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Feb 09 2015

Post-Convergence: DC’s ‘Prez’, ‘Section 8’, ‘Bat-Mite’ and ‘Omega Men’

DC Post- Convergence - Bat-Mite, Prez, Section 8

Following last week’s announcement of 24 new series launching from DC Comics in June, following the Convergence event in the months leading up to it, there were a handful of titles that may have caused some quizzical reactions. Yet they may already be in some of your longboxes in some form or another.

PREZ, SECTION 8, BAT-MITE and OMEGA MEN may seem as though they have come out of the blue, but all of them have a long (if not exactly distinguished) history at the publisher. Like The Green Team (New 52 Fifth Wave), all have seen some level of fandom or nostalgia over the years.

So if you’re a completist, are anticipating the market value of Prez: The First Teen President #1 soaring above its current $30 slot, or just like reading about old comics, you’ve come to the right place. Bearing in mind, of course, we know very little about these books yet, but when has knowledge ever stopped the Internet?

Prez promo (DC Comics)

Prez

Prez (Volume 1) #4 (DC Comics)  - "Vampire In The White House" - Artist:  Jerry Grandenetti

Prez (Volume 1) #4 (DC Comics) – “Vampire In The White House” – Artist: Jerry Grandenetti

On the surface, the title sounds like just the kind of crazy idea that saw “Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld” get her own book in the 21st century. Indeed, PREZ shares its title with the 1970s comics by Captain America co-creator Joe Simon and artist Jerry Grandenetti (Will Eisner’s The Spirit). The original series followed Prez Rickard, so named by his mother because she believed he would be president one day. Following a constitutional change, he is elected president as a teen, where he confronted everything from right-wing militia to vampires in the White House.

Despite being suddenly cancelled after only 4 issues, PREZ has had some high-profile fans over the years. Neil Gaiman featured him in Sandman #54 (1993), and he popped up a few years later in Ed Brubaker and Eric Shanower’s Vertigo Visions one-shot Prez: Smells Like Teen President (1995). Perhaps his most obscure inside baseball appearance was in Frank Miller‘s often maligned Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again (2002), where the holographic puppet president is named Rick Rickard. He has turned up a few times in the New 52, as the former president of Earth-23 and the psychedelic immortal president of Earth-47. Prez even got animated in an episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold episode “Triumvirate of Terror!”

The new series will be written by Mark Russell with art from Ben Caldwell.

Section 8 (DC Comics)

Section 8

Section 8 (DC Comics)

Section 8 (DC Comics)

Garth Ennis fans will rejoice as the original creators of SECTION 8 return! “Yes,” ponder the rest of you, “but who are they?” Having a more recent history in the DCU than some of these other characters, the team first appeared in Ennis and artist John McCrea’s Hitman #18 in 1997. Consisting of the awesomely named Defenestrator, Friendly Fire, Sixpack, Shakes, Jean de Baton-Baton, Dogwelder, Bueno Excellente and Flemgem, the group derived their name from the Section 8 low-income housing projects across the US.

It was series about a team set in Cauldron, the Irish section of Gotham City, allowing Ennis to bring his typically dark humour to the DC mainstream. Indeed, Preacher and The Punisher collaborator Steve Dillon lent a hand in creating the character of Dogwelder, a silent man in a welder’s mask who literally welds deceased dogs to the criminals they encounter. Why is this not the subject of more cosplay?

Given their fate at the end of the original run, one assumes that post-Convergence there will be a complete reboot. Or else there is a lot of angry dogs coming back to life during the next Crisis who are seeking terrible vengeance on a certain welder…

The 2015 series will see Garth Ennis and John McCrea return for more insanity.

Bat-Mite in Detective Comics #267  (May 1959)

Bat-Mite

Bat Mite sketches (2015)

Bat Mite sketches (2015)

BAT-MITE is undoubtedly the title that will be most familiar to non-comics fans, having appeared on television in The New Adventures of Batman (1977), Batman: The Animated Series (1994), and most recently multiple episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens. He’s even been a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Yet like most Bat-insanity, he came out the late 1950s Silver Age, a crazy creation of Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff for Detective Comics #267 (May 1959).

The 5th Dimensional imp is, like Superman’s Mr. Mxyzptlk, an irregular annoyance to Batman, and had almost completely vanished from the book by 1964 when the titles were revamped. In recent years, it is Grant Morrison that has mostly played with the character in various Multiversity-inspired tales. Following Infinite Crisis, his Batman R.I.P. appearances reveal that imagination is the Fifth Dimension.

We sincerely hope that with the return of BAT-MITE to the DCU also brings with it Ace The Bat-Hound. Of course, these will be questions for Dan Jurgens and artist Corin Howell, when they bring us the 6-issue limited series in June.

Omega Men (DC Comics)

Omega Men

Omega Men (DC Comics)

Omega Men (DC Comics) – Artist: Pasqual Ferry

There may only be two Green Lantern titles in the new line-up, but the OMEGA MEN draw their roots from Green Lantern #141 (June 1981), and were created by Marv Wolfman and Joe Staton. Coming from the Vegan system, a planetary system that presumably has a lack of dairy products, the titular Omega Men (and women) protected the areas of space that the Green Lantern Corps weren’t allowed into.

Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen (also on art duties) kicked off the 1980s ongoing series that ran for three years up until 1986, when Crisis of Infinite Earths changed a lot of the line-up for DC. The large group of dozens of extraterrestrials that have gone through the ranks over the years provides plenty of scope for this new series. The New 52 team primarily consisted of Tigorr, who is pictured in the new concept art by Pasqual Ferry, Kalista and Primus. The same promo art also seems to include Broot, Elu, and a version of Doc among others, indicating something closer to the 2006 mini series.

The new series will be written by Tom King, the current co-writer (with Tim Seeley) of DC’s Grayson and feature art from Alec Morgan. It’s possible DC is looking at some of that cosmic Guardians of the Galaxy coin here, and this is definitely one that has some massive potential in the post-Convergence era.


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