THIS WEEK: The DC Round-Up team reconvenes for its second roundtable discussion of the new year, talking DC Power: A Celebration, The Flash: One-Minute War Special, and Lazarus Planet: Legends Reborn.
Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of each discussion for our final verdicts.
DC Power: A Celebration #1
Writers: Evan Narcisse, Lamont Magee, Stephanie Williams, Brandon Thomas, Dorado Quick & Jordan Clark, Morgan Hampton, Chuck Brown, John Ridley, and N.K. Jemisin
Artists: Darryl Banks, Chriscross & Juan Castro, Alitha Martinez & Mark Morales, Natacha Bustos, Clayton Henry, Valentine De Landro, Petterson Oliveira, Olivier Coipel, and Jamal Campbell
Colorists: Hi-Fi, Wil Quintana, Alex Guimarães, Natacha Bustos, Marcelo Maiolo, Marissa Louise, DJ Chavis, and Jamal Campbell
Letterer: Andworld Design
Pinups: Edwin Galmon, Manou Azumi, Robyn Smyth, Jerry Gaylord, Jay Hero, Sean Damien Hill, Anthony Fowler Jr., & Christopher Sotomayor, and Taurin Clarke
Cover Artist: Jahnoy Lindsay
Zack Quaintance: Hey team, we’re back! And with a much shorter break than usual…so, let’s get right to it, what did we think of DC Power?
Cori McCreery: These heritage themed one-shots continue to just be utterly fantastic. They allow for a spotlight to be shone on creators and characters that don’t often get their own focus. I really, truly appreciated John Ridley’s introduction talking about representation, and how the words of his own son made him reevaluate his own attempts at representation.
Joe Grunenwald: Ridley’s intro was the perfect way to kick off a really solid collection of stories. DC‘s focus on diversifying their character roster over the past few years has been one of the stronger aspects of the publisher’s line, and this one-shot feels not only like a celebration of Blackness in the DCU but also of how well those efforts have paid off for DC as a whole.
Quaintance: The ongoing commitment really shows here, I think.
Grunenwald: There was a time when a one-shot like this would have featured characters who haven’t been seen in years. But just about every one of the characters here can be found regularly in other books across the DC line. And it’s only a matter of time before Amazing-Man joins them, I’m sure.
Quaintance: And I think the fact that we’re not just seeing these characters every great once in a while lays more interesting track for storytelling. What were your favorite stories in this anthology?
McCreery: I thought the Lamont McGee and Chriscross Black Lightning family story was the standout, personally. It felt important and strong, especially as we see people all over the country trying to bring back “Separate But Equal” laws for other minorities all across the country.
Grunenwald: For me, my favorite was the Kid Flash & Aquaman team-up “Own Your Name” from Dorado Quick, Jordan Clark, Clayton Henry, and Marcelo Maiolo. It helps that I like both of those characters already, but the focus both on being a person of color in an otherwise all-white ‘superhero family’ and on legacy in general really worked for me.
Quaintance: Great choices. Those were actually my two favorites as well. Generally speaking, it was just really impressive how many timely issues these stories were able to speak to in poignant ways.
Anything else you all want to add about this one before we weigh in with verdicts?
Grunenwald: My only source of disappointment here was that the last couple of stories were reprints – a reprinted Jace Fox Batman story, and a preview for the Far Sector collection. It’s a minor quibble but it’s something to keep in mind as you’re considering spending your money on this.
McCreery: Just that I wish we got a new Jo story instead of just a snippet from Far Sector. I’m a BUY on this one.
Grunenwald: Yeah, the quality of the brand-new stories more than makes up for the mild disappointment of the reprints. This is definitely a BUY for me as well.
Quaintance: And I’m a BUY as well, no hesitation.
The Flash: One-Minute War Special #1
Writer: Jeremy Adams
Pencillers: Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan & Jason Paz, Serg Acuña, Lisandro Estherren, and George Kambadais
Colorists: Matt Herms, Rebecca Nalty, and Patricio Delpeche
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Cover Artist: Serg Acuña
Quaintance: Up next we have the One Minute War one-shot that ties into the current story line of The Flash…where are we at on this one?
Grunenwald: You know I’ve been bullish about Jeremy Adams‘s run on The Flash, and I really enjoyed the first part of One-Minute War. With this one-shot we’re now three issues into the story and it kind of feels like we’re running in place. This one-shot offers interesting background about The Fraction, but not much in the way of forward movement.
McCreery: I am really angry at the event as a whole and it’s probably unduly coloring my feelings on the one-shot that has nothing to do with my anger, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.
Quaintance: Do you want to elaborate on that?
McCreery: Sure, Zack. It’s 2023. You can add emotional weight to your big Flash family event without fridging the unpowered love interest of one of your leads. It’s a trope that should have died years ago, but here we are, barely into the new year, and it’s already being trot out like a prize show horse.
Grunenwald: I get what you’re saying, and it is a somewhat cheap way to establish stakes right off the bat, but I also think we’re early enough in what is a uniquely-structured event that the odds of the elder Iris West’s death actually sticking are pretty slim.
McCreery: Sure, but I have to judge the event based on what I have available right now, not what I expect to come. And as of right now, she’s dead, and for nothing more than to make Barry and Wally sad. Iris deserves better. We deserve better.
Quaintance: All I really want to say about this one is it’s kind of ironic that a story called “One Minute War” feels slow. That said, I did enjoy the sci-fi aside that led this one, even if the pacing has me losing the thread overall.
McCreery: And I agree that this feels like it’s just dragging on, the opposite of what I want a Flash event to do.
Grunenwald: I’m a bit confused about the ‘Future’ story in this one-shot and how it fits into what’s happening in the present, but I also really enjoyed that story and the design for future Jai’s suit so I’ll give it some leeway. Otherwise this issue was, I think, just fine. I’m giving this one a BROWSE.
McCreery: Until I can judge the event as a whole I have to give this a PASS.
Quaintance: I’ll go BROWSE. The sci-fi short that opened it looked great, and I’m willing to give this the benefit of the doubt because I’ve largely enjoyed this run.
Lazarus Planet: Legends Reborn #1
Writers: Alex Segura, Alex Paknadel, Greg Pak, and Dennis Culver
Artists: Clayton Henry, Christopher Mitten, Minkyu Jung, and Jesús Merino
Colorists: Marcelo Maiolo, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Sunny Gho
Letterers: Pat Brosseau, Troy Peteri, Wes Abbott, and Dave Sharpe
Cover Artist: Vasco Georgiev
Quaintance: And now onto our last entry, Lazarus Planet: Legends Reborn #1…what did we think of this one?
McCreery: Interesting is probably the best word I have for it? It’s not nearly as neatly connected as the other Lazarus Planet one-shots, with now actual theme between the characters being used. But several of the stories were interesting. I really enjoyed City Boy’s introduction, and really want to see more of that character.
Quaintance: Yeah, there wasn’t as much cohesion to this one. However, I thought there wasn’t a bad story in it. City Boy is super intriguing, for sure.
Grunenwald: I think the City Boy story from Greg Pak and Minkyu Jung was the strongest story here, with Alex Segura and Clayton Henry‘s Question story a close second. I know we talked before about how these Lazarus Planet one-shots are essentially teasers for future stories and that’s certainly the case here, but I think the stories in this issue felt more complete somehow than many of those that came before them have.
Quaintance: I absolutely loved the attention to detail in that Question story, as well as the ending.
McCreery: I will fully admit that I’m enough of a nerd to have gone “That’s not a batarang, that’s a wingding.” in the City Boy story, and then sure enough, Nightwing shows up.
Quaintance: Joe, did you do that too?
Grunenwald: I did not know that they’re called ‘wingdings’ but I did bump on it not being specifically a batarang, yes.
Quaintance: I knew it. I didn’t notice anything amiss myself, but I’m glad you two did.
Grunenwald: City Boy’s from out of town. Kid doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
McCreery: It was also really nice seeing Firestorm again in the story from Dennis Culver and Jesus Merino. It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve seen him.
Quaintance: I was just typing that! I thought that story was awesome, and maybe the second most intriguing thing moving forward outside City Boy? I’d love to see more Firestorm from the same creative team.
Grunenwald: Definitely good to see Firestorm. The effect of the Lazarus Rain on the Firestorm Matrix is a really great twist.
Quaintance: Are we ready for verdicts?
McCreery: I think this one gets a BUY from me. All the stories are worth reading, and touching on underutilized or brand new characters.
Grunenwald: Agreed – it’s a BUY from me as well. This is the best of the Lazarus Planet one-shots yet.
Quaintance: I’m a BUY as well. You know how people complain that DC only publishes Batman? Those folks should really be reading this event. It’s been such a great tour through other parts of the DCU.
Grunenwald: And if you only care about Batman, he appears in one panel, so you’re covered!
Quaintance: With that, we’re out, see you all next month for our roundtable about Superman #1!
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