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.

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