Comics Ate My Brain

December 20, 2007

Lord Havok = Nightwing…?

Filed under: countdown — Tom Bondurant @ 10:30 pm
I liked a good bit of the new Dan DiDio interview at Newsarama, but I have to disagree with his characterization of Countdown‘s tentacles.

DD: … People identify things like Countdown to Mystery and Countdown to Adventure and even Lord Havok as Countdown crossovers, but I really don’t – I consider those books to be spin-“outs” of Countdown featuring characters that were in Countdown, and have spun out into their own miniseries and stories. They’re not different than when say; Iceman or Nightcrawler got their own miniseries spinning off of X-Men. So if you say we’re putting out a lot of Countdown, “Countdown” is a brand name the same way that Superman is a brand name, Batman is a brand name, or X-Men is a brand name.

NRAMA: True, but without Countdown, the Lord Havoks and other spin-offs wouldn’t exist, or have a reason for their stories to be told, so there is something to say that there is a connection between them…

DD: Agreed, but you can say the same thing about anything like that – would there have been a Nightwing series without Batman? There wouldn’t have been a Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen without Superman. Jimmy played a role in Superman, and his profile was raised to the point that people wanted to see more adventures with him. That was the hope of what we did. Maybe we spun things out to fast, without getting the chance to really establish the characters, but the more important thing is the Countdown name increased the amount of sampling and interest in characters that people normally would have passed by if the books had come out without the Countdown branding.

It seems pretty disingenuous to say that tremendous reader demand for the adventures of Forerunner and Jeanclipso led to the creation of Countdown To Adventure or C. To Mystery. All of the “branded” series were sold to us readers as take-’em-or-leave-’em parts of the larger Countdown experience. That’s fairly far removed from analogizing them to Nightwing, who got his own solo series about a dozen years after his first appearance, and who by the way was a major player in a prominent team book for a good ten years.*

Moreover, the lead stories in CTM and CTA are, respectively, the repurposed Steve Gerber Doctor Fate relaunch, and a 52 follow-up. Those are better arguments for publishing the titles, but they hardly support the notion that people would read them based on Countdown. In fact, I wonder if they would have done better on those grounds, without the CD brand.

On balance, I think Dan DiDio tries to be pretty fair about DC’s shortcomings, but in this respect he’s not exactly arguing from a position of strength.

* I’m counting Dick-as-Nightwing, obviously. To count Dick-as-Robin would just be piling on.

Quick Thoughts On Today’s New Comics (12/19/07)

Filed under: batman, birds of prey, checkmate, countdown, justice league, she-hulk, superman, weekly roundups — Tom Bondurant @ 2:47 am
Yeah, I know, it’s been quite a while — but sometimes you’re inspired and you have the time, and sometimes one or both of those aren’t present.

So…

Checkmate #21: really good start to a Mlle. Marie story. Very pleasantly surprised by the new White Queen. (She’s no longer powered, is she?) Would have loved some hint that (a) Mlle. Marie had had a liaison with Alfred Pennyworth, like in the old days.

Birds Of Prey #113: Welcome aboard, Mr. McKeever! Glad to see you work so well with Ms. Scott and Mr. Hazlewood!

Detective Comics #839: This has been an uneven mess of a crossover, and the art in the first half of the book didn’t help, but I did like the overall tone of this issue. Still, it’s Christmas already?!? Man, the timeline questions surrounding today’s DC superhero books….

Countdown Presents … Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman: Well, that was rather pointless.

Countdown Arena #3 and Justice League of America #16: Arena is developing more of a plot than I originally expected, although Vampire!LibertyFiles!Batman! reminds me more and more of Primaul (TM). However, my main problem has to do with the Tangent Flash. Either she makes it out of Arena alive — since she’s on the cover of JLA #16 — or there’s a reset button built into the Arena setup, if not all of Countdown. It goes back to my “not the real Elseworlds” theory from a recent Grumpy Old Fan, but otherwise it just makes my head hurt.

Superman #671: Very good start to the “Insect Queen” story. Peter Vale’s art is much better than I remembered.

She-Hulk #24: I dunno. There may be some parallels between the Jen-and-Jen setup and PAD’s Supergirl, but I’m just not getting much out of the book right now.

I’ll try to do a holiday-themed post before the weekend, but if not, regular service resumes around Dec. 27.

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