GREETINGS MIDTOWN BLOG GIANTS! This is the 2nd part of our 4 part look at the New 52, six months later. If you missed part, you can find it here. Why are we doing this, Bloggerbowl Champeen? Because most opening story arcs have wrapped at this point and now we have a better idea of the direction of the book. So on with week 2!
One of the more controversial books of the New 52, fandom was divided by the idea of bringing Barbara Gordon back. From a personal standpoint, I really had come to love Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, and Cassandra Cain is my favorite DC heroine period, but Barbara’s story hasn’t been a disappointment. She got shot, she got better, now she’s trying to do the caped crusading gig all over again. It’s not easy, and she’s had some road bumps along the way, but Gail Simone has an understanding of who Barbara is (from her days on Birds of Prey) and makes Barbara a vulnerable, human protagonist without making her helpless or dependent on the Bat-Family to help her. A good book, and a recommended buy!
I’ve long been a fan of Peter Tomasi. His run on Green Lantern Corps was terrific, and he’s one of those guys I’ll follow to a book. With that said, Tomasi’s current Batman and Robin run is arguably one of my Top 10 of the New 52. The arc revolves around Bruce Wayne retaking the mantle of Batman and trying to train his son Damian to be Robin. A non-lethal Robin. Enter an old colleague-turned-enemy from the past who doesn’t mind killing a few bad guys, and the battle for Damian’s soul begins. The story isn’t done yet, but I highly recommend picking it up whenever you can, it’s my favorite Bat-book besides Batman!
The series that’s been anticipated since BEFORE the New 52, Batwoman stars in her own series as she tries to solve a crime involving a mysterious woman made of water. JH Williams’ art is gorgeous, but I think a little overt. Kate Kane is pale as a ghost, and so is Batwoman, if you saw the two of them side by side, it doesn’t take a detective to figure out the two are the same person. It’s a minor gripe, the story is solid, and artist Amy Reeder jumps on board with this month’s issue 6.
Deathstroke’s been an interesting one. The last time he had a series, they played him as more of an anti-hero, and that’s where you’re thinking this series might go… and it doesn’t. He’s not heroic at all, he’s the ultimate mercenary: the definition of a hired gun. The entire series has been about him facing off against other mercenaries and trying to prove he’s still the best in the world. Whether it means robbing a weapons cache or facing off against metahumans, you sort of get behind Deathstroke, because all he wants to do is his job and get paid very well for it.
Another one of my personal favorites and a surprise hit, Demon Knights is what you get when you take Arthurian legend, DC’s historical characters, mix them up and let them go. The ragtag team is pretty much the Justice League of DC’s Medieval Age, with period specific morality and values as well. Etrigan, Shining Knight and Xanadu all make appearances, as well as an Amazon and an Assassin! Paul Cornell does a great job, and I can tell this is a pet project for him. Highly recommended!
This book has it’s origins in Flashpoint, with the 3 issue mini-series written by Jeff Lemire. Lemire continues his work in this ongoing, with Frankenstein being the field commander for S.H.A.D.E.’s monstrous task force. Father Time runs operations and Ray Palmer (the shrinking Atom) supplies the technology. You can consider Frankenstein the original science-fiction story, and the series draws from that, as well as the horrific and occult, Lemire’s wheelhouse is horror, with books like Animal Man and Sweet Tooth and Frankenstein, and if you like the occult and the offbeat, you’ll like Frankenstein!
Green Lantern is another one of those controversial books. Not because it’s got anything graphic and horrific in it, but because it’s continuity has continued from the old universe. Critics argue that this isn’t in the spirit of the New 52: You have to know what happened in the previous volume of GL to know what’s going on. Luckily, everything from the previous volume is available in collections and in print. I happen to enjoy the Geoff Johns run on Green Lantern, and I would recommend the previous series, but if you want to jump onto something fresh with GL, I suggest GL Corps, which I’ll write about more in a later post.
Grifter is one of the characters DC brought back from the Wildstorm universe for the New 52. He was a member of a team called WildC.A.T.S., and he’s arguably one of the most recognizable Wildstorm characters. In his series, written by the wonderful Nathan Edmonson (Olympus, The Light) Cole Cash is being hunted by the US Government, but all isn’t what it seems. There’s a mysterious group manipulating events against Cole, and he has to use all the resources available to him to combat this menace, even though no one else sees it! It’s got a lot of that action movie pizzazz that you enjoy in the summer, and I consider it a guilty pleasure read.
A cult favorite series with Legion fans in the 90’s, the title got brought back, but the concept’s a little different. This group of Legionnaires find themselves lost in time, the present to be precise. One of their enemies has released a virus in the past, in order to change the future, and the Legion must figure out a way to fix things, without any way to get help from the future! Originally written by Abnett and Lanning, two of my favorite writers, Fabian Nicieza and Tom DeFalco have jumped on board. The story is entertaining, and it’s one of the first books I pick up off the shelves to read… at lunch of course!
One of the series that was recently cancelled, Mister Terrific was an odd duck. It had a semi-coherent plot, involving aliens and extra-dimensional beings. It was mildly entertaining, but there’s a lack of a plot and Mr. Terrific is out in space too much. It was just too abstract for a new comics reader.
Another DnA (Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning) title, Resurrection Man was also a 90’s cult hit. Mitch Shelley can’t die. Every time he does, he comes back with a different power. There are a lot of people after Mitch, who can’t remember his past that well, and among his pursuers are the forces of Heaven and Hell! A soul just doesn’t escape death, and his soul has become valuable! It’s another book I like to read at lunch, it keeps you on the edge of your seat as they give you little bits of Mitch’s past piecemeal, while everything around him comes crashing down… a great read!
This one is another one that has divided fandom; this time it’s over the New 52 rendition of Harley Quinn. That’s what happens when you change a beloved character like Harley or Barbara. Suicide Squad is a classic DC concept: supervillains serving jail time get a reprieve from prison by serving on a special task force that completes missions for the US government… but you don’t leave the Squad unless it’s in a body bag. Harley’s changes aside, the book is actually a very good read. For those of you upset by the changes to Ms. Quinn, check out issues 6 and 7 as writer Adam Glass details the new origin of Harley Quinn. I say give it a shot, and if it doesn’t suit you, then don’t read it.
Written by Scott Lobdell, Superboy ties in closely with Teen Titans. Lobdell introduces a new group, N.O.W.H.E.R.E., that seeks to capture and manipulate teenage metahumans. For this purpose, they stole Superboy out from under Cadmus and have been training him to be a one-man retrieval force. It’s been a surprisingly good story, and if you’re reading Teen Titans, you should definitely pick up Superboy. I personally enjoy that Connor is not a bad stereotype like he was when he first debuted! Connor’s different from most of the other characters, and seeing his point of view is interesting, he was grown in a lab, he doesn’t have the same connections and morality that we do… so can Connor become a hero like the man he was cloned from? Only one way to find out!
That’s it for now, until next time—
Stay Bloggy My Friends!