Today brought the news many fans have been waiting for, confirmation that Tim Drake has a place in the new DC Universe. But that’s not all in the latest batch of announcements …
Teen Titans #1 by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth
DC says: Tim Drake is forced to step out from behind his keyboard when an international organization seeks to capture or kill super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he must team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and a hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash.
So yes, Tim is back, but he’s a changed young man. New costume, tweaked background. But I’m sure he’ll be essentially the same – the serious-minded Red Robin of old. Actually, if Scott Lobdell lightens Tim up – and the ex-Generation X writer is a former stand-up – I’ll be grateful. The boy who once told Batman to cheer the heck up seems to have himself forgotten the advice.
Wonder Girl sounds like she’s not the same Cassandra Sandsmark we know and, er, well, not the same Cassandra Sandsmark. If a new background is necessary – and given likely changes in Wonder Woman, either Cassie gets a new background or she books a single room in Limbo for a few years – it’s good that the changes are at least intriguing. ‘Belligerent’ certainly sounds an improvement on ‘mooning over Superboy’. And a hyperactive Kid Flash? Sounds like Bart may be coming over all Impulsive again – hoo-blooming-rah, away with you, blandness! The aforementioned Conner’s there too; I hope the sweet kid of recent years isn’t gone in favour of the grumpy sod from the Young Justice TV show. And there are a couple of new characters (who look rubbish).
So, do these new costumes spring from the mind of Jim Lee? Doesn’t he like these kids? Has he been sniffing too many old comic books? Red Robin has ditched his Dr Midnite Jr look to become Black Condor Chick. Conner has a Kick Me sign on his back. Kid Flash is the personification of Tragedy. And poor Cassie looks like an evil postbox. Good luck to the talented Brett Booth, late of Justice League of America, with making these monstrosities work on the page.
Static Shock #1 by John Rozum and Scott McDaniel
Virgil Hawkins has been gifted with incredible electrical powers. Adopting the persona of Static, he faces super-powered street gangs, raging hormones, homework, and girls in STATIC SHOCK #1.
Milestone Media’s most popular character sounds to be getting a reboot, but I doubt line veteran John Rozum will wish to tinker with a winning formula. But co-writer Scott McDaniel might. I’ve been loving Rozum’s Xombi but I may not stick with this after the first issue. While I’ve enjoyed the odd bit of McDaniel artwork lately, I generally don’t enjoy his style. But who knows, he may have writing talent, and the artwork could soar. I do want to know more about Static, as I managed to miss his series, dropped Teen Titans during his stint as a member due to poor writing, and I don’t think Static Shock ever came to the UK (incidentally, why the ‘Shock’? Is that part of his name now?). A young hero discovering himself in New York? If it has the vibe of early Spider-Man, Nova or Firestorm, I’m there.
Hawk and Dove #1 by Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld
It’s up to the living avatars of war and peace to root out the hidden forces who look to plunge the country into a deadly civil war in HAWK AND DOVE #1.
Now here’s a surprise, I assumed Hank Hall and Dawn Grainger would return to supporting character status post-Brightest Day, but here they are with their first series since the debacle of Armageddon 2001, 20 years ago, when Hawk >ulp< murdered Dove. I do hope issue #1 is entitled 'Before we were so rudely interrupted …' Sterling Gates worked magic as Supergirl writer over the last couple of years, and I fully expect him to shade the Hank and Dawn relationship beautifully. If, as the precis hints, they'll be back in Washington DC, we may even catch up with their enjoyable, vanished supporting cast. Rob Liefeld, the pair's original penciller, is drawing – that, I really never saw coming. There’s no inker announced, but DC really should persuade his original H&D partner – and the book’s longtime co-writer – Karl Kesel to jump on board and smooth out those rough edges/lunatic chests.
Legion Lost #1 by Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods
Several years ago we had a series entitled Legion Lost, recently collected, which saw some members adrift in a far-off dimension. A few years prior to that, a sub-team was stranded in the 20th century. The new comic combines the title of one series with the concept of another.
Seven heroes from the 31st century have traveled back to the present day. Their mission: Save their future from total annihilation. When the future tech they brought with them fails, they find themselves trapped in a nightmarish world and an ultimate struggle to survive.
I take it from this blurb that the heroes start off in the (new) regular 21st-century DCU and wind up somewhere else, as even post-Flashpoint, I can’t see Earth meriting the tag ‘nightmarish’ for a bunch of ruff, tuff super-heroes. The cover crowd’s also a bit of a giveaway. That’s a great set of Legionnaires right there, so Nicieza – one of the best writers of young adults in comics – has plenty of raw material for character dynamics. He also has a dream partner in artist Pete Woods, who has been known to construct computer models of entire cities, so keen is he to get the details right. This will be a fabulous comic.
Legion of Super-Heroes #1 by Paul Levitz and Francis Portela
And this could be even better. The book I was most worried about is, says DC, the series that’s changing the least post-Flashpoint. Paul Levitz carries on current storylines without interruption, though the Legion Lost series adds a twist.
In the 31st century, the Legion of Super-heroes is reeling from the loss of seven of their finest – and trying desperately to keep their youngest recruits alive against a series of terrible new threats.
So, while the excellent Legion Academy series in Adventure Comics is no more, it sounds as if a few of the characters are joining the team, as should be the case. Levitz’s scripts have been getting better by the month, and Portela’s gorgeous art has been a regular feature since the latest incarnation began – I could not be happier.
How about you?