Up, up and away! A place for comic-book fans to gather.

Monday, January 30, 2006

"Infinite Crisis" fallout

DC sent me an advance copy of “Rann-Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special,” which arrives in comic-book shops Wednesday. It’s a must-read for fans of Kyle “Green Lantern” Rayner, since it sets the stage for a new direction for Rayner — and a new series, “Ion,” that begins in April. The special also, of course, plugs into the current “Infinite Crisis” miniseries. And it kills off another DC character, adding to the death toll from the universe-changing “Infinite Crisis.”

Friday, January 27, 2006

A death in the family

(Warning: If you taped “Smallville” last night and haven’t seen it yet, read no further.)
Last night was the 100th episode of “Smallville” and the promised death of a major character. As I figured, Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) was the victim. After all, Clark Kent’s dad died in the first Superman movie at about this stage in Clark’s life, too.
But there was another death on the show: Clark’s love, Lana Lang, who died in a car accident after Clark finally revealed his alien origins to Lana and proposed to her. That’d be big news, except that after Lana dies, Clark gets a chance to do the whole day over. (Think Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day.”) So everything the viewer saw in the first half-hour of the show is wiped clean. No revelation, no proposal. In the end, Lana lives; Jonathan Kent dies.
That also, in a way, goes back to the Superman movie, when a grieving Superman turns the clock back to bring Lois Lane back to life. But it still seemed like a cheat.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A hard-luck hero

I don’t usually dream about superheroes, but last night I had a dream about Daredevil. Or, to be precise, about his civilian identity, blind attorney Matt Murdock. There he was - dark glasses, cane, trenchcoat - striding into a courtroom.
That he seemed so real is a tribute to writer Brian Michael Bendis, whose long, award-winning run on Marvel’s “Daredevil” ended this week with issue No. 81. Bendis’ pacing was a bit slow for me at times, but overall the run was fascinating - and tough on Murdock, who was publicly outed as Daredevil. Now the hard-luck hero is locked up in jail. And his luck’s not going to change: Marvel’s revealed that Matt’s longtime buddy, Foggy Nelson, is going to be killed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dynamite plans

Dynamite Entertainment today announced a deal with Universal Studios to produce “Xena,” new comic-book adventures of the title character from TV’s “Xena: Warrior Princess.”
Dynamite has a lot of interesting projects in the works, including the return of the Lone Ranger to comics. It’ll be interesting to see if they all materialize, though. For instance, what’s happened to the “Battlestar Galactica” comic that was originally announced for the end of 2005?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Goodbye, WB, hello, CW

The big news in TV land today is that UPN and WB will shut down in the fall, replaced by a single new network, The CW.
For comics fans, the immediate question is the fate of WB’s “Smallville.”
The new network will use programming from the soon-to-be defunct networks and will be a 50-50 partnership between CBS Corp., which owns UPN, and Warner Bros., which owns most of WB. The most popular shows from the old networks will show up on the new - and that should include "Smallville," which has been a bright spot ratings-wise for WB. I wonder, though, whether the end of WB will throw cold water on an Aquaman series that’s being developed by the guys who created “Smallville.”

Monday, January 23, 2006

EW's look ahead

Entertainment Weekly has its big "2006 Preview!" in its latest issue, and it includes a few comic-book-related tidbits. There's a page on "Superman Returns," flying into theaters June 30; a brief item on the expanded cast of mutants in the upcoming "X3," complete with a photo of Ben Foster as the X-Men's winged Angel; and a glimpse at the "Blade" series starting on Spike TV in June. Executive producer David Goyer doesn't exactly oversell the series, which is based on Marvel Comics' vampire-hunting Blade. "Hopefully, it will be better than people thought it would be," Goyer tells Entertainment Weekly.

Friday, January 20, 2006

"Smallville" countdown

Did you catch "Smallville" last night? Lex Luthor got the chance to be the hero for a change, admitting his feelings for Lana Lang in the process. It looks like that's going to spur Clark Kent to come clean with Lana about his superpowers and alien origins in next week's episode. That's the big 100th episode, where a major character that Clark loves is going to be killed. While you're waiting, you can check out the A-to-Z guide to "Smallville" in the newest TV Guide.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The "Crisis" continues

The fourth issue of "Infinite Crisis" - the biggest event to hit DC Comics in 20 years - arrived in comic shops yesterday and was at the top of my stack of comics to read when I got home last night. SPOILER ALERT!!! There's a lot going on in the issue: the destruction of a major city; a long and convoluted explanation by Alex Luthor of how recent events in DC history are not as random as they seemed; a battle between Superboys; the loss of some more minor characters; the birth of a new Spectre; and the fate of the Flash. Maybe too much going on: I found the issue kind of choppy and chaotic on first reading. Perhaps that's unavoidable when you're writing a story encompassing the entire DC Universe. The highlight: an unusually warm encounter between Batman and Nightwing, the first Robin.
Three more issues to go. I can't wait to see how this series transforms the DCU.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Creating a "Storm"

I just got off the phone with Eric Jerome Dickey. He's a best-selling novelist who is making his first foray into comics with "Storm," a six-issue miniseries from Marvel. Dickey is a big comics fan who, like the rest of us, will be at his friendly neighborhood comic-book shop today for the week's new comics. "Storm" will explore the first meeting between a young Storm and the Black Panther before he was the Black Panther. I'll have more on Dickey and "Storm" in a future Comics Fan column. (At right is the cover to issue No. 2 of "Storm.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

We want more Moore

“DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore” arrives in comic-book shops this week. DC sent me an advance copy, which I spent the weekend reading.Moore’s better known for groundbreaking work like “Watchmen” than for his more standard superhero fare, but the stories collected here - featuring Superman, Batman and other DC icons - are all good reads. My favorite: “What Happened to the Man of Tomorrow,” the last Superman story before Superman was rebooted in the ‘80s. It’s a tribute to the decades of Superman stories before the reboot, capturing the innocence of that age and somehow mixing whimsy, melancholy and optimism.Too bad Moore has been on the outs with DC for years. It’d be nice to see more of his fresh approach to DC’s heroes.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Spider-Man's new duds

Marvel.com has posted an image of Spider-Man's new costume and my reaction and others' is ... eeewwww. The costume, shown here, comes courtesy of Tony "Iron Man" Stark and Spidey should apologetically return it. Don't get too upset, though: It's a safe bet that Spider-Man will be in his old costume sooner or later.