Markley’s Fevered Brain: New Age of Heroes?

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

Dark Nights: Metal

Dark Nights: Metal


DC recently wrapped up their six part Batman epic (which was really a JLA story) called Dark Nights: Metal (along with a ton of tie in books) where they once again expanded the DC Universe revealing a new dimension where there are evil versions of the Justice League, and Batman in particular, and it introduced a number of new characters and set up the return of Hawkman. I am not going to review Metal itself, which I found to be overly complicated and only the final issue made sense, and then it was the last half of issue six, but the series did redefine what the DC Universe is and set up a number of changes that will cause repercussions for years to come. All of that aside, spinning out of this story were number of new characters and books that DC is billing as “The New Age of Heroes” and these are the books I am going to review today. When these titles were announced, they had some of DC’s top talent associated with them. Then DC said the creators will stay for at least three issues (really?), and sadly, some of the creators are not going to make three issues. In spite of this, for the most part I have really enjoyed these books and I would recommend the line, with a few minor complaints. To their credit, DC did launch this line with no variant covers (bravo), but they did have a gimmick on each first issue where the front cover was folded so that the top and bottom would unfold and to make the covers three times the size of a traditional cover. Since there was not another cover available that did not fold out, I am not considering this a variant. A gimmick? Yes.

Damage #3

Damage #3


First off we have Damage, drawn by Tony Daniel and written by Robert Venditti. This has nothing to do with the character of the same name from the 1990s. Nor is it DC’s version of the Hulk, which I have been told it is by a number of people who have bought and read the book thought it was. Now I can see the comparisons to the Hulk. A young man, Ethan “Elvis” Avery, becomes a powerful hulking monster an hour each day named Damage who goes out and causes destruction as far as the eye can see. The problem is Ethan was turned into this monster by the US Government looking for a newer, and cheaper, weapon. So of course the government is now hunting down this monster they created so they can try and focus him for their purposes and to help the average person. I enjoy this book. It is a simple concept with nice action filled art. The early issues have been filled with guest-stars such as Wonder Woman and the Suicide Squad. This is your basic action filled comic that is just fun to read. Sadly, by issue four Tony Daniel is already off the art (to return at a later date?) and is replaced by the also talented Cary Nord.

Immortal Men #1

Immortal Men #1


Immortal Men is drawn by Jim Lee and Scott Williams and written James Tynion IV (and others). To me this has been the biggest disappointment of all of these books so far. The story is dry and not particularly interesting or exciting. The art is what you would expect from Jim; pretty and filled with full page spreads. Plus, he didn’t draw the entire issue. The premise of this book is there has been a secret team of heroes that have been fighting to save the DC Universe since the beginning of time, and only now are these stories coming to light. I have only read the first issue so far but it did not excite me or make me want to read more, although I will keep reading it to see if it gets better.

Sideways #1

Sideways #1


Sideways is drawn by Kenneth Rocafort and written by Dan DiDio and Justin Jordan. This book might be the most fun of all of these new titles. To me it reads like a 1960s Marvel, which is a good thing. The premise of the book is high schooler Derek James accidently falls though a dimensional riff (which was part of the whole Metal saga) and because of this, he can now jump between dimensions at will. So he decides to become a superhero and use his powers for good. What I like about this book is there is a fair amount of humor as he is learning to use his powers, his interaction with his family, and all of the normal teen issues. As I mentioned before, it reminds me a lot of early Spider-Man (and later Nova, etc.) with a nice mix of a young hero learning on the job how to be a hero mixed with teen drama. It is a fun book so far and the creative team have made it through three issues!

Silencer #1

Silencer #1


Silencer is drawn by John Romita Jr. and written by Dan Abnett. I like this book. It reads at a quick pace and is well done and the story is intriguing. But I do have issues with the plot, which does not take away from my enjoyment, but does leave me puzzled at times. The story is about Honor Guest, who is the world’s deadliest assassin and has been for decades. She is so good that no one knows she exists. For her whole career she was the chief assassin for Leviathan Group. A pet peeve, who are these guys? If they have been having people killed for decades wouldn’t they have popped up before in the DCU before this? Anyway, Honor has retired from the killing game and has a nice normal life with a husband and children and house, etc. until her old life comes back to haunt her in the form of her old boss, Talia Al Ghul. While this book reminds me a lot of other books that preceded it with similar strong female leads, like Jennifer Blood and Lady Killer, I am interested enough to keep reading this one for the foreseeable future.

The Terrifics #1

The Terrifics #1


The Terrifics is just as the title says, terrific. It is written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Ivan Reis. An accident draws together this odd mix of heroes and launches them on an adventure that takes place all around the DCU and the multiverse. The team consists of Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho, Plastic Man, and Phantom Girl. While this book is all action, it is peppered with humor with Plastic Man standing out as the most entertaining character. I think this is largely due to Lemire writing Plastic Man as his creator Jack Cole did, that is a serious character that is hysterically funny without intending to be. To me this is the best DC group book as it is a wonderful mix of action, adventure, humor and characterization. It is a joy to read and it makes you smile while doing so. I will temper my enthusiasm for the book by mentioning they land up confronting Tom Strong from the America’s Best Comics line, which may turn out to a great thing or may turn this book to my most hated. (I say this because part of the charm of the ABC line of books was it was a self contained universe, and I am not sure introducing them as part of the DCU is a good thing. Hopefully I am wrong.) In spite of this reservation, I would highly recommend this one!

As you can see, DC’s newest attempt to launch/expand their line of books is a mixed bag. While all of them are good, and the Terrifics is exceptional, I was only disappointed with one of these new titles. There are more to come down road including a new take on the Challengers of the Unknown (just do the original concept and team!) and a new take on Unexpected, as well as others. I am hopeful they will also be as good as these. Overall I find I am enjoying most of the “new heroes” more than the traditional DC titles. So I say good job. I look forward to where these titles go. My only complaint about these stories are they are all multipart sagas that are obviously designed to be collected into a trade collection. As I say over and over, there is nothing wrong with, and it would help to do, stories that are one and done. Trades are good but not every comic story has to be written with the trade in mind. Of course, all of these books will issued into trade collections in the fall.

As always, I welcome your feedback. I know some of you have been reading these books, so what do you think? Are you enjoying them? I would like to know and I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. Everything I have written here are my thoughts and opinions and in no way reflects what any other members of the Westfield staff think. Honest. As always…

Thank you.

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  1. Gary Frazier Says:

    Sideways is definitely reminiscent of a certain young webslinger we all know. What gives it a boost is Roccafort’s spectacular artwork! Same goes for The Terrifics. Who ever knew a book with Plastic Man could be so cool? Great art in Damage but the character is too Hulkish for me. I passed on Silencer…it just didn’t entice me to pick it up.