Well, now we have seen the crop of Stan Lee’s new titles from Boom! – Soldier Zero, The Traveller and StarBorn, the first of which reaches its third issue today. Now we can see how the three titles fit together and the general shape of this new universe.
It all seems to centre around a hostile alien race and their human allies, a team of time-travelling metas who embody different scientific forces, obviously leading up to the first crossover event, however far away that may be. I will be happy if that is far in the future, three titles is hardly an expensive layout for a corssover, but I hope this strings out for a long time.
Although StarBorn (and to a certain extent Soldier Zero) seem a little simplistic on the surface, it is a tried and tested formula, and most engaging. I do want to know more. This universe has an innocence about it reminiscent to the early days of Valiant, the original Ultraverse or even Jim Shooter’s Broadway comics. (I would say late-lamented, but I’m not sure that many other people miss them like I do.) What is even more comforting is that this is a universe nestled safely with an already successful publisher, rather than some new start-up that will only last for five minutes.
That’s not to criticise (or discourage) start-ups, but it is a sound business plan. Too many good titles have vanished before they got a chance to get going when they didn’t have the security that an existing company can provide, not to mention existing audiences that can be advertised to. Of course the coming of Image Comics changed that dynamic considerably, but not everything has to be printed by Image.
One other recommendation for today has to be Brightest Day, which seems to be going from strength to strength. A new Aqualad, Firestorm revealed to be the embodiment of the Big Bang, who can turn their nose up at this?
One final recommendation will not cost you any money at all, something that we are all no doubt grateful for with the approach of the holiday season. One of the surviving fanfic sites, Faux DC, has just completed its annual crossover Dangerous Toys. It introduces new characters (that we are all familiar with) into the Faux DC continuity, and is basically a lot of fun, with many teasers in the Annuals to entice you towards the native titles. It’s your comics fix for free and an invitation for your imagination to run riot. Come on, we can all do this, but can we write to the quality of these guys? With trusted names that have been present on the fanfic for years such as Dale Glaser, Ralph Angelo Jr and Barry Reese, (anybody remember Marvel Volume One?), the stories provide entertainment while you save your pennies for that extra present you nearly forgot to buy.