Category Archives: J. Michael Stracynski

Review: Sidekick #1

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Guest Review by Brittany DeSalvo

Joe’s Comics’ new debut “Sidekick” through their partnership with Image Comics is written by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Tom Mandrake and HiFi.

This first issue leaves a little to be desired, partially due to the length, but there is a lot of promise for what’s to come. First impressions had me thinking that, it’s a comic: show, don’t tell. Starting with lines like “We’ve beaten the Sonic Master, but his sound bomb is still active and there’s no way to defuse it before it goes off in two minutes! His threat is going to come true: He’s going to destroy the city and there’s nothing we can do to stop him!” is like force-feeding the audience the plot. Luckily, the force-feeding of back story didn’t last long.

The main character of the story, Flyboy (aka Barry), who is the young sidekick of hero The Red Cowl, debuts by breaking out of the sidekick cocoon and rising beyond his normal limits by saving Sol City when the actual hero had admitted defeat. That one shining moment of glory does not define him, though, and he is about as far from perfect as a crime fighter can get. So far, he’s really not that likable of a character. Then again, he’s not supposed to be. The fallen Flyboy is gritty, he’s depressed, and he’s pathetic, but he’s relatable. Sidekicks have fallen victim to stress and depression before, but it looks like Flyboy is going to take falling from grace to a whole new level. From putting up ultimately unsuccessful campaigns on “Dreamstarter” to raise funds to fight crime for Sol City to staging robberies to look like he’s saved the day, Barry’s attempts to take control of his life become more and more futile.

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By the end of issue #1, it seems as though he’s already hit rock bottom, but sounds as though he has a lot farther to fall. Just how far will his spiral take him, and where’s he going to end up? How will this spiral and ultimate turn towards evil differ from that of other more recognizable comic book characters who have been burned by the citizens they want to protect and ended up on the dark side because of it? Questions readers will genuinely want to know the answers to after reading this tantalizing introduction to Straczynski’s new story.

‘Joe’s Counter,’ the blurb at the end from the author, is a nice touch. Straczynski says, “…every month for the next twelve issues we are going to drive Flyboy deeper into madness and mayhem, darkness and depravity. We’re going to do to him all the things mainstream comic writers stuck with sidekicks are told never to do to them. It’s going to be wonderful. Also deeply disturbed.” His writing in this portion of the comic is superb; it’s intriguing and it leaves the audience wanting more. The idea is good, the desire to turn it into a successful story is there, we’ll just have to wait and see whether the folks at Joe’s Comics can pull it off and make this a unique comic truly worth reading.

“Sidekick #1” is available August 7. Visit our friends at Image Comics.

About the Author: Brittany DeSalvo is a freelance writer and editor for the start-up nerd site TheNerdyBomb. Her author page is accessible at http://thenerdybomb.com/author/brittany-desalvo/.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Image Comics, J. Michael Stracynski, Superheroes

Review: Wonder Woman #600

The prologue to the JMS run of Wonder Woman in Issue 600 shows a spirit and edge that is missing in the JMS Superman prologue from last week’s Superman, #700. Things may pick up for Supes but, for now, WW is in the lead.

I wanted to see these two runs as a sort of package deal and I was a little suspicious about the whole JMS deal, I will admit. But, I have to say, you never really know until you read it yourself and, so far, the new WW run has a kick to it.

I said earlier today that I suspected that JMS would turn in something that only helped to boost the title but would fall short otherwise. Now, I’m open to seeing more. I would even go as far as to say that this little prologue manages to bridge the gap between the Simone vibe and the JMS vibe. I really like the exchange between the oracle and WW and the oracle repeatedly asking for a stick of gum. That’s pretty cool.

So, you can see here WW in her new threads in action and it doesn’t look too bad. I well imagine that this is a most temporary look and will go away soon enough, at least by the time we’re ready for the next WW run, post-JMS. Anyway, no hard feelings to JMS. I am open and look forward to more WW. And I’ll keep an open mind to the Superman run as well. I guess I just need to see more.

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Filed under DC Comics, J. Michael Stracynski, JMS, Superman, Wonder Woman

The JMS runs of Superman and Wonder Woman

One Hundred Years Of Blood Is Not Something We’ll Forget Overnight!
— Babylon 5

I don’t have any fond memories of the cult TV series, “Babylon 5,” because I never watched it. And I don’t think I ever will. Doing a quick search, I got a sense that this show was loved by fans. And I got this quote from the show that I use here for a little tongue-in-cheek taste of what may lie ahead for the JMS runs of Superman and Wonder Woman. So,the writer, J. Michael Straczynski, also known simply as JMS, is best known for creating this show. Apparently, this show is a pretty big deal and has hardcore fans. That said, I imagine that JMS is considered to have something of a Midas touch. Okay, so maybe JMS can spin a good tale that should appeal to a certain demographic. And there is the problem: JMS should appeal to a certain demographic.

When does marketing trump quality storytelling? You know, I’m just saying. I don’t have anything against JMS. He’s probably a nice guy and I’m sure his writing is just fine for some light entertainment of a certain kind. But I’m getting the feeling here that the JMS runs of Superman and Wonder Woman are going to be more in the spirit of promotion than captivating fiction. That’s never really a good road to go down, is it? No, not really. Can anyone say that Gail Simone was positioning Wonder Woman for the sake of sales instead of genuinely exploring the character? When you have a writer invested in the character and the story you always win in the end. I’m just saying.

Okay, now I realize I can be digging my own grave with my little rant here. I am seeing JMS as a big name that will promote a title in a big way but not necessarily in a particularly creative way. That is my theme here. But I would not mind finding out that there is more than meets the eye. We shall see. There is a JMS work that I am curious about: Midnight Nation, published from 2000 to 2002 by Top Cow. So, I will get back to you on that.

The JMS runs of Superman and Wonder Woman are now under way with Wonder Woman #600 coming out today with a prologue to the arc entitled, “Couture Shock” and a prologue that appeared last week in Superman #700. For Superman, JMS has Superman on a soul searching walk across America entitled, “Grounded.” For Wonder Woman, JMS has Diana’s past altered by some sinister forces. The big deal here is that Wonder Woman’s look has been totally revamped.

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Filed under J. Michael Stracynski, JMS, Superman, Wonder Woman