DC’s New 52: Comic Reviews

Just about everybody else I know into comics has a marvel thing. Even though my first American comic was a Marvel thing (Fantastic Four #109, with the best cliffhanger a 8 yr old could wish for) I’ve always been a DC guy. Don’t get me wrong I love good comics writing wherever I’ve found it but there’s something about the DC characters that do it for me. I’ve read DC through the good times and the bad times. Im also a fan of  Marv Wolfman’s original plan to completely start the DC world from scratch back in the 80’s when they came up with the original Crisis.  Imagine my excitement when I learned that the continuity enmeshed world I have come to love is getting a reboot. But will it be what it should be?  Let’s find out as I review all the new no.1’s.

The no.1’s come after DC’s event flashpoint which ends with ( no surprise) the Flash changing time and thus paving the way for change. Flashpoint was a good story with a shoehorned ending, which as far as I can see give DC an out if things aren’t working.  It also introduces a meta plot which will run behind the entire DC universe. As Flash is changing time a mysterious lady appears and we learn that something is coming.  Apparently this lady will cameo in every no.1 so if you can be bothered you get to play spot the lady. Anyway here’s the reviews

Week 1

Justice League

This title sets the stage for the new universe magnificently. It features Batman and Green Lantern meeting  each other for the first time ever and ends with an encounter with superman that had me wanting to collect a superman title for the first time in my life. As you can tell I loved this story. Jim Lee, of course kicks ass on the art duties and Geoff  Johns doesn’t fail, writing some of the best batman lines in recent history.

Verdict: I am in like Flynn

Week 2

Action Comics

I’ve never been a big superman fan, but this returning of ‘the super icon’ to his beginnings has me intrigued. In this version he wears a t-shirt and a cape with jeans and boots. From the end of JLA we know he gets a new uniform at some point and I admit it’s my curiosity more than anything that is driving me on this one. Along with the fact that if Grant Morrison is writing I’m bound to find this story’s ultimate destination exciting. The story is a good one and experiencing a raw superman and his alter ego is quite interesting. Rags Morales art is a thing of beauty, and yet I’m not over excited about this title.

Verdict: I’m in for one storyline

Animal Man

I’m a long time Animal Man fan so was really looking forward to what writer Jeff Lemire would do with him. I was glad to see that he captured the tone of Buddy Bakers world in a comfortingly familiar fashion whilst adding his own personality and keeping a touch of the weird which has characterised Animal mans world since Grant Morrisons reboot of the character years ago.  Travel Foremans art is sound,  but a little ‘pinched’ for my taste. It may take a little acclimatisation for the average DC fan.

Verdict: Oh yes I’m in

 

Batgirl

This was the first title that I was a little wary of.  DC broke the mould by making Barbara Gordon into the wheelchair bound hero Oracle.  A prominent character doing great things. So I was a little disappointed. Here was a character that reflected a portion of society not usually reflected in mainstream comics; and now she’s back as batgirl having been miraculously healed somehow, in what I deem a betrayal of the people she was representing. However, that being said it was a decent story and with Gail Simone at the helm Barbaras development should be an interesting one but it failed to set my world on fire.

Verdict: Not for me

 

Batwing

Let’s see, Gotham City has batman, Robin, Batgirl and more whie Africa, which I shouldn’t have to point out is a continent not a country, has Batwing, the Batman of Africa. Seriously what year is this. Africa is huge and one man is meant to be protecting all of it. What other stereotypical attitudes can we espouse here, as it’s set in Africa there will probably be child soldiers mentioned….oh and there they are. Bloody hell the more things change the more they stay the same. I’m deeply saddened that intelligent writers such as Judd Winick and his Overlords cannot see what they are doing. I want to applaud them for setting a story in Africa but am exasperated by its execution. However I found the story intriguing and want to see where it goes, there are some interesting overtures towards a disappeared African superteam ( about time one was retconned into continuity). However I fear that despite my interest in the story I may not be able to countenance another reference to a continent when a country is meant.

Verdict: I’m in for now.

Detective Comics

Tony Daniels is no stranger to writing Batman and he does a satisfying job of refreshing the relationship between Batman and the Joker. This is a brutal tale, not the best Joker story ever but a decent new start showing us quite clearly how intelligent the joker is. This issue does have a particularly gruesome end. I do find myself wondering though if all this is doing is returning us to the same old status quo. However I am intrigued to find out what what the Jokers ultimate aim is here.

Verdict: I’m in for now

 

Green arrow

Exposition,exposition,exposition. That’s what characterised this story for me. Oliver Queen,business magnate by day and superhero by night, supported by tech guy and computer girl. Every panel seemed to be Ollie explaining who he was and what he was about. A classic tale of too much tell and not enough show. Not even Green Arrows, smallvilleesque costume change was enough to save this for me

Verdict: Nope

 

 

 

 

Hawk and Dove

I’m really angry and I don’t like you

I can’t tell him my secret

That’s pretty much the entirety of this issue. I like what these characters should be but completely failed to engage with this comic.

Verdict: Stroll on

Justice League International

This is another of this titles that I have great sentimental value for so my standards of judgement maybe high. Like it’s predecessor this title starts with a non powered boss putting together a team of superheroes. This time it is UN sanctioned, a team that can be controlled unlike it’s sister organisation the Justice League.  It has a collection of characters I know and love well and a few new ones( although in fact they are very old) thrown into the mix. This includes Godiva, she’s a Brit, you can tell cos she calls everyone mate! Booster Gold is the teams leader as they investigate the dissaperance of a team of UN scientists. The emergence of a very kirbyesque villain at the end makes for a lovely touch. It looks like there is an interesting story in development and the hidden agenda behind the teams creation also provides potential but all the characters seem a little obvious to me and not quite 3 dimensional enough. I choose to trust in writer Dan Jurgens and that combined with my love for these characters will keep me coming back.

Verdict: I’m in but living in hope of it’s improvement

Men of War

This is DC’s first war comic.  It features Sgt Rock an old time DC character. Like most of the comics so far, the story is intriguing and the presence of  an unknown ‘superpower’ on the battlefield not only provides a striking ending but a welcome note of mystery. This is the first comic with a backup story which is the first in a 3 parter about Navy Seals. I didn’t really understand the point of this story, I surmise that this title will play host to random war stories which is fine but not really for me. The art is stunning in both stories but at the end of the day the American military ‘hooyah’ness just left me cold.

Verdict: Just not for me

O.M.A.C

This story follows the story of Kevin Kho whose body has been co-opted by the sentient satellite Brother Eye.  He is transformed into OMAC, an unstoppable behemoth.  This is an orgy of kiryesque art and writing and it’s glorious. I love Keith Giffens art and Dan Didios writing has hit a complemantary tone .  However this is also it’s greatest weakness, it does tend to come over as if it was written for kids from the 70’s. Unfortunately the gimmick and the subject doesn’t inspire me enough to justify getting this title.

Verdict: I’m afraid not

Static Shock

Here’s another character I have sentimental attachments to and that could be my problem. My first thought was that I prefer the old costume. This issue has the old Milestone staple working under the mentorship of  Hardwire, another Milestone refugee. Unfortunately it just felt like a lesson in the intricacies of advanced electric theory. I’m all for education in my comics but this was to the detriment of the story. I will be getting this but only because I love this character and want to see it improve.

Verdict: another tentative yes

Stormwatch

This is the first of the leftovers from DC’s Wildstorm line featuring their hardcore  JLA counterpoint. I loved this team when I originally read their stories and despite that fact that yet again I found the story ‘intriguing’. Stormwatch just feels really out of place in this world. The biggest incongruence to me seemed to be the inclusion of the Martian Manhunter. The line used to justify his presence –

“I am known in some quarters as a hero but when I need to be a warrior I do it with Stormwatch”

Just not sure I bought it. But I like this team so let’s see where it goes.

Verdict: Curiosity has dragged me in

Swamp Thing

So many great Vertigo titles were shut down in order to bring certain characters into the main DC universe and many including me questioned the wisdom in relocating so many characters that lend themselves so well to an adult sensibility. Nothing in this comic has convinced me that I was wrong. I was never a big fan anyway.

Verdict: afraid not

So let’s just take a look at the scores so far

 

I’m in – 3

I’m in tentatively – 5

I’m out – 6

Join me in a few days for week 3, in the meantime plese feel free to comment below, telling me if I’m on the utton or full of crap.

GS Reporter: Monts

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