Leonardo

Yuletide Promotions: Leonardo

What is it?

A two-series, 21-episode long CBBC comedy-drama about the exploits of a teenage Leonardo da Vinci, living in Florence with his friends Lorenzo de’ Medici, Niccolo Machiavelli, and Lisa Gherardhini.

What is it about?

Leonardo da Vinci is an apprentice artist in the Verrochio’s workshop in 15th century Florence, where he is working hard to become an artist, except when he’s inventing flying machines, bicycles, Iron Man armour and the electric keyboard pianoforte, or when he’s getting into exploits with Lorenzo, the son of the most powerful man in Florence; Mac, the leader of a gang of plucky street urchins, and Lisa, a girl who just wants to be a painter, so disguises herself as a boy to work in Verrochio’s workshop.

It is utterly ridiculous. And if you’ve already seen Da Vinci’s Demons you might want to call it Da Vinci’s Demons for kids. I, obviously, sw this show first, so I think of Da Vinci’s Demons as being “Leonardo with more fucking.” Also better, because in the episode of dVD I saw, Leo didn’t invent the Iron Man armor.

Why is it great?

Let me just quote from that massive Season One post I did two years ago:

- mad genius easily distractable teenage genius polymath!

- awesome male-male friendship built on absolute loyalty and secret handshakes!

- conflict of interests between family and friends, portrayed with sense and with real affection.

- unconvincing cross-dressing!

- An unresolved love triangle that never gets resolved because everyone has better things to do. Might get resolved in Season Two? WATCH THIS SPACE!

- Secret societies that meet in the catacombs!

- Michelangelo in red and purple!

- Historically accurate sneakers!

- Renaissance Iron Man!

- Random inexplicable Italian phrases!

- INTRIGUE

- MYSTERY

- And 1,000 elephants!

 

 

Actually, there aren’t any elephants. But there should be.

 

How can I watch it?

Ah. There, we might have a problem. Because AFAIK it’s never been released on DVD.

BUT if you are in the UK, then season 2 is currently being repeated daily, and you can catch the last week’s worth of episodes on iPlayer. Once they’re gone, you’ll just have to hope they repeat.

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

comics

Yuletide Promotional Post: Queen & Country

Having submitted my nominations for Yuletide, and started to thin up prompts for my request, I figured I should do a series of individual promotional posts, in the unlikely event that one of my requests inspires someone to seek out the original source. And first, obviously, Queen & Country

Q&C20

What is it?

Queen and Country is a 32-issue comic and 3-novel series written by Greg Rucka and drawn by various artists including Bryan Lee O’Malley, Mike Norton, and covers by Tim Sale. The comics were published by Oni Press, and the three prose novels were published by Bantam in the US. The comics and the novels all take place in the same continuity: the first novel, A Gentleman’s Game, takes place between two comic arcs (and has a major effect on the characters), and the second and third novels take place after the comic series.

What is it about?

Inspired by the ITV series The Sandbaggers, Queen & Country covers the exploits of MI6 agent Tara Chace and her colleagues, through the adventures and the internal and external politics of British Intelligence in the first decade of the twenty first century. Cheerfully calling out James Bond for being unrealistic and silly, Q&C is high risk spy drama without any of the glamorous sheen, and comes out all the sexier for it.

Why is it great?

Tara Chace is one of my favourite protagonists of all time. Stubborn, intelligent, with a massive chip on her shoulder and a boat load to prove, she walks that line on which she is incredibly good at a horrible job, and is torn between self loathing and pride in her work. If you, like me, have an enormous competence kink, you’ll be a fan of the time Tara kills a man with just a newspaper, or rescues herself from hostages at least twice, or performs emergency triage on herself while struggling with a collapsed lung.

Oh, and the other characters are great too: Tom Wallace, Tara’s immediate supervisor and Head of the Special Section, Paul Crocker, her boss and Director of Operations, who spends most of his time fighting bureaucrats to protect his Minders. Some others that it would be mildly spoilery to tell you about. All competent, all flawed, all interesting and fully realised characters.

But mostly, Tara fucking Chace.

How can I read it?

The Queen and Country comics are sadly not available in digital format right now. But you can buy the collected editions from Amazon.

DEFINITIVE EDITIONS
(Vols 1 through 3 cover Tara Chace, Vol. 4 contains Queen & Country: Declassified with stories about Paul Crocker, Tom Wallace and Nicky Poole)

Amazon.co.uk: Vol 1. | Vol 2. | Vol 3. | Vol 4. 

INDIVIDUAL TRADES

Amazon.co.uk: 1.Operation Broken Ground | 2. Operation Morning Star | 3. Operation Crystal Ball | 4. Operation Blackwall | 5. Operation Stormfront | 6. Operation Dandelion | 7. Operation Saddlebag | 8. Operation Red Panda
Declassified: 1. Paul Crocker | 2. Tom Wallace | 3. Nicky Poole

The NOVELS are available in digital format from Barnes and Noble in the US, and in paperback in the UK:
A Gentleman’s Game | Private Wars | The Last Run

It is not necessary to read the comics before reading the novels, despite the fact that they come first, chronologically. The novels work perfectly as an individual body of work.

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

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Why I should be Editor in Chief of DC: 10. Showcases

[Introduction | Supers | Bats | Wonders & Lanterns | Solo Heroes | Justice  | The Grey Area | Magic | No Tights, No Capes | Out of Time]

This last batch are a space for team-ups, out-of-continuity storytelling and showcases for characters who don’t have their own title, and for creators who are less well known than others. Storylines can be as short as half an issue, or long enough to fill a trade, but most are standalone stories, with the intention of being possible to jump on at any issue, or with any arc.

48. THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD is a book for team-ups that involve a Bat character (usually Batman) teaming up with any other character from the whole universe. Stories can be any length, and the creative team varies from story to story, with some new creators and some established creators. While it is closer to comics continuity to the show of the same name, and there is no fixed age group, it is considered an ALL AGES title.

49. WORLDS’ FINEST is keeping that damn apostrophe ’cause I love it. A collection of stories involving at least one character each from two of the Trinity families: Bats (Batman, Batwoman, Nightwing, Red Robin, Robin, Black Bat, Spoiler, Oracle, Huntress); Supers (Superman, Lois Lane, Supergirl, Conner Levitt, Power Girl); and Wonders (Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, Donna Troy). These stories are fast and loose with continuity. Sometimes they are consistent with the rest of the universe, sometimes they are involved in Super or Bat crossovers, and sometimes they are a complete Elseworld. In general, this book is considered to be completely Elseworld unless it fails to contradict other books. After the first Trinity storyline, Peej, Huntress and Donna hang out in this title when they’re not appearing in Justice books.

50. DC COMICS SHOWCASE is actually Andrew’s idea: A bimonthly book (alternate with Adventure Comics, offset fortnightly with Action and TEC), double sized featuring one standalone story by big name writers and creators of any DC- or creator-owned property they wish. (And gee, I hope it’s possible for DC to publish a story and keeping it creator owned. Otherwise original stories also permitted), and one story on a DC big name character by first time creators or creators not currently under contract. I’d like to see this second story operating under a submission system, but that might not be possible.

51. SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS is a repository for “Year One” stories, each of varying length, one to six issues, and including any character active in the universe. Ideally the current creative teams on varying books would produce stories about the characters they’re currently writing, and the book would double serve as a showcase for that particular run. Other creators and characters not currently appearing in books are also hoped to appear.

And finally:

52. WEDNESDAY COMICS is not like the oversized title from before: it is a weekly comic of around ten pages in length, retailing at a dollar fifty, and containing an anthology of single to three page installments of stories that and completely out of continuity but have a much more cartoony, four color feel. Like DC Nation Shorts but in comic form, this book contains pages from Dustin Nguyen’s Lil Gotham, a print version of Lauren Faust’s Super Best Friends Forever, a Tiny Titans storyline, as well as until previously not-for-profit fanworks such as a single page of Yale Stewart’s JL8, and of course Batman and Sons. I think of it as an All Ages version of Showcase, being a place for light hearted takes on DC properties where everything is sweetness and light and nothing hurts. Ever.

Aaaaaaaaaand that’s my Fifty-Two! Stay tuned for the conclusion, in which I talk about my first crossover event.

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

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Why I should be Editor in Chief of DC: 9. Out of Time

[Introduction | Supers | Bats | Wonders & Lanterns | Solo Heroes | Justice  | The Grey Area | Magic | No Tights, No Capes]

So far, most of these books are occurring concurrently and more or less in continuity, with allowances for writer freedom and keeping crossovers to a manageable number. The following books do not take place in the same timeframe, and as such may or may not actually take place in the same universe. The futures glimpsed here might not be different points in the same future, and the pasts might not truly be the past of the existing world. But they might, that is up to the writers, and more importantly, to the readers. No continuity is set in stone.

43. DEMON KNIGHTS are Vandal Savage, Jason Blood, Madame Xanadu, Shining Knight, the Amazon Exoristos, the Horsewoman and Al Jabr, having adventures across medieval Europe. It’s very violent, and there’s magic and dinosaurs and swords and science. And Vandal Savage shouts a lot. Paul Cornell is back as writer on this pure fantasy romp.

44. JONAH HEX  is an old school Western comic, with gunfights and… um. More gunfights? IT’S A WESTERN. WESTERN THINGS HAPPEN.

45. KAMANDI is a human boy living in a world after an apocalyptic disaster that killed all humans and left only animals – talking, anthropomorphic animals – living on the earth. It is a four color Kirby-esque romp with a protagonist whose motivation is getting angry when animals disrespect him. It makes no sense, and it’s not meant to. There are talking animals. Obviously, a YOUNG READERS title. But only for young readers whose parents don’t mind them reading a lot of pulp violence.

46. THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES are active in the 31st century, fighting crime IN SPACE. And I have never read a Legion book and I have no strong opinions about it. This is also a YOUNG READERS title, aimed at 12-14 year olds.

47. TIME MASTERS follows the adventures of the Linear Men, led by Rip Hunter. It is a time traveling adventure through the entire history of the DCU, popping up in the pasts and the futures of these particular titles, but also having jaunts into the adult lives of modern teen heroes, or the All Star Squadron of the second world war. Or the early days of the Justice League. Or having adventures with Sherlock Holmes or Percy Blakeney.

This title is both in continuity and out of continuity. It’s a Time Travel book: it has to be flexible in terms of what is and what isn’t ‘real.’ Futures change from adventure to adventure, and so do pasts. One day they might be fighting alongside D’Artagnon and his musketeer friends, the next they might be chummy with the imaginative Alexandre Dumas. This book both tells the definitive history of the DCU and is completely out of canon. ADVENTURES.

I realize that these are generally a bit samey in feel: ADVENTURE TIME ROMPS. But these should cover various genres: High Fantasy, Western, “Boy’s Own Adventure,” Space Adventuring, and time travel.

Next: Showcases!

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Why I should be Editor in Chief of DC: 8. No Tights, No Capes

[Introduction | Supers | Bats | Wonders & Lanterns | Solo Heroes | Justice  | The Grey Area | Magic]

That doesn’t mean no masks, and it doesn’t mean no superpowers, but it does mean fewer gaudy costumes, and a turn towards the more grimdark Vertigo/Charlton atmosphere, with two very obvious effects. There are no titles here aimed at young readers, but some are more inappropriate than others.

38. HELLBLAZER features John Constantine, hard drinking, chain smoking Londoner, magician and antihero, and while it’s not a continuation of the Vertigo title, it’s much the same in feel. John wanders London, battles the forces of magical darkness, and reluctantly saves the world. Being the only book set in London, while sometimes a character from Knight and Squire might show up, this book might as well be set in its own universe.

39. THE QUESTION is Vic Sage, a private detective and a martial artist working out of Hub City in an attempt to fix the broken city politics. He battles with his conscience constantly about how far he should go with his quest, and it’s a book about personal exploration more than anything else.

40. HQ. When the GCPD headquarters were destroyed in a bomb attack, there was only one survivor of the people within. (Jim Gordon, Maggie Sawyer and others were not in the building at the time.) Renee Montoya makes it her quest to hunt down the perpetrators: a mission that exacerbates her violent and alcoholic tendencies until she resigns from the force to pursue it full time. Her leads all point her in one direction: Mandragora. Meanwhile, Helena Bertinelli arrives in Gotham with a vendetta of her own: to find the man who killed her family. The women are at odds with each other, despite sharing a common goal, and each has strong Opinions about the other’s techniques. It is heated and angry, but a mutual respect develops, and of course, they have a whole buttload of sexual tension.

41. ADVENTURE COMICS is an anthology title focusing on non-powered or non-costumed characters: Vigilante (Patricia Chase), Roy Harper (Red Arrow), and a whole bunch of others I can’t think of right now.

42. DC: WASHINGTON. Joseph Wilson was scarred and left unable to talk by a knife attack by an enemy of his father: Slade Wilson, Deathstroke the Terminator. An adult,  Joseph wants nothing to do with the costumed community, except that occasionally he runs into associated problems in his job as Communications Director to POTUS. This is West Wing, if that story was taking place in a world where the most powerful force in the world is an alien living in an American City, where American cities are frequently hit by huge disasters, and where many ordinary people feel helpless against forces out of their control. Joseph isn’t vehemently anti-costume, but he deals with people who are. One of his staff members (the rest of the regular cast are all new characters) discovers shortly into the run that he is a White Martian, having had his memory wiped and given a false identity by the Martian Manhunter. Spoiler: he doesn’t turn into a supervillain, but realizing he is not an American citizen gives him pause to thought.

Tomorrow I will be run off my feet between derby and a ball, but next time when I get to it: OUT OF TIME

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

dc

Why I should be Editor in Chief of DC Comics: 7. Magic

[Introduction | Supers | Bats | Wonders & Lanterns | Solo Heroes | Justice  | The Grey Area]

We are a little bit out of my area of expertise again, here. Because none of these books are particularly ones that I have followed to any great extent. Although I am most definitely pleased this corner of the universe exists! This is another area where other people’s input would be great.

33. SEVEN SOLDIERS is a team book that becomes a hybrid of a team book, a showcase and an anthology, with six of the main characters getting regular stories of their own adventures after the first arc or so. These characters are: Shining Knight (who is Sir Ystin in this universe, and like the Dc nu52 version, is a trans man); Klarion the Witch Boy (and Frankenstein); the Bride; Mister Miracle; Bulleteer; and Guardian. Writing these characters is turned over fully to This Guy Justin who has some sterling ideas.

Where’s the seventh? Well she already has her own solo title:

34. ZATANNA has recently left the Justice League, having been replaced as their magician-in-standing by Traci 13. And while she holds no grudges and remains friends with them all, it’s symptomatic of Zatanna’s particular lot in life, straddling the line between superhero and magician in a world where the two camps don’t always get on. This is a light-hearted, funny book that deals with a few horror-fantasy elements and the difficulties that come from always having been the little sister to most communities and not quite having dealt with the loss of her father. Zatanna is a twenty-something woman who still feels like a child, and she has to deal with her childhood while still being an adult. Again, Justin has a great take on her, including a direct comparison to Buffy, and I’d like to see Andrew’s ideas on M-theory being incorporated.

Short version: Zatanna is a fun, enjoyable read that seems fluffy but has a lot of more serious elements underneath. And is preferably drawn by Cliff Chiang.

35. FATE features a group of people a little like the team my Justice Friend Rob describes as “Team to-Hell-with-This” from Justice League Unlimited, but which could also be called an analogy of Marvel’s Defenders. Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson); Inza Nelson; Solomon Grundy; Tempest (Garth) and Empress (Anita Fite) bow out from the general heroes-vs-villains fighting and gather together to come to terms with their own personal demons and occasionally save the world from giant mystical threats and the forces of chaos that the Justice Teams aren’t even equipped to handle with their inclination to punch things.  They are in general a pacifist group, but threats to reality are hard to ignore.

Actually, after two different people asked why I didn’t put Martian Manhunter on the Justice League, I’m inclined to say he fits better with this lot, where his telepathy and Martian magic is more use than his physical strength and invisibility powers.

36. SHAZAM! is about the adventures of Captain Marvel, aka Billy Batson, and his family of supporting characters, saving Faucet City from supervillains both mystic and human. With a strong magic line running through it, this book is nevertheless a loving homage to the four color antics and unadulterated fun of the Golden and Silver ages. The villains are larger than life and defeatable, and at the end of every storyline Billy comes back home and goes to bed with cocoa. This is a YOUNG READERS title, aimed at younger children and fully in the spirit of DC’s younger-targeted cartoons.

37. THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY is an anthology title that collects tales of fantasy, magic and horror that may or may not take place within the main continuity: it’s hard to tell. Similar to the early part of Matt Sturges; run, without the overarching plot it turned into, the framing narrative takes place in the House of Mystery itself, and each story is usually being told by the members of the Croatoan Society who are meeting there regularly: Detective Chimp, Edogawa Sangaku, Tim Trench, Greta Hayes and a mysterious “Mistress of the Dark” who looks remarkably familiar to a certain real world person. The stories within are set up as either personal anecdotes, textually fictional, or narratives put together through deduction. (After all: Detectives).

Okay, so I know I should probably go and read some Seven Soldiers, or at least Zatanna, but tomorrow I’ll be back in something I can write about: the “No Tights, No Capes!” lineup.

 

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

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Why I should be Editor in Chief of DC Comics: 6. The Grey Area

[Introduction | Supers | Bats | Wonders & Lanterns | Solo Heroes | Justice ]

It’s not that I like villains in particular, you understand. It’s just that I like Complicated. I like heroes who make hard decisions. I like villains who say “fuck it you don’t get to judge us!” I like people on opposite sides who have a deep respect for each other. I like crime. I like the grey.

I love this line up of books, guys. Like you wouldn’t believe.

28. BIRDS OF PREY. Tigress (Artemis Crock, who looks more like her cartoon incarnation than her to-date comics version) is trying to break from her parents’ villainous shadow and be a heroine. Starling (Evelyn Crawford) is just out of her first prison sentence and would like to go straight but doesn’t know how. Enter the mysterious earrings that appear in the mail one day. Oracle (Barbara Gordon) has decided to give these women a straight path to follow, operating at least partly on the request of her best friend Black Canary (Dinah Lance), who wants to call in a favor for a childhood friend (Evelyn) and for the daughter of two of her mother’s adversaries (Artemis.) Canary very occasionally makes herself available for the two, Oracle goes back to her original set up and never reveals herself to the team, which she sends after targets a little too covert and secretive for Justice League or Batman attention. There are frequent and insistent jokes about tigers not being birds, but they’re subtle, because the team is still not called Birds of Prey.

29. CROOKED. Oliver Queen is fed up with the reactionary way of doing things that involves waiting for a bad guy to emerge and beating him until the threat passes. He sees massive inequality in the world and he wants to address this directly, in the way of his idol – by robbing the rich to give to the poor. He gets together a team: Selina Kyle (object retrieval); Edward Nigma (Strategy); Hartley Rathaway (persuasion and subterfuge); Wendy Harris (virtual infiltration) and Anissa Pierce and Grace Choi (punching things.) This features a great deal of Oliver Queen getting more and more frustrated with the moral code of some of his team.  But it’s Leverage with superheroes, guys. This is the book Ollie was created to star in.

30. BAD REPUTATION. On the streets of Bludhaven, a group of teens with Superheroes are thrown together: Tye Longshadow can project a powerful astral form; Euardo Dorado has limited teleportation; Asami Koizumi can focus her chi into the air and the twins Zane and Jayna Burroughs are shapeshifters. (Zane and Jayna are identical, not fraternal twins. Jayna is a trans woman.) In trying to understand the source of their powers, and avoid the attention of untrustworthy adults, the group acquires a sixth member: an unpowered redhead calling himself Rob, who has complete amnesia before a few months ago. Despite not knowing who he is, Rob exhibits suburb physical prowess, and muscle memory that reveals outstanding fighting ability. If you can’t guess what Rob’s true identity is, I won’t spoil it here. But I told you he’d turn up somewhere!

This is a YOUNG READERS title, and a shameless Runaways rip off in the proud tradition of the Big Two stamping all over each other’s ideas.

31. SECRET SIX is Scandal Savage, Knockout, Deadshot, Catman, Jeanette, Bane, Ragdoll and King Shark, and they don’t really care that there’s eight of them. They’re going to do crime, and they’re going to be a messed up family that doesn’t need anyone and they’re going to Not Talk About Their Feelings, until eventually all the steam runs out and they’re replaced by a Suicide Squad title.

32. THE OUTSIDERS is a group founded and led by Nightwing (Dick Grayson) of a group of not-quite-fitting in adult superheroes who would rather hunt down supervillains at large than wait for them to recommit crimes. The team consists of: Red Arrow/Roy Harper; Joanna Pierce/Lightning; Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana; Rex Mason/Metamorpho; Tara Markov/Terra; Jennifer Lynn-Haden/Jade and Priscilla Kitaen/Voodoo. Not as messed up as Secret Six but messed-er up than Birds of Prey!  In this line up, it’s the closest thing to a ‘regular’ superhero title.

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

dc

Why I should be Editor in Chief of DC Comics: 5. Justice

[Introduction | Supers | Bats | Wonders & Lanterns | Solo Superheroes ]

There are many things I dislike about the current nu52 lineup. One of the least pressing, naggling things is: There are too many Justice Leagues! I don’t know what’s up with Justice League Dark – whether they’re called that in universe, or not, but with Justice League, Justice League of America AND Justice League International, I’m surprised any of the characters knows what’s going on, let alone the readers. (On the other hand, maybe Trinity War is great: I haven’t read it)

I have, however, just read nearly all of Young Justice in a very short time, and I have to say that the Wonder Girl title will definitely include Cassie’s friend ex-hero Cissie King-Jones.

Okay, so my Justices!

23. JUSTICE LEAGUE is an established group of superheroes, whose membership has changed a lot in the decade or so since its inception, but now has a distinctly international setup: Led by Vixen, the Justice League faces world-threatening disasters, but also carries a very visible badge of hope with them. The line-up includes Vixen (Zambian); Mister Terrific / Micheal Holt (The only American on the team); Martian Manhunter (Martian); Aquaman (at first: he might leave when the team up with the environmentalist villains occurs, as mentioned yesterday); Kimiyi Hoshi/Dr. Light (Japanese); Ryan Choi/The Atom (Chinese, from Hong Kong); Koriand’r / Starfire (Tamaranian); Bilal Asselah/Nightrunner (French) and the newest and youngest member, Traci 13 (British)

24. JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA. Jay Garrick is no longer the fastest man alive. He is not even the oldest man alive, but as he turns 100 he sure feels like it. Looking much younger than his age due to his special relationship with time, he is the only surviving member of the original JSA, and now the grouchy older mentor to two generations worth of heroes: leader Black Canary/Dinah Lance; Dr. Mid-Nite/Pieter Cross; Wildcat/Yolanda Montez; Obsidian/Todd Rice; Hawkgirl/Kendra Munoz-Saunders and Stargirl/Courtney Whitmore. The team was founded in the forties, disbanded in the fifties, but has existed more or less continuously, although with waxing and waning membership, since. The family theme is strong, and like many families, tensions run high.

25. SUPERBUDDIES! is where you go if you’re nostalgic for the days of JLI. A for-profit Superhero group that runs on sponsorship and is managed by a (never went evil) Maxwell Lord, this team consists of Booster Gold, Blue Beetle/Jaime Reyes, Ralph and Sue Dibney; Fire/Bea de Costa and Ice/Tora Olafsdotter. The Dibneys’ foster daughter Traci 13 shows up occasionally, but she is not on the team, because “it’s weird to be on the same team as your boyfriend” – said pointedly in the Dibneys’ direction. This is a straight-up comedy book, and the ridicu-crack levels run high.

26. YOUNG JUSTICE is nowhere near as cracktastic played-for-laughs as its predecessor, but is more about exploring the teenage lives of young superheroes in a way that wants to appeal to the fans of the TV show of the same name, and hopefully echoes some of the themes dealt with in the 1980s Teen Titans. There are two co-leaders: Aqualad/Kaldur’ahm and Red Robin/Tim Drake, and as I’m EIC and I can do what I want, they get to deal with what happens when mutual respect and trust becomes mutual crushes, and what a disaster it is when co-leaders date. The rest of the line-up include Ms Martian/M’Gann M’orzz; Impulse/Bart Allen; Speedy/Mia Dearden; Conner Levitt/don’t-call-me-Superboy and Wonder Girl/Cassie Sandsmark, with Red Tornado as their adult supervisor. Due to the history of this particular universe, Conner is the youngest member of this team. Because I’ve just finished reading the first Young Justice, I personally ship Cassie/Conner, but that’s not editorial mandate.

This is a YOUNG READERS title, aimed at teens.

27. TRINITY consists of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, who have all been members of the JL and left at various points for their own reasons. They get together more out of friendship mutual trust (sorry Bruce) than anything else – each of them would call on the other two for help more than the others. This is not an official team, it’s a three way partnership.

The first arc starts with the three of them investigating an inter-dimensional portal that’s spewing parademons into their world. And among them – three young women calling themselves Supergirl, Wonder Girl and Robin (Kara Zor-El, Princess Donna, Helena Wayne). The Trinity deal with the arrival of these three in their own individual ways (Diana the most inclined to believe her new sister, Bruce the least to accept his alternate daughter) and eventually help them settle into new identities both super and civilian (Power Girl/Karen Starr; Donna Troy no-codename-needed; Huntress/Helena Wright). At the projected end of this arc, which may take a year or two, the book will go back to being about Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, either all three or in various pairings. Donna Troy will eventually join the JL, Peej and Huntress might end up in the JSA.

NB: The Catwoman of this alternate Earth looks more like Eartha Kitt or Halle Berry than Julie Newmar or Anne Hathaway. Helena Wayne, therefore, is a woman of color.

Tomorrow, my favorite line up: THE GREY AREA.

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

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Why I should be Editor in Chief of DC Comics: 4. Solo Titles

[Introduction | Supers | Bats | Wonders & Lanterns ]

So I hear there are other heroes in the DC Universe who may or may not be able to carry their own title?

17. AQUAMAN is Arthur, King of the Britons Oceans. Swimming fast, talking to sealife, hanging with Mera and Tempest and Lagoon Boy, defending the oceans from invaders, and being really angry while he does so. At some point I did promise that there would be a mini-series spin off in which he teams up with Ra’s Al Ghul, Poison Ivy and Gorilla Grodd to do some Saving of the World, but he also gets to fight Ocean Master and Black Manta in a good old fashioned hero vs villains superhero adventure comic.

18. FLASH is Wally West. And Barry Allen. And Max Mercury. And (sometimes) Jay Garrick. And Jesse Chambers in a binder. Many people, many costumes, same uniform costume design. Because when you’re fast enough that you can seem to be in two places at once, sometimes people can’t tell that you ARE in two places at once. The Flashes are scientists, although they have different areas of interests. Barry is a detective. Wally is a physician (after a life threatening disease in his teens gave him a medical interest.) Wally is also the charismatic one: He’s the Flash that does the interviews, and pretty much all the talking. Back to Plok’s idea three years ago: “if you think about it the nature of the Flash’s power is simply that time is funny around him, and that’s where the whole thing starts and stops…and, if you like, begins again” there’s a whole bunch of temporal shenanigans going on around the stories of protecting the twin cities of Central/Keystone Cities from rogues.

19. GREEN ARROW is Connor Hawke. Not that Oliver Queen isn’t alive and well and living in Star City with Dinah, Mia and Sin – which he is – but he’s  busy with his own stuff as you will see. Connor lives a little way out of the city, and he’s as likely to team up with Roy Harper / Red Arrow as anyone else. In fact, he rather dotes on his sort-of-niece Lian as much as his sort-of-sister Sin. He is Buddhist, and a better martial artist than a bowman, but uses the bow to honor his family. As many of his adventures take place in the rural areas of Northern California as Star City itself, and Connor’s stories tend to be about saving individual people more than great threats to entire areas. The stories are small, in that they affect only small numbers of people at a time, but each one is important.

20. VIXEN  is Mari McCabe, a model from Zambia (I have no special attachment to her being from a fictional country) who is in possession of a totem that grants her powers from the animal kingdom. Mari has traveled to America, but she is not American, but she is known there. Due to the high profile nature of her job, she moves around frequently, and her adventures are international.

21. HAWKMAN is Kadar Halim, the reincarnation of an archaeologist who died thirty years ago, and ALSO the reincarnation of a prince and explorer from the planet Thanagar, and ALSO the reincarnation of an Egyptian Prince Khufu, and ALSO the reincarnation of… well you get the idea. Kadar is a policeman from Long Island who regains his memories from his past lives when he comes into contact with an Nth metal artifact on his raid. Kadar is politically conservative and religious, but when his ideas of the afterlife become clouded by evidence of reincarnation, he reevaluates, though never loses, his faith. His past lives are not restricted to Earth, of course, but he can only remember each life as he encounters evidence of it, so the ones he knows of were mostly on earth.

22. STATIC SHOCK features Vergil Hawkins, aka Static, in an unashamedly Spider-Man-inspired title about a teen hero including secret identity shenanigans, the pressures of juggling school work with heroics and lots of witty banter. So the nu52 book was terrible: this is one of those things I think is firmly about bad writing and not in the least about a bad character concept, so let’s give it another go: classic superhero storytelling in a modern setting with a modern teenager.

This is a YOUNG READERS title, aimed at the 11-14 age bracket.

Next time: JUSTICE

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dc

Why I should be Editor in Chief of DC Comics: 3. Wonders and Lanterns

[Introduction | Supers | Bats]

Before I start, some edits to previous posts:

Superboy:

Conner Levitt – who signs his name Con L – is, in a parallel with Clark, a web-savvy blogger, and the book contains pages from his social media presence as part of the storytelling. With the blessing and encouragement from his Moms, he eschews the idea of a secret identity, and is open with his identity as a teenager with superpowers, but no costume.

The Daily Planet:

One of the major characters is Sydney, a staffer on the paper and a friend of Lois, who develops a crush on a columnist before coming to the realization that he sucks.

Honestly, I wish I could fill five books with Wonder Woman titles, but I’m not quite sure all of those would fly off the shelves. Still, she deserves more than one, and there’s one obvious way to do that.

12. WONDER WOMAN is Princess Diana of Themyscira, sculpted out of clay by her mother Queen Hippolyta sent as an representative to Man’s World to start to bridge the gaps between the Amazons and the rest of the world. She is also Diana Prince, owner of a boutique in NYC. She is also the demigoddess daughter of Zeus. She founded the Justice League. She didn’t found the Justice League. She fought in WWII. That was really her mother. All these things have happened and are true.

How does this Morrison-esque “everything happened” take work on character that has been reset and retconned so many times? Well the thing is that Wonder Woman is the only character that this works for. Her lasso is the Lasso of Truth, and truth, like reality discussed in the introduction, is both entirely subjective and continuous, rather than fixed. The DCU is made of stories, and because every story and every universe exists, every reality must be true. Diana, who lives in a world where the dominant reality is the ‘sculpted from clay followed Steve Trevor to Man’s World’ reality, is having strange dreams, finding her lasso appears to be malfunctioning, and embarks on a quest to discover the nature of truth. In this universe, it’s not Flash’s dimensional travel that holds the key, but Wonder Woman’s role as the avatar of Truth.

Diana is immortal, older than Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, and there is a five year editorial mandate against Themyscira being destroyed.

13. WONDER GIRL is Cassandra Sandsmark, daughter of Zeus and a mortal archaeologist, who finds artifacts that give her magic powers. These include the gauntlet of Atlas, that gives her super strength; the sandals of Hermes for speed and flight; and the girdle of Artemis which gives her the ability to talk with animals. Adopting the name Wonder Girl, Cassie uses these artifacts to help Wonder Woman, and after the resolution of the first storyline in the Wonder Woman book, she is also given a length of Diana’s Lasso of Truth,  that compels people to tell her the truth. By carrying it, Cassie, like Diana, is granted intuition into whether or not people are lying.

Because her father is Zeus, and after training with Hippolyta, Cassie is essentially a princess. She represents the ideals of Truth, Fairness and Compassion, and she can talk to animals.  This is a YOUNG READERS title, aimed at under-12s, because if you have a character who is a princess who can talk to animals and wields the power of truth, and you’re not marketing that character to little girls, you are doing something very wrong indeed, DC comics.

 

So if you thought I was presuming too much by reinventing Super titles and having Opinions about that, you might want to skip the next three, because I have never read, and don’t really intend to read a Green Lantern book that doesn’t also have “Green Arrow” in the title. GL is popular, I get it. I just don’t have very many opinions about it. Well, not beyond the TV show, anyway.

14. GREEN LANTERN is Hal Jordan John Stewart of Earth. He has a power ring, he protects Earth from alien menaces. I have honestly no idea what happens in a Green Lantern book. I’m sure it’s great!

15. TALES OF THE LANTERN CORPS is an anthology title that always includes a story about Honor Guard Guy Gardner or Honor Guard Hal Jordan. The back up stories include tales of non-human Lanterns Green and otherwise, and involves a lot of world building about planets, systems, and alien races in the DC Universe. The tone is lighter than the main GL book, more comedy than drama.

16. GREEN LANTERN: GUARDIANS Do you like Green Lantern: The Animated Series but think Hal Jordan is boring? Then this is for you, Bing! Kyle Rayner leads a team of rebels from multiple Corps, including Green Lantern Aya, Red Lantern Razer, Blue Lantern Saintwalker, Star Sapphire Carol Ferris among others, learning lessons about teamwork, the moderation of emotion, and saving the universe a lot. Male Star Sapphires exist. There are no “Dark Phoenix” storylines about women going mad with power and having to kill themselves to save the universe, because those storylines are horrible and I’m not having them.

This is a YOUNG READERS title, aimed at teens. So really, there’s a lot of violence and explosions, and people messing up their emotions.

 

Of course, now I fully expect the Lantern readers among you to come up with better ideas. And please do!

 

Next: Solo Titles.

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