Comics Wrap Up: DC

(Editor’s Note:  I know that I have the good, bad, and ugly format for review articles.  However, these comics articles are often going to cover several titles and that format might cause the articles to become so long as to be cumbersome to read.  I’ll work the good, the bad, and the ugly into the articles somehow, but they won’t be the focal point.)

The title of this article is a bit misleading.  Unlike Marvel, which has hooked me into buying multiple new books with their Secret Empire event, I’ve only read Batman and Wonder Woman from the DC Rebirth universe.  That may change with the “Metal” event or as I become more adventurous and branch out into other titles.  For now, though, enjoy my first edition of comic Wrap Up for Wonder Woman and Batman.  Only two titles lets me test out some things and figure out what works and doesn’t.

Wonder Woman

Part of the reason that I haven’t gotten into more DC books is that I have been having trouble figuring out starting points for the books that are unfamiliar.  Due to having grown up an unabashed Marvel zombie, most of the DC books are unfamiliar.  I’ve always liked Batman, used that to get into Batman/Superman title of the early or mid 2000s, branched out from that into Superman for a very brief time, and not much else.

From the looks of things, Aquaman 25 appears to be a good starting point, so that might be the next DC title that I start collecting.

The new Wonder Woman movie led me to check out the comic book.  Luckily, the 2nd volume of the trade came out during one of my visits to the store, so I picked it up.  I found it strange that Volume 2 was titled “Year One” because I then had no idea what the story of the first book might be.  Having never read any Wonder Woman before, though, I was thankful for the origin story.

After getting the first volume second, which actually made sense in the context of the two books, I did some research.  I discovered that the writer was intertwining two stories concurrently during a particular story arc.  As an example, the first 12 issues alternate between the year one origin story and another story where Diana is trying to find her way back to Themyscira.  The odd issues tell one story and switched to the other for the even issues.

Because I bought the trades, I haven’t been able to experience how they worked together and if it enhanced the narrative at all.  However, I’m a huge fan of alternative story telling methods.  I recently watched Shimmer Lake and it was told in reverse.  Hopefully, he keeps it up and I will be able to see if and how it affects the flow of the stories.

“The Lies” are leading the “The Truth”, which looks similar to a Buffy the Vampire Slayer storyline, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

As far as the stories, they are of high quality.  Having never read Wonder Woman, I only had the movie to give me any expectations.  But the origin story moved quickly, set the scene and established characters.  The other did the exact opposite and is serving to undermine the entire mythology.  While they are antithetical and you might wonder why he’d immediately work so hard to destroy his creating, the stories oddly fit together.  I see now how weaving them together  heightens the drama and keeps the reader on edge.  It is actually a brilliant strategy.

The Good:  The stories are fantastic.  They are well paced and complement one another and bring together what is an unorthodox story telling style that could have gone very badly.

The Bad:  At least the first 2 arcs that I’ve read will be familiar to Wonder Woman fans.  They might have switched some things up to modernize it a bit, but it is an origin story.

The Ugly:  Infinite Crisis, The New 52, now Rebirth?  Jesus, how many reboots do we need?  At least they seem committed to this one for the long haul.  Here’s hoping.

Batman

Unlike Wonder Woman, Batman has been a part of my life since I watched the old TV series with my father.  I saw several Robins killed.  Witnessed the Batman broken by Bane.  Lived through watching the Tim Burton franchise lose all credibility when it grew “bat nipples”.  Threw out an unenthusiastic “Meh” followed by a slightly less enthusiastic “this is fine” over the announcement and current reign of “Batfleck”.  So, there’s little that they can do with the character that would surprise me.

So, even though I joined Batman around issue 23, I don’t have an incentive to fill in the first two dozen or so issues via trades.  I will continue forward.  If I have some left over some week in my comic budget (not likely), I will grab the trades and see if there’s anything new in the Bat’s history since Rebirth.

Remember when I said that not much could surprise me. Well, more on that in a bit.

As far as the story that I’ve read, I was wrong about there being no surprises.  The first issue that I read involved a team up with Swamp Thing.  While only a one off, it was so well written that it hooked me.  Then, Batman (spoiler alert) proposed to Catwoman.  Yeah, it’s a gimmick.  But, holy crap, what a gimmick!  Plus, the book is so well written with good pacing and dialogue that it doesn’t feel like a gimmick.  Currently, they’re setting the stage for a huge arc with Joker and The Riddler.  Chris has said a couple of times that this is his favorite book right now.  I don’t know if I can say that unequivocally, but there aren’t many, if any books right now that I would put above it on my most anticipated every month.

The Good:  Again, just good writing.  Great story, characters are familiar.

The Bad:  The pacing of the story is a bit odd.  It’s a good story, but sometimes there’s a little bit too much talk and not enough action.

The Ugly:  Oh man, that Catwoman thing has worked so far, but it could have been a book killer if they didn’t do it right.

Batman is great.  Wonder Woman is great.  For some reason, none of that has led me to explore other books.  I grew up as a Marvel zombie, a Marvel zombie I remain, and some day I will die and rise from the grave as a true Marvel zombie.  Secret Empire and the tie in issues have swallowed much of my comic budget.  However, I’ve mentioned to Chris that the Trinity series looks intriguing and I might have to read some Justice League before the movie comes out in November.

Follow Up: World’s Finest Dicemasters Second Impression

(Editor’s Note:  Apparently, this is our 200th article on the page.  If you had told me when we started that we’d make it through these years and 200 articles, I might not have believed it.  But, it’s proven to be a fun diversion and here’s to another 200 at least!  Huzzah!)

I already wrote an article about the Dicemasters rainbow draft that the boys and I did for the World’s Finest set.  I stated at the end of the article that I would not allow anything, not even the new Magic set, to distract me from my regained interest in the game.  I was right about Magic.  Hour of Devastation has barely even registered on my radar.  However, I did not anticipate comic books becoming such an integral part of my life again.

It started off innocently enough.  Similar to my last extended trips into the Marvel and DC universes, I got sucked in by a gimmick.  Two gimmicks, in fact, this time.  DC hooked me with a Wonder Woman movie that looked like it might actually give them more than just Batman.  (Spoiler Alert:  It does.)  Marvel’s mega event, which I have recently learned will only serve to lead into their super ultra mega event, has me buying multiple books per week.

Wait, DC rebooted their reboot of a reboot? We gotta get us some of that!

One last story before I continue with my overall impression of the set.  Chris went to catch up on recent comics and found several of them sold out.  Since hearing that, I”ve been trying to figure out a way to get the books that I missed by taking a week off.  Going forward, I’ll be okay because I just need to set up a pull list.  But, among those I missed was Secret Empire #5.  No!

But, this article isn’t about comics.  I actually have two comic wrap up articles and a solo podcast to discuss comics coming this month.  It just goes to show how much comics have been consuming my life in the last two months.  Therefore, I need to shift my focus away from the books and to the dice long enough to write this article.  Let’s do this.

Dammit, Leeroy.

The last  time I did a Dicemasters set review as way back during the Age of Ultron days.  I wrote up a top 10 in the style of an interview with Ultron.  I am not going to do anything of the sort this time.  There are several reasons why.

First, I only have limited (zing!) experience with the set.  I’m not going to do extensive research on an old set just for a gag.  Second, it is an old set.  When I reviewed Age of Ultron, it might have even been a preview.  Hey, we are sometimes on the ball here at 2 Generations Gaming.  Third, and finally, I’ve resurrected a perfectly fine format to do reviews and previews.

The Good

As a noob who gets most of my enjoyment from how much fun I can have with a set, this seems like a very good set overall.  In my previous article, I mentioned that I was able to find a couple of different synergies for my time.  After a failed attempt at building a “Super” team, I settled on a hybrid Super/Bat Family team that worked very well together.  The boys were able to hold their own, too.

Aiden went with the classic Villain archetype.  Liam mostly put together a “good stuff” team, and our game was very close and back and forth the whole time.  He may have even been able to beat me if we played according to the actual rules.  Even Quinn, the youngest at 6, picked Krypto as one of his cards and then proceeded to try to build a “Super” team of his own.  I think that he might have been the one who was cutting me.  As Chris would say, “freaking ungrateful kids.”

I give you life and this is how you repay me? Pray that I am feeling merciful.

All four of us were able to build a suitably strong deck.  That didn’t happen when we did the Pokemon event.  That might have had something to do with the quality of the set.  It might just be that Pokemon is not as good of a game for limited as Magic or Dicemasters.  Who knows?  What I do know for sure is that I’d like to test the theory with both games more.

The Bad

There wasn’t much bad that I can attribute to the set.  Not only were we able to put together good teams for the event, but we also had fun discovering each card and some of the dice in the set are very cool.  Harley Quinn’s die, for instance, is one that I remember being remarkable for the design.  However, as Chris said, they’re only dice.  While they can play around with both color scheme and hero icon design, it is still limited and the ultimate design is just a 6 sided die.

While that, by itself, isn’t bad, it’s not the greatest when you compare it to other games.  Miniature games, most notably the other super hero game of Heroclix, naturally offer a much wider variety of design.  The miniatures can take the art from the cards (another aspect of Dicemasters that showcases creativity) and give them life as 3D models.  I understand that this is nit picking and somewhat comparing apples to oranges.  However, I’d be lying if I said that Dicemasters is in any way comparable to the other games that I like playing.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a fun game. It’s just fun for entirely different reasons and would be a better game if the dice were just miniatures. True, it would be a completely different game. Oh heck, I admit it. This whole section was simply a straw man and I’m terrible at building up terrible arguments.

The Ugly

So, I couldn’t even really make an argument for the bad of this game, so I’m certainly not going to have much to say on the subject of “ugly”.  All I will say is that Aiden had almost no mercy for his younger brother.  He was a stone cold killer even though it was Quinn’s first time playing Dicemasters.  Still, it didn’t sour him on the game because he said that he wants to play again and can’t wait to open the rest of the box.

Mine and Liam’s game was ugly because we didn’t follow the rules completely.  Instead of recycling our KO’d dice back into our next roll, we put them back into the pool to be drawn who the heck knows when.  Again, I have no idea how it might have affected the game other than he had something that did one damage to each fielded character, so we could have recycled dudes as new dice much quicker than expected.  I must have a guilty conscience about that because I keep bringing it up.  We are going to have to replay that game soon to clear my guilt.

“Yes! Yes, I killed him. Pull up the boards and you shall see! I killed him. But why does his heart not stop beating?! Why does it not stop!?”