Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The final 13 of the New 52 (updated)

Today is new comics day all over the U.S., and here is a brief rundown of the comics I have read from the latest batch of DC's New 52 relaunch. (Read about the first release, Justice League, here; the 13 issues released on the first full week here; 13 more issues in week 2 here; and 12 more issues of week 3 here.)

The Good:
Justice League Dark No. 1: Dislike the title, which comes off like a joke from the movie "Mystery Men," but the art is strong, and the characters are coming together organically to face a threat superpowered heroes can't punch into submission. Always liked Xanadu, Zatanna, Shade, Deadman and Constantine, and this looks to be a decent adventure for them.

Aquaman No. 1: In which we see regular folks making jokes about how lame an idea Aquaman is, and we see how powerful he truly is. I used to enjoy the Jim Aparo Aquaman adventures in the 1970s, and this seems to hearken back to that (an attempt to make the hero less Silver-Age wacky and more modern). The art is excellent.

Teen Titans No. 1: Kind of liked this, although I feel like they've made Tim Drake (former Robin, now "Red Robin" and looking more like the old Black Condor) look too old. He should be a younger teen. But anyway, he's gathering other teen heroes to take on the forces of N.O.W.H.E.R.E.; lots of action and attitude, and worth a second look.

The Meh:
Flash No. 1: In which Barry Allen makes mistakes, finds out an old friend is now a clone trooper or something. 't's'alright. Wish they'd lay off all the lightning effects.

Superman No. 1: Eh. Too much shoehorned into too few pages, and lots of posturing about the "death of print" in this new media world. Also, why is it that DC's definition of "modern liberated woman" = "sleeps around," while the definition of DC's heroes seems to = lonely guy.

I haven't read these yet (expect an edit here when I do):
I've read these now, and wish I hadn't, for the most part:

Batman: The Dark Knight No. 1: Meh. Another Batman story about him fighting goons trying to escape Arkham Asylum. Been there. Done that.

Voodoo No. 1: AWFUL. JUST AWFUL. The whole book takes place in a strip club, where the title character strips while people talk about her, then she has a discussion with more strippers in the (un)dressing room, then she gives a lap dance to a guy who reveals that he's had her under surveillance, then SHE KILLS HIM and takes on his form. Feel like I spoiled that one? You'd feel worse if you'd read it. I plan to write a whole blog entry about this book and why it is representative of what went wrong with DC's rebooted universe. TERRIBLE BOOK, unless you're a sex-starved 13-year-old or a man with a cartoon fetish.

Blackhawks No. 1: Bad. And that's from someone who likes the idea of secret organizations fighting behind the scenes to keep people safe (i.e., Doc Savage, Buckaroo Banzai, etc.) And I liked the original Blackhawks okay, just not enough to buy a series about them. These Blackhawks are kind of dumb, though, as they fly around in aircraft with big Blackhawk emblems on them, then get upset if people take a photo of the emblem.

All-Star Western No. 1: Featuring Jonah Hex in a Wild West version of Gotham City. Er, pardon? I thought Gotham was on the East Coast? This is a good book. I should've expected no less from the creative team that has been knocking Hex stories out of the park consistently. Hex is hired to come to Gotham and find the "Ripper." He gets mixed up in a secret society that runs the corrupt city. Well done. Add to the "GOOD" list.

The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men No. 1: 
Meh. Two guys who used to be firestorm in old continuity both become Firestorm in a new reboot of the idea. Kind of generic.

Green Lantern: New Guardians No. 1:
Meh. A reboot of the Kyle Raynor GL character in which he is chosen by rings from the spectrum of power ring-wielders. 

I, Vampire No. 1:
Meh. Disappointing, as I have fond memories of this title when it was just one of the stories running in the DC mystery comics of the 1980s. The art is moody and dark, sometimes too dark to tell what's going on or even who is supposed to be speaking. And not very much happens except talking.

The Savage Hawkman No. 1:
Meh. Good to see them trying to give us a clear and concise origin of Hawkman; a reboot of this character was needed long ago. But the execution was off.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Education Encore and Others

Nick May speaking to my class.
It has been a good month for writing, reading, and talking about writing and reading.

My Education Encore class began Friday, and I think it was a success. I had 13 women in the class (no men) and a visit from Nick May, author of Megabelt and the upcoming Minutemen. We talked about the elements of story, wrote character descriptions of ourselves (I encouraged them to make things up so the reader wouldn't know what was actual and what was virtual), and had a drawing for a writing book (I picked some up at the Borders slash-and-burn sale).

This Friday, we define "plots" (where characters are buried when they die), have another book drawing and a visit from author Mark Boss, who recently reviewed my novel "The Book of Gabriel" on his blog. I think it will be another productive and fun day. (I made the mistake of promising to try to write a story based on a few of the odd topics in the news that day. I'll share it here later this week.)

Writers Gallery
Last Tuesday was the first anniversary of Writers Gallery, a gathering I've been attending lately where we read samples of our work. It's open to all ages, genres, genders, and ability; there's no judgment passed, just sharing. This month, we met at Purple Grape, a wine bar in St. Andrews.

Writers Gallery
I took a few pictures, read the opening chapter of TBoG, had a glass of wine with my friends Sean and Stephanie, talked with people I don't get to see often enough, and heard some interesting poetry and stories. Lou and I discussed briefly the ongoing plan. I also met Shelby Vick, an editor of the online pulp magazine Planetary Stories. (I plan to send him some tales soon.)

Michael Lister, Olivia Cooley
A week ago Saturday, I sat in on two sessions at the annual Gulf Coast Writers Conference at Gulf Coast State College. The event, organized by author Michael Lister, brings readers and writers from across the region together. I participated in a panel on Short Story and one on "Other" types of writing (memoir, essay, review, etc.). In addition, the author John Dufresne gave the keynote address at lunch. John is a terrifically talented short story writer and novelist, and university professor. He stayed in town for the week, leading sessions at the nearby Rosemary Beach Conference for Writers; I had planned to get out there during the week for the evening readings, but could never swing the free time. (Here's something I wrote last time I went to the Rosemary conference; I was in a weird mood.)

Aside: The mail just arrived, including 13 more "New 52" first issues from DC. I'll have brief reviews in the next couple of days.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

12 more closer to 52

Got another shipment of new first issue comics in the NEW 52 relaunch of DC Comics' superhero universe earlier this week. Finally had a chance to work my way through all of them. This brings us to -- what? -- 39 total, leaving 13 more for next week.

The Good:
Wonder Woman. Spookiness and action meet in a story mixing Greek mythology with X-Files conspiracy (and giving me the first indication that this reboot is going to represent the gods of myth as akin to what we recognize in today's culture as "grey aliens" with high, rounded heads and big black orbs for eyes. Compare Hermes in this issue to Rama Kushna in the Deadman story below.) The art by Cliff Chiang is stylized and strong, and the story by Greg Rucka  Brian Azzarello (Rucka was a previous WW writer) makes our favorite Amazon a force to be reckoned with.

Birds of Prey. Strong art and a story with flashbacks used in a cinematic fashion introduce only two of the regular team this issue, although there's a visit from the team's former leader, Barbara Gordon. This is action adventure that could easily translate into film, which I maintain is the primary reason behind these reboots: Making the DC Comics universe more multi-media friendly, and more accessible to readers who like their books to reflect their video games and movies rather than vice versa.

Supergirl. (Am I seeing a pattern here? This week's best books seem to feature female characters?) This is another origin story for Supergirl, who was just relaunched a few years back in the pages of the Superman/Batman title (a story that was also adapted direct to DVD.) What can I say? The art is very good, and the story drops you in the heroine's thoughts as she wakes from a long sleep in a crashed spacecraft in Russia, only to discover she has frightening powers when she is attacked by armored goons. There's fun in her discovery, her confusion, and the way the goons react to seeing her costume. Worth a second look at least.

DC Universe Presents: Deadman. Boston Brand was a prima donna who died by an assassin's bullet and gained the power as a ghost to possess living people. In this new 52 version, he has a mission to complete in order to balance the scales; he just isn't sure what that mission requires, and he feels like a failure. Good storytelling, atmospheric art, and a blue Avatar alien for Rama Kushna. I want to know what happens next. (My understanding is that this series will tell a complete story about a DC character -- Deadman's tale is set for five issues -- and then begin a new mini-series that focuses on another DC character.)

Batman. Some reviewers are touting this as the second-best book of the New 52 (after Grant Morrison's Action No. 1). I don't know if I would say that, because it's just a pretty average Batman comic, with the exception of a teamup in the first seven pages that will make you go WHAT?! That was well-played, DC. The final panel drops a big bomb on the Batman family that will be interesting to see play out. You should see this one for sure.

The OK:
Nightwing. Dick Grayson goes back to fighting crime in a new costume that's closer to Batman Beyond than the original Nightwing suit. He visits old friends at the circus where his parents died. Nightwing fights a mercenary hired to kill Grayson. All solidly told and illustrated, but not enough to make me want to grab issue No. 2.

Legion of Super-Heroes: I'm familiar with the Legion, so this tale was not outside my realm of experience, but it was still a little thick with characters and catching up on continuity. This is not a reboot. It's a continuation apparently unaffected by the events of "Flashpoint," the recent mini-series that reset the DC universe. There's even a comment to the effect that the Flashpoint event has made time travel to the past impossible, meaning they can't expect backup from Superman again. Still waiting to see a reason why I should want to pick up a second issue.

Green Lantern Corps. I have a coworker who always pronounces the "p" in "corps." I think that would be appropriate with this book, which seems to be about piling up the body count so the heroes can make up things with the power rings. Never liked the Guy Gardner character, and don't understand why people keep reading him. Otherwise, solid art and portions of a decent story (John Stewart's portion).

Catwoman. Great art. Sexy character. Starts with a bang. Good action. But this one is definitely not one you want young readers picking up. Hint: The first issue is titled "all the costumes don't come off" and the second issue is supposed to be called "the morning after."Between the main character showing off her boobs at every opportunity and the three-page spread as she and Batman strip each other for some sexy time, this is a grown-up story ripe for a PG-13 (soft R?) movie adaptation.

Captain Atom. I picked up the 1980s launch of this character; DC had bought the Charlton Comics characters and introduced them via "Crisis on Infinite Earths," then launched them in solo comics as part of its combined and streamlined universe of 1985. If you read (or saw the film of) The Watchmen, you'd recognize a version of him as Doctor Manhattan. This comic brings the good captain close to Dr. Manhattan depth as he begins to see his body as atoms connected only by cosmic forces, and learns he can change matter into other arrangements by thought alone. Intriguing concepts and execution.

Blue Beetle. Another Charlton character, but this time rebooting and reintroducing a latter incarnation created only a few years ago by "Leverage" producer/co-creator John Rogers as a Mexican-American teenager. I'm familiar with the character as interpreted on the "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" TV show, but haven't seen much of him in comics, so this is pretty new. However, I don't read or speak Spanish, so much of the dialogue is beyond me. Doubt I'll give it a second look.

The Bad:
Red Hood and the Outlaws. Oh, this is just awful, especially if you have any history with the main characters. Red Hood is a jerk (but then, he always has been, which is why callers voted to kill him off when he was Robin back in the 1980s). Roy Harper (the former Speedy) is a douche, willing to hop into bed with his buddy's girl because she invites him. And Starfire, the former Teen Titan, interstellar princess, fierce and honorable warrior, and love of Dick Grayson, is now a slut from outer space who apparently cares so little about earth and its people that she can't be bothered to remember any of them for any length of time. Which makes it easier, I think, to forget about reading a book featuring her.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Halfway Through the New 52

Still working my way through the issue No. 1 extravaganza DC is throwing. Here go some short reviews of the 13 books the company sent me this week:

The Good:

Batwoman: I would buy this book for the art alone, but the story is creepy and intriguing. JH Williams III continues the storyline from the original run of Kate Kane's adventures as the Batwoman, folding her ongoing personal story into the mystery of kidnapped children and ghostly intruders, as a secret government agency takes an interest in her activities. The most solid of the set this week.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: Quoting Milton as he should, the creature leads a group of mutant monsters based on the Universal creatures (vampire, mummy, amphibian creature, and werewolf) to liberate a town overrun by Lovecraftian horrors. It reminded me of Hellboy and BPRD (in a good way), with the crazy technology of a Warren Ellis Authority tale. Try it.

Demon Knights: Gathering the various characters from DC's "past" that could be shoe-horned into a Medieval tale, we get to see Etrigan the Demon bonded to Jason Blood, Madame Xanadu pretend to love Jason so she can get close to Etrigan (or is it really Etrigan she's fooling?), Vandal Savage ... anyway. Good Lord of the Rings style fantasy adventure.

Resurrection Man: Without missing a beat, the original creators of the character return to his story, which could have been relauched without a change of universe. Mitchell Shelley gains a new superpower every time he dies and resurrects. Now he's being chased down by demons and angels as well as some of the same old enemies. Worth a try if you never sampled his series from the 1990s, and a can't miss is you remember him fondly.

The Bad: (Yes, I actually found a few I simply couldn't stand.)

Deathstroke: Spoiler alert, but if you couldn't see the ending of this story, where the super badass Deathstroke kills all the young up-and-coming members of his unwanted team, well, you probably shouldn't be reading comicbooks anyway. The book not only glorifies murder, it tries to make the villain into some kind of anti-hero. And it goes about it in a simple-minded way that's just insulting.

Red Lanterns: Atrocitus. Rage. I get it. Whereas the green lanterns tap willpower, and the yellow ones tap fear, the red ones tap hatred and rage. And their leader is called Atrocitus. They vomit blood while they fight. Awesome. I hate them. They make me want to vomit blood on this comicbook. They are one-note villains, not central characters of an ongoing series. Make them go away. Please.

Suicide Squad: They should just get it over with already. Ugh.

The Meh:
These could go either way. Not terrible, but not actually good. Sort of just there.

Superboy: Story of the clone of Superman and an unknown human, experiencing life in a virtual reality while he's studied by Deathstroke's daughter and a redhead who may be Fairchild from Gen-13.

Mr. Terrific: A "legacy" character taking the name of a hero from the 1940s, this guy uses super science to solve crime and save the world. He's also apparently knocking boots with Powergirl (is Karen Starr Powergirl in this new universe? I don't know. Maybe we'll find out soon.).

Legion Lost: Seven members of the Legion of Superheroes from the 31st century get trapped in the 21st century, but other than that I have no idea what's going on. I like the Legion, but these guys? I don't know yet.

Green Lantern: Starring Sinestro. Yes, I realize he was a Green Lantern in the recent movie, but he's not the character I tune into Green Lantern to watch at center stage. Also, why do you relaunch a whole comicbook universe, introduce it with Justice League (which takes place "five years ago" and shows us Hal Jordan as a new, brash, happy Lantern) and then give us Green Lantern No. 1, in which Hal is no longer a lantern? Confusing, yes. And frustrating. I want to see more of young Hal and his journey as a lantern in this new universe.

Grifter: Never read the old Grifter series, never got into the Wildstorm group series he was in, and doubt I'll read another issue of this one. Not that it was bad, it just made no impact whatsoever. Meh.

Batman and Robin: Most disappointing of the bunch, probably. This is Bruce Wayne and Damian, his son with Talia Al Ghul, taking up from the continuity of Grant Morrison's recent run on the title, with Bruce reclaiming the Batman cowl from Dick Grayson. Damian is a little punk, hateful, mean, disrespectful, careless. I'm hoping DC will ask fans to call an 800 number to see if he lives or dies. It worked once...

Okay, so we're halfway through the New 52. If I keep receiving these, I'll keep telling you what I think of them. You know where to find me.


Friday, September 16, 2011


I met with local artist and graphic designer Jayson Kretzer this morning to talk about adapting The Book of Gabriel as a graphic novel or comics mini-series. I knew we had a love of comics in common, but what I didn't realize until we talked was that we have similar views on theology. He has a great project of his own that mirrors some of the things in Gabriel, so we should click on all cylinders real soon.

His first order of biz was to put together character studies of the main heroes and villains. (He will be using a grittier style than you see in his web comic, which is very cartoony.)  I'll post some of those as they come in. While he's doing that, I will be reworking the text of the book into a comic script, rearranging some of the scenes to get more action up front and leaving some of the specifics for his brain and pencil to interpret.

I think this is going to be lots of fun. Our hope is that we produce the first 20 pages, inked and lettered, and shop it around to the publishers out there. While that set is making the rounds, we'll work on the next 20 pages. I believe the whole thing can be retold in five issues, or about 100 pages. We'll see. I'll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, check back later tonight for my reviews of 13 more New 52 books from DC.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The 13 (or so) New 52 I read this week

The DC reboot continues, and the company sent me 13 titles last week to read. That's a lot, even for comics. So I'm going to keep it simple with a list and short takes on each one. Here goes:

The Good:
Action Comics: Taking the idea that no one has ever seen a superhero before and running with it, Grant Morrison went back to the roots of Superman for this first arc: He has no actual costume, he can't fly (he leaps), and he has no qualms about beating up a guy who beats his wife, or dangling a man off the edge of a skyscraper to scare a confession out of him. This Superman has never met his match; he has the sheer power to make things happen even if police and governments can't; he wants to change the world. He's young — in his 20s — and brash, and impatient. And he enjoys the heck out of being Superman. This is my favorite book of the relaunch so far.

Swamp Thing: Told us what had changed since we last checked in with the elemental who thought he was a man. For one thing, Alec Holland is alive and has the elemental's memories. For another, Superman stops by to give the human part of the duo a pep-talk. Favorite line (something to the effect of): "I have memories of a woman with white hair. I've never met her. I have ...feelings for her." And the invunche-type creatures are just scary. (I'm a long time Swampy fan, with the whole of the 1980s/Alan Moore run, so I'm bringing some baggage along.)

Batgirl: My son and I disagree on this one. He didn't buy into the storyline, but I like it because it brings everyone's favorite Batgirl back to the fight, and the joy she experiences is clear in the expressions on her face (awesome artwork by Ardian Syaf). She's also not quite ready yet, freezing when a gun is pointed her way (her years as the wheelchair-bound Oracle are still in-continuity). Writer Gail Simone was the right person to bring Barbara Gordon back in black.

Animal Man: I never followed Animal Man's adventures, but an issue like this would make me interested in trying the series. It has an indie-comics feel, with domestic matters leading into his super-heroing, as well as the art style that also reminds me of 1980s horror comics (I mean, look at that cover!). Very scary bad things are happening in this story, and I want to know more.

OMAC: Again, I have baggage that pre-disposes me to being interested in this title. I own the original run of OMAC stories by Jack Kirby from the 1970s, was a fan of the other Kirby stories of era (including Kamandi), and this book purposely recreates his art style and storytelling sense (even mimicking some of the panels in the original tales). It's an updated Kirby with a feeling that any crazy thing might happen next.

The Meh:
Batwing: Meh. I predict this will be the first title from the New 52 to be cancelled.
Detective: Awesome art, terrible dialogue (both by Tony S. Daniel). Generic Batman story (up until the final image, which is all kinds of sick and makes me want to see what happens next). But still, any time you "hear" Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd when you're reading a Batman caption, someone made a mistake.
Green Arrow: (zzzzzzzzz.) This read like a rejected "Smallville" TV script. Young Ollie Queen fights bad guys who got their powers from a mystery source and who like to videotape their crimes for YouTube.
Justice League International: Again, my son and I disagree. He liked this one. I think it's the issue where nothing interesting happens. I don't care about any of the C-list characters (at least, as they're represented here) chosen for this international team that Batman horns in on for no known reason. Biggest gripe, though: If ANY character needed a costume overhaul in the DCU, it was Guy Gardner. Why does he still look like a Joe Staton caricature?
Stormwatch: I was a fan of The Authority in its early run. So much so that I went back to find the Warren Ellis-scripted issues of the series that it launched out of (the original Stormwatch title). I am not so much a fan of this one. I will give it another issue to see if it catches on, but so far, the muddled timelines of the characters have me a little confused (i.e., some of them that were Authority have never been in Stormwatch?) but maybe that's just because I keep forgetting this is "new" continuity.
Man of War: This is a war comic in a superhero world. The lead story is OK, in that it introduces a regular Joe who is the grandson of Sgt. Rock of Easy Co., the legendary WWII character. Rock stories were almost always worth your investment of time and emotion. Here, the new Rock is a guy who's good at his job and goes where he needs to go to get the job done. The backup story, however, read like war propaganda (gun worship, liberal-bashing and all) and just turned me off.

The ones I have yet to read: Hawk & Dove, which has horrid Rob Leifeld 1990s-era artwork, and Static Shock, which I'm looking forward to. I'll let you know.

Hawk & Dove: Terrible. It was everything I feared it would be, and worse. It looks and reads like it was stolen by a time traveler from Image comics in 1995. May beat Batwing for the first new title to be canceled.

Static Shock: OK. Nice to see this getting another shot. Crossing over from the Milestone line of comics DC helped launch in the 1990s, Static is a fan favorite because of light-hearted attitude and the WB cartoon. This has great potential.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Video Brainstorming

I met with Lou Columbus at Layla's Gelato yesterday for a coffee and brainstorming session. He offered long ago to shoot a promotional video for my novel, "The Book of Gabriel." And when I say "long ago," I mean back when the storyline was still a serial appearing randomly at as part of my "366 Days" project.

Lou is a professional videographer, so having his enthusiasm for the project is gratifying and inspirational. (He's also a fellow fan of Bill Nelson and David Bowie, he has old Vampirella novels in his collections, and he once gave me — I repeat, gave me — something like a thousand comicbooks he had kept for decades. I'm still working my way through them.) In short, Lou is a giving fellow with my weird taste in music and entertainment. I'm lucky to know him.

Anyway. Gabriel:

Lou sees certain images from the story as essential to the video, and I agree. Many of them are probably unobtainable on a $0 budget, even taking advantage of public domain video and images. Some things we hope to work out include the opening image of the woman rising out of the sea; a shot of an armored form grasping a flaming sword; men walking on water; the other-worldly visage of Lady Grinning Soul; the Watchers twirling in the night sky; Satan in his nice cotton suit; portions of a chase sequence; and the photo of Joy in Gabriel's jacket pocket.

I'll let you know as we proceed.

Meanwhile, go here to see samples of Lou's videos; the sixth item down is a spooky trailer Lou shot for my friend Michael Lister's novel, "Double Exposure."

Friday, September 02, 2011

The New DC Begins

I've been a DC guy since childhood. My heroes were Superman, Batman, the Justice League, and all their assorted allies. I kept up with the Marvel heroes via my cousin's and friends' collections.
My favorite stories were the "crisis" multi-chapter tales that took the heroes of the regular DC universe to parallel earths, where they met the Justice Society (their 1940s counterparts) or the Freedom Fighters (heroes DC had bought from another company), and so on.

So when DC collapsed its multiple universes into one during the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" in 1984-85, I was OK with seeing all the heroes brought together into one reality; even if that meant the alternative versions had to cease to exist. You could no longer say those Batman adventures from the 1940s actually took place on "Earth 2" while the modern Batman's adventures were those on "Earth 1." Instead, you had to take all those old stories and say, hey, those were cool and we remember them fondly, but now we're going to tell all new stories about the hero. John Byrne got to retell the origin of Superman that threw out decades of old continuity -- and it was pretty cool.

They did it again several years later with "Infinite Crisis," which was kind of a bust. And there have been lots of little reboot attempts in the interim (anybody remember the electric Superman of the 1990s?). Now the heroes get all new costumes and origins (again) in a total revamp.

The difference is, with the rise of the Internet in the interim, every bozo and fanboy with Wifi thinks he's the font of wisdom, and nothing is better than tearing apart your heroes. Thus, lots of bad reviews of the new books -- the "NEW 52" -- and long before anyone ever saw anything more than some promotional art. (I firmly believe that's also what killed the Wonder Woman TV pilot made by David Kelly recently; fanboys savaged it online, having only seen a few promo photos, like the one at right. I watched it this week, and while it had some very weak points, it had some great ideas as well and might have turned into something worth seeing if it was allowed to go beyond pilot stage. Remember: Most pilots never air. They're just proof of concept. This concept was pretty good.)

Likewise, I'm here to tell you: Having read Justice League No. 1, the only book of DC's "NEW 52" titles to be released so far: It's going to be OK.

What we're getting is the beginning of these heroes. Batman is a young vigilante, hunted by the police and suspicious of all these other costumed adventurers appearing around the world. I hear Christian Bale's voice when I read his dialogue, and not in a jokey, growly way. There's no grand arsenal yet, no rogues gallery of weird villains, no baggage. (There's a great moment when Green Lantern realizes Batman is "just a guy in a suit.")
Superman is a mystery; people think he might be an extraterrestrial, the first one anybody on earth has ever (officially) seen. There's no ongoing relationship with Lois Lane. He's superpowerful beyond anything on earth and he has no perspective on what that means; he's never met another superhero, and he's never been tested to his limits (so far as we know). He has yet to realize there are tougher things than him out there.
Likewise with Green Lantern, who comes off very much like a Ryan Reynolds character: brash, over-confident, like you'd imagine a young test pilot might be. He thinks he's God's gift to the world, until Superman knocks him down without breaking a sweat. This is not the proven veteran of the Lantern Corps, not the legend. It's the "poozer" before he got taken down a peg, before he lost everything, before he battled his way back to life.

(I also think it's no accident that the characters are written -- and their costumes redesigned -- to emulate the movies being made about them. At left is Henry Cavill as the new Superman, and though it's difficult to tell in this photo, he has no red Underoos on the outside of this tights.)

These are the only three heroes introduced so far. I like that we get to see these guys grow and learn, and the writers get to establish a new status quo. I hope it lasts long enough to tell a bunch of good stories before the next reboot comes along. Please, people: Put it in perspective. None of this is permanent.

The other 51 titles DC is relaunching will make their debuts over the next several weeks. I look forward to seeing what they try to make of my favorite fictional universe. And I'll let you know.