Dead Will Rise.


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It is zombies with power rings time as the highly anticipated “Blackest Night” event starts. Will it live up to the hype? If prior performance is any indication, yes.

DC has had a bad run of giving us events lately. Final Crisis was a confusing mess, "Batman R.I.P." the same and Countdown really counted down to nothing. Superman’s leaving Earth is kind of blah and the “Deathtrap” crossover in the Titans related titles went all but unnoticed.

There has been one exception to this rule. Whereas Final Crisis was a confusing, contradictory mess, this “event” was a tight, logical saga. Whereas "Batman R.I.P." replaced a good action story with a weird and convoluted tale, this one was a complex, exciting tale of space faring adventure. And where other DC stories were lackluster, this event had us on the edge of our seats.

This “event” was actually a series of events. It is the last five years on both Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. Both books form an epic story with a trilogy as a framework, beginning with 2004’s franchise reviving Green Lantern: Rebirth, continuing through “The Sinestro War” crossover, and culminating in tomorrow’s Blackest Night miniseries.

A summary of what you need to know can be found here about the last five years of the epic. What you need to know for this series is that there have been a lot of Lanterns of other colors springing up over the universe. This has caused a lot of turmoil amongst the Green Lanterns and their bosses the Guardians of the Universe. A rogue Guardian by the name of Scar has broken rank and started up a Lantern corps of her own. You do not need to be fearless to join her organization, but you do need to be dead.

Yes, the Black Lanterns will be composed of the dead of the DC Universe. Ads for the DC Direct toyline spoiled the fact that two Black Lanterns will be the Earth-2 Superman and Martian Manhunter. House ads let us know that two more will be the Ronnie Raymond Firestorm and Aquaman. The rest of the Corps could consist of anybody from Captain Boomerang to Doctor Light, from Sue Dibny to Maxwell Lord, and any dead character in between.

This is a fanboy’s dream. They get to have long-dead characters return yet still remain dead. They get a look at DC’s take on the zombie craze sweeping comics, yet in a way that will affect mainstream DC continuity. And some of the characters returning are among the most powerful DC has to offer. And, despite that fact, they will be getting power rings—the most dangerous weapons in the universe.

As exciting as all this is, it could be incredibly lame and insulting if not executed well. Hopefully, this should not be a problem since the event is in the hands of Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi. These are the writers that have made the Green Lantern franchise such a success. Part of the reason why everyone is so excited about this event is because of the excellent job they did in building it up over the past five years.
So, if left to their own devices, Blackest Night should rock. However, part of the problems with all those other events I mentioned at the beginning of the column was caused by editorial interference. You’d think that the culmination of a storyline five years in the making has already been plotted out to such a point that it is immune to stupid editing tricks. But, if someone comes in at the last minute and forces a last minute change, then the whole thing can unravel.

I am psyched about this storyline, as I was a major fan of the whole epic leading up to this. But I am preparing for disappointment. After all, this is a DC book we are talking about.

Also out this week:

All-Select Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special:
Marvel is in the process of celebrating its 70th anniversary and is doing so with a series of one-shots which have the same name of some of the most famous titles they published when they were known as Timely. All-Select Comics  is the latest to get this treatment, and is notable in two ways.

First, the main story features Blonde Phantom, a character who appeared in only one issue of All-Select before the title was renamed after her due to her soaring popularity.

Second, the back up feature will be done by indie comic legend Michael Kupperman, known for his Fantagraphics humor book, Tales Designed to Thrizzle. He will be providing a skewered look at the Golden Age character known as Marvex, The Super Robot.

Marc Guggenheim & Michael Kupperman (W), Javier Pulido & Michael Kupperman (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. One-Shot.

Creepy #1:
One of the most legendary titles of the 1960s and 1970s was Creepy. It put Warren Publishing on the map and provided intelligent horror to fans raised on the classic EC Comics of the 1950s (being that it was a magazine, Creepy did not have to submit to the puritanical Comics Code Authority that killed EC). A wide variety of talent worked on the series, many of which are on the list of the most legendary creators comic books have to offer.

Now, the series is back and at Dark Horse. The new series will be a black and white quarterly in the grand tradition of the old series. Creepy vets Angelo Torres and Bernie Wrightson are joining modern masters such as Eric Powell on the revamped title.

Various (W), Various (A), Dark Horse Comics, $4.99. Ongoing Series.

Around the World in 80 Days:
Back in 1873, when Jules Verne’s novel, Around the World in 80 Days was written, circumnavigating the globe in 80 days was a near impossibility. Now, Verne’s novel is a quaint reminder of the past as travelers can make the same trip in under 80 hours—and that includes layovers.

Therefore, it is a testament to Verne’s writing that his classic story is adapted into other medium even to the present day. The latest is in the field of the graphic novel. IDW is bringing the adventures of Philias Fogg and Passpartout to life in a special hardcover volume.

If you or a young person in your life have not yet experienced Verne’s classic, here is a nice introduction to it.

Jules Verne (W), Chrys Millien (A), IDW Publishing, $14.99. Graphic Novel.

Domino Lady #1:
When you think of classic pulp heroes, you usually think of men. You have Doc Savage, the Shadow, even the Spider. But this doesn’t mean that there weren’t female pulp heroes. In fact, one is coming to comics tomorrow.

Domino Lady first appeared in the “spicy pulp”, Saucy Romantic Adventures. These types of pulps were, well, more risqué and not the type of stuff you’d show your daughter to set a good example.

Domino Lady’s return will still be in the “sexy-noir” genre, but this time she is written by a woman—Nancy Holder, who is known for writing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel series. So, it will still be racy and for adults only, but at least it will be written from the female perspective.
Nancy Holder (W), Danny Sempere (A), Moonstone Comics, $3.99. Ongoing Series.

Poe #1:
One of the first comics I ever read was an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum. I was just a kid and the comic scared the dickens out of me and made me a Poe fan for life. Such is the power of comics on the impressionable minds of the young.

Being that this latest comic from BOOM! Studios is not adapting the author’s works, it is unknown if it will have a similar effect on this generation. It does play into Poe’s legend as being the creator of detective fiction, as it deals with Poe himself playing the role of the detective, tracking the killer of a family friend.

J. Barton Mitchell (W), Dean Kotz (A), Boom! Studios, $3.99. Ongoing Series.

Zeke Deadwood: Zombie Lawman #1: Legally Dead:
In comics, zombies are all the rage. Westerns, however, are having a hard time. Maybe that’s why zombie westerns are all the rage, with books like Rotten and Dead Irons springing up in the past few months. I guess the wisdom is that the popularity of zombies will make up for the public’s reluctance to buy westerns.

The latest offering from Amaze Ink/Slave Labor mixes the undead and the old west, but adds a dollop of humor to the mix. This graphic novel focuses on a lawman that cannot be tamed because, well, he’s dead. The Old West needs an unstoppable force for justice. And it’s pretty hard to stop a zombie. Because you can’t really kill something that’s already dead.

Thomas Boatwright (W/A), Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics, $3.95. Original Graphic Novel.

Robotika: For a Few Rubles More #1-2 Double-Sized:
Robotika was an inventive and challenging graphic novel that melded a samurai tale into a futuristic, steampunk world. It was critically acclaimed, even by me, which encouraged the powers that be to create an ongoing series from it. However, only one issue was ever released, way back in 2007, and the wait began for the second issue.

That wait ends this week, and, since comic fans sometimes have short memories, the second issue is combined with the long-forgotten first issue in one double-sized volume. Fans of the concept, new and old, have an opportunity to catch up on the series all in one sitting. However, since this issue was supposed to arrive in June, we might be waiting for the third issue for quite sometime.

Alex Sheikman (W/A), Archaia Studios Press, $4.99. Ongoing Series.

Descendant #1:
History. It’s what forms us, defines us, and, in some cases, imprisons us. It is a weighty concept to deal with if you only consider the span of your own lifetime. When you add to that past lives and ancient ancestors, and the centuries of bad karma they might pass along, it could be too much to bear.

That is what Rayne Santiago has come to realize. Her life has been under the shadow of an ancient Incan prophecy. She is dealing with superpowers that she has selfishly abused. Now, her brothers are in danger. The way to save them lies in connecting her two problems by confronting her past. But will it be enough to save her siblings?

Michael Dolce & Marcus Perry (W), Mariano Navarro (A), Image Comics, $3.50. Three Issue-Miniseries.

William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY with his wife Jennifer and daughter Vanessa. He also is a comic reviewer for PopMatters, has written for Comic Foundry magazine and is the comic book movie editor for Film Buff Online. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com.

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  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jul 14, 2009 at 12:22pm

    Creepy #1 is a very exciting prospect this week and I am so pleased to see Alex Sheikman's creation Robotika back on the shelves from Archaia. Loved the first mini when I read the collection and really recommend this one.

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