See what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our look at what the Smash Pages crew has been checking off their “to read” list lately. Today’s edition includes thoughts on Batman: Killing Time and a new Shaolin Cowboy miniseries coming this week.
Let us know what you’ve been reading lately in the comments or on social media.
A new era begins in ‘Justice League’ #59, which ‘includes a number of familiar, welcome elements, all deftly executed.’
[Note: This post contains spoilers for the lead story in Justice League #59. The issue also includes a Justice League Dark installment, which was creepy and suspenseful, but won’t be discussed here.]
Last year’s trip through the Justice League’s 60-year history got as far as the start of the “Snyder Era.” (No, not that Snyder — Scott Snyder.) Because some of us still have a slight Death Metal hangover, a post on those years is still TBA. Regardless, the “Bendis Era” began this week with May 2021’s Justice League #59. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, drawn by David Marquez and colored by Tamra Bonvillain, it includes a number of familiar, welcome elements, all deftly executed.
Chief among them is the notion that the Leaguers have lives outside this book. At the risk of being redundant, the point of an all-star team is the interaction of characters who can each carry their own features. Sure, you can craft a perfectly entertaining adventure by dropping a handful of heroes into a standalone story, but the best League runs have incorporated larger DC continuity to one degree or another. (Somewhat ironically, the Bendis Era begins just as DC has decided to have free-range continuity.)
The award-winning writer joins artist Mikel Janín on the title.
DC Comics has recruited Mariko Tamaki for one of their key flagship titles. The writer of This One Summer and Laura Dean keeps Breaking Up With Me will begin writing Wonder Woman with issue #759 in June.
“Writing for comics is pretty much a dream job, full stop,” Tamaki said. “It’s pretty fricking cool. Wonder Woman was the hero I grew up with, she was my little-kid-living-room-cosplay. I have always wanted a golden lasso and an invisible jet, and I feel like now, writing Wonder Woman, I’m one step closer.”
The 80-page issue will kick off a new storyline, ‘The Flash Age,’ in addition to featuring stories by Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns and more.
As revealed in their solicitations for February 2020, DC Comics has announced the line-up for next year’s Flash #750, a prestige format issue with contributions by Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns, Bryan Hitch, Francis Manapul, David Marquez, Riley Rossmo and more, in addition to series writer Joshua Williamson.
“The Flash is one of my favorite DC characters,” said Williamson in the press release, “so it’s an honor to work on The Flash #750 with so many returning Flash legends! It’s a showcase of awesome talent, each telling a story that celebrates what we love about the Flash and the Flash family. And what a perfect place to kick off our next epic storyline ‘The Flash Age!’ 2020 is going to be a big year for The Flash. It all starts in this massive issue.”
I have a love-hate relationship with the comic works of Brian Michael Bendis. Wait, that’s too strong a sentiment; I have a like-meh relationship with his comics.
On one hand, Bendis is a well-respected, intelligent author who has reformed a lot of how comics are being written these days, done a few landmark runs with Marvel characters and has pretty much set the tone for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the other hand, reading his books gets redundant, feels like you are going nowhere and doing nothing, and is choc-a-bloc with blithe dialogue that feels less like impassioned superhero speech than something overheard by a Starbucks barista. They can be a slog to get through at times, because they rarely feel like there’s going to be a payoff at the end of the storyline. Jonathan Hickman can be a similar slog, but at least by the end of the Fantastic Four run, for example, you’ve seen characters grow, change and come out the other side as new people. Bendis just feels like he puts the pieces back too carefully or breaks them irrevocably.