Welcome to the New DC Universe, week 3.
Let’s review. Justice League #1 and the whole midnight launch was (in my humble opinion) and successful event to a somewhat underwelming comic book [read it here]. Week 2 lived up to some of my expectations, delivered some surprises (seriously can not wait for the next Animal Man and Men of War) and some disappointment (why OMAC, why?), if you recall the reviews it was a strong full week.[read it here] Lets be honest, so far the art in this reboot/relaunch has been phenomenal. Heck, I will even go so far as to say Rob Liefeld even managed to pump out a couple panels that didn’t make me question my faith in humanity (seriously Rob, do you have feet? can you see them?). I am excited for this week already.
I’m now all set to dive into 13 all new, all different, mostly familiar issues! Off the hop here I would like to thank my lovely wife for picking this weeks haul up from the fine and very helpful staff at 8th Street Comics & Books (alright people thats TWO free plugs… these have to pay out at some point). My early prediction is this week will fair less than the last. Sure we’ve got got some sure hits like Batman and Robin and Batwoman (finally), Green Lantern is either going to be awesome or a disaster. I think Mr. Terrific is, well terrific but can he hold his own book? How bad are Grifters’ allergies that he has to wear his hanky on his face. All That and more after I hammer through all 13 of these.
*play the musical interlude of your choice here*
Well, this weeks reads are good, not great, but good. I can see that I won’t be spending to much money this time next month. Sadly I didn’t find any huge break-out must reads in the stack. Superboy, Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, Batwoman and, Legion Lost all preformed like they should. The ones to watch would be Suicide Squad, Resurrection man, Grifter, Demon Knights, and I will pity the fool that doesn’t give Mr. T(errific) a chance. Red Lanterns falls a bit flat and pass on Deathstoke and Frankenstein, you’ve read those already years ago under different titles.
Please keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times and please don’t feed the Ambush Bug, we are bound for spoiler town. Here is the fast and dirty spoil infused reviews of this week in the new 52:
Batwoman: Written by J.H. WILLIAMS III and W. HADEN BLACKMAN; Art and cover by J.H. WILLIAMS III
I remember it just like it was yesterday that I heard word that there was going to be an ongoing Batwoman book. I believe it was the same day dirt was invented and Larry King learned to drive. Seriously, we’ve been waiting for this book a long ass time. When Kate Kane made her debut in 52 followed by her run in Detective back in that old DCU, I found the character intriguing to say the least. Sadly, this issue doesn’t add much more to that. Don’t get me wrong, JH Williams III renders and writes a great book, I just don’t know if it’s got me. High points? Mister Bones and the Department Of Extranormal Operations; granted my mind is boggled at how he is even in this new continuity since there is no JSA which means no Infinity Inc., so clearly no Helix for him to be in from which to turn from bad to good and… oh crap I’ve gone cross eyed. Batwoman, I’m putting you in the ‘to watch’ column; impress me and maybe something wonderful will grow, platonically of course, since I remember all the hulabloo about your sexual orientation.
Batman and Robin: Written by PETER J. TOMASI; Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
First off, I really have to say I am a huge fan of Grant Morrison’s Batman (Dick Grayson) and Robin (Damian Wayne). It was a great flip with Batman being the easy going and Robin being the dark emo pyscho. This is not that book. Bruce is back (tell a friend) as the one and only Batman, but Damian is still Robin. While Dick and Damian toyed around will being sometimes rivals sometimes friends this is a clear (and often ham handed) father/son tale. I am honestly interested to see how this turns out. The high points are clearly seeing Damian and Bruce interact. It is clear that Damian is Bruce unbound; wreckless and head strong and dark, but just a touch more. PLUS, he clearly has no regard for large radioactive balls. I am a father myself, and I have made a point to teach my children to respect orbs packed with isotopes. Bruce, you’re a new dad, you have some learning to do. I’ll be picking up issue two, I need to see how the real Bat Family fleshes out.
Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: Written by JEFF LEMIRE; Art by ALBERTO PONTICELLI; Cover by J.G. JONES
This is another tough one for me. Frankenstein and the Creature Commandos as a whole, rocket me back to when all I knew of comics was what I stole from my brother’s rooms and read without them knowing. When they were brought into Flashpoint I was intrigued. Now I’m feeling a little disappointed. I LOVE the classic Universal Monsters (anyone want to read my unpublished version about them in a classic semi-Cheers-esque setting? Anyone? Please?). What I really got out of this book was the unliscened Mexican Hellboy. Oh sure there are a few curve balls: his ‘father’ (Father Time, I assume somewhat untouched from the old continuity other than he) is now a rip off of Hit Girl from Kick Ass, and they fly around in a magic baseball with Ray Palmer (that’s my high point folks, it had Ray “I used to be the Atom” Palmer in it). Where does Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E stand? Right next to OMAC. I want to like you. Make me like you. I don’t think I will be around for issue 2.
Demon Knights: Written by PAUL CORNELL; Art by DIOGENES NEVES and OCLAIR ALBERT; Cover by TONY S. DANIEL
Hrrm. Ok. I am missing something here I think, Demon Knights is suppose to be some kind of prequel to the new DCU, right? From what I have read it somehow connects to Stormwatch. I have to be honest, it seems a bit lost on me and I had trouble getting into it. Maybe it’s because this book dropped me into a GD renaissance fair, plus they made the Shining Knight a chick, maybe… I don’t know, I just didn’t get into this one. I am sure tomorrow when I read all the other reviews, there will be talk of how this was great and a must read and yadda yadda yadda. Alright, I am tossing this in the ‘maybe’ pile. Here is why: It had Vandal Savage and Madame Xanadu. It actually does look like it links into and might explain some of the new continuity. Shining Knight looks kinda hot as a chick… he is a chick now, right? Oh Demon Knights, why have you left me questioning myself.
Grifter: Written by NATHAN EDMONDSON; Art and cover by CAFU
Ok, so here is another Wildstorm character brought into the DCU. I’ll be honest, I know very very little about Grifter and this issue somehow made me feel like I know less. So, blond Wolverine is on a plane and the voices in his head make him get all violent, and then one of the voices that is a real person, pushes him out of the plane and he wakes up talking to a see through glowing Chuthulu wannabe. Am I right? Oh, wait. He is a con man, so that’s why he is called Grifter. What luck, I’d have a hard time buying a book called “Proctologist”. Ok, I am being unnecessarily harsh, and here’s why: I have seen this character for years and I will hand it to Jim Lee, he looks freakin cool. Here I am getting my first full-fledged exposure to him and its a damn two part set up story? This is an issue 3 flashback, damn it. Give me some action to hook me, then come back and explain all this wannabe LOST/Alias crap. Don’t judge me but, I am putting this in the ‘to watch’ stack. Although I’m a little frustrated, I am still curious. Grifter, you get an issue or two out me.
Mister Terrific: Written by ERIC WALLACE; Art by GIANLUCA GUGLIOTTA; Cover by J.G. JONES
The good news is, this one actually opens up with a little action! It was rather nice to seem some actual superherorics happen at this point. I was getting bored after the above ones. Ok, so Mr. Terrific, 3rd smartest man in the world, tragic family death, new found mission to make the world a better place due to his self fulfilling prophesy yadda yadda ya. Gotcha. I really got the same feel from this book as I did with Static Shock. I liked it, but that’s about it. It had a good story, I really do think he is a good character and pity the fool that don’t like Mr. T (rerific that is, had to crack that one twice. sorry). Can I be that guy? Can I tell you what bugged me? Well, the art did, but beyond that? Karen Starr, DCnU do NOT do this. Do not just introduce her as love interest/side character and expect us to take it. She is Power Girl and we love her and her and her… assets where they belong, in tights! To wrap. Mr. Terrific is going to me another ‘to watch’ for me. I am not writing him off just yet but friend, you are treading on some thin ice.
Green Lantern: Written by GEOFF JOHNS; Art by DOUG MAHNKE and CHRISTIAN ALAMY; Cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO; Variant cover by GREG CAPULLO
I am happy with this one. So on to the next comic… Oh ok, I suppose should expand on that. I am a Green Lantern fan, always have been. It’s nice to see the purportedly greatest one (and next to Guy Gardner, coolest) back in the title role for the first time. I have always like Sinestro, even back when he was just the villain of the month ‘fear my cause I wear black and blue’. I got where he was coming from. He is a Machiavellian ass kicker and I look forward to his run as lead in the title. Oh, yea… that Hal guy is still around. He’s having some troubles with his girlfriend, paying his rent and not being a Green Lantern anymore. This is a clear high point in the whole new 52. Obviously set up to be a high seller and I think it deserves to be read. Johns, love him or hate him, is going to deliver a story here, just PLEASE let Sinestro’s run last for a good amount of time. I, like most of you, will buy #2.
Red Lanterns: Written by PETER MILLIGAN; Art and cover by ED BENES and ROB HUNTER
KITTIES! And he spits plasma and rage and hate (like most cats). Hey, I guess if you are going to open up a Red Lanterns comic, you do it with fan favorite Dex-Starr. When I heard there was going to be a Red Lanterns on-going, I honestly thought it was going to be a Guy Gardner vehicle. I think I would have rather it been, This one starts to blow sticky red chunks halfway through. If you are a diehard fan of lanterns from every skittle in the rainbow, I guess pick this up? I found the whole issue bland and cold for the most part. Atroticus is his usual big red self and I don’t really seem to care about his emoness and urge to revenge all the vengeance he can grr rah boogada boogada. Didn’t before, won’t now. Other than the initial joy of seeing a cat be the biggest jerk in the universe in the first few panels, my interest started to slide. By the last page I had basically tuned most of it out. I’ll be passing on this one.
Suicide Squad: Written by ADAM GLASS; Art by MARCO RUDY; Cover by RYAN BENJAMIN
Do I have to read this one? When I first saw the DCnU Harley Quinn I was immediately turned off on this title (irony). Now, I am not some kind of prude (far from it) but I just found the change trite, pandering and unnecessarily. If you have the internet, you may have heard a few thousand people say the same thing. Then I read the book. Damn it, I enjoyed it. It’s a great new start to the Suicide Squad with a mostly new cast but all the elements that made it’s run back in the 80’s great. Just as the issue was starting to close off, however, I got another slap in the face from the DCnU. That’s Amanda Waller? Guess a protein shake in the morning, then one for lunch, and then a sensible dinner can work wonders. A rail thin big boobed Amanda “the Wall” Waller is just not kosher in my books. I understand that it was a move to align the comics with Angela Bassett’s role in the the Green Lantern movie, but when I saw that I had the exact same reaction, she should big and bold, don’t try and make her a sex symbol. Suicide Squad will be regulated to the top of this weeks ‘to watch’ pile for me, one more chance and if it does shape up, I’ll hit the kill switch.
Deathstroke: Written by KYLE HIGGINS; Art by JOE BENNETT and ART THIBERT; Cover by SIMON BISLEY
Not going to lie, this one was another uphill battle for me. I know I should go into these as clear from preconceived notions as possible, but come on. Does Deathstroke really deserve his own title? Comics have a lot of gun toting, sword wielding, spiky suit, buckle and pouched bad asses. Deathstroke may have been one of the first, but he’s still just part of that pack to me. That is exactly who we see in this book. For this relaunch he sure seems like the same old eye-patched bone breaker. Sure there is a new supporting cast and what looks like a new mission for this former semi-reformed Titan villain, but nothing hooked me in. I’ll pass on this book. If you are a fan of the character, you’ll get what you are looking for. I’m just going to wait till he gets busted and tossed into the Suicide Squad.
Resurrection Man: Written by DAN ABNETT and ANDY LANNING; Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
When the original 2 year run died out 10 years ago, I just assumed it that was the end of it. I guess, he is called the Resurrection man for reason (derp), so here’s his second chance. This was a good book, not a great one. I just don’t get Mitch Shelly yet. So he dies and each time he comes back with a new super power, that could get interesting. He’s not a superhero, more a lost soul that heaven and hell will battle over, alright then. Basically we’re talking about John Constantine and Dial H for hero all smooshed together, right? The pages are packed with darkness and demons and an slam bang drag out 4 armed she-beast fight on an Airbus that ends in a crash and of course… a resurrection. Side note, name of the airline? Lazarus Airlines. Yea huh. One can assume they cater to mainly immortals and the undead, kind a like Southwest in our world. Enjoy this 2nd time around Mitch, probably not going to last that long but I’ll be along for the ride.
Legion Lost: Written by FABIAN NICIEZA; Art and cover by PETE WOODS
Heroes from the future come back to save our past to protect their present. Basic story that’s been told time and time again. I like it! The Legion of Superheroes are not stranger to reboots and recons. Hell after almost half a dozen times they are pros at it. The book opens up at a fast pace and nicely maintains it from page to page, the story gets a little muddy at times but it serves the whole ‘new jumping point’ well. What I really liked in this one is the whole ‘ breaking through the Flashpoint Breakwall’ shenanigans. Could this be a move to limit time travel in the new DCU? I hope so. Fans new and old of the Legion should hope on board, this one looks promising.
Superboy: Written by SCOTT LOBDELL; Art by RB SILVA and ROB LEAN
It may have taken all 13 issues this week for a real good surprise, but it did come in the form of Superboy #1. This is what the reboot/relaunch should be all about, this reads right away as a very fresh new take on the teen of steel. It hints and teases you that it will share some history with the old universe, but then whips you into something new. Cadmus is out and N.O.W.H.E.R.E is here, off hand references to part of Superboys DNA being from Lex Luthor but my gut tells me it’ll be a surprise. Mix in a taste of that red haired science chick from GEN13 and enjoy! My one complaint (come on, you didn’t think I’d end without one thing to bitch about). LOSE THE FREAKIN TRON SUIT. Seriously. That just feels like a cheap ‘the kids are all gaga over the light cycles, put him in some glowly pj’s pronto!’ Granted, soon Teen Titans will hit the shelves, there he looks like he just walked out of a Persian Disco. Lets hope Superboy straightens out his wardrobe soon.
So, that is for this week, up next? I read more comics and pretend to work at my day job when we visit; Batman, Birds Of Prey, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Catwoman, DC Universe Presents (ft. Deadman), Green Lantern Corps, Legion Of Super Heroes, Nightwing, Red Hood And The Outlaws, Supergirl, and lets not forget about Wonder Woman’s pants.