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    No amount of OH MY GODs can live up to how balls to the walls awesome the latest Thor arc has been! Voldemort and dead gods and a murder (genocide, really) mystery and Thor smack dab in the middle of it all! Can you see my pants tightening just a bit?
    ...the hell? Dead gods? Come on, man. Give a guy some notice.

    What? Alright, set up this article so I can continue raving.
    Welcome to the Anchor Panel, I guess. Where we go crazy out of nowhere and confuse passers-by.

    Is that my cue?
    Just chill. This month, as we hinted at previously, Alex and I are going to talk about the big two: Marvel and DC in 2013. Now, before we get going, I...

    Put simply, this is the Thor book for people who don't care for or never got the chance to get into Thor. There is a god slayer running amok and this story is Thor finds himself attempting to confront the killer. But there's a twist! It's told over three intersecting perspective of Thor's life: present day, his pre-hammer young god days and centuries in the future as an Odin-like elder god awaiting his final battle.
    Feel better?

    It was very difficult to explain it without using one "fap" but I did it.
    Thor, everybody! Alright, at the risk of letting you loose again, how about I ask a totally non-threatening question first, Alex: right now, which company, Marvel or DC, are you enjoying the most right now?

    My answer usually varies depending on the year. This year (at least the beginning) goes to Marvel. I would have had a different answer for you the past two years, which had a lot to do with DC's new 52.
    Yeah, I think we can both admit that 52 had trouble shaking the whole "this was done to get a bunch of #1 issues out and increase sales."

    I remember the start of the new 52 a couple of years back was the freshest and most exciting thing happening in comics. It boosted sales and finally got eyes back on their books. Two years later and they've gone back to the old days of dense and ridiculous continuity and stale stories. But I'll say that there are still a handful of DC titles that stand out.
    I'll admit you've read far more of it than me, but I'm not surprised to hear that the allure of the old continuity was too great to ignore. And on a side note, that was a surprisingly reasonable response, Al. Sounds like things are back to normal.

    Now brace yourself for when I tell you that the real stand out series for me has been Wonder Woman.
    And, we are through the looking glass once again.

    Two reasons for this: one is that it isn't the standard superhero stuff. It takes Wonder Woman back to her roots in Themyscira and explores her mythology as it stands in the midst of the pantheon of Greek gods.
    What is it with you and the classical mythology these days? It'll take more than a history lesson to get me on board.

    Brian Azzarello is writing.
    OK, I'll shut up now. I guess I would have figured Azzarello for one of the more out there books in the DC cannon. Speaking of which, it feels like a good time to bring up my boy Jeff Lemire and his interesting work on Animal Man.

    You'll be happy to know that it's probably the darkest title DC has to offer, in the same vein of classic Vertigo titles such as Swamp Thing.
    I'm just happy to see that they've come up with a way to slice those two plots together.

    Yeah, their storylines are intersecting as they both wind down to their conclusions. I might get a bit of hate for saying this because they are both such beloved titles, but I'll say it anyways: both books began as terrific, outside-the-box (at least in respect to what DC offered at the time) horror comics that gradually (and unfortunately) turned into typical superhero fare.
    Ah, really? I was just re-reading some of the classic Moore penned Swamp Thing tales and it got me in the mood for more. I really liked Animal Man's trippy start and the Swamp Thing tie-in, but I don't like the sound of it sliding into typical superhero fare. Let's move on: Batman.

    I'll be as blunt and curt about them as I can be since there are so many. Batman Inc. is Grant Morrison in his element, writing the Batman story that he was born to write. Batman with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo has featured some of the best and most popular stories I've read from these characters in a long time. Batman & Robin, while not quite as good as the other two, most definitely features the best art. Detective Comics, Dark Knight, Batgirl, Nightwing, et al are clumped together because... well, what's the word I'm looking for?
    To quote our friend Cosmo Kramer: It's just too much!

    Yep. But then it's the opposite with a similarly iconic character with only two books: Superman.
    Glad you brought Supes up before we slide over the Marvel: We've been over our mutual Morrison love, but where is Action Comics now? I started reading it and, well, I wasn't sure what to make of it.

    Look, if there's something negative to be said about Morrison and Action Comics, I want to be the one to say it because I've been following it for the past seventeen issues. I'll be honest, I don't get it. It feels like - much with Morrison's most ambitious works - I'm missing something. I remember feeling the same about Final Crisis until I read it in full trade paperback.
    A mentally overwhelming Morrison story? I don't believe it.

    It could be that I'm too stupid to get it and I'll readily admit that! If only it could be more like his Batman Inc.
    Alright this dogpile is getting me bummed out. At least I know I can always count on DC's Vertigo line.

    Oh right, there's still a Vertigo line.
    What do you mean "still"? How's Scalped going?

    It ended.
    Yeah, but Hellblazer, though!

    Cancelled and moved over to the PG-13 DCU proper.
    Wait, what? We'll always have Fables, right?

    Funny how a book filled with magic could lose so much of it. Definitely not what it was.
    Can't Neil Gaiman save us?!

    Funny you mention that since Neil Gaiman is returning to Sandman in a prequel story drawn by the terrific J. H. Williams III. But that's pretty much all we have to look forward to.
    Well, that's, um, something. But we've got to end this first part on a positive note! Where's the really good, mega news?

    A second Justice League title came out this month and I have a bit of a problem with it.
    How can there be more than one JLA title? Doesn't the JLA already include all the big name superheroes in the DCU?

    Even so, I'm sure you've heard that DC Comics is planning this huge Justice League movie. So shouldn't they be building up the franchise into their flagship title?
    Oh, is this movie actually happening this time? Is George "Happy Feet" Miller still on tap to direct? Can I make more jokes about this?

    Shut up and let me rant. The problem here is that they've released this second title with second rate characters and b-listers to fill up the roster. It's like the Surreal Life of superhero team books. It's not AWFUL but it's definitely awful. I read it just shaking my head. DC Comics has this tendency to push and push and push Superman and Batman so much, that when the time comes for another character to be in the limelight, there is no strenuous effort to push them. The recent exception being Green Lantern, at least up until that disastrous movie came out.
    Alright, I'll lay off the jokes. Still though, it is fair to say that I'm highly sceptical of DC pulling off a successful JLA movie anytime soon. There are just too many movie projects flying around that, unlike Marvel, they don't have complete control over. That being said, if there was a place to start building buzz, it would have to be through the comics. So Al, what is, in fact, your solution to that?

    My opinion? Put out a bunch of Justice League books with different names. Have it star the characters they are planning to put in the movie with the words "Justice League" plastered all over the cover. Over-saturation is key right now. Create a buzz, flood the market, because once it's time for the movie to come out you don't want someone to pick up the book and ask "Why the hell is Catwoman on the team? Who the hell is Vibe?"
    Never thought I'd hear over-saturation used as a marketing benefit, but I see your point. The JLA brand could definitely use some work if it's going to break out in a bigger way and potentially build a bigger audience. Ironically, DC could and probably should look to Marvel to see how to effectively build a synergistic movie/comic franchise.

    Uh oh. That's our cue for us to wrap things up.
    Hey now, you're the one who couldn't wait to start talking about Thor! How quickly we forget.

    And it would have been an effective segue into Marvel if we weren't splitting this into two parts. See you all in the next!