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.


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