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Tag Archive: Paul Levitz


   

Eighty years ago Superman first hit neighborhood newsstands in Issue #1 of Action Comics–an issue that if you kept your copy could pay off your house, car, and retirement.  The cover was dated June 1938, but it was in kids’ hands first on April 18, 1938.  DC Comics is celebrating Superman’s big anniversary this week with a celebratory issue of Action Comics numbered 1000, created by some of DC’s top writers and artists, an anthology of stories just as you’d find in Action Comics’ first 500 issues.  The 1,000 issues is spot-on with the number of Action Comics issues released, but those counting the months since 1938 will come up short:  Action Comics shifted from a monthly to a bi-weekly once upon a time, and you won’t find numbered issues #905-956, which were replaced by 52 issues of the New 52 reboot numbering 1-52.  For American comic book fans, there’s something special about holding this issue in your hands.  It’s no small feat seeing such a truly undisputed iconic character get to this point.

The 80-page giant issue is one not to pass up.  For current fans, it’s a ramp-up to Brian Michael Bendis’s writing run beginning with the complete issue #1001.  For everyone else, it’s a nostalgic trip via variant covers and dozens of classic and modern creators offering up stories about the Man of Steel.  The writers?  Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Paul Levitz, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, and Brian Michael Bendis.  The artists? Dan Jurgens, Pat Gleason, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, John Cassaday, Jim Lee, Norm Rapmund, Butch Guice, Kurt Schaffenberger, Kevin Nowlan, Scott Williams, Hi-Fi Color, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, and Alex Sinclair.  Cover artists include Steve Rude, Michael Cho, Dave Gibbons, Michael Allred, Jim Steranko, Joshua Middleton, Dan Jurgens, Kevin Nowlan, Lee Bermejo, Dave Dorman, George Perez, Neal Adams, Jim Lee (providing the main cover and two variants), Curt Swan, Felipe Massafera, Nicola Scott, Jock, Oliver Coipel, Jason Fabok, Kaare Andrews, Gabrielle Dell’Otto, Artgerm, Tyler Kirkham, Pat Gleason, Francesco Mattina, Ken Haeser, Doug Mahnke, and Tony S. Daniel.  Check out images of all the variant covers below.  Our favorite?  Danielle Dell’Otto’s take on Christopher Reeve at the Fortress of Solitude, and Pat Gleason’s cover, which includes Krypto.

   

Some comic book stores are holding events to celebrate the Man of Steel’s big day.  This Saturday if you’re in the Kansas City area head on over to Elite Comics, where you can pick up copies of Issue #1000 plus a limited exclusive Superman print (shown above) by artist Bryan Fyffe, a nationally-recognized artist whose licensed works include projects for Disney and Star Wars.  Or check out your own neighborhood store.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Spoilers!

James Robinson was able to do with his first issue in Wave 2 of DC Comics’s New 52 what the other DC Justice League creators didn’t do in the initial launch–he created an exciting and interesting play on the DC universe.  And with Paul Levitz they have re-ignited the superhero books when it seemed like the titles across the board were wavering a bit.

Robinson’s Earth 2 takes DC back to its origins up through the 1980s when characters traversed parallel universes before there were all the myriad multiverses in the DCU with series in the 2000s, such as that found in the weekly series titled 52.  Levitz switched up the classic DC title known for Batman and Superman team-ups–World’s Finest, flipping the apostrophe to account for the parallel worlds into the new Worlds’ Finest.

You can’t read one title without the other.  Issue #1 of Worlds’ Finest nudges Earth 2 only a bit because of its focus on a new Huntress and Power Girl, so far missing their own titles in the New 52.  But are they really who they appear to be?  Back to that in a bit.

I love parallel universe stories, ever since reading the battle between the Earth 1 and Earth 2 superheroes in the pages of Justice League of America as a kid.  These two issues brought back all the fun of those earlier stories.

The first book of the parallel DCU is Issue #1 of Earth 2, and you’ve just got to envy Robinson and artist Nicola Scott with what they were allowed to do here–show the death scenes of not one but all of DC’s big three, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.  Scott even folded in her own versions of the supersuits, which are cooler than the earlier New 52 outfits.  But these characters only die on Earth 2 (not our Earth 1) in a battle called the Apokolips War (really, why do they always have to spell it so strangely?) by the leader of some “parademons” under a leader called Steppenwolf (usually with such a unique name you’d have an explanation for it, but neither the band, the novel or the wolf appear to apply here).  Regardless, Steppenwolf kills Wonder Woman first, but not before she has an encounter with the God Mercury, followed by the explosive death of Superman.  Batman sacrifices himself to blow everything to kingdom come, but not before a sign-off with daughter Helena, presumably his daughter with Catwoman, who is fighting the parademons as Robin, Batman’s sidekick.  Supergirl, here Karen Starr from DC’s 1970s, and Helena are part of the explosion and their ongoing story continues in Worlds’ Finest Issue #1.

But Earth 2 continues as we meet the Earth 2‘s Green Lantern (although he doesn’t have that title yet) Alan Scott.  And the issue ends as the God Mercury shows up to meet 21-year-old self-described screw-up Jay Garrick.  The name for a classic Flash in the DCU, no doubt we can see where Issue #2 will go with this character.  The how of showing Justice Society leaders Green Lantern and Flash getting together is well worth looking forward to.

Kudos to DC Comics for putting James Robinson on this title–his Justice League-Cry for Justice, although criticized by some, is one of the best reads from DC in years of limited “Crisis” series featuring the JLA.  Robinson can handle the intertwining story elements of something as complex as merging two Earths.

In Worlds’ Finest Issue #1, writer Paul Levitz and artist George Perez pick up the Earth 2 story by following the adventures of Robin and Supergirl as they decide to change their personas on Earth 1 into Huntress and Powergirl.  The big question is:  What happened to Kara Zor-L, Supergirl of Earth 1 and Helena Bertinelli, Huntress of Earth 1?  We know Supergirl is in her own Earth 1 series and Huntress recently finished up a trip to Italy in her own limited series.  Will we get to see a Supergirl vs Power Girl battle as we’ve seen in the past?  And Worlds’ Finest starts with the mention of Earth 1 Helena Bertinelli’s death.  But how?

Worlds’ Finest has great banter and chemistry between Karen and Helena, like we saw in the Gail Simone/Nicola Scott era of Birds of Prey.  Here this Worlds’ Finest issue is what I’d hoped for with the New 52 reboot of Birds of Prey.  You could easily see Batgirl of the New 52 joining up with these two superheroines at some point.  Helena fills the shoes as the Batman clone Huntress very well here–Huntress is at her best when she is written as Batman with a different hairdo and all the detective skill.  Karen’s Power Girl is outgoing and fun. not the typical spacey, serious and ethereal Supergirl.  But fans of her revealing Power Girl suit note that that outfit is long gone, replaced with a more updated supersuit.

I was pleasantly surprised with these first two issues of the New 52 second wave.  The re-hashed origin story that caused me to stop buying Justice League after the first few issues was disappointing, so it is nice to have a similar topic approached in such a refreshing and fun way.  Anxiously awaiting the second issues next month!

Review by C.J. Bunce

One book that was released this month to no real fanfare was a new DC Comics title that is not part of the new 52 renumbered series, Huntress, written by Paul Levitz with art by Marcus To.

Huntress, whose alias is Helena Bertinelli (no relation to Valerie, we expect), is returning to Italy from Gotham City to do a little investigative clean-up work in great Dark Knight Detective style.  In sweeping a warehouse district she happens on another shady business, human trafficking of little girls, and so she adds this to her list of odd jobs.  “Wonder how many corpses I’ll leave behind on this trip?” she asks herself.

This is a nice single story issue, with a beautiful drawn style for Huntress both in and out of costume.  Ideally Birds of Prey would still feature Huntress as part of the team, but the younger look of the new Birds must not have had room for this great character.  A better team-up would have a more classic Black Canary with Huntress and maybe even Zatanna, but with no more Oracle aka Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl, I guess that is not in the cards.  Anyway, there’s some tight writing here and of all the actual New 52 titles that were more fluff and action, this book packs some great action scenes and Huntress gets ample opportunity to develop her determined and almost bitter attitude and kick a little butt on the side.

Unfortunately Huntress is slated as a six-issue mini-series only. DC Comics would be wise instead to kick some of the new DC titles that have fizzled to the curb and insert the Levitz/To duo as a regular title.