Saturday, October 30, 2010

Justice #8 (December, 2006)



Still under the influence of the Lasso of Truth, Batman explained to Superman that there was little difference in their methods, only their effectiveness. Since Superman makes a point of letting everyone know how omnipotent he is, nobody in Metropolis wants to commit a crime based on the assumption the Man of Tomorrow knows all. The Dark Knight tried to make a parallel to the League's false assumption of safety, but Kal-El blew him off to chill out in space. Once there, he recognized the handiwork of Brainiac in the black sphere cities.

The Flash delivered Captain Cold to the Fortress of Solitude for questioning. While the rogue sat in a Plastic Man chair, sweating under a light, Batman threatened the icy villain with his own pistol. When Batman extorted information out of Cold at the potential expense of his larcenous digits, the lasso made clear it was no bluff.

Elongated Man bounced into a meeting elsewhere in the fortress to announce Batman's findings, as well as to enlarge an eye to inspect one of Brainiac's mind-controlling worm creatures under study. "Hmmm. Carter found this? Leave it to a bird to find a worm. And can someone tell me why I wasn't attacked? What's wrong with me? I have a lot of power. I'm formidable."



In a conference hall, Batman explained that the Legion of Doom had suffered reoccurring nightmares abut the world coming to an end despite (or perhaps partially because of) the Justice League's best efforts. "And so, our enemies have formed an alliance to either stop the coming end of life, or prepare a remnant of humanity to survive it." This involved killing off the heroes, seizing power, and "healing" people through the mind-controlling worms.

Zatanna materialized at the fortress, with Martian Manhunter, the Doom Patrol, and the revived Aquaman in tow. The Sea King immediately chastised the heroes for hiding in the fortress...

The Joker, pretending to be some sort of Amish preacherman, managed to score a ride to one of the black sphere floating cities.

Elongated Man decided to confront Plastic Man about his non-League presence. Eel retorted, "...Another one of those talks, is it? I'm sorry you're not the only stretchy guy... I wasn't attacked either. Maybe none of us are important. Feel better now?" Plastic Man kept trying to chill Ralph out, but Elongated Man kept insisting that the League didn't need this particular two of a kind. Eel rightly refused to leave, pointing out the similarities between Captain Marvel and Superman. Ralph insisted on being a jerk, while Plas thought maybe Elongated Man could take the form of "something the League actually needs one of these days."



Mera had Lord Yuko govern Atlantis while she searched for her missing son, beginning at the Fortress of Solitude. Elongated Man helped Mera inside, where she was reunited with her husband. Learning about the kidnapping, Superman wondered which other loved ones of the super-heroes were in danger.

Zatanna had asked the Phantom Stranger to find the missing Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and both returned from the furthest reaches of uncharted space. Zee thanked the Stranger for his aid. "It was a privilege, my dear. Perhaps now he really will be the greatest Green Lantern of them all one day." The Emerald Gladiator used his power ring to extract all the worms from Batman's body.

Aquaman stated his pleasure about everyone else being all right, but worried about his kid being in the hands of the enemy. "J'Onn told me that he had learned that Brainiac cut me open in an attempt to discover a means to control Grodd." The Sea King was furious with the Coluan and his war on all life. "He's a machine. Only a machine. And maybe that's for the best. Because I'm going to kill him."

Meanwhile, Aqualad had joined other mind-controlled teen heroes in kidnapping the supporting casts of heroes that matter (i.e. not the Martian Manhunter.)

Continue the story through these character-specific posts:
"Chapter Eight" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2010 "DCUniverse Vol.7: The Injustice Gang" Black Manta by alexmax

Click To Enlarge


Deviant Artist alexmax has done a series of themed DC Universe group shots that I quite like, and even created an all-encompassing wallpaper that pays homage to the underrated Marvel Universe Series III card set. Of "DCUniverse Vol.7: The Injustice Gang" he said:

More Villains. This time, it's the Injustice Gang. I wanted to make a lineup with, what I feel are, the most iconic arch-enemies for each of these guys. Inspired in large part by what Grant Morrison did during the Rock of Ages storyline...

Alessandro also included Batman villains the Joker and (my favorite) Ra's al Ghul, but I always prefer to focus on Detroit Leaguers who aren't so insanely overexposed. Besides, Manta is one of the all-time great super-villains!

For more spotlights from this mural, see the following:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Justice #7 (October, 2006)



The Martian Manhunter fretted as he made his way to the location Red Tornado had determined was Aquaman's last whereabouts. Using J'Onzz as a magical anchor, Zatanna materialized at his location. She remained hopeful against J'Onn's crestfallen pessimism, and was horrified at the state in which they found the Sea King's body. "What have they done to him, J'Onn? What have they done to his brain?"

Batman, still held in check by the Lasso of Truth, flew to the Fortress of Solitude with Wonder Woman. They were forced to wait outside until Superman arrived to lift his massive key.

Outside Atlantis, Aqualad fled the eye lasers of the Black Manta.

As other heroes arrived at the Fortress of Solitude, Batman apologized to Red Tornado for the damage he had wrought. Superman arrived to let everyone inside.

"People of magic should never be required to wait," griped Zatanna to Martian Manhunter at the headquarters of the Doom Patrol. She was concerned that Caulder couldn't "do more than he was able to do for Cliff Steele." Robotman took offense to that remark, while the Chief explained that there was nothing that needed to be done for Aquaman. While Caulder and J'Onzz compared notes on why Arthur had been assaulted in this manner, Zee thought, "The hole doesn't seem so large anymore. Did you replace some of the tissue?" Caulder assured her he had done nothing. Instead of offering a proper answer, the Chief directed his staff to place Aquaman in a healing tank he'd prepared. Zee asked Cliff "Is Niles always like this?" Robotman responded, "What, having three different conversations at once? Yeah, pretty much."



As part amphibian, Aquaman could regenerate the portion of his brain that had been removed. "He really is a man of untapped potential. Extraordinary." While Beast Boy covertly brushed against Zee's legs in cat form, the Sea King was revived with a name on his lips. "Mera...?"

Aqualad made his way to the royal palace to warn Mera about Black Manta, or so it seemed. Instead, Garth punched the queen out cold, then took her infant son from her arms. Clearly under someone's mental thrall, Aqualad fled the city to deliver Arthur Jr. to his father's greatest enemy. "I can't tell you how happy this is going to make Brainiac."

Continue the story through these character-specific posts:
"Chapter Seven" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Top 10 Amazo Covers

Professor Anthony Ivo is one of the greatest threats the JLA have ever faced, and the single most deadly foe of the Detroit era. Ivo has plagued the League since before they received a series, and his involvement in the deaths of Vibe and Steel brought their book to a close. However, Ivo is rather cover shy, understandable given his disfiguring condition. His android Amazo, possessed of the powers of the League's founders and a Detroit enemy in his own right, seems much more photogenic.



Dishonorable Mention:
Justice League Quarterly #12 (Autumn, 1993)

More of Today's Cover Countdowns!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Motor City Links

BRIGHTEST DAY #17-18
Written by GEOFF JOHNS & PETER J. TOMASI Art by IVAN REIS, PATRICK GLEASON,
ARDIAN SYAF, SCOTT CLARK & JOE PRADO Covers by DAVID FINCH & SCOTT WILLIAMS
Variant cover by IVAN REIS & OCLAIR ALBERT
1:10 Variant covers by IVAN REIS
Hawkman and Hawkgirl pay a visit to the Star Sapphires, but with the Hawks’ connection to the cosmic corps, it looks like this meeting may end in bloodshed. And more even more blood may be drawn as Captain Boomerang hunts down Deadman and Dove!
Retailers please note: These issues will ship with two covers each. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
Issue #17 on sale JANUARY 5
Issue #18 on sale JANUARY 19
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
The Aquaman symbol doesn't wow me, but it's a good cover.

AQUAMAN

Geoff Johns on Aquaman, a New Lantern Corps title, and Spirituality [NYCC]

VIXEN

SUICIDE SQUAD VOL. 1: TRIAL BY FIRE TP
Written by JOHN OSTRANDER
Art by LUKE MCDONNELL, DAVE HUNT, BOB LEWIS and KARL KESEL
Cover by LUKE MCDONNELL and KARL KESEL
When Super-Villains get caught, it’s up to the government to keep them in captivity. Amanda Waller, a tough-as-nails federal agent, has other plans. She’s heading up Task Force X (a.k.a. The Suicide Squad) as an ultimatum to the world’s biggest villains. Join her shady, near-impossible missions in the name of democracy, or rot in jail. And one other thing: Most operatives don’t make it back alive!
This volume collects the first eight issues of SUICIDE SQUAD, along with a tale from SECRET ORIGINS #14.
On sale FEBRUARY 9 • 232 pg, FC, $19.99 US
I think Vixen shows up after this trade, but you won't get a volume 2 if this one doesn't sell.

ZATANNA

ZATANNA #9
Written by PAUL DINI
Art by CLIFF CHIANG
Cover by STEPHANE ROUX
“Pupaphobia” continues with Zatanna discovering a memory long repressed from her childhood on the road... the memory of the night that sadistic puppeteer Oscar Hempel tried to kill her! But while she thought her father’s magic cut Hempel’s strings long ago, he’s back and out for vengeance — and Zee may have no choice but to reverse his curse and set him free to kill again!
On sale JANUARY 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Wait-- Zee's iconic symbol is a clip art top hat? Was this by the guy who redesigned the Gap logo a few weeks back?

GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #19
Written by PETER CALLOWAY
Art by ANDRES GUINALDO & BIT
Cover by GUILLEM MARCH
With Talia al Ghul’s treachery behind them, Zatanna approaches Selina with an offer Selina never even dreamed of – erasing Batman’s secret identity from her mind! The question sends Selina on a spiritual journey to learn what it means to love and live and how significantly memory plays into both.
On sale JANUARY 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Does Zee co-star in this book? She isn't on the cover, but it's been months worth of guest appearances now...

BATMAN

BATMAN: EUROPA #1
Story by BRIAN AZZARELLO & MATTEO CASALI
Written by MATTEO CASALI
Layout art by GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI
Painted art and cover by JIM LEE
1:10 Variant cover by TBD

Superstar artist Jim Lee returns to The Dark Knight with this painted issue! The impossible has happened and Batman is on the verge of being taken down by an enemy he cannot defeat: a virus for which there is no cure! And his only possible hope for salvation is The Joker! Who infected Batman, what does the Clown Prince of Crime know, and how will The Dark Knight get that information? Together, the enemies crisscross Europe, desperate to find answers before time runs out.

Co-conceived by Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS) and Matteo Casali and written by Casali, this 4-issue miniseries event will feature painted art by many of the industry’s top talents over layouts by the incomparable Giuseppe Camuncoli (HELLBLAZER, Dark Wolverine)! Future artists providing stunning overlay paints will include Diego Latorre (DANTE’S INFERNO) and Jock (DETECTIVE COMICS), with the first issue painted by none other than Jim Lee!

Retailers please note: These issues will ship with two covers each. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale JANUARY 5 • 1 of 4 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
This thing was due in a previous decade by additional creators. It should have shipped back when I might have been interested.

The Bat-Cycles

Batman #307 (January 1979)

BATMAN LOSES: An Amazing Unauthorized Comic By Ulises Farinas

Theme Sketchbook: Batman Getting Hit in the Balls

"The First Batman" from Detective Comics #235 (1956)

Robert Ball's Superman and Galactus Look Powered by the Super FX Chip [Art]

Superhero Cake [Geeky Cake]

Super-Hero Hoarders: The 7 Biggest Pack-Rats In Comics

Tim Drake was Batman's partner for a longer period of time than Dick Grayson??

Celebrating Ten Years of Batgirl: A Pair Of Twos

"Private Eye Man-Bat" from Batman Family #20 (July 1978)

DC Hypes Five Batman Titles for November in New Ads

Review: Superman/Batman:Apocalypse

The 10 greatest all-nude fight scenes in comics

'Superman/Batman: Apocalypse' Is A Faithfully Flawed Adaptation [Review]

You Can Own The Batmobile: Full-Sized Replicas On Sale Now for $150,000

The 7 Best Bat-Songs From 'Guano: The Uncollected Batman Songs of the '60s'

Rating the Justice League of Snack Cakes: Flash Cakes and Glo-Balls

The 14 Best Title Cards From 'Batman: The Animated Series'

Fearful Symmetry

Render unto Cesar…

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Justice #6 (August, 2006)



Dr. Jonathan Crane used a special solution to allow the blind to see in an impoverished land. Super-villains in civilian guise continued these miraculous acts around the world, while the media (including Vicki Vale) wondered what had become of the status quo enforcing super-heroes who had gone missing. The Joker, left out of the fun, continued his inquiries.

The Martian Manhunter helped Hawkman and Hawkgirl find Toyman in Metropolis.

Batman was bound in his newly amazonian Batcave by Poison Ivy, when he was appropriately rescued by Wonder Woman. However, the Dark Knight was being mind controlled, and return the favor with an electrocution attempt. The Lasso of Truth restored the Caped Crusader's psyche, and he made short work of Ivy. Super-Gorilla Grodd, speaking through the still-bound Alfred Pennyworth, cursed the stupid human animals. "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to dance on your bones. I will feast on your flesh. You have no idea what's coming."

"Shut up, Alfred. Are you okay, Wonder Woman? I'm so sorry." The Amazing Amazon was feeling raw, but Poison Ivy and Batman each had to be secured. "Your lasso is the only thing that's keeping whatever's inside me from controlling me... I need to be free to make sure whatever did this to me pays for it."

Elongated Man called in Green Lantern John Stewart from off screen.

Zatanna was quite busy this issue, despite not actually appearing. She was just in time to magic what was left of Red Tornado off the soon-to-explode League Satellite and send him to Doc Magnus for repairs. Aquaman's location was still locked in the android's head. Zee also guided John Stewart to Ferris Aircraft in Coast City to aid his search for Green Lantern.

Continue the story through these character-specific posts:
"Chapter Six" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

1991-92 Impel DC Cosmic Cards #47- Elongated Man



Why do stretching heroes have such a bad rap? Plastic Man was one of the biggest characters during the Golden Age of Comics, and outlived almost all of DC's stable by maintaining a solo series into the 1950s. Elongated Man was one of the first Silver Age heroes, created so that DC could have a Plastic Man of its own, and proved popular enough to push Martian Manhunter out of Detective Comics and take J'Onn's place in the Justice League. In fact, Ralph appeared in far more issues of that team's book than J'Onn, at least until the late '90s. Plus, cast an eye towards Marvel, and you'll see Mr. Fantastic is an institution over there, so what gives?

"Comedy." Someone decided somewhere along the way that stretching heroes should be "funny." All evidence clearly points to the contrary, the take consistently fails, and yet creators insanely stick to the sour formula. Plastic Man was Woozy Winks' straight man. Sue Dibny was Ralph's foil. So why are we stuck with Elongated Man as a nose-wiggling lame-o instead of getting drawn by Bart Sears doing something bitchin'?



More Impel DC Cosmic Cards

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vamp/Vixen Character Design from JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS by Jerome K. Moore

Click To Enlarge


I always wondered whatever happened to one of my favorite but least prolific pin-up artists of the mid-80s, Jerome K. Moore. Turns out he moved over to DC's parent company Warner Brothers, where I'm sure his gift for likenesses came in handy. He's done a ton of work on Harry Potter materials, and has served up designs for animation projects like DC's made-for-DVD Crisis On Two Earths...

On an alternate Earth, versions of our heroes are twisted and villainous. The evil version of Vixen is called Vamp, and she has the ability to transform into various animal shapes. Adding another level to her evil, I designed her clothes as various animal skins. So, whereas Vixen respects and reveres the beasts by whom her powers are inspired, Vamp merely exploits them. This is a detail, a subtlety that is expected to get lost with such a minor character. But in Character Design, there should be no lapse in effort or thought, no matter the final application. Every step in the process of collaborative art can and should be imbued with storytelling, and the standard of quality must remain as high as possible. Otherwise, it's so easy to lose interest in the work when creativity does not flow with an imaginative freedom.

* I was dissatisfied by the colors applied in the final screen version, and so I'm presenting my personal revision here.

With that kind of professional ethic, it's no wonder Moore's art is such a delight! Check it out at his Deviant Art gallery!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

1991-92 Impel DC Cosmic Cards #79- Amazo



Today I'm uniting all my blogs through the posting of villain-centric trading cards from the '92 Impel set. Vixen, Zatanna, Vibe nor Steel have their own solo foes, at least in this set. Gypsy could lay claim to Despero or Vandal Savage, but my Martian Manhunter blog already beat her to it. I don't recall which Flash enemies the Elongated Man has fought, and I guess I could do Sonar, but I'm not gonna. I was surprised that Rob Kelly hadn't gotten around to Ocean Master that I could tell, but he covered Black Manta already. That pretty much leaves Amazo or bust, featuring art by Kevin Maguire and Dave Cooper.



More Impel DC Cosmic Cards Posted Today

Thursday, October 7, 2010

2010 "Marvel's Storm & DC's Vixen" by Michael Magtanong

Click To See Full Gallery Enlarged


Found at Comics Should Be Good's September The Line It Is Drawn. It looks like Vixen is trying out for Storm's vacated Legion of Super-Heroes spot, which would have been kind of cool, actually.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Justice #5 (June, 2006)



Sue Dibny gently held her husband's arm and hand as Ralph placed a call to a mutual friend. "Look, Iris, it's me, okay? I know I'm just a JLA second-stringer and I'm lucky when I get called to tutor the Teen Titans. But I'm feeling kind of like an outsider here. Where's Barry?" The Flash had been missing for hours, and none of the rest of the League was returning the Elongated Man's calls. "Well, Batman never answers my calls, but..." Ralph had at least placed calls through to Rex and Zatanna...

Aquaman lay still and bloodied on an operating table. Lex Luthor wondered if he was dead, like most of the rest of the Justice League. "Does it matter," answered Brainiac. The Coluan knew Luthor was plotting against him, and said so, but everyone still had their roles to play. Brainiac had a handful of black marble "cities" whose time would soon come...

The Batman had his cave invaded by Captain Marvel and Superman, and when he protested, was decked and tied up with his butler. There were, of course, extenuating circumstances...

Ralph was always a realist, but I can't see the guy being quite that self-deprecating. A bit too much humor in a serious situation, as well. Painted pretty, though.

"Chapter Five" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.

Continue the story through these character-specific posts: