PHILADELPHIA - More than eight months after upending its universe of classic heroes and ongoing titles, DC Entertainment is bringing six more titles to readers, including a contemporary take on its vintage war comic, "G.I. Combat."
The book, one of six new titles in comic shops on Wednesday, features a pair of stories that focus on modern-day U.S. soldiers in situations both fantastic, chaotic and, in some cases, out of time, too.
Writer J.T. Krul's offering focuses on a pair of special forces operatives stationed aboard a U.S. Navy ship in the Sea of Japan. As it monitors North Korea, a dead zone immune to any and all radar, sonar, satellite imagery and more pops up, causing concern about what may be hiding there.
"They see this blotted out section and it definitely piques their curiosity," he said. "That's why they send the team in."
What they find there is something out of an H.G. Wells novel or a science fiction film, he said, noting the title of the first chapter is "The War That Time Forgot."
"It's a lot like `Predator,'" Krul said in an interview this week about the dynamic between the two soldiers - Stevens and Elliott - as they're forced to react, and fight, a force unlike any they've trained for.
"It's what they're trained for," Krul said. Even when "confronted by this unbelievably challenging and difficult environment - like being surrounded by dinosaurs!"
The artwork by Ariel Olivetti captures the confusion and outright shock as the soldiers' teammates are rapidly killed off in a quick, but decidedly monstrous fashion, too.
The second feature of the comic, written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, takes DC's long-suffering Unknown Soldier and envelopes him in the fabric of the war on terror from the London bombings of July 2005 to the malleable and shifting battlefields of Afghanistan.
"We're taking the original concept and modernizing with the war on terror so we have a more espionage-based story line dealing with worst case scenarios of modern terrorism," Gray said. "Having the Unknown Soldier be this one-man task force bent on stopping terror cells and plots, it's a coping a mechanism."
His identity is a mystery, but he's driven by the loss of his family and that leaves him with little else, but Palmiotti said it's important that readers be able to relate to the character and his mystery.
"He has to step up and think about not only himself, but those around him," Palmiotti said of the character's tale that is illustrated by artist Dan Panosian. "The reader sees the soul behind the character."
Besides "G.I. Combat," DC's other new offerings include "Earth 2," which puts a new spin on the Justice Society of America; "Dial H," a new version of the publisher's obscure yet cult-favorite "Dial H for Hero" that is being penned by British writer China Mieville; Grant Morrison's "Batman Incorporated;" `'World's Finest" featuring the heroines Huntress and Power Girl; and "The Ravagers."
The titles replaced six series that were part of DC's relaunch last year but were canceled.