Witchblade creator Michael Turner passed away, after years of battling cancer. He is best known for creating and drawing Witchblade for Top Cow/Image, drafting memorable covers for DC and Marvel, illustrating the Jeph Loeb run on Superman/Batman that brought back Supergirl to DC, and developing his fan-favorite artwork into an entire company in the formation of Aspen Comics. Turner had a distinctive and recognizable style, and his artwork, as well as his terrific personality, will be sorely missed by the industry .
ITEM! Rumors about changes to the creative team of the Flash series are circulating at the conventions this summer. The current team of Tom Peyer and Freddie Williamson is circling the drain, so it seems to be a universal opinion that a change is needed. Based on wink-wink-nudge-nudge moments at DC panels, Geoff Johns will return to write the book, and it looks like it will be drawn by fan-favorite and admitted Flash-lover Ethan Van Sciver. When the first issue comes out, you can count on me to be there to BUY.
ITEM! If you’ve read Secret Invasion #3 (spoiler warning!), you know that Nick Fury FINALLY returns to the Marvel universe at the end of that issue. Following that event, Marvel announced Nick will star in an ongoing series, co-written by Jonathan Hickman (The Nightly News) and Avengers scribe Brian Bendis. The title is Secret Warriors, but it is expected that the name will change before the book is released. Nick is back. It’s about time, Marvel! For those who only know Marvel characters from the movies, this is the version of Nick Fury that doesn’t resemble Samuel Jackson. Even without the Jackson cool cred, I’ll be BUY-ing this one.
ITEM! In a surprising move, Marvel is reviving its What If? series, with new stories by writers such as Greg Pak (Hulk) and Marc Sumerak. A better name for this series might be “Why If?," as this series has been attempted by Marvel before with varying, usually unsuccessful, results. In other words, the books have been pretty lame.
Marvel released some of the ideas being considered for publication such as" “What if Iron Man died instead of Captain America?" “What if Mary Jane was shot instead of Aunt May?"and “What if the Hulk won World War Hulk?" Do inquiring minds really care to know these answers? Rehashing old concepts is already a staple at Marvel, so I’m having trouble seeing the value in showing a story from a different perspective, resulting in a new outcome totally removed from current continuity. PASS.
ITEM! DC/Wildstorm seems to be heading in the same direction as its sister company, DC, in that they are looking to shake the Wildstorm universe up. Wildstorm World’s End will be released this July, and will include artwork by Neil Googe, and will be written by the writer who writes half of DC and Marvel today, Christos Gage. It features Gen 13, Stormwatch PHD, The Authority and Wildcats characters, and moves characters around to create new teams and to place the existing ones into new forms of jeopardy, shaking up the Wildstorm universe for good (boy, have we ever heard that one before?).
I’m not sure fans really care, but I suppose it will be good to shake up these rather stagnant characters. Time will tell if it means anything in the way of sales, however. I’ll give this one a tentative LOOK, but I’m not expecting much. I like Googe’s artwork, however.
ITEM! Marvel continues its slowly-released Mythos series with Mythos: Captain America, by writer Paul Jenkins and painter Paolo Rivera. The story takes Cap back to New York City during the Great Depression, as well as to Europe, where he fights in the beginnings of World War II. The previous issues have been decent, so this looks to be a BUY.
ITEM! Power Girl returns to her original home of Earth-2. Yes, it’s true: The DC Multiverse is reforming, which means names like “Earth-1" and “Earth-2" are being used again. Still no word on whether we continue to live in “Earth-Prime," however. In the upcoming Justice Society of America Annual #1, Geoff Johns and artist Jerry Ordway show Power Girl traveling to see her friends on Earth-2, and seeing some of the pre-Crisis characters that disappeared when Earth-2 was eliminated from the DCU in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Everything old is new again, eh? This sounds fun, and Johns rarely disappoints. I’ll give this one a BUY, especially with the very cool Alex Ross cover that accompanies the Annual.
Decent Read(s) of the week: DC’s Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil. This collection has been out for a while now: the original series was completed in 2007, and the hardback collection was just released a few months ago. I took the time to re-read this series this weekend and for the second time, just “marveled" at Jeff Smith’s ability to create a comic series that could be enjoyed by just about anyone.
Much like his efforts on Bone, his creator-owned series, Shazam takes the Captain Marvel legend, the original “Monster Society of Evil" storyline, and Smith mixes in his own magic of humor, adventure and humanity, and creates a truly fun comic book. The series is loaded with fun extras such as back covers that link up to a poster and an ongoing “Monster Society" code readers can solve.
But the real magic here is simply Smith’s ability to tell the story of a down-on-his-luck young boy (and girl, once Mary Marvel appears) who gains superpowers, but in doing so, doesn’t lose his desire to do good. For any adult, this story harkens back to simpler days of fun comics and stories of adventure and jeopardy; for kids, this tale is accessible to young readers and may serve as an excellent introduction to the joys of comics reading.
Kudos to Mike Carlin at DC in seeing the possibilities in this excellent project and providing Smith the room to make the book his own.
Jeff Smith continues to be a creator to watch, with his RASL
series, a comic series much more oriented to adults, but still containing that sparkle of Smith humanity and wonderment in its science fiction tones.
That’s it for this week. See you next time in THE COMICS SCREED!