Monday, October 10, 2011

The DCNu In Review

By the time this sees the light of day we will have had a round of the number 2s already out, but as I type this nary a second issue has passed my eyes. Let me say that these impressions of all the number one issues are just that quick impressions. I’m sure some will turn into great series and some will crash and burn. All in all I think DC has succeeded in what they wanted to do, now can they make half of these titles be long term successes and continue to generated the needed replacements? Next week back to the standard, but a busy weekend necessitates me doing something that I can write ahead of time.

Justice League #1 – A pretty book with Jim Lee doing some great work, but a paint by numbers and decompressed story that smacks of a six issue arc that will end in the group just coming together and beating a menace together. Then they will decide to let’s be the Justice League and much cheering and hugging ensues. This is standard fare with high quality talent, on my list but not in my heart. C+

Action Comics #1 – I just love Grant Morrison’s super hero work and with Rags Morales on art this is a hard book to not like. This book feels like a modern updating of the origin of Superman from the 30’s. I’m sure it will not tie into the current Superman 100%, but who cares. This is one of my favorites. A

Batgirl #1 – This was a flawed start. I have such a love and affinity for this character changing her this dramatically was tough. It appears Babs has never been Oracle and that bums me out. I like that she  is sort of a fish out of water fighting the desire to be Batgirl with her natural concern about just getting out of the chair along with freezing when a gun was pointed at her. I didn’t like getting an apartment with someone who she will have to hide her identity from. I trust Gail with this book, but it will take some time for me to be used to this iteration of Barbara Gordon. C+

Batwing #1 – It was an interesting concept. I keep getting tied up in trying to make sense of the new DCU and I have to accept each book as its own thing. In that vein this book was an entertaining read that has me coming back for issue #2. It will have to fight to stay on my list because it is a brand new character and there is a lot of stuff vying for my attention. C

Detective Comics #1 – A writer who benefited from DC’s mandate of more straight forward story telling is Tony Daniel. A great start for Tony as he told a story that did not have too many moving parts for the first time in his writing career on Batman. I always enjoy Tony’s art and this issue had no weird story telling or page design gaffes. Many of the bat books had good starts and what was the strongest line up of books in the old DCU remains true today. B

Green Arrow #1 – I know it is GA ripped from Smallville, but I never watched that show, for me it is Tony Stark as a bowman, Ironeye! All in all an entertaining start and I’ll hang out for a few issues, but it must move beyond feeling like standard fare. At least we no longer have the magic forest. C

Hawk and Dove #1 – I can’t see getting past issue #2, maybe #3. Rob Liefeld’s style is just off-putting. The story was generic feeling and I can’t even remember how the first issue ended. I think this series has potential but won’t achieve it with this team of Sterling Gates and Rob. D-

Justice League International #1 – This book felt very much like the old DCU and in that regards is the same old, same old. It was professionally done and pulled the group together quick, but all in all on my watch list to drop. C

Men of War #1 – I really wanted to love this book and I barely liked it. The concept of Sgt. Rock’s in modern era warfare seemed like a natural and then they decided to add in Superman to ground it in the DCU. Super heroes, especially Superman level make war a joke and the only way to make war books dramatic is to keep it on a more realistic basis. I want to support this book due to genre diversity but the first issue doomed this book to an early cancellation by me and DC, it has two more issues to win me over. D

OMAC #1 – I love Keith Giffen and this felt more like his work then Didio’s. Also Giffen needs a few issues to get rolling (see Doom Patrol), so this book while not great gets a six issue try out to sell me.  C+

Static Shock #1 – I have never cared for this character and would have preferred to see Icon be given a book. Hell Hardware should be on the Justice League, not Cyborg. I could barely read the entire issue and I have already canned this book.  F

Stormwatch #1 – This is one of those books were the characters have been so changed that I think it will take about 3 issues total before I can judge whether they make the cut or not. If anyone can make this new version work it is Paul Cornell who is always willing to take chances. C+

Swamp Thing #1 – Another book I wanted to love and in this case I thought it was a decent start but not great and since Scott Snyder is one of the top writers in comics I expect more from him. It was the one book that seemed too mired in the old DCU continuity and worried about what happened with the recent transfer of DC characters from Vertigo back to the DCU. It felt like all that old continuity should have been shed and just started over, the Superman appearance was pointless. I have no worries as I know Scott will make this a favorite series in very short order.  C+

Batman and Robin #1 – Peter Tomasi is a star writer in my view. His years as an editor served him well and he nails every assignment he gets. With Batman and Robin he keeps Bruce and Damien’s personalities the same and shows the friction which should be there. Dick was helping the new Robin come into his own, Bruce and Damien will not mesh. This looks to be another winner from the new 52. B+

Batwoman #1 – Had nothing to do with the re-launch as the series was just pushed back to go with the resetting of the DCU.  JH Williams is just an amazing artist and the story is picking up from where Rucka left off. The only nod to the new status quo was seeing Jim Gordon have red instead of gray hair. B+

Deathstroke #1 – It had its moments, but the overly elaborate armor and general clunky feeling of the story made this book marginal. It is a shame because this character has tons of potential and could be DC’s Punisher. I think between the overdone costume and lack of solid direction will ultimately doom this effort. C-

Demon Knights #1 – I have to give DC credit for even going with books like this, Etrigan and Madam Xanadu fighting against barbarian hordes in the dark ages of the DCU. I was unimpressed by the art, but felt it was serviceable. Paul Cornell gets a quirky damn concept or pitched it, either way I will hang onto to this series out of curiosity if nothing else. C-

Frankenstein Agent of Shade #1 – Jeff Lemire is just an excellent story teller. From the floating micro-city headquarters of Shade to the BPRD like group of subordinates for Frank to lead into battle this book is a crazed Monster Mash. I have a feeling this book will not last a full year, but I will be on this book until its death as long as Lemire is writing it. B

Green Lantern #1 – Another book that nothing dramatic changed, this is just the next issue after the last Green Lantern book. The brilliant Doug Mahnke is on the art and this book just looks good. The story is okay, but I was disappointed to see Carol Ferris playing the love sick girl-friend mad when Hal was asking her for help and not to marry her or something. A real set back to the stronger Carol we have seen recently. Plus we never even learned why she gave up being Star Sapphire. B

Grifter #1 – People who know this character seemed upset over his portrayal, but I have nothing vested in the character and seeing him as a con man was fine by me. Now he has been infected with alien DNA or something and escaped making him an enemy of the alien invaders who have blended in with the rest of the human population. This is a series that has my interest. B-

Legion Lost #1 – Not even sure of the purpose of this series. I thought it was a clean miss. My love of the LOSH will keep me around for one or two more issues, but I need more then these characters just stuck in the past. Too much set up and some of the weakest Legion characters to make up the group. D

Mister Terrific #1 – This was a fun book, unfortunately my enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that the JSA never existed in this new DCU. I like the concept and I think my takeaway on the character is he is more of a high tech Adam Strange, the thinking man’s hero. This series looks to be a good mid level book. B

Red Lanterns #1 – This is another book that was due to be launched and was just held back. I wondered at the unlimited potential for a series about the Red Lanterns and Peter Milligan addresses the problem immediately by giving Atrocitus a mission that I was reading to be more like what the Spectre was, except Atrocitus will be the rage of the universe against injustice. I wondering how this will play out, but Peter Milligan is a solid writer and I’m willing to go along for the ride. B

Resurrection Man #1 – So he is in trouble because he has cheated death a few too many times. A good first issue, but a series that I think struggles with long term viability. Also for some reason the DnA writing team has been missing for me lately and I have no clue why. B-

Suicide Squad #1 – A solid start to this book. I know the torture scenes were over the top and skinny Amanda Waller pissed off some folks, but it was a good start. We got background on the group and a wild mission to start it all off. B +

Superboy #1 – This book was a total resetting of the character back to ground zero. I had low expectations for Scott Lobdell and he exceeded them. I like Superboy just coming into the world because he and I are both newly born in this DCU. I would love it if this iteration of the character was in fact more of a villain or at least somewhat amoral to give him a twist. C+

Batman #1 - The best book of the new DCU. Batman is my favorite character, written by my current favorite writer (Scott Snyder), really a win-win for me. Add in Greg Capulo art and this book is ready to lead the new DCU in sales for the long term. The book set the premise for Bruce and company, established one hell of a mystery and was loaded with cool cutting edge tech that is probably close to being here or will be soon. A+

Okay even jut typing a line or two is taking forever to cover all 52 books, phrases and letter grades.

Birds of Prey #1 – All set up and hot butt kicking women B

Blue Beetle #1 – Total reset, yet in JLI he seems to be established.  C+

Captain Atom #1 – What the heck was that all about and he dies at the end. - D

Catwoman #1 – Sex, sex and some action and a good mystery, she does not know Bruce is Batman.  C+

DC Comics Presents #1 – Deadman given a new point to his life and a cool story line.  B+

Green Lantern Corps #1 – Peter Tomasi as writer makes Johns look weak in the GL corner of the DCU.  A

Legion of Super Heroes #1 – Where was the entry point, Paul Levitz is making me forget his glory years on this title. C-

Nightwing #1 – Dick takes two steps backwards and new writer is working on getting the right voice for Dick. B –

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 – Starfire is an alien slut, Roy Harper is a loser and Red Hood is a question mark. C –

Supergirl #1 – All set up, fast read, solid art. B –

Wonder Woman #1 Great start, great art and action packed, tons of references that I’m sure I missed. B+

All Star Western #1 Jonah Hex comes to Gotham in the late 1800’s, violence ensures. Great art and a good story. B+

Aquaman #1- Aquaman is cool, damn it! Ivan Reis is a stellar artist, decent set up. B

Batman The Dark Knight #1 – David Finch art and plot, Two Face as the Hulk. C -

Blackhawks #1 – GI Joe in the DCU. Fun book. C+

Flash #1 – Better than it has been and still searching for how to make this book work. C+

Fury of Firestorm #1 – A mess and a convoluted nightmare. F

Green Lantern The New Guardians #1 – Kyle stars, his origin is modified a bit, lots of rings. C+

I, Vampire #1 – All mood and feeling with a neat story about Vampire wars. A

Justice League Dark #1- Drug addled and psychotic magic welders, I’m sold. B+

The Savage Hawkman #1 – Quits being Hawkman so the Nth metal absorbs into Carter and now the armor just grows out of him. C-

Superman #1 – Some artists when they write forget to let the pictures tell the story. Still a good issue. B

Teen Titans #1 – All set up and a little tie in with Superboy. C+

Voodoo #1 – It starts out at a stripper bar, but had enough of a plot to make it interesting. C+

I should have done all 52 the way I tackled the last half. Anytime you try and talk about all of the new 52 it is one heck of a chore.

Next week back to the week in review.

1 comment:

  1. Loved your comment on Firestorm. It looked terrible and it certainly isn't the character I grew up with anymore. I've got plenty of back issues to reread if I need a Firestorm fix.