Archive for August, 2006

Geoff Johns interview (Aug. 2006)

August 30, 2006 | Interviews

Geoff Johns has just about done is all in the DC Universe over the past seven years — and done it well. He’s made himself a household name for comic book fans with terrific stories on The Flash, JSA, JLA and Hawkman and continues to do so with Teen Titans and Green Lantern. He earned the honour of penning DC’s mega-series, Infinite Crisis and is one of four top writers — along with Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid — collaborating on the ambitious weekly comic, 52. Ahead of his appearance at this weekend’s Fan Expo Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (, Johns took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with JPK about what’s coming up in his monthly titles, his upcoming arc on Action Comics and what to do when you meet him in person. JPK: Of all the projects you’re working on right now, what’s the one you want fans to like the most? GJ: “Green Lantern is pretty close to my heart. And with Ivan Reis on the book, I just think it’s one of the best-looking books out there. “I think he’s the greatest solo hero concept in comics — by far.” JPK: Why so? GJ: “Because of the background, the fact that he belongs to a Green Lantern Corps and there’s a big mythology to it all. There’s just something really great about it.” JPK: What’s in store for Green Lantern over the coming months? GJ: “There’s a huge price on his head in the current book and he’s got to find out who’s trying to kill him and why. At the same time, Sinestro, the renegade Green Lantern, is forming his own version of a corps. So we’re going to be rolling toward that huge, climactic war between the both corps. “It’s all about what is the purpose of the corps. Is Hal there to protect and serve the universe or are there other hidden things underneath that ideal? And there are!” JPK: What do you have in store for the upcoming re-launch of the Justice Society Of America and what do you think is going to make it stand apart from its successful predecessor, JSA? GJ: “First off we’re going to be expanding the concept of what the Justice Society Of America is. So it’s really taking the very first superheroes that ever appeared in the DC Universe and ushering in a new generation — making it a real society. “It has ties to every single corner of the DCU now. It’s going to interact and be more of a DCU cornerstone book. It embraces the whole concept of the DC Universe and pushing it forward and paying respects to its past and utilizing everything it has ever been and is going to be. “We’re also trying to make it a lot more accessible, as far as storylines go. It’s going to be very character based, but with the epic scope in the background. “It’s going to be Justice League Of America’s brother book and it’s going to be kind of a big brother book. We’re just trying to craft the book in a way so that it’s in the centre of the DCU. It has ties to nearly ever DCU hero there is — and villain — and we’re going to be exploring all those ties and what it means to be a hero. The tagline of our book is: “The World Needs Better Good Guys” and that’s what the team’s all about.” JPK: For fans of the JSA series, how much carryover are they going to see? GJ: “Close to 100 per cent. There’re a few regular characters that won’t be in there — Hawkgirl’s in Justice League, but we’ll have Hawkman — and we’re adding a bunch of new guys to the mix. “If you’re a fan of JSA, you’ll be a fan of this book. I think you’ll probably find that we’re peeling back the onion layers on the characters back a little bit more, getting more into their heads. We’re getting more into why they do this and where they’re going.” JPK: With issue 50 of Teen Titans fast approaching, what does the future hold for that series? GJ: “Right now we’re doing a series called Titans Around The World, where you really get a chance to meet all the Titans that served on the team in the missing year. [Editor’s note: All DCU books fast forwarded in an event called One Year Later earlier this year.] “You’re going to meet a lot of character’s like Ms. Martian, Zatarra, Bombshell — who’s this cool army brat that’s coated in the same metal Captain Atom has — and a few other guys. And we’re going to be bringing Raven back to the team. “It’s really about what happened to the Titans in that missing year and why did all those people quit the team. You’ll see that a lot of the members that were on the team are very jaded about their experience with the team and it’s very personal to each member. “Titans Around The World is really about whether this new team will fall apart like every other team they had during that missing year. It’s about how this team can stay together and why the Teen Titans should exist in the first place.” JPK: Do you have a timeframe for you run on Titans? GJ: “I’ll stay on until I’m out of stories. I’ve been on the book a while, but I’ve still got a few more stories left to tell.” JPK: How are you enjoying working on DC’s big weekly book, 52? GJ: “It’s terrific. We’re in the late 30s and the stories are all hitting big moments and big spots and some crazy stuff’s happening, so it’s really exciting to write.” JPK: How has the collaborative process of having four writers working on one book been? GJ: “It’s been great. We met for two weeks in a room together and we just sat and rapped and talked about storylines and planned everything out. It’s been a lot of fun because you learn something from working ...

The Exterminators Vol. 1

August 28, 2006 | Trades

The Exterminators Vertigo/DC Comics $13.50/$9.99 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) Horror comic books are thriving more in recent years than they have in decades. There’s books with zombies, monsters, vampires and the rest, but few of those books ever really manage to get under your skin — to really freak you out. The Exterminators is an exception. This book is so damned freaky that it will send chills running up your spine, have you viciously stomping every bug in your house into oblivion and even eying the neighbourhood wildlife differently after just one chapter. When ex-con Henry James takes a job as an exterminator with his stepfather’s company he isn’t prepared for the twitchy, skittering, growling and vile elements he’s forced to deal with — and those are just his co-workers! But when dead bodies, including one of his colleague’s, start piling up and the purported best insect-killing chemical on the market turns out to be bug steroids, it all really hits the fan. First-time comic writer Simon Oliver and illustrator Tony Moore (The Walking Dead, Fear Agent) cover all the bases with an eerie plot and suitably filthy and fantastic art in a series that is sure to add to the legacy of great work from Vertigo.

Testament: Akedah

August 28, 2006 | Trades

Testament: Akedah Vertigo/DC Comics $13.50/$9.99 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) Those knowledgeable about the Bible will tell you that you can see parallels of its stories in the modern world on a daily basis. Somehow I don’t think the dark and probing new series Testament is what they mean. Best-selling author Douglas Rushkoff (Coercion, Ecstasy Club), along with artist Liam Sharpe (Incredible Hulk), uniquely reacquaints readers with the Old Testament tales, then reflects them within similar stories set in a near future where a global government is oppressing — and even neutralizing — any young voices against it. University student Jake Stern’s decision not to submit to a government-sponsored tracking program leads him down a dark, but enlightening path as he and a group of young revolutionaries begin to draw back the curtain on the oppressive government controlling the planet. Rushkoff’s ability to imagine a vivid, comic book-like world in the Bible and to make its stories discernibly reflective of some of the social conditions in modern society makes this a highly compelling new series.


August 28, 2006 | Trades

24Seven Image Comics $24.99 US (Paperback) *** 1/2 (out of five) Can a robot shed a tear? Sure can! They can laugh, spit, swear, steal and kill, too. Ivan Brandon, co-creator of the appealing NYC Mech, gives a few dozen creators the chance to play with the idea of a world filled with naught but robots and ends up with some very entertaining results. Some of the notable creators contributing a bit of robotic goodness are: Eduardo Risso (100 Bullets), Phil Hester (Green Arrow), Ben Templesmith (Fell), Rick Remender (Strange Girl), Alex Maleev (Daredevil) and Michael Oeming (Powers). Neil Schaffer and Ryan Brown’s The Watchmaker, the story of a shut-in gets to know his neighbour in a very surprising new way, is a standout. Also notable is Fear And Self-Loathing In NYC by Jonathan L. Davis and Tony Moore, about a robot with the worst luck in the world with women.

Wonder Woman: Mission’s End

August 28, 2006 | Trades

Wonder Woman: Mission’s End DC Comics $26.99/$19.99 US (Paperback) *** 1/2 (out of five) The image of Wonder Woman killing a man was one of the most stirring in all of comics in 2005. That moment, from Wonder Woman #219, had ramifications — not only in her own series, but also in a ton of others and eventually into the massive Infinite Crisis crossover series that reshaped the entire DC Universe. So we’re talking about some pretty big stuff here. What happened in the moment after Wonder Woman murdered the villainous Maxwell Lord, in order to save herself, Superman and countless others, is the bulk of this final collection of the 1986-2006 Wonder Woman series. Was Diana acting in self-defence? Did she have no choice but to spin Lord’s head around like a twist-off beer cap? None of those things matter when the images of her act are made public and she faces both a real courtroom and the court of public opinion. Writer Greg Rucka, the person who revitalized Wonder Woman and brought her back into the forefront of the DCU, goes out with a bang via a denouement that may even leave you a might misty.

Superman/Shazam: First Thunder

August 28, 2006 | Trades

Superman/Shazam: First Thunder DC Comics $17.50/$12.99 US (Paperback) *** 1/2 (out of five) Look! Up in the sky! It’s… two birds? Two planes? Nope, it’s Superman and Captain Marvel! The first meeting and friendship between two of DC Comics’ best-known caped heroes is explored in this shiny four-issue miniseries by writer Judd Winick (Green Arrow, Outsiders) and artist Joshua Middleton (NYX). The highlight of this book, and one of Winick’s greatest strengths, is a look at what makes even the most powerful of characters human. Both the Man Of Steel and Captain Marvel are laid bare at times in First Thunder, making what otherwise might be an average superhero team-up tale something just a little deeper.

Justice League Of America #1

August 28, 2006 | Comics

Justice League Of America #1 DC Comics $5.50/$3.99 US **** 1/2 (out of five) They’re baaaaack! The world’s greatest superheroes — or according to the title of the book only America’s — are reforming the Justice League. DC’s big three — Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman — are in for sure, but who their teammates will be in this re-launch by writer Brad Meltzer (Identity Crisis) and artist Ed Benes (Birds Of Prey) has had many a fanboy in a tizzy over past few months. Over a year after the events of leading up to Infinite Crisis, which saw the JLA implode in a disaster of mistrust, there are plenty of heroes worthy of membership in a revitalized League. Here’s the early favourites to join the Big Three: Power Girl, Black Lightning, Arsenal, Captain Marvel, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), The Flash (Bart Allen) and Red Tornado. Oh, and a DC insider tells me Hawkgirl is on the team. Meltzer’s love for the classic DC characters of his youth shines through again in this book, as it did in Identity Crisis, and when partnered with Benes’ glitzy art, this book is guaranteed to be the cornerstone title that the world’s greatest superheroes deserve.

Phonogram #1 (of 6)

August 28, 2006 | Comics

Phonogram #1 (of 6) Image Comics $4/$3.50 US **** (out of five) Music is magic. It sounds simple enough, but when that magic turns black on ‘phonomancer’ David Kohl, he finds himself in a rather unpleasant predicament. After getting lured into a club with the promise of easily influenced young women, an old enemy with a score to settle catches Kohl —the walking embodiment of a phallus — with his pants down. The result is a surprising curse on Kohl and a stage set for five more issues of magic. Rock-snob writer Kieron Gillen, whose pretentious “statement of intent” and glossary in this debut issue are both essential and somewhat insulting, and artist Jamie McKelvie, whose clean lines give this book an instant and distinctive feel, have come up with something original and appealing in Phonogram.

Noble Causes #23

August 28, 2006 | Comics

Noble Causes #23 Image Comics $4/$3.50 US *** 1/2 (out of five) I’ve referred to Noble Causes before as one of my ‘guilty pleasures’. It is just about the closest thing to a soap opera as you’ll find in capes-and-tights comics and its blend of ‘sex, secrets and super-powers’ is hard to match. That being said, the first page of issue #23 caught me completely off guard and blew the socks right off my feet. Let’s just say the ‘sex’ part of the equation just got kicked up a notch and you’ll have to buy the book for a more graphic explanation. It’s awfully difficult to surprise me after the tens of thousands of comics I’ve read over the years, but kudos to writer Jay Faerber and new artist Jon Bosco for doing that — and for continuing to put out one of the most underrated and absorbing comics around.

The Escapists #1 (of 6)

August 28, 2006 | Comics

The Escapists #1 (of 6) Dark Horse Comics $1 US **** (out of five) Maxwell Roth has found his purpose in life. He’s going to make people care about The Escapist, a World War II-era comic book superhero whose adventures are all but forgotten by the general public. After Max finds his late dad’s secret collection of comic books, toys, posters, etc. of The Escapist, he becomes fascinated with him, too. So when he comes into some money, Max buys all rights to the character and, with the help of artist Case Weaver, plans to re-launch The Escapist’s comic book adventures. That’s when the adventure begins for Max’s best friend, Denny Jones. With Max’s help, Denny, in order to garner free publicity for the new comic, is going to convince the world that the Escapist is real. Critically acclaimed writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina), along with a rotating team of all-star artists, show some real flair in this expansion on the Escapist’s adventures from author Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay. Don’t let this series slip under your radar — it is a classic in the making.