I don’t know why they make it so hard. You would think that on the DC Comics site you could find good versions of their current comics, but no, all I could get for Batman anywhere is these small pictures without the logo.
If you have been following this blog, you know that I got a special deal from Samurai Comics in Phoenix that got me all 52 of D.C.’s new 52. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I couldn’t pass it up. Thus, I get to comment and kvetch on their entire new line as they come out.
I’ll take them in alphabetical order again.
Batman #1. Of all the different DC continuities, Batman seems to have changed the least. The Bat family seems to have their act together at the moment. Bruce and Dick work together to quell (yet another) uprising of the horrible kind in Arkham Asylum. Tim Drake and Damian Wayne are also shown in tuxedos at the mansion. An improbable murder mystery is set up that implicates Dick Grayson as a killer and a threat to Bruce Wayne’s life. I can’t help but feel that writer Scott Snyder has gone off on the wrong path with this mystery. With D.C. starting Dick off on a new Nightwing series the same week, the Batman story line seems very weak. Greg Capullo’s art is medium good–very moody, a bit blunt. Overall, I liked the comic–it has classic Batman feel to it, and some great scenes. I will probably buy #2, unless a scan of that comic shows it has totally lost it.
Birds of Prey #1. This Bat team book has a symbolic cover showing that our new Birds of Prey teamup will be Black Canary, Starling, Katana, and . . . Poison Ivy! Say what!!!!!! It can’t be easy to keep turning out interesting new story lines, but clearly writer Duane Swierczynski has lost his mind. Artist Jesus Saiz does a nice job with the art, and there’s a good cliffhanger ending. Barbara Gordon, now that she can be Batgirl again, turns her back on the team. The comic is well done, but the characters are not my favorites by a long shot. I won’t buy #2.
Blue Beetle #1. This book features a new origin story for Jaime Reyes–is that his name? It has good art, a natural feel to the story, and is set in El Paso–certainly a likely place to find a hispanic superhero. Blue Beetle is starting over from scratch, but the characters and setups are all the same. It’s ok, but I won’t buy #2.
Captain Atom #1. Captain Atom has a new and punkier look. He’s now somehow connected to the infamous Dr. Megala, instead of the unscrupulous U.S. Air Force. The art is kind of washed out and distorted, but maybe that’s the look they wanted. I lost interest in the book by page 3. I won’t be buying #2.
Catwoman #1. I don’t care much for this artist’s version of Selina Kyle, but the writer carries on with Catwoman, in trouble as usual–super acrobat and butt-kicking femme fatale. What is not to love about this comic, except perhaps the scenes where she sits around and talks or her new face? Writer Judd Winick has provided us with a great title: “… and most of the costumes stay on …”. It would be too much of a spoiler if I told you what that refers to, but just remember that this is a Batman book. I probably won’t buy issue #2, but I will definitely skim it on the stands.
Deadman #1. The cover shows Deadman (Boston Brand) in chains. The story is mostly origin story. Writer Paul Jenkins and artist Bernard Chang are trying to make the comic socially relevant. I hated it. It wasn’t real bad, but I still hated it. I won’t buy #2.
Green Lantern Corps #1. I do believe that rebooting the DC universe would have been the perfect opportunity to get rid of Guy Gardner and John Stewart. As Green Lanterns go, they were always the least interesting. But, it doesn’t look like Green Lantern continuity has changed at all–they just won’t mention all those places where Lantern continuity and DC universe main continuity were the same. Unable to fit in on Earth, Gardner and Stewart wander off into space where horrible things are happening (as usual), and other Green Lanterns are dying. You know, for a force with the most powerful weapon in the universe, the Green Lanterns sure die very easily. I have to think their training stinks. They really have very little idea of how to best use their rings. I won’t be buying #2.
Legion of Super Heroes #1. Here’s a fresh take on a bunch of old heroes. I have to ask, why in hell should we care what happens in the 31st century to these guys? The Legion was a cool idea once upon a time, back in the 50s and 60s when it was new. It wasn’t really about the Legion in those days–it was about Superboy and his friends. We cared about Superboy back then. It’s going to be real hard to care about the new clone Superboy the killing machine. Now the Legion is just another gang of super-powered cops in outer space. There are so many legionaires that it’s hard to develop much feeling or sympathy for any of them. I won’t be buying #2.
Mister Terrific #1. Michael Holt is the world’s 3rd smartest man, and he uses those brains to create super scientific gizmos and to play superhero. In additon to being super smart, he’s also an olympic class athlete. He dazzles his foes with science and a great right cross. Let’s face it, Mr. Terrific is a black Batman without the history or the baggage. Did we really need a black version of Reed Richards in the DC universe? Come to think of it, he already has a blond girlfriend. Shades of Sue Storm, she even dresses in blue! The art is good; the story is boring. I won’t be buying #2.
Nightwing #1. I’ve always liked acrobat Dick Grayson. I still do. He’s a likeable guy. But does the world really need another crime-fighting acrobat with a bat on his chest? I don’t think so. Oh yeah, somebody mysterious is trying to kill him. Hmm, they’re trying to kill Bruce Wayne in the Batman title, and trying to kill Dick Grayson in the Nightwing title. Is this a conspiarcy? I won’t buy #2.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #2. Jason Todd, Roy Harper, and Koriandr are the Outlaws–a super team that works on both sides of the law. Roy Harper looks younger and has got his arm back. Koriandr is now a super-powered space ho. Even so, she is the main reason to read this book. Bimbo or not, she’s hot. I won’t buy #2.
Supergirl #1. Michael Green and Mike Johnson, are the new writers for Supergirl. They took the whole issue to cover Supergirl’s arrival on Earth. Complete continuity reboot here. In the past, DC covered her arrival in a page or two. And she arrives catastrophically in Russia. Good art, a nice costume redesign, no plot. It’s probably one of the best of the releases for this week, but I won’t buy #2.
Wonder Woman #1. Yes, it does have a crummy symbolic cover. All those arrows are surely phallic symbols and one goes right through (or behind if you see no symbolism here) the vital spot. And why is she carrying a bloody sword? Ouch! So, forget the front cover. Once you get inside you’re in the best story of the week. The Greek gods are up to trouble again. Zeus is still fathering demigods on the world. Apollo is counterplotting, in a nasty, heartless sort of way. Divinely created centaurs arrive to assassinate a young woman named Zola. Hermes tries to save her. Diana (aka Wonder Woman) gets involved. You don’t see the title of the story or the credits until the very last page, and they are very modestly done. Kudos to Brian Azarello (writer) and Cliff Chiang (artist) for what is, imho, the best DC comic of the week, perhaps of the month. I don’t ordinarily follow Wonder Woman, but in this case I will make an exception. I will buy #2.
And that’s this week’s report on DCs latest batch of failures–I mean comics. Lots of cliff-hangers. lots of new mysteries being launched. On the whole, the new DC line shows little evidence of connectedness from title to title. It is unclear where we are in time and space most of the time. There was nothing as completely worthless as the new Hawk and Dove or Frankenstein, but there wasn’t much to get excited about either. The Bat books and Wonder Woman are the best of the lot. Your mileage may vary. If you have comments about DC’s new line, please feel free to sound off below.