The Art of the Tease in DC Nation 0

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

DC Nation 0 provides teases for three different types of upcoming books: Tom King’s continuing run on Batman, Brian Michael Bendis’ upcoming turn on the Superman books and the Scott Snyder-helmed Justice League: No Justice series. Different books lead to different teases.

If you’ve been following Batman, then Tom King and Clay Mann’s “Your Big Day” likely has more significance than the other two stories in this book. We get the first look at King’s present-day Joker and he does not disappoint. Joker holds a civilian hostage while he waits for his “invitation to Batman’s wedding.” King’s Joker is delightfully unhinged without being completely bonkers. Mann slowly builds the tension a mesmerizing and creepy 9 panel-layout that evokes works like The Shining.

Brian Michael Bendis and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez’s “Office Space,” on the other hand, is built entirely around the fact that the reader doesn’t have any background information — which might not be the best approach. Lois Lane has been fired for reasons unknown and someone needs to take her office.

Clark doesn’t want to do it, so Perry gives it to new hotshot reporter Robinson Goode — which sounds like two last names that forgot to have a first name. The story ends with the reveal that Goode is working for a mysterious third party. “Office Space” is very much a tease, but there’s not enough substance to provide a firm footing.

Finally we have the “No Justice Prelude,” which showcases the dynamics between the four new Justice League teams comprised of both heroes and villains. The typical team dynamic of the leader, the brain, the powerhouse and the wild card has been applied to each of these four teams. The prelude sets the tone for what lies ahead for the series: big blockbuster action and lots of flashy action pages. Whether that style is met with substance is yet to be seen.

There are no winners and losers here…but I gotta say I am eagerly awaiting The Joker’s inevitable wedding crashing.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

7 comments on “The Art of the Tease in DC Nation 0

  1. DC impressed me. ‘Just in time for Free Comic Book Day, this special comic priced at just $0.25 US’

    That is impressively awful. DC really are committed to being the worst. FCBD is just around the corner, so they charge you money for the perfect FCBD comic, and brag about it.

    And packing it with King’s offensive and awful Batman, Snyder making you forget why anyone liked him in the first place and Bendis on the single worst comic you could imagine (Bendis should have gone to Image instead of DC, because his best work has all been creator owned stuff like Powers or Scarlet. But if he was going to DC, at least give him the sort of book he’d be good at. He’d be a natural at Batman, and it isn’t like the Batman books could get worse)

    Though, of course, this isn’t the worst thing DC have done this week. That goes to Action Comics Special. Where DC, the moment the heat died down, have published a Max Landis story that they were going to publish in the DC Holiday Special. Until, of course, Max Landis became a high profile target of Me Too. DC, still in the aftermath of Eddie Bergenza, have decided now that the coast is clear, to start the redemption of sexual harasseres while the rest of the creative arts industries are still in the middle of a process of getting rid of them. Hell, DC started redeeming a sexual harrasser on the same day that the Academy of Motion Pictures expelled Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski.

    Nice to see DC standing proudly alongside sexual harrasser. I’d almost respect DC’s dedication to standing by the values of Rebirth, were they not the values of dehumanizing women, PoC and the LGBTQ community.

    But why should we support a company that, in a time when everyone else is trying to distance themselves from sexual harassers who harm both the industry by pushing legitimate talent away and more importantly hurt real people, is actively courting and redeeming them

  2. My feelings of this were across the board.

    1) Joker: This was a pretty effective Joker story. I don’t care about where the Batman story is right now, but I kind of liked this little bit of story. It hit home like a Joker story should – the terror of being confronted by a madman in your house, first hoping you could get away, then knowing you wouldn’t. Too often I feel that Joker’s victims are faceless “Joker killed 375 dockworkers this evening with a virulent version of his joker serum!” newscast. This was different and better and even with jokes! I liked it a lot. I just didn’t give a crap about the wedding. Now if he were going to interrupt Spider-Man and Mary Jane’s wedding, I’d be all in.

    2) Superman: I’m not sold on Bendis as a Superman writer except for the fact he’s written the hell out of everything for the last 25 years. Matt can complain he was better on independent comics, but his work on Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales, and Jessica Jones can’t be overlooked. I even liked his Avengers stuff, but I think most agreed he was best on solo books. This is a solo book – I’m interested in what he has to say. I didn’t think this was a very good start, but I do think that a hostile takeover of the Planet (I seriously almost typed Bugle there) might be an interesting story.

    3) Justice League: For all the flash and kaboom, I did not give a single fuck about a single panel.

    • I am a massive Bendis defender. His best work was in books like Powers and Scarlet, which is why I was looking forward to him following many of his contempories to Image. But his Daredevil, Alias, Ultimate Spiderman (both eras. Have you read the final issue of Miles’ book? It is beautiful) Riri era Invincible Iron Man (until he started resurrecting Tony in an overstuffed, rushed arc) were all classics, and he had a lot of other good stuff, like Defenders. I’m even the one weirdo who likes Civil War II, even if I don’t care for his Avengers or any other event of his. I just like his independent stuff more, so was really looking forward to Bendis finally following the path of Brubaker, Hickman, Gillen etc. He’s been at the top of Marvel for two whole generations of creator, so sad to see him leave Marvel for more superheroes. I would love to his what his version of Criminal or the Wicked + the Divine would be.
      And Bendis has always struggled the further and further he got away from street level. Someone said shortly after the announcement of Bendis moving to DC, before we knew what he was writing, that it would be great to see Bendis’ take on Batman v Joker, but terrible to see Superman v Darkseid. He is so completely wrong for Superman and alien warlords and the like.

      • You know, I think the dichotomy of Superman’s power and Superman’s human relationships are able to make good stories. And maybe that’s where Bendis is going to go, based on this comic.

        But I guess I can understand why you’d rather see what he’d create now given free reign, although I’d hate to see his WicDiv because I still think it’s unreadable (where as Gillen’s criminally underrated Uber is a masterpiece).

        I swear, Wicked and Divine TO ME reads like a 14 year old writing like what he thinks his 18 year old brother’s really really cool friend who’s in a BAND talks like. A clever 14 year old with really good grammar and a pretty big vocabulary, but it grates on me like something special. And I really like Gillen.

        So I get where you’re coming from. But I’m not going to be easily convinced that Powers was markedly better or more important than some of his Marvel stuff (especially Miles and Jessica), but I’ll make it a point to go out and read Scarlet at some point.

        • The problem with exploring the dichotomy is that you have to be able to write both sides of the dichotomy. I don’t think Bendis can do that. I think he could do something Lois focused, where you have a lot of Clark Kent but Superman is mostly a cameo. Either a Lois book that was a investigative reporter street level book or as a RomCom book more about interpersonal dynamics. Books where Clark is focused a lot, but little Superman. But the moment that Bendis has to write an alien warlord or Superman as a more mythic or grand character, I can’t see him pulling that off. His style is designed specifically not to do that. The only way I can see Bendis pulling off Superman is to get rid of Superman. And while I am not opposed to that (I just proposed several Lois Lane books), I doubt that is what is going to happen.

          And if WicDiv isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other examples, like Saga, East of West, Deadly CLass/Tokyo Ghost, Sex Criminals, Bitch Planet, Lazarus…

          But with WicDiv,I think it is worth noting that the book is actually smart. It has a deep understanding of storytelling, myth and the way it reverberates across all cultures. THough I understand that, being one of those Gillen books all about the value in superficiality, that it can be grating (that isn’t to say it is superficial, merely that it is about how seemingly superficial things like pop music are valued parts of human culture with an important role in inspiring us in both positive ways and negative ways by directly equating pop art to the mythology it argues it that it is like). It is a book that will bounce off anyone who can’t stand those superficial elements, since it needs those superficial elements for its deeper thematics to work

          And I honestly think Powers is a major work. In fact, I believe Image’s success these days can be attributed, in part, to Powers. The fact that they took the risk in publishing it in colour and made a big success (and it was a big risk, apparently) likely played a big part of Image transferring from their troubled 90s franchises into the wonderfully weird and successful books they have now.
          But the first volume was innovative and gamechanging by its nature, while there are many other classics. Supergroup has one of the all time best superhero fights, with truly sensational camerawork that trapped our perspective to that of a civilian. Combined with the fantastic colouring, where the book remained monochromatic until this final fight, truly depicted the heroes has almighty gods in ways that were frightening and truly encapsulated everything the book was about. Meanwhile, the entire PowerVirus metaplot was a masterpiece of long term storytelling, including the fantastic Cosmic arc midway through that was the one time Bendis got cosmic storytelling right by playing to his strengths and rooting it all in a character completely unable to process it. Hell, between the Sellouts and Forever, the arcs just before the major Powers Virus meta arc were fantastic gamechangers. And then there was Bureau. So much to praise.

          I will always remember picking up my first volume of Ultimate Spider-man (the first Venom story) and being amazed at how great it was, how perfectly it told the story as it built itself up and rooted everything in characters and relationships. And Ultimate SPiderman was full of amazing arcs like this, especially as we reached Miles. And Bendis did amazing work with the original ALias, especially with Kilgrave and Jessica’s origin at the end. And, of course, there is his amazing Daredevil work. And while all of those were gamechangers, I don’t think any of them had has many gamechangers as Powers did (maybe Spider-man, but in many more issues). Powers constantly pushed itself to excel and take the step up. I think it was only with the very latest Powers issues, where Bendis was forced to return things to status quo to line up with his show, that the book ever felt tired.
          As much as Bendis, at his best, did so much at Marvel to push boundaries, I never thought he managed to push things as far or be as innovative and powerful as his creator owned work. I don’t think I want Powers back – I actually think the failure of the TV Show broke him a bit. But I want to see him make his next Powers. And continue Scarlet

    • The thing with Bendis is that we’ve seen him try and push his limits on that sort of thing again and again, and he keeps failing. Bendis pushing his limits with respect to Riri Williams was a joy to behold.

      But certain writers prove that they can’t push their limits in certain directions. Which isn’t some grievous sin. But proves that the writer should play to their strengths and push boundaries in the places they actually can push their boundaries, instead of making the same mistake again and again

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