THE HERALD OF GALACTUS #1: Flashpoint, Fear Itself, Thor rules, Wonder Woman stalls, Smallville ends

Welcome to the first Herald of Galactus, a round-up of goings-on in the comic book industry!

The comic book summer has hit full-swing, with DC releasing the first issue of Flashpoint, and Marvel’s Fear Itself enjoying its second edition. Flashpoint is DC’s latest universe-spanning overhaul, and has hit the ground running with Geoff Johns at the helm. Like Crisis on Infinite Earths before it, this new series aims to breathe fresh life into DC’s back-catalogue. The official synopsis:

“Barry Allen [The Flash] finds himself in a world different from the DC Universe he knows. A war between Atlantis and the Amazons has left Europe ravaged, and Cyborg is attempting to rally heroes and villains to stand between the Aquaman-Wonder Woman conflict. Allen, with a memory of how things were, but no Flash powers, must use his detective skills to determine what has changed the world. He seeks out Batman for help, but finds a strange secret there, as well.”

One thing I have noticed about Flashpoint is the amount of tie-ins that DC have to go with the event; there are roughly fifteen titles so far. Some of these are single issues but others are limited series of about three issues. From what I’ve heard, the storyline for Flashpoint may need a little bit of extra reading as DC do like to destroy and rebuild their universe, and it will be interesting to see if anything outside of the core issues have an effect on DC titles in the future. The first issue is a solid debut and the Dark Knight’s appearance is sure to entice readers.

Fear Itself is Marvel’s competition in the crossover stakes, uniting the universe in another epic mini-series that brings to mind the recent House of M. Intriguingly, the two prominent superheroes in the story are Captain America and Thor, which only increases their exposure this year. Via the official site:

“A long-dormant monster is released and believes himself to be the true All-Father. As he spreads his power throughout Earth, the Asgardians go back to Asgard leaving the heroes of Earth to fend for themselves, while the fear generated by the general human populace helps to power the serpent. Many major characters will be featured, such as the X-Men and the Avengers. One of the main villains will be Sinthea Shmidt, daughter of the Red Skull.”

If you’re a Marvel fan like myself, you may have noticed that some of your issues were a little light recently. A number of $2.99 titles, such as FF #2, Incredible Hulk #627, Herc #2 and Heroes for Hire #6, have been slimmed down from 22 pages to 20. But the strange thing is that not all of these budget titles have lost content, such as Avengers Academy. They appear to be following in the footsteps of DC, who also cut down their $2.99 titles to 20 pages, removing their regular double features in the process. This page discrepancy won’t affect any of the stories I imagine, as many titles are now shipping 13 issues a year (not including annuals, specials and tie-ins). Marvel have also been producing “starting point” issues for many of their popular titles, bringing new fans up to speed in light of their Hollywood ascendancy.

On this note, DC are really starting to fall behind (despite Warner Bros. owning the company). We found out recently that NBC passed on David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman pilot. I am in two minds on whether this is a good or bad thing, as I like the idea of seeing Wonder Woman on the small screen, but I feel it has to be done right. There hasn’t been an official reason as to why it was rejected, but the internet buzz is that the pilot earned mixed reviews at test screenings. And then there was the blowback about the costume, which seemed to de-emphasize the patriotism and play up the comic’s Greek mythology. Ultimately, the wardrobe department went back to the drawing board but that didn’t seem to save the project. How long before a version of the pilot ends up online?

Comics may not have pull on the TV but they do at the cinema, with Thor topping the box office, pulling in $66 million during its opening weekend in the US and Canada. It bodes well for July’s release of Captain America: The First Avenger.

An honourable mention must go out to Smallville, which ended its 10-year run in America recently. The tenth and final season is due to air in the UK this June, so you might not want to watch the following video if you wish to remain spoiler-free:

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