Comics I Read: DC New 52 Week 2


Batman and Robin #1: I loved the reverse dynamic duo where Robin (Damian) was the serious one and Batman (Dick) was light-hearted, and I frankly wasn't sure it would work with Robin (still Damian) being serious and Batman (Bruce) being even more serious. But Bruce's experiences lately have lightened him a little, and Damian is as stubbornly unsentimental as ever (Damian: "You can't just build a boat and hope darkness magically sails away in it." Bruce: "Why not? It's my boat.") so it still works. A good first outing, and I'm excited for the future of this partnership.

Batwoman #1: Based on the zero issue, I knew this would still be awesome and it is. No rebooting at all here, with the possible exception of a reference to Renee Montoya as a cop (which doesn't preclude her from still being The Question). Loved the bit about Kate training her cousin, even making her give up her Flamebird identity. ("You don't need that garish costume...you need a uniform.") I still wish Greg Rucka was involved -- be sure to read this great interview about his current work -- but I'll go out on a limb, without having seen half of the new 52, and say that this is still the best book DC publishes.

Deathstroke #1: Meh. There's nothing particularly wrong with this, but it's not that interesting either. I didn't sympathize with Slade enough or find his personality fascinating enough to want to read more about him.

Demon Knights #1: Whew. After Stormwatch, I was worried, but I absolutely loved this. Loved the new spins on old characters (especially the Shining Knight) and the beautiful art by Diogenes Neves. Highly recommended.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1: If you liked Jeff Lemire's "Flashpoint" version of this character, you'll like this too. I actually find Frankenstein way more interesting than the rest of his Creature Commandos, but we've barely gotten to know them yet (in this reality, anyway) so that may change. The rest of the S.H.A.D.E. stuff, including the classic DC character who built their headquarters, was cool and fun.

Grifter #1: Reinvents the alien invasion from the original WildC.A.T.S. series as a (to coin a phrase) secret invasion that only Cole Cash is aware of. Unfortunately, that leaves us with a Grifter who's a lot less confident, and therefore less fun to watch, than the version we're used to. (But I still haven't gotten over the cancellation of WildCATS 3.0, so don't mind me.) I'm interested enough to see where this goes for a while.

Green Lantern #1: I was concerned that this would be impenetrable to the new reader, but Johns does a good job at dispensing everything you need to know as he goes along without retelling everything that's happened since "Rebirth". I liked how both Hal's and Sinestro's lives are miserable, and I look forward to seeing how they work together to fix things. Doug Mahnke's art is, as always, great. (Even on the Earthbound scenes, which he hasn't had to draw in this book for a while.)

Legion Lost #1: Wow. A lot happens really fast in this issue. I liked it a lot: the mix of characters is great and Pete Woods' art is always awesome. (Loved his new designs for the lost Legionnaires.) There's no knowledge of the Legion required, but whether new readers will find this intriguing or just confusing I can't tell because I'm too close to it. Either way, you at least get your money's worth for 20 pages. (Nitpicky question: How does Wildfire know to use the term "Flashpoint"? Did he read the comic?)

Mister Terrific #1: I wanted to like this way more than I did, but the twist at the end implies that maybe we haven't gotten to see the real Michael Holt yet. I don't hate it or anything, but this hasn't hooked me yet.

Red Lanterns #1: So, Atrocitus is now basically the Spectre (or Ghost Rider, if you prefer) without the "of God" part. That could work. Impressive art from Ed Benes, showing 180 degrees difference from his recent "Birds of Prey" issues. (Nobody in this book is attractive.)

Resurrection Man #1: I don't remember the plot of the original series that well, but I think this version has more of a supernatural spin on it. Because Mitch's soul is infinitely resurrectible, it's apparently prized by both the forces of heaven and hell. This direction is a good choice, I think, given that there'll be a lot of other books doing superhero stuff. Abnett & Lanning turn in solid work as usual.

Suicide Squad #1: Relentlessly drab and awful, without any of the wit or sophistication of John Ostrander or Gail Simone. King Shark is still awesome, and a shark, but Amanda Waller is now a young Angela Bassett. (How can skinny Amanda be nicknamed "The Wall"? It just doesn't work. Read more about Waller's unique place in comics in this excellent "DC Women Kicking Ass" post.) And for some reason the prison is now called "Belle Reeve", which doesn't make any sense, instead of "Belle Reve". (It's repeated more than once, so if it's a proofreading error it's a big one.) Cross the street to avoid this one.

Superboy #1: CBR ran an interesting experiment last week where they gave some of the new #1s to people who don't read comics and got their opinions. Almost unanimously, they said they wished the new books had started with origins instead of dropping into the middle of the stories. (Except for Action and Detective, because everyone on the planet knows who Superman and Batman are.) If you feel that way, this is the book for you, as it starts with Superboy still in a test tube. It's too early to tell if his personality will end up more on the fun side or the angsty side, but Scott Lobdell's plot and dialogue are clever with some interesting names in the supporting cast so far. I wish Eric Canete, who drew the hauntingly beautiful cover, could have drawn the inside too, but I did like R.J. Silva's work quite a bit. Fair warning, though: it looks like this book will be tied in pretty closely with Teen Titans.

(And, on the other side of the aisle, the Odin/Steve Rogers scenes in Fear Itself #6 are worth the price of admission for the whole series so far. Brilliant.)

In other New 52 news, we have our first (I think) writer casualty: John Rozum has quit Static Shock. His carefully worded statement says he wasn't fired, and that it wasn't a problem with DC or with Static the character (whatever that means). What does that leave? A conflict with Scott McDaniel (who has a writing credit on issue #1) maybe? This was one of my favorites of the relaunch titles and Rozum is a terrific writer, so I'm very disappointed. If it was an issue with this specific assignment, and not something Milestone-related, then hopefully we'll see the return of "Xombi" soon.

Again this week only one serious dud in the DC bunch, which is a pretty good track record so far. Favorites this week: Batwoman, Demon Knights, Superboy, Batman & Robin. Week 3 DC titles I'm most looking forward to: Nightwing, Legion of Super-Heroes, Supergirl, Wonder Woman.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the great rundown on the DC books, Jeff. I'm glad one of us is checking them all out, at least the first issues. Your comments make me glad I ordered BATMAN AND ROBIN, BATWOMAN, and FRANKENSTEIN. I can wait for trades or hold off forever on some of the others. I just didn't trust the team on SUICIDE SQUAD to do it right - - nobody has since Volume 1. Just leave that property alone - - or convince the original team to come back.

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