Best of DC's Sneak Peeks (Part 2)

Convergence has wrapped. DC launches its new books and new directions in June, but not without laying in some groundwork with free "Sneak Peeks" available on their website. Not preview pages, but actual short stories that act as teasers and prologues to the books. Last week, I talked about my favorites from the first two weeks' worth of Sneak Peeks, so naturally, I must do the same with the last two...
Justice League United by Jeff Parker and Travel Foreman. Starting with an already ongoing series that's undergoing a major change in direction, JLU is taking the word "United" to heart by establishing a rotating roster of Leaguers not unlike the old Justice League Task Force. The "task" in this case is fixing the various anomalies that have resulted as a result of the so-called "Cosmic Convergence", though I have absolutely no idea what kind of scenarios this will represent. Still, I trust new writer Jeff Parker, whose wit and love of comics is always evident in his work, even if I don't find Travel Foreman's art terribly well-suited to superhero action. His work is often disturbing and off-putting, and he wouldn't have been my first pick to give us a tour of the DC Universe. Canadian fans who got into JLU because it was headquartered in Canada, don't fret too much: There are still two Canadians on the core team, and besides, Jeff Lemire's JLU went cosmic a little fast to really be considered Canadocentric. A good place to show off favorite and/or too-quickly forgotten characters (the New52 cancelled so many books, it left a lot of orphans for Parker's use), if they can make the larger arc entertaining, the new JLU will fulfill its potential.
Black Canary by Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu. Is this a Convergence anomaly? I wasn't reading Birds of Prey, but this seems to be an entirely new take on Black Canary, a take that owes a lot to Scott Pilgrim (also see the Batgirl Sneak Peek, also written by Fletcher, if you're a Pilgrim fan because it's the other side of that coin). In a cute play on the "Canary cry", Black Canary is now fronting a band called Black Canary, dubbed the World's Most Dangerous Band. And that's drawing the attention of rival bands who have been screwed by Dinah's group (or probably just Dinah herself, the band has issues with HER), and shadowy execs in lethal talks. It's rock and roll as superheroes, something that must be in the air given how many other books have tapped into this idea of late (Jem and the Holograms, The Wicked + The Divine, Subatomic Party Girls...). And don't think for a second a music-related narrative (admittedly difficult to do in a silent medium) isn't full of action. Black Canary kicks a lot of ass. Love Annie Wu's artwork too, kind of punky and making great use of finite color palettes.
Robin Son of Batman by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray. With his work on Batman and Robin, Patrick Gleason has certainly demonstrated that he's good at putting craziness on the page. He's writing the spiritual successor to that book, Damian's own solo book, and he's certainly playing to his strengths as an artist. Because the Son of Batman is also the Grandson of the Demon, it certainly gives the book license to head into more fantastical directions than do Gotham's streets, and is it just me, or is Gleason making Damian the New52's answer to Stanley and his Monster? If Stanley ever fought swarms of Man-Bats, of course. It looks like the most badass 12-year-old in comics is about to enjoy a high-on-action, high-on-insanity series.
We Are Robin by Lee Bermejo, Jorge Corona and Rob Haynes. But the streets of Gotham are covered even if Damian is doing his international thing. We Are Robin is a post-99% story if I ever read one, where a group of kids take on the mantle of the Robin to fight crime. We only briefly meet the cast here, and judging from the announced cover for the series itself, not even the whole cast, but the book has a lot of potential. It's superheroes as a movement (like Gail Simone's The Movement, though not as political, even they do have a manifesto), a YOUTH movement that takes it cues from Gotham City culture. After all if there was a teenager swinging around with Batman, wouldn't that have an influence on actual teens? Bermejo uses color-coded texting to coordinate the group's activities and as a clever narrative tool, though there are so many characters to keep track of, not necessarily a helpful one in this short a tale. The art is a little cartoony, but no less dynamic, and certainly in line with the current Batman editor's tastes (see Batgirl, Gotham Academy, and hey, even Capullo's work on Batman itself, as further proof). Not quite as strong as the already-mentioned cover, but it'll do. I like atypical superhero stories like this, they usually hold a lot of surprises.

Now obviously, the stronger books from before Convergence still seem to be pretty strong - Batgirl, Grayson, etc. - but these seemed to be the best new titles/directions. How about you?


Anonymous said...

I really, really wanted to like Lemire's "Justice League" comic. Oh how I wanted to. But it never really felt like the team developed a mission statement, the characters themselves didn't click (not even Green Arrow and Animal Man, both of whose solo titles Lemire wrote), and it wasn't long before it got mixed up in an extended time-traveling story with the LSH.

And Equinox ... when you write a First Nations character whose costume looks First Nations influenced and she's got nature powers, you don't have many chances to get it right. I don't think Equinox has been ruined or anything, but neither has Lemire managed to lay out his vision for her, and someone needs to put her on the right track before someone else puts her on the wrong track.

Well, here's hoping Jeff Parker sets things right.

While we're at it, we really need old Green Arrow back, the pushy, opinionated, passionate and grumpy one. I have opinions about New And Exciting Directions one could take for Green Arrow, but for now, resetting him to the version that worked for decades would be a smart move.

Siskoid said...

Based on Jeff Parker' s Flash Gordon and recent Shazam! series, I certainly believe he can. Though there is certainly a risk that because of the guest-stars of the month (or however this unlimited set-up is going to work), she won't get to a chance to grow and will remain a cypher. And yet, Parker could have just ditched her, Stargirl, Strange and Animal Man completely in favor of different leaders/recurring characters, and hasn't.

SallyP said...

These actually sound... good! I've been a bit worried lately because the whole Convergence stunt has been pretty lackluster. But hey... there is Guy Gardner, and Fire and Ice and non-slutty Mary Marvel!

Also Black Canary looks like fun.

SallyP said...

Oops...I forgot to add that Pat Gleason take on Robin looks like a ton of fun.


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