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Friday, January 08, 2021 

How can these be the best new comics if they haven't debuted yet?

Entertainment Weekly predictably gushes over new mainstream mishmash that may not have even officially gone to press yet. One of the items cited is a new take on the Eternals:
Who are the Eternals, you ask? Great question! Despite being created by Jack Kirby, the co-creator of nearly every other Marvel superhero, the Eternals are a lot less user-friendly than the Avengers. They've only had a few different comics over the years, so not everyone is as familiar with this race of celestial super-beings and their forever war against the Deviants as, say, the struggle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. But Marvel Comics is ahead of the curve with a newly relaunched series overseen by top talent.

As the writer of comics like Die and The Wicked & the Divine, Kieron Gillen knows quite a bit about eternal battles and making godlike beings relatable to readers. As the artist of Marvel's game-changing 2016 event comic Secret Wars, Esad Ribic knows how to depict epic scale. So with new Marvel movies on the horizon, this Eternals series should be the perfect way to kick off 2021.
I'm not sure why having only a few different series makes the Eternals less user-friendly than the Avengers. What does make them less user-friendly is if the story lacks merit, and is neither self-contained enough without being tied to line-wide crossovers, nor faithful enough to previous continuity prior to the turn of the century. I'd strongly recommend a new reader look for the early Eternals material from 1976, and skip over this new upcoming rendition.

As expected, EW glosses over Gillen's past resume, which includes forcibly retconning Tony Stark away from his biological parents. Which proved Gillen sure knows quite a bit about disrespecting years of hard work by superior writers like Stan Lee, Bob Layton and David Michelinie. That's why you shouldn't take what they say about Ribic's work at face value. The same can be said about their comments on Future State, which comes up next:
What does the future hold for DC Comics? The business version of that question is very much up in the air following the slew of tragic layoffs the publisher underwent last year, but the storytelling version of that question is about to be answered. For the next two months, all DC's flagship titles are going to pause their current story lines in favor of an initiative dubbed Future State, which will show readers what their beloved superheroes are up to in the near and far future. In many cases, this will mean the mantle gets taken up by a younger, fresher (and in several cases, non-white) face.

12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley, who is currently writing The Other History of the DC Universe, now gets to explore its future with a brand-new Batman. We still don't know this character's identity, but we do know some of what he’s up against: a new private group called the Magistrate that has taken over law enforcement in Gotham City, with all masked vigilantes banned as a result. In addition to the new Batman, this book will also bring readers up to date on the future of the Batgirls, the Outsiders, Gotham City Sirens, and Arkham Knights.
How strange they haven't caught on to the news Lucius Fox's son Tim would wear the costume. But look how they hint at their contrived politics, governing how they view the event, and how the publishers mandate it. They won't consider how forced these replacements under the masks have become at this point, as they have for over 15 years now. It's pretty much the same with their take on the Wonder Woman replacement:
What’s next for Wonder Woman? Unlike the new Eternals series mentioned above, which is debuting ahead of a live-action movie, this new Wonder Woman comic is debuting in the wake of the latest Gal Gadot film. But Future State should provide a change of pace, since a brand-new character is being introduced as the next wielder of the golden lasso: Yara Flor. Why does this new Wonder Woman hail from the Amazon rainforest instead of the island of Themyscira, and how can she protect Man's World from the wrath of gods? That’s all for the future.
It hasn't provided any plausible change of pace for years, and considering how artistically bad the sequel film is, this makes it even more laughably moot. They even cite the horror-themed Ice Cream Man:
The writer of Ice Cream Man is starting a new horror anthology comic miniseries. Outside of a double fudge sundae, what could be more enticing than that? W. Maxwell Prince mined terrifying stories from a simple ice cream delivery man, so we're on the edge of our seats wondering what horrific depths he'll be able to plumb with a concept as scary as clowns. Whoever said the Joker had a monopoly on comic book jesters, anyway?
Oh, nobody smart thinks only the Joker cornered the market on murderous clowns, but I for one think the medium's been writing itself into a corner by obsessing over this whole genre, and Batman was just the beginning of this sad descent into a despondent vision. One the Hulk's not immortal to, despite the title of his latest volume:
It's all been leading to this — well, some of it, anyway. Forty issues in, it's clear that Immortal Hulk is one of those superhero sagas comic fans will be talking about for a long time. Writer Al Ewing, artist Joe Bennett, and their other collaborators have forged a grand synthesis of the Hulk's entire history and mythology. Almost every character Bruce Banner has ever encountered (and every character he's ever been) has showed up so far, with the rest surely yet to come.

But Immortal Hulk has been extremely patient in rolling out the Hulk's signature supervillain. Little by little, we've seen hints of what the Leader has been up to: capturing the alien butterfly from the future warning of the Breaker of the Worlds, pulling off a coup in Hell to take control of the Green Door between life and death, and telepathically manipulating Hulk's close ally Rick Jones. Now we get to see what it was all for in an issue boasting a truly incredible cover from Alex Ross… after which we'll find out what else Ewing and Bennett have in store.
Given how low sales are, one must wonder how many will be talking about it at all? I don't know if the Leader is the signature supercrook they're talking about, but I do know Marvel's long worn out the energy the Hulk once had, all for the sake of more PC insanity, to say nothing of mayhem more jarring than need be. The end of Marvel/DC as we know them now can't come soon enough.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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