The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 94 – Fantasy Boy

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, our fortnightly pop culture news and reviews podcast!

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Big News

This week we chat about the terrible idea that is Confederate, the HBO hack and the leak of Game of Thrones spoilers, and a load of our favourite looking things from San Diego Comic Con, including the new trailers for Thor RagnarokReady Player OneStranger Things Season 2The DefendersWestworld Season 2Justice League, Captain Marvel news, and announcements like Wonder Woman 2 and Flashpoint

 

Now Playing – Reading/Watching/Playing

Adam Death’s End by Cixin Liu/The Handmaid’s Tale on Amazon/Resident Evil 7 Biohazard on PS4
IanThe Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu//The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch

Check out any of those through those Amazon links and we get a kick back! Or you can go through here.

You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.Fancy supporting our site? Head on over to our Paypal donation page! It’s completely optional, set your own price! Even £1 helps us with hosting costs and we’d really appreciate it! Cheers!

Comic Review – DC Universe Rebirth (DC Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

DC Rebirth has finally started. After months of vagueness, speculation and secrecy, spoilers for the one shot DC Universe Rebirth went online this week before the issue hit the stands. Regardless, I somehow managed to avoid these spoilers despite existing on the internet (no mean feat these days), and as someone whose pull list of DC Comics has whittled down to two books as of late, I was eager to see what was in store for this relaunch/reboot/totallynotareboot/shot in the arm from DC. I’m going to give it a quick review, trying to avoid spoilers where I can while still commenting on the reveals contained in the issue.

Rebirth was written by Geoff Johns, the long time Justice League writer responsible for ‘rebirthing’ both The Flash and Green Lantern in the past, to great success.  Joining him on the book are several artists: Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Phil Jimenez, Brad Anderson, Jason Wright, Joe Prado, Matt Santorelli, Hi-Fi and Gabe Eltaeb, with letters from Nick J Napolitano.

Rebirth cover

Cover by Gary Frank & Brad Anderson

Five years ago, following what transpired in the Flashpoint event when Barry Allen attempted to save his mother’s life and had to deal with the consequences of meddling with the time line, the DC Universe was changed. This resulted in a modern DC Universe referred to as ‘The New 52’ until recently, despite the number of books no longer being the 52 that launched when this reboot first happened. The time frame of the superhero universe as we knew it had been shrunk to 5 years, legacies were lost, relationships and friendships were weakened and characters were forgotten. This isn’t a unique criticism from me, rather it forms the backbone of Rebirth, and the resurgence of all of this seems to be what will occupy the DC Universe for the foreseeable future.

The damage done to the timeline wasn’t caused by the Flash’s jaunt into the past to save his mother it seems. Instead it was a mysterious figure from outside of time that interfered when everything was being put back together. A long lost character, aware of the damage done, struggles to return to the world and to contact those he once knew, who have all since forgotten him. If he can’t make it though, he’ll at least try to get a message through that the world is wrong and in danger, even if it kills him. Meanwhile, throughout the issue the identity of the culprit who put the universe back together wrong is slowly teased, until it is made clear by the end. More on that in a bit.

Throughout Rebirth there is a definite feel of making amends and of course-correcting. Adventure, fun and romance are all injected into the universe, along with touching base with characters and concepts that have been missing over the past 5 years. But rather than totally erasing the New 52 universe and acting like the old reality never left, DC is trying to have its cake and eat it too by melding the two together. There is a risk of trying to serve too many masters here, and they could wind up not satisfying anyone, but DC clearly feels like the risk is worth it.

As for the gamble? We’ll see if it pays off. Rebirth is at its heart, a very enjoyable and lengthy comic. There are emotional beats that absolutely land. Of the two big reveals? The first absolutely worked for me and paid off in a big way later. As for the big twist at the end? Not so much. Trying my best to avoid spoilers in case you too have managed to dodge them up until now. The person behind the curtain as it were (or people in a way) involves melding another comics property into continuity that as yet is unconnected with the DC Universe. And honestly? I don’t think works. I don’t think every story needs to be a part of the universe (or multiverse) and while it serves here as a convenient explanation for the world we now have, in my opinion it severely undercuts the impact of that other story and world from which these characters have been taken. Ultimately though, if the stories to come are interesting it doesn’t really matter.

But enough of that. Let’s talk about the art. In the past, especially when dealing with events, DC has drawn in multiple artists into a single book in a manner that feels jarring. From page to page, the flow of art has suffered from inconsistent and often nonsensical changes between pencils and sometimes colours too. Rebirth avoids this by having discrete chapters completely drawn by a single art team, allowing for a compartmentalised yet complete flow. There is a kinetic and vibrant feel throughout the book that benefits from being framed around the particular narrator of Rebirth. This vibrancy is key to the overall tonal shift of bringing a sense of wonder and adventure back into the book, where big and fun superhero art is pushed to the forefront. And the colour palette across the chapters is consistently bright, adding to the sense of optimism as things move forward.

Rebirth splash

Art from Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Hi-Fi

As a single issue, I really enjoyed DC Universe Rebirth. It looked great, and it seems to be forcing, however haphazardly, legacy and fun back into the DC Comics universe. I may not be hugely keen on the mechanisms they are using, but I am fascinated to see the effect that Rebirth will have on the line. As such, I’m not going to give the issue a score as in this situation I don’t think it would be conducive to the overall discussion about the comic and Rebirth at large. I am interested to hear your thoughts on the issue and what you hope will come out of Rebirth, so please comment on the article or get in touch via twitter @lost_lighthouse or @spacecowboyface to let us know what you thought. Kit and I plan on checking out the majority of the new series in the wake of Rebirth, so watch this space for what we think of a lot of the new #1s over the coming months.

Adam

Comic Review – Convergence #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week saw the start of DC’s ‘Convergence’ event, a collection of several tie-ins or mini-series taking place around a main 8-issue story. The event has been touted all over the internet as effectively a stop-gap series taking place while DC Comics moved their head offices from New York to Burbank in California, with regular comics pausing mid-story until June.  Some of the main titles will continue, some will not, and a few new books will start up too. Convergence #1 was written by Jeff King and Scott Lobdell, with pencils by Carlos Pagulayan, inks from Jason Paz, colours by Aspen MLT’s John Starr and Peter Steigerwald, with lettering from Travis Lanham.

Convergence opens in an alternate Gotham City, looking like the Injustice: Gods Among Us Gotham, as the surviving heroes face down a newly released Superman, the despotic madman who took control of the whole planet. As they try to get him to see reason, the city tears itself apart, erupting into a volcano that claims Batman, Harley Quinn, Flash and Cyborg, while Superman tries to fly away – until the earth forms a giant hand that crushes him. As the city falls, a voice pronounces it a failed experiment.

Above a desert wasteland, Earth 2 versions of Batman (Dr. Thomas Wayne), Dick Grayson (a journalist), The Flash  (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott, magic GL), Yolanda Montez (the Red Avatar of Earth) and Superman (Val-Zod) all appear ripped from their final stand against Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips. Their Earth was moments from destruction, and yet they now find themselves on a strange planet. Metal constructs turn up and try to contain the heroes in a dome, before Telos, a new antagonist appears and asks why they have not appeared with a city. After incapacitating everyone, he tells them that he is working for his master, Brainiac, and has been collecting cities from various realities on the exact moment that they were on the brink of destruction, containing them in domes on this planet. Telos is the planet, they are one in the same. But Telos has now decided that the inhabitants of all the cities must now fight, competing until only one is left standing.  In his transmission to all the cities, he references Flashpoint, Infinite Crisis, Zero Hour and Kingdom Come, amongst whatever other Elseworlds realities and continuities that have cities on Telos. The Convergence will result in one world being returned to the universe.

Full disclosure: I did not read the whole of the Earth 2: World’s End weekly series that finished last week, or the monthly Earth 2 series, and it looks like at least the end of the weekly series may have led straight into this. It doesn’t seem completely necessary for the story, and I doubt that it would make the Convergence event any clearer. The #0 issue that came out last week may help to understand who Telos is, but not really why he is doing this. In that issue, Superman (from the current DCU) found his way to Telos after his fight with Brainiac during the Doomed storyline. That issue seemed to indicate that the events of Convergence would have a wider effect on the DC universe, but issue #1 doesn’t seem to indicate what that would be. King and Lobdell write well here in this first issue, with the character dialogue being solid and while Telos drones on and on, it seems like it would be fitting for a living planet who has gone a little bit off the rails. The art from Pagulayan and Paz is very decent superhero fare, with some nice looking action that is brightened by the colour work of Starr and Steigerwald (especially compared to the darker pallets of the normal ‘New 52’ DC Universe). The web of reaction shots of the different worlds behind Telos as a screen looks pretty crazy and interesting too.

Convergence #1 works fine as a set up issue, but I’m not sure how relevant or interesting the actual event looks at this point. Decent art and writing make this a worthwhile read, but if you’re not particularly invested in the DCU you may not care that much, and even if you are and want to see how it will shake up the status quo at this point I can’t really see how it will. The huge number of tie-in series is daunting, and potentially ruinous to the wallet, but may provide access to areas of DC history that many may be missing and want to catch up with. My experience with tie ins of this nature is that they are often a bit hit or miss, or aren’t at all necessary to the story (which is probably a good thing), so if you are thinking of picking any up just go for your favourite creators and characters over trying to complete the story (I’ll be grabbing Nightwing/Oracle by Gail Simone personally). If you want to check out Convergence, pick it up from your LCS or digitally.

Score: 6.5 Domed Cities out of 10