Sunday, June 14, 2009

Take a tour around comics fandom in 2009 and I think you'll find what we've known for the best part of the decade -- DC comics are on top!

For one reason or another, sales haven't always been kind to DC, but over the past few years they've established themselves as industry leaders in the expanses of creativity. This praise shouldn't be restricted to the superhero comics we review, but also the various genres tackled under imprint banners, and also their efforts in cross-media promotion. DC continue to up their stock in cinema with the well received adaptation of Watchmen, while the soon-to-be-released Batman: Arkham Asylum is set to blaze a trail for the historically maligned company, in video games. Animation continues to be DC's domain.

In the superhero comics, bold creative decisions and an investment in talent like Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison has paid dividends. The work of these men, and many others, has seen DC to a creative reneissance that began at the beginning of the decade, and has continued in force. I would find it difficult to imagine any mid-year report card leaning away from DC's triumphs, which have been in too great a number to be adequately reflected in our reviews here on the Infinite Wars.

In 2009, it seems as if DC have more "events" than they can manage, starting the season with the return of Barry Allen in Flash: Rebirth, which has struggled to lead the pack before the revamp of Batman: Reborn, and the long running Green Lantern spin-off with it's own prelude, the hotly anticipated Summer blockbuster -- Blackest Night.

With each major storyline DC have shown great initiative in pushing the boundaries of expectation, whilst embracing their characters in ways that have become characteristic of the long running company. Event books are only part of an impressive movement that's spread through a good many of their titles, including the upcoming experimental newsprint weekly series, Wednesday Comics! It's a creative imagination and intelligent organization that's simply been unrivalled by their major competition at the House of Ideas.

The following five issues are just a small sample of cover-dated 2009 issues that have been featured in the Infinite Wars this year. You can find more titles by navigating through tag links, or by scowering the famous Secret Archives. We've got plenty more big action coming in our posts dated 2009, including issues from the eagerly anticipated events discussed!

Detective Comics #850 (January 2009)
"The Demon in the Mirror" Dini/Nguyen

Thomas Elliot was once the childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, but as they grew apart into adulthood, a parent's constant references to the budding young billionaire fostered a deep resentment in Elliot. Tethered to an ailing mother who survived the severed brakes that killed his father; Elliot's dark urges only grew deeper as she held him to ransom with an inheretence and her ill condition, never passing an opportunity to belitte or berate.

After smothering his mother in a fit of rage, Elliot finally attained the level of freedom he had envied Bruce Wayne for. With his family fortune, Elliot travelled the world, studying various disciplines, before finally fulfilling his dream of practising medicine. A revered surgeon, it was an easy manipulation to return to Bruce Wayne's life when he orchestrated a mortal fall for the Batman, who had unwittingly been subjected to months of hypnotic suggestion.

Dedicated to his vendetta, Thomas Elliot faked his death to remain in Gotham, forever transformed as the villainous underworld figure, Hush. Enduring through battles with other prominent rogues, such as Joker and Poison Ivy, Hush remains a lurking threat present in the shadows of Gotham City and the darkness of Batman's subconscious. At least, he was, until returning to strike at his nemesis once more, this time with the intent to seize Batman's fortune. Once again relying upon a grand orchestration to strike at the Dark Knight from all sides, Hush removes Selina Kyle's heart, forcing Batman to recruit Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite in a race to save her life, while Elliot himself enters the sanctum of Wayne Manor under the guise of Bruce Wayne himself. His gambit brings him to the threshold of victory, but the Batman is not so easily manipulated...

Wonder Woman #29 (April 2009)
"A Changed World" Simone/Lopresti

With the machinations of the evil New Gods thwarted, the deities of Mount Olympus return from capture to find their ethereal home tarnished by dark ruin. Recognising their increasing obsolescence, Zeus uses his remaining powers to create radical change in the world. After retiring the Amazons, he creates a new army of legends to champion peace in the world of man, the Gargareans.

Wonder Woman is far from ready to concede her position, however. While Zeus rallys against WW's newest godly sponsor; Kane Milohai; the warrior princess herself battles against a horrific new villain created by the evil masterminds of a newly reformed Society. Genocide is a creature created by the brilliant madmen of a newly reformed Society who, upon gathering the soil of locales marred by humanity's darkest moments, gave birth to Wonder Woman's ultimate evil counterpart -- a mythic monster lusting for destruction.

Capable of utilizing the golden lasso of truth as part of a destructive psychic weapon, Genocide lays waste to the heroine and her allies at the Department of Metahuman Affairs. Green Lantern (John Stewart), Donna Troy, and others, are able to help minimize the destruction of the attack, but when Wonder Woman redirects her focus from a disturbed Troia, to a rescue effort, she finds lurking beneath the rubble the mastermind behind her troubles -- Cheetah!

Green Lantern Corps #34 (May 2009)
"Emerald Eclipse" Tomasi/Gleason

With the resurrection of the fallen Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, a new era began for the intergalactic Corps. Absolved of his crimes by the reveal of a fear mongering entity called Parallax, Jordan resumed his role as champion of willpower, once again wielding the green ring.

Alongside the Corps' return came the arrival of Sinestro from obscurity. As vengeful as ever, the fallen Lantern once again sought to bedevil his nemesis with the yellow ring he obtained during his exile in the anti-matter universe of Qward. However, his latest defeat would lead Sinestro to recruit others to his cause, resulting in the creation of a yellow fear-wielding Corps that was the Green's opposite -- the Sinestro Corps!

Programmed to seek fitting candidates who inspire fear in each sector, the yellow rings spread across the galaxy just as the green had. The character of those who would deserve position amongst the Sinestro Corps is very different, however. The vile and sinister congregate to Sinestro's cause, but the one called Mongul seeks only personal gain from the ring and it's limitless power. With a Qwardian ring obtained from a dying Sinestro Corpsman, he marches against the Sinestro Corps, demanding all follow him, or surrender their lives and rings. One patron refuses his rule, however, and so it is that on the planet Daxam, Arkillo fights!

Flash: Rebirth #1 (June 2009)
"Lightning Strikes Twice" Johns/Van Sciver

Once, he made the supreme sacrifice to save the multiverse from annihilation at the hands of the Anti-Monitor. Barry Allen, the second hero to call himself The Flash, was the fastest man alive. So fast that he actually managed to outrun death itself, to return when the Earth needed him the most during a moment of final crisis!

When the evil New Gods walked the Earth reborn as men, it was the powers of those in tune with the speed force that could undermine the endless reach of Libra's Society and Darkseid, evading their plague of the Anti-Life Equation. Running alongside his predecessor and junior, Jay Garrick and Wally West, the returned Flash was able to hatch a plot to direct death toward Darkseid during a fated confrontation!

With the world restored from the horrors of that day that evil won; Barry Allen finds himself effectively resurrected in a world he had long since left behind. Reunited with his loved ones and friends, Allen takes on a cursed sense of forboding as elements of his past, present, and future reach out to haunt him. With forces conspiring behind the scenes, the Flash must run again to make use of the borrowed time he feels he's living on, even at the cost of alienating his friends.

This man out of time may have escaped death, but when the sinister speed cultist called Savitar uses Barry Allen to piggyback his way out of his prison in the Speed Force, the Flash may yet discover that death is closer than he thinks.

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2 (June 2009)
"Army of One" Tony Daniel

Once upon a time, evil won. Humanity was enslaved by the god of evil, Darkseid, who was reincarnated to walk as man on Earth, a harbinger of the Fifth World. Few could stand against the spread of his Anti-Life Equation, and those that did were gradually whittled away as their own companions became weapons against them. With all hope seemingly lost, one man stood between us and them. Though he conemned himself to a fate worse than death, the Batman pointed a cosmic pistol at Darkseid, and he saved us.

For the people Batman left behind, a smouldering corpse leaves them little option but to believe him dead. For a time they mourn him, but inevitably the absence of a Batman in Gotham City leads only to chaos. Though reluctant to step into a father's mantle, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake are forced to confront the need for a symbol, and their unique suitability for the role.

Complacency allows a third contender for the Batman cowl to emerge on the streets of Gotham. This dark avenger utilizes methods similar to the Batman, but far more brutal than anything even he ever condoned. Armed with twin firearms and an armored cowl, all signs point to the fallen son, Jason Todd, but is there more than meets the eye to this so-called Batman, and who can find out?...

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