Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The New 52 - Week 1

...and here we are.

After months of questions and teases and press releases and the occasional fanboy rage, The New 52 have landed at the Dragon's Den. After reading all of this week's books, I came away pretty impressed. All of the books are easy jump-on points; you don't need to know anything about the characters, but if you do, that's okay too. DC's done a good job of blending "jump-on point" without tossing away much of the continuity for the older readers.

Random comments:

* Most of the titles managed to end on a cliffhanger. Some more memorable than others (Detective Comics, for one)

* Several of the covers are different than originally solicited. That's not a bad thing

* I'm hearing many reports of stores under-ordering these books, across the country. This may sound crazy to you, but I'm just saying this now: I am fairly certain that all of The New 52 #1's will be go to 2nd printing by the end of the month. Get the 1st prints now. Trust me.

 * Review Time.

Justice League #1 - Yes, this came out last week, but I'm including it here anyways. This was a strong first issue, but not a strong introduction to The New 52. On that level, it didn't succeed. But I'm not going to lie: It was great to see a Jim Lee-drawn comic again.

Action Comics #1  - My expectations were high for this book. Grant Morrisson's All-Star Superman is one of the landmark stories for the character, so we all know what he's capable of doing with the character. But this book... this is a very different Superman. This Superman is a bit more reckless, unexperienced, and a bit more anti-authoritarian. It was great to read a Superman who didn't come off as having a stick up his you-know-where.

It was great. Fresh. New. Innovative, while paying homage to the past. Plus the last page... so simple, yet brilliant.

Animal Man #1 - This book creeped me out. It really did, the whole issue made me feel anxious. How is that possible? I don't know, but it happened anyways. And the last page... wow. CREEPY. Don't give this one to your kids, they'll have nightmares (seriously).

Batman Detective Comics #1 - Sweet mary, mother of god, if Animal Man #1 creeped me out, this one made my jaw drop. The last page is... no, I'm not going to use any words to read it. But you Will Not See That Coming. This issue was dark, bloody, and then the ending? Wow. Just... wow. Okay Tony Daniel, you got my attention.

Batgirl #1 - Can I talk about Babs getting her legs back without the internet going crazy? Good. So yeah... Babs is back in the costume. They acknowledge The Killing Joke, and her paralysis, but they gloss over her time in the wheelchair. Ignoring the backstory, this is a younger, less-somber Babs, and I think this book is going to surprise the naysayers.

Batwing #1 - I didn't have a chance to read it. BAD SCOTT. BAD SCOTT.

Green Arrow #1 - Adios, beard. Adios, Black Canary. Neither are around, and this is a clear mix of the ornery Ollie we all know and love, and the poutier Green Arrow seen on Smallville. The art didn't do much for me on this book, but the writing was tight; That said, this book was fun, but didn't overwhelm me.

Hawk and Dove #1 - Don't hate. No, really, this wasn't bad. This amped up the tension and drama between Hawk and Dove, dropped a lot of hints about Dove's connection to the original Dove, acknowledged the relationship between Dove and Deadman that came out of Brightest Day. I had low expectations, but this was pretty fun. As for the art... Liefeld did okay here.

Justice League International #1 - As a huge fan of the original JLI/JLE run, this was a bit of a disappointment. The characters didn't quite mesh together as well as you'd like. Some of the ha-ha's were still there, but it didn't quite have the humor that made the original run such a classic. That said, I have faith in Giffen, as should you all. Noone does these characters better, it just might take an issue or two for him to get back into the swing of things.

Men of War #1 - This was a gritty-but-not-overbearing war story, featuring a character with the last name Rock. And although this isn't my normal cuppa... I really liked it. Fun and dark, but without being overly so. Color me surprised by how good this was.

OMAC #1 - I opened this up, prepared to dislike it, and came away satisfied. There's TONS of Kirby riffs in this, from the artwork to the layouts, to the writing, but done well. Another pleasant surprise.

Static Shock #1 - A fun yarn, right from the beginning. Fans of the character are going to enjoy seeing Static back in action. I never watched the cartoon, so I don't know much about the character, but this book jumped off the page. Great stuff.

Stormwatch #1 - As an old-school Wildstorm fan, reading this was painful: It's a clear re-boot of all the Authority and Stormwatch characters. As someone who knows nothing about any of them, or has not attachment, it was a decent read. I think I probably set the bar too high on this one for myself.

Swamp Thing #1 - ... But this book: WOW. Great, GREAT first issue. Scott Snyder's been killing it at DC, and this issue managed to give the character(s) a fresh slate, but still keeping Swamp Thing's history intact (especially the Alan Moore stuff). Great read, highly recommended.


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