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DC Comics, The New 52 Pick Up: Part 5

So here we are, the end of the start of the new DC Universe! Soon, we won’t even call in the DCnU, it will just become what we are used to. We will look back on the days when Superman wore his underwear on the outside as a strange and alien time when we used to churn our own butter and married our cousins. Jaime Reyes is the only Blue Beetle there has ever been and Aquaman has always been cool.

We shouldn’t doddle around to much, we have a lot of ground to cover this time out. What did this week bring? Not much. If you are looking for a week to save money on comics, welcome to it. Out of the last 5 (read the reviews: Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4) this one is by far the weakest. Only 3 picks this time, Justice League Dark, All Star Western, and Aquaman. My favorite comic this week was AQUAMAN. Process that. Teen Titans and Green Lantern New Guardians are both worth looking into and might grow into something. Flash, Superman and Batman Dark Knight all fail at living up to the classic characters they contain, however they have just started so we should watch them, they grow.

Firestorm? Maybe I should read it again… it should be better than it was. Savage Hawkman was a disapointment, Carter Hall/Katar Hol deserves sorting out and being done right, this new version isn’t it. I, Vampire wasn’t all Twilighty! Still isn’t worth a 2nd issue though, and same for Blackhawks. Voodoo, why Voodoo, why do you exist? I mean, sure… tits are nice, but that’s what I have the internet for.

 

Let’s break out the fast and dirty probably going to have a couple of spoilers rapid fire reviews!

(after the jump)

AQUAMAN – Written by GEOFF JOHNS; Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
 Oh I see what you did there Geoff Johns. By having people openly mock Aquaman, you’re taking the bull by the horns and will show us all that this sea man is actually something cool! To bad it doesn’t really work out that way. Don’t get me wrong, this was a good start to what might be a good book. It had action, it had scary deep sea fish man eating sailors and it was even mildly charming in places.I’m going to pick up issue 2, I got a good feeling about this book. Fair warning though, if to much time is spent on the ‘no, he really is awesome and stuff’ and the meta humor of people making fun of Aquaman, I’ll deep six it quick.
 
GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS – Written by TONY BEDARD; Art and cover by TYLER KIRKHAM and BATT
 DC’s quest to put out a lantern book every damn week ends on a bit of a flat note in my books. Kyle Rayner has long been a fan favorite (hey, he’s in my top 5 Green Lanterns… from earth… that are human.) It’s nice to see him sick around and not get all Wally West’d out of continuity. Going in, I didn’t have high expectations for this Nyan Nyan Cat Corps and it squeaks past as a maybe for me. It’s the only GL book to even remotely feel like a reboot, we see Rayner’s origin again, we get a quick lesson the colours of the rainbow and then it sets up enough of a plot that makes the starting arc look like an interesting one. A whole bag of skittles rings open up and want on Kyle, and then every crayon in the box gets ready to fight.Here you go lantern fans, your month is now complete.
THE FURY OF FIRESTORM: THE NUCLEAR MEN – Written by ETHAN VAN SCIVER and GAIL SIMONE; Art by YILDIRAY CINAR; Cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
 In the old DCU Firestorm was always a solid B lister, Both Ronny and Jason did alright in their time in the role, but now they are BOTH Firestorm!They are opposites! One’s a jock, the other a nerd, one is back one is white, one is derp the other is a durh…. The ebony and ivory thing is written by the numbers and in wore thin on me quick. Fresh take on the character? Sure if you call recycling buddy buddy cop movie scripts ‘fresh’. Fire Skeltor on the cover shows up at the, I guess it was suppose to be a cliff hanger? To me it’s just an end. Won’t be coming back for issue 2.
THE FLASH – Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL; Variant cover by IVAN REIS and TIM TOWNSEND
 Wasn’t this suppose to be better? With all the hype Barry has had since his return a few years ago and being the center piece to the last cross over even that spawned this whole new 52, you’d think there would be cause to keep up the momentum. So, terrorist attack, Barry thinks a lot, childhood comes back but now its a them rather than a he.This book didn’t grab me, didn’t hook me, didn’t do anything but make think “by, sure wish Wally was still around, I liked him.” I going to guess this is just a first step and the series will pick up the pace a little and be good, but that’s just a guess. Worth a watch is my call.
 
BLACKHAWKS – Written by MIKE COSTA; Art and cover by KEN LASHLEY
 I really didn’t care for the live action GI Joe movie. It was stupid, flashy, didn’t spark any nostalgia for the beloved toy line. As far as I can tell Blackhawks is a cheap Mexican knock-off of the movie. Super secret government agency that stays secret by running around with giant ass logos all over big black planes that blow s#!t up. Someone wanna tell me how this one ends? I think I stopped halfway through.If this book actually puts out a 2nd issue, I won’t buy it.
THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN – Written by TONY S. DANIEL; Art and cover by PHILIP TAN
 Quick, in 5 words or less explain Hawkmans origin. Any of his many origins. Here’s a character that has been shelved multiple times for being a continuity nightmare. Luckily the DCnU is here to clean all that up and give us back Hawkman in a clear, clean easy to consume package. Will he be the archaeologist?  Maybe the awesome alien cop? The hawk god? The answer is yes. He is also kinda like the Hulk and Wolverine too.*sigh*The armor is clunky and so is the plot. Maybe Hawkman will be fixed in the next reboot. I’ll pass on this one.
TEEN TITANS – Written by SCOTT LOBDELL; Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND
 I’m going to come right out and say it. I wanted to like this book. I really did. I still might? Brett Booth’s art really bugged me. It wasn’t ‘bad’ just didn’t sit well with me. Teen Titans scores itself a maybe here. It was a slow start to another “let’s put a team together” story. It’s very much a Tim Drake/Red Robin book with small cameos by other characters. Looks like N.O.W.H.E.R.E. here and looking to abduct young meta-humans for whatever reason a huge mystery organization would do that sort of thing. Like it’s big sister Justice League #1, half the characters that appear on the cover don’t show up on the insides. I might pick up the next issue, just to see if “release the Superboy” means the same thing to them as it does to the wife and I.
I, VAMPIRE – Written by JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV; Art by ANDREA SORRENTINO; Cover by JENNY FRISON
 Seriously, how many freakin vampires am I suppose to care about now. Is this one of those creatures of the night that sucks blood or just plain sucks? The art in I, Vampire is damn good. Nice and moody and sets my mind at ease right away that this is a horror story, and not Twilight. It’s True Blood. I am sure this book will sell decently, but I don’t see it as being anything different from massively over-saturated Vampire/Werewolf niche. Boy vampire struggles to be ‘good’ and not eat people. Girl Vampire thinks your family would make a nice happy meal. Tossing this one to the bottom of the maybes, I might check back in with later to see how this builds and if it offers anything ‘new.’
ALL-STAR WESTERN – Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI; Art and cover by MORITAT
 Jonah Muther Eff’n Hex! I fear this book might get over looked by most. Hex has a following, but a lot of people seem to pass over the old cowboy these days. Hex rolls into old west Gotham, hired to hunt down a faux Jack the Ripper type killer. What is not to love about that. He teams up with Dr. Amadeus Arkham and proceeds to kick ass in this wonderfully drawn book. I found myself pouring over the panels, Moritat banged this one out of the park! The story was pretty sweet to. I am going to read All Star Western. Just one small wish… one day I hope someone, anyone, makes reference to the time that Hex spent in the future Mad Max post-apocalyptic wastelands. I know, I know, the reboot is suppose to do away with such silliness, but… Hex didn’t seem to mind.
 
VOODOO – Written by RON MARZ; Art and cover by SAMI BASRI
 DCnU Week 5 it took you long enough, damn it. With all the hullabaloo about boobs and sex hitting the pages, why does it take me 10 damn comic books to get a little, hmm? What do you have to say for yourself!Ok, Here’s Voodoo. She takes her clothes off. For money. Oh yea nd she is an alien. If you are two broke or young to go an actual strip club, then this is the book for you. The art was nice, which is good since that is all this book is. A 22 page stripper routine, oh of course it ends with a lap dance. And alien.This book actually makes the Catwoman number one look prudish and restrained. By comparison, the Starfire is a well rounded character.Can I please stop typing now and work on forgetting this book ever existed?
 
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK – Written by PETER MILLIGAN; Art by MIKEL JANIN; Cover by RYAN SOOK
 I really didn’t expect to say this, I have been lukewarm at best on all of the ‘Dark’ line from DC’s New 52, but I really enjoyed this one and actually want more? Weird I know. The concept of a arm of the Justice League devoted to the paranormal sounded like a bad mix at first, but it plays off really well. Granted, this is ANOTHER putting the team together. Madame Xanadu, Zatanna, Deadman, Resurrection Man and John Constantine are out to stop the Enchantress, who’s gone insane. Like, really insane. Tooth storm insane. Superman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg can’t stop her. Bats is to busy being the god damn Batman… who you gonna call?Let’s see where this one leads, its worth a second issue.
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT – Written by DAVID FINCH; Art by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND; Cover by DAVID FINCH
 Remember when I said DC wouldn’t take any chances on making a bad Bat book in the new 52? Apparently they took that as a challenge and aspired to prove me wrong. Ok, Batman: The Dark Knight is not a ‘bad’ comic, its just not really a good one. It read like something I would expect to get for free with the Arkham Asylum video game. That’s basically the plot, prison break!If you are a die hard Bat fan, obviously you’ll buy this. You’ll buy anything with the Bat symbol on it.I’m going to let this one sit on the sidelines for now.
SUPERMAN – Written by GEORGE PÈREZ; Breakdowns and cover by GEORGE PÈREZ; Art by JESUS MERINO
 Superman number one was the biggest surprise of the week. I am still in awe of how bland this book turned out to be. Normally when I read through a stack of comics, I don’t do it in any particular order. Just however they order themselves randomly. This week was different. I purposely held of reading Supes till the end, expecting to be wowed and brought into this new man pantyless universe.So, the new status quo is Perry White is brick shithouse (seriously, are we sure HE isn’t Superman?) Morgan Edge is black, Lois is the boss and Clark is a sulky immature jerk, while Superman is moody weird creep. The old Daily Planet gets blown up too, since this ain’t your daddies Superman *guitar riff*.I really thought this would be better. It should have been better. Maybe it will get better? Damn, I have said that a lot this week, haven’t I.
 

Now that we have come to the end of the new 52, what did we learn?

I think its clear to say this has been successful for both the company and the industry. I’ve talked to the owners of my local comic shops (Unreal City, Amazing Stories and, of course 8th Street Books and comics), all of them are pleased with how it turned out, from a business side. The books are all selling, going on to 2nd, 3rd even 4th printings. The first runs are all up on eBay going for a hefty sum over the cover price. Mission accomplished, right Dan Dido?

just a regular day at the office for Dan Dido

Not so fast.

The last 25 years of continuity are still pretty fresh and its going to be hard to clean that slate, especially when some key books aren’t really cutting it. Action Comics is a Superman I will read, but his eponymous book, not so much. Sure the art has been fantastic across the board, but everyone is still talking and taking bets on when deadlines will start dropping left and right and delays leading to books weeks if not months behind schedule. How long till some of the more unsuccessful or massively unpopular changes get flipped back?

Honestly, I hope the best for this. When it was announced, I was despondent, I became cautiously optimistic, and now? Hell, I like some of what has happened. Sure, I am a little ticked that Wally West, Ted Kord and various other characters that I have enjoyed for years have disappeared into the ether. Others like Starfire or Hawkman have been twisted into something diffrent that I am pretty sure I don’t and won’t ever like. I hope it turns the industry around a little and breaths some new life into it.

As a final word on the newy newness of the DCnU, back in the 60’s and then again in the mid 80’s, the same deal happened. For better or worse, things got shook up, characters and ideas changed and DC Comics evolved. What we finished reading today is just another step in that evolution.

6 months ago, I bought trade paper backs and maybe one or two comic books. Next month, my pull list is pretty big once again. In fact, I need to figure the final list of which books I am staying with.

 

That sounds like as good a time as any to read the whole 52 all over again!

 

Category: Comics, Featured, reviews

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