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  • Rom Dead?! And the Odinson Chimes in on Before Watchmen!

    Greetings from the Odinson,

    Avengers Academy #25 dealt the Odinson a blow more powerful than a right cross from the Hulk.  Hybrid, an old enemy of Rom the Spaceknight, is taking the next generation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to task.  Not even with the help of their instructors, Hawkeye, Tigra, and Giant Man, do the kids of Avengers Academy seem to have a chance against this extremely powerful menace.  As all their attempts to subdue Hybrid fail, one after the other, the kids begin to wonder how anyone has ever defeated this monster before.  Giant Man tells them of a great hero (Rom) who was able to subdue Hybrid in the past.  The kids say, “Great!  Let’s get him here.”  And here’s the bombshell.  Giant Man says they can’t because “he’s dead.” 

    NOOOOOOO!  Have all my hopes and dreams of one day seeing the mighty Rom grace the pages of Marvel Comics been crushed? 

    I say thee, Nay!     

    As any of us know, heroes do not stay dead in the comics.  If Bucky and Jason Todd can come back to life, then anyone can.  Once again, Avengers Academy #25 is an example of the House of Ideas just teasing us.  But the Odinson shall not lose hope and I shall continue to put out the call until the glorious return of Rom comes to pass.  

    Now on to the Big News of the week...

    DC Comics dropped a bombshell of their own when they announced that this summer they will be unveiling a mega event project called Before Watchmen.  BW will be comprised of 35 issues of Watchmen prequels in seven miniseries and a 1-shot.  Wow!  Now there is so much going on here I hardly know where to begin.  First off, the creative teams DC has assigned to this Herculean task are amazing to say the least.  It’s a Who’s Who of industry giants.  These prequels include a 4-issue Dr. Manhattan series which will be helmed by J. Michael Straczynski (Superman Earth-1) and Adam Hughes (Ghost); a 6-issue Minutemen series by Darwyn Cooke (New Frontier), a 6-issue Comedian series Brian Azzarello (Joker) and J.G. Jones (Final Crisis); a 4-issue Rorschach series by Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets) and Lee Bermejo (Joker);  a 4-issue Nite Owl series by  J. Michael Straczynski (Thor), Andy Kubert (Batman) and Joe Kubert (Sgt. Rock); Ozymandias (6 issues) by  Len Wein (Swamp Thing) and Jae Lee (Dark Tower); and Silk Spectre (4 issues) by Darwyn Cooke (Parker) and Amanda Conner (Power Girl).  With names like these, at least the fanboys and girls will get their money’s worth. 

    Make no mistake…these creators are not taking this project lightly.  They know, as well as the rest of the comics community, the gravitas a project like this is going to take.   Darwyn Cooke said it best that this will be a polarizing project.  There will be a group of people in support of exploring some of these stories, and there will be another group completely against this undertaking.  The original creators - writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons – have both chimed in with their opinions on the matter.  Gibbons, though he thinks the original should stand on its own, wishes the project success.  Moore…well, Moore simply called the project “shameless.”  The long feud between DC Comics and the accomplished scribe is no secret.   

    Personally, I’m on the fence about Before Watchmen.  On the one hand, Watchmen is a masterpiece and stands on its own with a beginning, middle, and end.  The material leaves very few questions unanswered.  But on the other hand, these characters are really cool and it will be nice to see some of the events only talked about or alluded to during the original story, much like the opening montage of the Watchmen movie did.  It showed the viewer things only talked about in the original comic.  That being said, it will be hard to find the drama and emotional investment for these tales, especially when, as the reader, you already know where the journey will ultimately end for these characters. 

    See?  I’m torn.

    I think ultimately this will be a success and worth it in the end.  The creative teams assembled are second to none and they know the magnitude and the responsibility of the endeavor they have taken upon themselves.  They will do the material justice and prove that no characters are untouchable. 

    How quickly and quietly would comics have faded away into obscurity if the only people who could tell the stories of characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman were their creators.  Just think of all the decades of wonderful stories we would have missed out on.  Hey, if Before Watchmen is no good, then the nay sayers can wag their fingers and say, “I told you so.”  But if BW is good (and I think it will be), then we gain another wonderful chapter in a classic tale that redefined the medium.

    This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

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