up, thereby bringing their “Phase 1” to fruition.

And they’ve succeeded enormously. Which is where DC and WB step in because they want to mirror the success with their own properties. But its not easy to do that. All attempts so far have pretty much tanked. There just isn’t the same vision, and the same ability to face challenges at WB, from what we can see. Their various Wonder Woman projects seem to keep getting stalled for one reason or another. There are talks of a Green Lantern and Batman reboot already, and we are just about to have a new Superman movie that is another reboot after Singer’s Superman Returns from 2006.

A few weeks ago I was discussing this with fellow book blogger and friend, Nick Sharps, and I outlined the basics of what DC and WB should do to make sure that they are able to reproduce Marvel’s success.

It all ends up being about the vision.

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Diversity in DC Comics and John Stewart

Green Lantern John Stewart’s planned death was a few days back, when the news broke that new writer on the Green Lantern Corps creative team, Joshua Hale Fialkov, had walked off from the title because DC editorial was pushing for this direction. The Mary Sue has a pretty good editorial on the whole thing. In keeping with that, I thought I’d do my own write-up on the issue, and lay out why I think this is a totally bad idea. Yes, the planned death has gone back to the drawing board after stiff opposition from the fan community, but the concerns are still there, and that is what I want to address.

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A Big Thank You

One week ago, my comics reading poll smashed past my target of 450 votes. I had set targets levels at 300, 350, 400 and 450, and it was almost a record time for the total polling. You guys all rock. However, your response went on to exceed all my expectations.

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