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From the back of the bandwagon: My DC New 52 thoughts, Week #2

Batman and Robin #1

batmanandrobin001This was not on my original plan to pick up. But there was something to the cover, and the logo, and even the concept in general that I decided I actually WAS interested in at least checking out. I was too late to snag this at my usual comic shop, but went to another across town (where I wound up buying 5 more #1s that I’d not intended to get). I think what ultimately got me about this issue was that the concept is sound, and I’ve tended to like Tomasi‘s writing…I just haven’t cared for Gleason’s art, and grudgingly put up with the art when this team was on Green Lantern Corps. But given the dynamic between Batman and Robin–I rather enjoyed it with Dick and Damian, and was intrigued at seeing Bruce and Damian interacting. The villain of this issue triggered a huge sense of deja vu for me–I’d swear I’ve seen this villain before, but I cann’t place him as to where. An early issue of the Batman Reborn saga, perhaps? And despite my general dislike of Gleason‘s visual style, I think that was particularly on the Green Lanterns, with the human faces. His Batman is much more to my liking, though still not 100% thrilled with Robin’s look. Still…I hate to say it, but I think I’ll be back for Batman and Robin #2. (7/10)

Green Lantern #1

greenlantern001This was yet another title that I was not planning to pick up. A couple months into Brightest Day I decided to drop the singles and just keep up with GL through the collected volumes. So I was going to hold to that with this relaunch. Instead, I was totally hooked at the concept of Sinestro as a GL again. And with this supposedly a jumping on point (even if the GL books aren’t actually rebooting story-wise), I decided to jump in. And I have to admit–I’m hooked. Sinestro as an unwilling GL, forced to deal with the fact of being a GL even though there’s an enemy corps with his name makes for a lot of potential. Seeing him deal with some of the Sinestro Corps and the reflection of what he himself once did to his homeworld leaves a lot of room for exploration. Hal being stuck home and ringless doesn’t feel like anything new…and by the end of this issue, looks to be potentially a limited engagement sort of situation. Though I’ve generally really enjoyed Mahnke‘s art, especially on the Blackest Night stuff–it didn’t seem nearly as stand-out here. Of course, this wasn’t nearly as action-packed as the early issues of Blackest Night, and perhaps in my time “off” I’ve built up expectations that are a bit too high. Yet, the art’s not bad at all in my eyes. I don’t know that I’ll stick around for the entire arc, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to pick up GL #2 to see where things head from here. (8/10)

Resurrection Man #1

resurrectionman001I vaguely remembered this title from the 1990s, back when the New 52 were announced. A few weeks earlier, I’d wound up snagging a copy of the original Resurrection Man #1 (with the little circle “hologram” on the cover) from a bargain bin, so decided I would be interested in checking this new series out. Given the character’s been in limbo for a lot of years, I was curious at what would bring the character back to being an active part of the new DCU. Add to it that this is Abnett and Lanning, and I was basically sold on it, sight unseen. Now, something to Dagnino‘s art really gave me a sense of ’90s deja vu in the early pages of this issue–perhaps because (again) this is such an unfamiliar character I’m not used to seeing as part of a mainstream DCU. As such, the visuals fit the book quite well. The story’s a bit more unfamiliar, and I really have no clue who anyone is. But seeing the main character die and come back with some new “ability” each time he “resurrects” has something to it that keeps things interesting. I’ll be back for #2. (8/10)

Superboy #1

superboy001I’m not sure what I expected of this title, exactly…but what I got wasn’t it. I can’t tell if this is supposed to be the same Superboy (essentially, despite the reboot/relaunch) that I’ve known. But this seems like a whole new character, almost a new “origin.” Given that the New 52 seem to have varying degrees of newness about them, I’m a little put off here. Among other things, this feels a LOT like the introduction of the new Guardian (during the 7 Soldiers stuff?) where the “original” had been killed and this is a new character cloned from that one. Particularly with the “loss” of Jonathan AND Martha Kent, this comes off as a much different and less personable character to me. The art’s not bad, and the story isn’t bad in itself–just that it quickly comes off as something I’m not all that interested in. Maybe another perspective or some clarification would pick that up for me…but for the moment, I’m just not all that engaged or interested (all the more having read “Superboy Goes Bad and Beats Up the Teen Titans” back in 2005 heading toward Infinite Crisis. I can’t speak to new readers 100% new to the concept, but as a “clone” of Superman, this is NOT “the adventures of Superman when he was a Boy” but it does not feel, either, like the likely adventures of Connor…and I really have no interest right now in a brand-new Superboy. (6/10)

Demon Knights #1

demonknights001Maybe I just don’t pick up on certain subtleties…especially when it’s a subtlety buried in the midst of one issue when I’m actually reading a bunch back to back. But this one just doesn’t stand out to me the way it seems to be to others, and I don’t see the tie to Stormwatch here. Of course, I didn’t much enjoy Stormwatch, so…yeah. It was the cover that “sold” me on this–when I had to go to a second comic shop to get Batman and Robin, I told myself that if they had this in stock, I’d give it a try. The art wasn’t bad, and definitely fit the tone of the story. The story itself was semi forgettable, but not bad. There’s an air of “fantasy” with the supernatural here, and this is definitely a side of the DCU I’m less familiar with, as it really gets away from the “superheroics.” I also found Etrigan to be more interesting NOT being a “rhyming” demon. But I do think that overall, this title’s one that while not entirely uninteresting, I’m just not hooked enough to arbitrarily come back for a second issue. (6.5/10)

Deathstroke #1

deathstroke001My first exposure to Deathstroke was his appearance in an issue of Superman back in 1992, shortly before Superman’s death. At the time he was just another colorful character, and it was a bit of time before I even realized he was a “villain,” given that he had his own ongoing series. Mostly lost track of him until Identity Crisis, and since then I’ve had mixed feelings on the character. This was one that I picked up having decided to grab a few extras to take advantage of a promotion (buy 5, get 1 free). The cover’s not terribly impressive, nor is the logo. The story wasn’t all that thrilling (though humans modified with “Clayface DNA” does seem ‘new’). The “twist” at the end drastically affected what I thought was shaping to be an interesting sort of supporting cast for the title, and in its own way does a disservice to holding my interest. The art’s not bad (though doesn’t blow me away), and something about Deathstroke’s current design seems somewhat “off” from what I’d “prefer” for the character. All in all, not a bad issue–this seemed to somewhat stand alone as a “pilot” and while I don’t necessarily want my time back, unless someone else does a job in “selling” me on it, I don’t see picking up #2. (6/10)

Red Lanterns #1

redlanterns001I have to admit–when this title was announced, I was quite excited. A Lantern Corps other than Green getting its own book! Of course, it’s been well over a year since I stepped off the monthly following of all the Brightest Day stuff, so my interest has cooled a bit. Until the New 52 was announced, I’d figured this title had been scrapped. But I opted to give this first issue a try, as I’ve found myself particularly drawn back to the Batman and Green Lantern sides of the DCU. There’s some potential here, but this feels like something better suited for an official mini-series than ongoing. The story here seems to be coming out of the War of the Lanterns–which I’ve not yet read–but I can follow along well enough. The art’s good, too–I’ve generally enjoyed Benes‘ work. All in all, I think I’m going to probably pass on later issues. I see this being a limited story that’ll make a decent collected volume, and that’ll be the preferred way to read it, for me. (7/10)

Grifter #1

grifter001I’m not sure why I picked this up instead of Legion Lost #1. Perhaps because I’m avoiding the Legion of Super-Heroes, as they’ve never really been my “thing” on the whole. I really don’t feel like I know anything new of this Grifter character than I knew before the issue, and can’t totally separate him from being one of “those Wildstorm characters,” especially with the multiple Wildstorm relaunches and events and such I’ve read through the years, a couple of which I’ve tried to get into. The art’s not bad, but the story doesn’t grab me at all. I can’t tell if the character’s crazy, or who the “voice” is really supposed to be; nor how much this may be dredging up characters or concepts from early Wildstorm stuff (Daemonites, perhaps?). I have enough knowledge to feel unfulfilled here, though I wonder if there’s enough in the story to hook those unfamiliar with any of this. Maybe things’ll improve, but this was one issue too much for me, at present. (4/10)

Animal Man #1

animalman001I passed on this one for the first week. But heard plenty of praise for it and so decided to check it out for myself. Wound up being fairly impressed–I’ve never read Morrison’s run on the old Animal Man series, nor did I read the recent mini-series; but I kinda enjoyed what I saw of the character in 52. The story and art for this issue weren’t bad; I was interested to see Buddy’s family interactions, and it was neat seeing some of the ways he can use the animal powers in every-day life–both instinctively as well as to serve his own purpose (such as getting to sleep). The ending of the issue was thoroughly creepy, but served to hook me–I am highly interested in the next issue and where this is going…there’s something to the involvement with animals that gets to me. Offhand, I think this was one of my favorite of the New 52 so far, in the overall experience and stuff sticking with me. (8/10)

The NEW DC Universe

With the relaunch of DC’s superhero line in September, things start off with 52 #1 issues. Justice League August 31st, and the other 51 in September. The titles for this initial launch have been reported as follows:

  • ACTION COMICS
  • ALL-STAR WESTERN
  • ANIMAL MAN
  • AQUAMAN
  • BATGIRL
  • BATMAN
  • BATMAN & ROBIN
  • BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT
  • BATWING
  • BATWOMAN
  • BIRDS OF PREY
  • BLACKHAWKS
  • BLUE BEETLE
  • CAPTAIN ATOM
  • CATWOMAN
  • DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS
  • DEATHSTROKE
  • DEMON KNIGHTS
  • DETECTIVE COMICS
  • FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF SHADE
  • GREEN ARROW
  • GREEN LANTERN
  • GREEN LANTERN CORPS
  • GREEN LANTERN: THE NEW GUARDIANS
  • GRIFTER
  • HAWK & DOVE

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