As much as I am anything, I am a voracious comic reader. I try not to just talk about random comic issues on this blog, and keep the pieces long and meaningful pieces of writing. That said, there are just some things going on in comics that I want to talk about, including many comics at length but none in detail.

SPOILERS for Suicide Squad #15, Amazing Spider-man #700/Superior Spider-man #1, and Wheel of Time: A Memory in Light

The NuDC universe has just got to go. Do you know what Harley Quinn looks like these days????

fanart by monstrosity on DeviantART
That’s right, perpetually with ass in panties facing you, and the look of death. She reminds you that Medusa froze men with her hot sex before killing them. It’s a terrible renovation on one of the last great ideas that the DC Universe had. Designed by Bruce Timm, she extremely represses her body’s sexuality, choosing to let her actions speak louder than words.

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and the craziest part was, she ended up leaving Joker, too! Teaming up with Batman to take him down in an epic run during his own series, she becomes her own woman.

And then they had to go and erase her past! In the new universe, along with her different costume, she never makes any mention of Poison Ivy, who teamed up with her often and even tried to live a life free of crime as sober friends. And she also gave her a serum preventing her from succumbing to many poisons and gases (and this new Harleen just fell to chloroform in #15!).

What’s more, something even more shocking was revealed.

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The Joker’s into bondage!!!! just kidding, it’s actually that this nu52 Harley has many imposters the Joker cycles through like used toilet paper (that he can’t even bring himself to murder: what is this “martyr” bullshit? Write the Joker as a psychotic villain), and this comic reveals that sexy, athletic and loyal lovers are a dime a dozen, too.

I mean, there’s still the same arc to being a heroine here, but it’s playing out so quickly, and why can’t they just write a short, Harley Quinn Year One comic? Wouldn’t that sell???

And The Joker has completely become psychotic instead of mischievous. It seems that from his initial appearance where he would buzz shock people who shook his hand. and squirt water in people’s faces, the correction to make him more menacing has veered over the other extreme: this is a Joker that simply smiles and kills, nothing else. It’s not a very interesting villain.

And it’s not like these are the only things DC’s nu52 is butchering. Grant Morrison’s Action Comics was the one thing I thought was a sure fire hit. I haven’t even bought an issue since #13, and the only ones I’ve enjoyed have been the origin issue, and the alternate universe President (oh, and African Amrican) Superman in #8. If only he didn’t write his comics into nonsense. Batman, Inc. has fallen to the same problem of needing an editor. The first series felt refreshing and globe trotting: we had Catwoman appearing in a comic that spanned a globe Grant Morrison was interested in exploring. The Japan chapters felt different from the Argentina chapters, and the Inc. really felt international. Now it’s an insular family drama where multiple characters have died in faked deaths.

And DC doesn’t even have the decency to let J.H. Williams III handle all the Batwoman issues. They don’t think that pages like this is worth waiting for:

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At least they’re letting him integrate Chase back into the DCU, and her much more menacing and interesting boss into the story. And, really, it might be a very long time indeed between issues if Williams doesn’t have an assistant doing heavy lifting on some issues. But it’s not like Batwoman is the only comic slipping.

All Star Western is losing all of the momentum it had from starring Amadaeus Arkham and relocating Jonah Hex to Gotham. Stormwatch got uninteresting as soon as Martian Manhunter left and it became exactly like it was before the revamp. Swamp Thing and Animal Man continue their note perfect decompression of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison’s style, and what was once astounding has suddenly become tedium through repetition. Andy Warhol did that first.

OMAC got canceled (such an amazing revamp! I exhort you with no substantial recommendation to find all eight in back issue bins while they’re cheap!!!), and, this is the worst thing of all.

Read the following solicitation for the new John Constantine comic:

The star of JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK is unleashed in his all-new ongoing series! • Liar, cheater, manipulator…John Constantine is all of these, and yet he uses these skills and more to protect the world from the darkest corners of the DC Universe. • What Constantine learns in this first issue will shake the very foundations of the New 52…and only he knows how to deal with it!

This immediately follows the cancellation of Vertigo’s longest running sequential series. No, not Swamp Thing, Hellblazer! Getting cancelled around its 300th issue, it’s an achievement in comics to have sustained a foul mouthed, street magician (who wouldn’t exist if Stephen Bissette didn’t tell Alan Moore that he wanted to draw Sting in a Swamp Thing comic) for three hundred issues. What’s more, they are some of the greatest comics to gather dust in old men’s living rooms.

Something else happened, too. The editor of Vertigo Comics for its quarter century of success, Karen Berger, is leaving the company. She was the one who gave Neil Gaiman the encouragement to boldly write Death as a spunky young punk.

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And now she will no longer guide that imprint’s decisions. It’s getting crazy, and with DC making even crazier decisions, like kicking longtime Barbara Gordon writer Gail Simone off of the Batgirl revamp starring Barbara Gordon, one has to wonder how much motivation Time Warner’s dissatisfaction with their current profits has to do with their output.

Don’t worry, though, Vertigo isn’t dead, DC’s press release says, there’s a new Sandman comic coming out even written by longtime series scribe Neil Gaiman that describes how Morpheus reached the point he is in #1!  There’s a prequel, and it even has its original author’s approval! Unlike that other thing that’s having trouble finishing up well.

Oy, all DC can do now is re-make its characters. At least Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman is still amazing, and even featuring the Return of The New Gods! Positive recommendation, right there!

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And, looking at Marvel’s relaunch (they are now making all their comics Marvel NOW!), there are some striking changes: the first is The Fantastic Four’s adventure outside of normal space and time. We are currently experiencing the effect of their absence in FF#1, which is a fantastic little comic by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred, really using the aspects of a shared universe to tell its own interesting story of a superhero trope never explored before.

And, it’s also done using the setting of the Future Foundation, a center that Reed Richards set up for bright kids and alien refugees to provide a community, which is, itself, an awesome idea! One that I’m glad will see more writers than Keiron Gillen develop.

See, Marvel is working a lot better at keeping its characters going. I’ve heard good things about Deadpool, and Avengers looks as uninteresting to me as it ever has, so I’d say they’re doing a successful remake.

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They’ve gone and killed Spider-man. Except they haven’t really killed Spider-man. I have to say, as comics put out to make newspaper headlines that a famous character has died, only to be able to retract that statement later in a longer story, this is a pretty good comic with a transparent ending.

Sure, we know Peter Parker will eventually overtake Otto Octavius’ consciousness. That much is certain. Thankfully, Dan Slott seems to know this, giving us a glimpse of Peter swimming around in his body’s consciousness, still. We can even guess it will be a story where Peter’s love that he put out into the world through Mary Jane and Aunt May will eventually be the reason his consciousness could stick around.

What’s much more interesting is the story Dan Slott is taking his time resolving. Seeing Otto possess Peter’s life, he seems to be getting a few things right: he is bluntly obvious about his love for Mary Jane, and is able to win her much more easily. He is also much more gruff with his coworkers, who instantly start to respect the inventions he suddenly decides not to share with them. Otto seems to be doing a better job than Peter of living his life. He even wants to do good, as an Avenger, after seeing his own body die.

Well, we know that it ain’t gonna last, but it’s gonna be an interesting ride. While personally I was hoping that Peter’s consciousness would find itself in Otto’s arms, so we would have a digital and immortal resurrection of Peter, it seems that it will be resolved tangibly.

What’s even more interesting is if Peter succeeds in banishing Otto, that likely means that he will kill him. It will be the first time Peter has willingly taken a life: to live his own. I have to wonder if that’s gonna be the real change to his character.

And so there you have it: my thoughts on modern superhero comics, and why Marvel is infinitely better. They also still do letter columns. Amazing Spider0man #700 (the death of Otto Octavius’ body with Peter’s consciousness, i.e. “SPIDERMAN’S DEATH”) even had a six page letter column.

Which is how a good reader can tell the quality of a comic, at a glance. I’d write a lot more about Image’s and IDW’s revamps, but you’re kinda bored by now, aren’t ya?

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