A new universe has begun! The interwebs and a legion of podcasters are buzzing about the good, bad, and the ugly of the new DC reboot that started 7 days ago. A number of fan polls have placed this highly anticipated reinvention to moderate to above average- however, the sales have been strong for this first month which has to put a Joker-esque smile on DC execs. We’ll see if it lasts. There are too many books to review, but with the help of a couple of my nerd colleagues- Johnny and Sergio, here are thoughts on a few titles:
Justice League #1
I’ve been a huge fan of the JLA since the ‘post-Crisis’ reboot 25 years ago. However, it’s never been as good since that magical era. There have been several ‘soft’ reboots and different cast of characters, but it has never been able to maintain the strength of those early years. So I was eager to see this new story in hopes of capturing my attention. My first impression was in regards to the visually striking Jim Lee art. I don’t think it’s as good as his Batman and Robin but it’s very solid. Lee’s passion and personal investment in this property shows in every frame of every page. I am doubtful he will keep it up but I will enjoy it while it lasts. This issue deals mainly with Batman and Green Lantern’s first encounter. Like the classic Odd Couple, they bicker, argue, and taunt each other as they try to solve an extraterrestrial mystery. This was clearly not written for me- but for a new generation of potential fan’s. The dialogue is broad and simplistic. Their names where used over and over again like the writer was concerned that we would forget who these heroes were. Green Lantern was depicted as an intergalactic tool. I know this is suppose to be set 5 years prior to the JLA we all know, but there was very little redeeming about this Hal Jordan. Batman was his usual awesome self, but found it implausible that he would be hanging with this emerald night light. It did have a dramatic conclusion which successfully enticed me to at least continue with #2. I give it a hesitant recommend as long as you lower your expectations. It’s got great potential so let’s see where it goes.
Action Comics #1
My first and favorite superhero of all time is none other than Superman. I started my love affair with comic books with the 4 Superman titles that also rebooted his story back in the mid 80’s. I had definite high expectations for this book however, I was skeptical since I am not a huge fan of Grant Morrison. I think he is a great starter but doesn’t know where to take his stories, so let’s hope this does not suffer the same fate. I was unfamiliar with Rags Morales (gotta luv that name) work but was quickly won over with his kinetic style. Seen as a public menace, Superman is being pursued by local authorities who are being manipulated by one particularly bald man of questionable character. Still getting used to his own powers, Supes leaves quite a wake of mayhem anywhere he goes. He is without his iconic super tights. Instead, he dons his ‘casual Friday’ look with jeans, a super-T, and a home made cape. This Smallville look is a humble and charming way to show his early years. Before, the Man of Steel just appeared fully polished so this version is a refreshing take. Clark is depicted in a ‘Peter Parker’ style. He is just trying to make ends meet and find his place in the big city. Not much is laid out in regards to story so it’s clear this is set to be a slow burn- which I am ok with. Overall, I found Action #1 to be a breath of fresh air and I will definitely continue for a while.
Detective Comics #1 by Johnny (aka @NerdOutburst) If you could judge a book by it’s cover, you could easy assume (like i did) that ‘Batman: Dectective Comics’ issue #1 was going to be one of the best of DC comics of the new 52. And it delivers. The story drops us right in the middle of the Dark Knight tracking down the Joker, with an inevitable and entertaining confrontation. Tony Daniel’s impressive penciling and Ryan Winn’s talented inking make this first issue incredibly brilliant to read and visually stunning for the eyes. I especially enjoyed reading this comic after a slightly disappointing read of ‘Superman: Action Comics’ issue #1. Without giving too much away, the creepy and disturbing cliffhanger at the end was enough to hook me for more. Easily, the best of ‘the new 52’ i’ve read at the moment. Highly recommended.
Animal Man #1 by Sergio (@Stanley_Pain) The New 52 has been pretty well received thus far. However, one book that really stands head and shoulders above the rest is Jeff Lemire’s, “Animal Man.” Of all the #1’s, Animal Man really wants you to invest time and care into the character of Buddy Baker (superhero/actor/activist). Lemire takes hold with his narration & dialog, asking that you understand the world of a family man, self-conscious actor, and what’s perceived to be a washed up hero. We see how his newfound (albeit minimal) fame affects his family life as Buddy undergoes certain changes both internally & externally. The book takes dramatic turns and gives off a supernatural vibe, which is a nice change of pace from the standard superhero book. Travel Foreman’s pencils add a nice human touch that only furthers your reading of the material because it’s not grossly exaggerated. While I’ve enjoyed most of the New 52, I cannot recommend Animal Man enough for its attention to detail & genuine interest in putting characters’ emotions before all else. You can only become as emotionally invested in a character as the writer wants you to. Jeff Lemire cares for Buddy Baker and respects the audience enough to want to challenge any and all newcomers into thinking outside the norm.
Swamp Thing #1 by Johnny
My only memory of ‘Swamp Thing’ growing up was watching a very short lived cartoon saturday mornings. Other than a few spotty memories, I know very little about the origin of the character. *Spoiler Alert: It was an interesting surprise when DC brought back the character at the end of Brightest Day. It was very difficult to pick up this title (being that comics are expensive and ‘the New 52’ will probably break my wallet) but I was immediately on board when I read that Scott Snyder (American Vampire, Batman: Detective Comics) would be writing the series and that he was passionate about the character. Yanick Paquette does the artwork with enormous detail and the pages spill out beautifully. The first issue is somewhat a slow build, introducing us the character of Alec Holland but a very nice cameo that grabbed my interest near the final pages. Snyder has never failed me, and you should definitely give this series your hard earned cash.