Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by Going Dawn to Dusk

In the wake of ComicsPRO’s Annual Meeting, we had a week of…not nearly as much news! Shocking! But hey, there’s still a fair bit to talk about, so let’s dig into ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics, led by the end of a…not very long era, if I’m being honest!

1. DC, Approaching Dusk

Well, that is that, I guess. It seems as if DC’s Dawn of DC era will be ending when its upcoming event Absolute Power from writer Mark Waid and artist Dan Mora arrives in July. Now, I know what you’re wondering. Didn’t it end two months after it launched when DC immediately followed its debut with Knight Terrors, an event that replaced all DC titles for two months? No. It only felt like that. Knight Terrors was just a brief pit stop in the Dawn of DC journey. Ultimately, though, this line-wide branding will have lasted for a year and a half, and will likely be remembered for the bold new takes it gave us in titles like The Flash and Birds of Prey (as well as that Knight Terrors break, which really cooked the energy of the line immediately). It’s been a solid effort, even if it sort of felt like it stopped before it really even started.

But what follows dawn? A new day, and maybe even dusk, as that Absolute Power event sounds like it’ll be dark times for the superheroes of the DC universe. It seems Amanda Waller is looking to depower all the metahumans, and she’s teaming up with Failsafe (of Batman fame) and Brainiac Queen (of Action Comics fame) to do it. My initial reaction to the announcement of this was that it was going to be a relatively minor event, as Waid and Mora — despite being elite — have been teaming for a while now, so this felt more like a continuation of what they had been doing as much as anything. Plus, it was only four issues which is extremely brief for one of these stories. But then I saw that there will apparently be at least 25 total issues directly connected to it between the main series, the Free Comic Book Day release, a prologue, and five miniseries, with all of them being written by Waid. And then it started to feel a little different, almost Final Crisis-ish in that the tie-ins are far more connected to the event than usual.

I’m not going to lie: That intrigues me, even if 25 issues sounds like too much, really. That said, all this sort of gives 2024 the air of a transitional year for DC. The Dawn of DC branding going away and Absolute Power being so large combines to create a real air of change. The big question becomes, what’s after Absolute Power? And will they maybe give whatever that is more time to breathe than Dawn of DC did? I hope so, because there were a lot of good books there, and DC’s been doing a stellar job of casting of late. Here’s hoping they make some magic happen and then get out of their own way, whenever they get onto the next phase of DC’s superhero universe.

2. Marvel Must Haves, Ish

This week brought news that instantly turned me into that famous Larry David reaction shot from Curb Your Enthusiasm that’s mostly known as a gif these days. When I saw that Marvel had announced a new program called Marvel Must-Haves, my feelings about it shifted as quickly as Larry’s, as I started positive, shifted towards confused, started laughing, moved back towards supportive, dived negative, before I think I generally ended up being pro-Marvel Must-Haves, albeit with some of that confusion back in the mix?

Marvel Must-Haves is an ongoing program that will find the publisher collecting a trio of previously released comics into an oversized one-shot that will be free (at least for customers) at comic shops. As Marvel said, the idea behind this is that “these stories have been handpicked to get fans in-tune with current Marvel adventures and act as perfect jumping on points for new readers, too!” That’s a great idea! I love it! At least in theory!

There’s only one problem: They picked pretty much the weirdest possible trio of comics for this endeavor. One was Spider-Man/Deadpool #1, a fun comic from a great creative team in Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness, it’s just one from eight years ago that could not be much further from “current Marvel adventures” if it tried. Another is an issue from Immortal Thor, which is a fine series to highlight, as Al Ewing and Martin Coccolo rock. They…just happened to pick the second issue, which makes it not even a great introduction to that series, let alone Thor’s current Marvel adventures. Lastly, they picked Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1, which is a nice pick as the comic is co-written by Ms. Marvel herself, Iman Vellani, but it’s an issue that’s set during the larger Fall of X storyline that is about as new reader friendly as my Stilt-Man fan fiction (which is to say…it isn’t).

It’s still cool that they’ll be giving these away, especially if these are actually free for shops (I suspect they won’t be). But there were roughly eight million better picks for all this. If we’re thinking the last ten or 15 years of Marvel like Spider-Man/Deadpool #1, why not the first issue of Jason Aaron/Esad Ribic’s Thor: God of Thunder and G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel #1 to go with it? Or if we’re going for recent stand-out single issues regardless of issue number, why not one of the many excellent standalone entries from Ryan North and Iban Coello’s Fantastic Four run and something from Jed MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio’s Moon Knight run to go with Immortal Thor #2? There are a lot of options out there, they just picked three weirdly ill-fitting ones.

I hope they keep this program going, and continue to dial the choices in over the process. One of the realities of Marvel right now is they don’t have a lot of new reader friendly material, so I can see the process of selecting titles being a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be!

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