For the last five months or so, Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers-focused mega-event Infinity has been the talk of the Marvel Comics Universe. This week it comes to an end as the Avengers fight Thanos and his Black Order, and the winner takes the Earth. Get ready, and meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Infinity #6 and New Avengers #12.
Justice League is undoubtedly the flagship comic book title for DC Comics.
Sure, there’s the big guns of the monthly Batman and Action Comics – and, I suppose, the publishing company’s namesake title, Detective Comics, but in the post New 52 world (two years on and still ticking away), Justice League is where all the company-spanning, world-shattering storylines originate from.
The long awaited “Trinity War” tale just wrapped up last month, which directly lead into the current Forever Evil storyline, mini-series, and September’s plethora of under-allocated 3-D covers. Did you get yours, by the way?
Still, amongst all the large headlines and senses-shattering cover page verbiage, simply running as a back-up feature in the pages of the monthly Justice League, it was the story of Shazam! that was the real draw for the flagship title.
Ever since DC Comics implemented their “New 52” initiative wherein they rebooted all of their monthly titles as new first issues, nearly two years ago (God, “New” is not so new anymore is it?), a select group of hard-core fans have patiently been waiting for only one thing:
The return of the DC Comics Fourth World.
It seems that the Fourth World has been teased, periodically, within the pages of the Wonder Woman title. But today, those teases triumphantly end. Today, the Fourth World is finally in the here and the now, an integral part of the new and ongoing Wonder Woman mythos and part and parcel with DC’s (somewhat) “New 52”!
But what is the Fourth World, you ask?
Oh, it’s something special. Something with lots of history…
Oh, it’s definitely the summer! It’s the time of year for the guilty pleasure: when the big two comic book publishers, Marvel Comics and DC Comics, flood the market with their various summer tent-pole series’. Man, didn’t AvX just finish? No? I’m thinking of Age of Ultron and all of its inherent spin-off comic book one-shots and new monthly titles then. Just when you’re getting fatigued from all of that, we have the upcoming Infinity series (which I’m eagerly anticipating).
But what, exactly, has DC Comics been up to in the two years since they proclaimed the New 52? They haven’t had a summer tent-pole yet, but all that changes today.
Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages! Today, your guilty summer pleasure shall be aroused! Today brings a brand new tent-pole comic book series to the offing.
Today begins a war – a full two years in the making!
You couldn’t escape it the past month, could you? Like gravity, you couldn’t help but allow it to influence your life, be it in newspaper reviews, bus shelter advertisements, television commercials, internet appraisals, packaged toys on a Walmart shelf, or the ubiquitous movie theatre posters.
Man of Steel, the movie, was everywhere. And everyone had an opinion on it.
For some, it might have been enough promotion to drive them off-planet. Others soaked it up like bright rays of light from our yellow sun. And, like the promotion, the movie itself polarized an audience into two distinct camps: those that really enjoyed it and those that downright hated it.
One common thread that both parties shared, however, was that, surprisingly, neither really asked to see it.
In August of 2011, DC Comics made comic book publishing history and ended every title they were releasing, re-launching each new and returning title with a bold “#1” printed on the front cover. Ever since that New 52 initiative, originally named for the number of books being published on a monthly basis, the company has been hinting at a major storyline with ramifications for the earth and all of its superheroes.
Within the pages of the Flashpoint mini-series that gave rise to this monumental change, a mysterious, hooded character named Pandora was instrumental in the fictional representation of the New 52. For eagle-eyes readers, she actually had a cameo in every published new first issue!
This summer, the promise of that major storyline, now nearly two years in the making, is fulfilled. Not only will Ray Fawkes’ writing in Justice League Dark be instrumental to that story, the character of Constantine will also play a pivotal role. In addition, Fawkes will also be writing the monthly adventure of the enigmatic Pandora in her own solo series, beginning this June.
You can read the first part of our conversation regarding Fawkes’ interest in the supernatural and his Constantine series here. In this short second, and final part of our discussion, he talks about the upcoming epic DC Comics Trinity War storyline and the importance of ensuring emotional connections between characters within big crossover stories. He also sheds some light on the mysterious character called Pandora.
After making the game-changer move of ending all of their monthly series in August 2011 and, calling it the “New 52”, re-starting them with brand new first issues, DC Comics continues to evolve. This year, the publishing company has definitely been shining a light on the darker corners of its universe. The mature, sophisticated publishing arm of Vertigo Comics is still undergoing changes as well, with flagship title Hellblazer recently ending it 300-issue run. The main protagonist of that series, the beloved chain-smoking English occultist, John Constantine, has been folded up into the DC universe proper, continuing his supernatural adventures in a new ongoing monthly series called, appropriately enough, Constantine.
Ray Fawkes has worked for both DC Comics and Vertigo Comics along with a host of other publishers including Oni Press, Image Comics, Top Shelf Comics and Marvel Comics. The Eisner, Harvey and Shuster Award nominee is now writing some of his most high-profile work to date at DC Comics, namely Justice League Dark and Constantine as well as having a hand in DC’s upcoming Trinity War summer blockbuster storyline.
JP Fallavollita met with the Toronto-based writer and artist at the 2013 edition of the Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF) and had a chance to speak with him over the phone about his recent writing responsibilities. In the first part of this interview, Fawkes talks about his experiences with fan-favourite character, John Constantine, the history and responsibility of writing him in both a solo series and a group series, and his story plans for the near future.
Last February I talked about the trinity of DC Comics – Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman – and who their true loves should be. This year I’m going to take a different tact. I’ll be talking about those particularly twisted folks who think they should be their true loves. Yeah, baby, that’s right. I’ll be talking Super-Stalkers after the jump.