Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Arena #2: Electric Boogaloo


ARENA #2 ships tomorrow. I think now that the necessary exposition and set up has been handled in the first issue, the second really hits the ground running and the story has room to begin building. So if you enjoyed #1, the second issue is a much better read, at least in my opinion.

If you didn't enjoy #1 (and I read one blistering review-coughfuckyouIGNcough), go ahead and skip the rest. I won't be offended. From my admittedly limited skimming of the Internet for reaction, it seems to be running about 70-30 in favor of the book. Most of the negative opinions seem focused on a disenfranchise with Countdown in general, carrying over those hard feelings onto my project. Nothing I can do about that, I just hope the book is judged on its own merits when all is said and done. There's definitely a second level running beneath the surface of this story and there is an actual story running through the book. Sure, it's Monarch's story but it's more than you might be expecting.

As a little Easter Egg, here's the original version of Page 5 from issue #1.

16 comments:

Morgan said...

I haven't read #1 yet (it should arrive in the mail tomorrow!), and you've probably already been asked this at least a couple of times, but...

Why was the little kid Green Lantern from Batman Beyond Hal Jordan-ized? It's an odd change, like when Terry's costume appeared in that Superman/Batman issue, but it was Tim Drake wearing it.

Jeff said...

Hi, Keith.

I have to admit, I haven't read this, and I don't plan on it, but I do follow DC around pretty faithfully online and always pull for the company.

From what I've read, most people think you've done really well after being dealt a really lousy hand. Yes, there's disappointment with Countdown, but there's something bigger, too.

A lot of people feel that they're either being lied to about the relevance of the Fifty-Two new universes - either because they're a stop-gap to the restoration/reinterpretation of the pre-Crisis continuity or a singular universe again.

This camp just can't get excited about anything related to the Fifty-Two new universes because they think they're fodder and they see your series as proof of that.

No offense, like I said most of the people in this group - from what I've seen - think you're making the best of a bad situation.

There's a slightly smaller group that takes DiDido at his word: the Fifty-Two universes are here to stay (though whether or not they're all that there is/will ever be is an open question in this camp), but their launch is being handled very poorly.

This group looks at what happened to "Gotham by Gaslight" Batman and says "well, now that he's gone, there goes that universe's story potential."

The flip side of this view runs along the lines of what Morgan just asked, and what I wanted to know earlier: if the Fifty-Universes consist of Elseworlds and other successful and much-loved DC properties (like "Batman Beyond" in Morgan's case, and the Fawcett characters in mine), then why not treat them with the same respect and attention to detail that the fans do?

Even those of us who are optimistic (I'm willing to give "Fawcett-ized" versions of the DC Characters a shot on Earth-5, just as long as you-know-who either doesn't exist or knows his place and keeps it in that universe) are worried that DC's gory, violent, and frankly bizarre reintroduction of elements of the the Silver Age ("pitbull" Krypto; Superboy-Prime who dismembers people; Dr. Light, Serial Rapist; super-slutty-looking Supergirl, etc.) is just going to make the situation they're intended to correct that much worse.

Again, no slap intended towards you. From what I've seen, you're doing your best to build a compelling story around an editorial edict with a cast of dozens over an equal number of pages - no easy task. But people aren't just shaking their heads over the stylistic similarities to Countdown; they're shaking them over the substantive ones.

keith champagne said...

Morgan, why do you assume the little kid Green Lantern was "Hal Jordan-ized?" If you read Hal's dialogue, he refers to six other GL's in that universe.

Isn't it possible that DC is saving the little kid GL for a different project? Sometimes, these things are planned ahead.

Jeff, your response will take a little longer. I'll get back to you soon.

Morgan said...

Keith - Ah-ha! I actually hadn't read that page, since I haven't read the issue yet. My bad. Sorry if that's like the zillionth time you've seen the "mistake" pointed out. And if those plans you mentioned mean more Earth-12/Beyond stuff? That's very cool.

Lewis Lovhaug said...

Hey, Keith! Well, you were right - this issue was definitely a step-up from the previous issue, though I think it helps that we didn't have Monarch randomly killing civilians this time. Also, I object to this misleading covers! On that note, had to pick between the two since they both looked great.



(Spoilers)

Good to see that pretty much everyone is on board with DKR Superman, even if Commie Superman is just causing trouble. I do wonder what Ted Kord was up to with his device. A plot point?

Quick question - Starwoman is colored green. coloring error is the American flag on Earth-7 made of green, red, and white?

I am kind of surprised that on Earth-10, the fuhrer is a woman. I guess equal opportunity laws even exist in Nazi societies. ^^; Ray Palmer of Earth-6 rocks. I hope he lives through Arena. Also nice to see physics are at play even in the Arena as Nazi-Ray tries to escape the dome. I am kind of surprised that Apollo takes such a beating, though. I'm not a follower of the Wildstorm universe, but I was under the impression he was a heavy hitter on Superman's levels. Nazi-Ray's death does leave me a little puzzled, though. I continue in my firm belief that Monarch is NOT Captain Atom, that he's being mind-controlled or there's a Captain Atom in there from another universe, since his powers couldn't have developed so much to the point where he can just vaporize someone by looking at them, plus the inconsistent coloring and never any good looks at his face.

I do wonder where the winners are going, though. Even if they do succeed in defeating their opponents, it seems unlikely that they'd still be willing to follow him. Still, go Ray-6! Over to the Flashes, I look forward to Jay Garrick smacking Johnny Quick around.

...Scarab is downright creepy. O_O Over to the Green Lanterns, I'm surprised they let Frank Miller get away with the "Goddamn Batman" line but won't let anyone else do the homage except for just the "damn" part. Still, no matter what the universe, Bruce Wayne could give Patton a run for his money in terms of strategy. Interesting constructs for all. Bat-Lantern goes for a direct strike, Beyond Hal Jordan creates a futuristic gun, and whatever universe the other Hal is from goes for a snake. Here's hoping Beyond Hal gives himself a chainsaw hand (still, nice hint with that from whatever universe the other Hal is from constructing a chainsaw to try to cut at Monarch from behind). ^_~ It's nice that the Lanterns did a good job of smacking Monarch.

Oooh, and Liberty Files Batman's a vampire now. Eeeentereesting.

And if I may ask, why didn't DC allow you to go ahead with the original page? It's not like they were using Terry in any other capacity and it'd be a nice tie-in to that other issue of Countdown that showed up.

keith champagne said...

Jeff, I think it's shortsighted for people to assume that, for instance, the Gotham By Gaslight world has no point anymore. If you read Arena #2, you'll see that the rumors of that Batman's death has been greatly exaggerated.

Honestly, I can't speak for the bigger picture of what's happening with the multiverse--or the way it's being rolled out thus far. I learned what I had to learn to write this series and when I was done, I moved on. I do know there's a larger plan at work with the 52 universes but plans often change. Meaning I don't have a good idea what the big picture is right now, so I can't really comment.

My hope, as I said before, is that people will ignore whatever baggage they bring to Arena and judge it on its own merits. It's a good book with gallons of blood and sweat spilled during the production. Every project deserves to be loved for what it is, not hated for what people assume it might be.

keith champagne said...

Hey Lewis, thanks for leaving your comments on this issue. I enjoy reading your thoughts. Trust me, next issue is better than this one and #4 has a curveball that no one will see coming.

If you're enjoying the book, please spread the word. Let me know what you think of #3 next week.

Oh, and I'm not sure why we had to take Batman Beyond out. The order came down from on high. Imagine how happy I was to then see the character pop up in that same week's Countdown... :P

Lewis Lovhaug said...

I'll of course continue commenting, good sir! And I too am ignoring the baggage of Countdown (although it seems this week they referenced both the Batman battle and the Green Lantern battle...) and going into it for its own merits. On that note, I'm still confused about why Monarch had to slaughter so many in the first issue. ^_~

And I am of course spreading praise for Countdown and spreading theories, since I maintain the opinion that the guy behind the Monarch mask is not Captain Atom from New Earth. I'm probably wrong, but on that same token I don't consider the Monitors to be really Monitors, either, since none of them (not even "Bob") match up with the compassionate guy we saw back in COIE.

On that note, did you ever get a chance to take a look at my poorly-drawn webcomic back when I first gave you that business card in October? I of course don't expect you to say yes since you're a busy guy and all, but I'm just curious. ^_~

SallyP said...

Well, pickle me in prune juice, because this was great! Capt. Atom has never been much of a favorite of mine, so who knew he could be such a rat? And Two Hals for the price of one!

Vzilla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis Lovhaug said...

As Keith said, vzilla, the order came on high not to use him for whatever reason, so it had to be changed.

Doop said...

Just a question (not a complaint): why is Apollo an alternate version of the Ray? Wasn't his character based on Superman (like Midnighter was based on Batman)?

Doop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
keith champagne said...

Because Majestic is more or less the Superman analogue from Wildstorm. Of all the Wildstorm characters, I wanted Apollo in the book and, with Superman spoken for, the best match we could come up with was The Ray due to the solar-powered connection.

It doesn't necessarily mean Apollo is a Ray analogue, just that Monarch grouped him together with the other two.

Doop said...

Ok, that makes sense. Thanks. :)

what is tiger balm said...

If you wanted Apollo specifically in the book, dare I hope that he may prove to be of more use in the upcoming issues?