We’re continuing with our revisit of the DC NEW 52! It’s been 6 months, and most stories have finished their first parts, so let’s take a look at the New 52 so far!
One of the best books of the New 52. Scott Snyder really knows Batman. This story sort of builds on Snyder’s “Gates of Gotham” mini-series. An ancient order, known as the Court of Owls, runs Gotham from the shadows, and now they’re after Bruce Wayne for his ideas to renovate Gotham. It looks like a fight that Batman might actually lose! The story isn’t done yet, but go grab the issues while you can!
I had mixed feelings about this series: I loved Gail Simone writing Babs, Black Canary, Huntress and Zinda. You really got a sense of their friendship and their characters really stood out. On the other hand, Duane Sweircynski is a good writer, particularly for street-level characters. The result? A book that surprised me. The Birds remind me of the A-Team, a group of highly trained specialists on the run from the law trying to clear their names. Throw in Poison Ivy, and this Gotham-centric book is one of the more fun of the bunch.
Blue Beetle is one of my favorites. Jaime Reyes was from that initiative DC had to make multi-cultural legacy characters. Only he and Jason Rusch remained (they make reference to Ryan Choi, but he never became Atom in the new 52), and I’m glad to see at least one of them has a decent book. The book stays pretty faithful to the mythos of the pre-new 52 Jaime, but they cut out the original Blue Beetle and jump straight to the scarab being a death weapon, and Jaime’s best friend’s aunt wants it for some nefarious purpose. It’s still a fun series, and I’m glad Jaime is still around.
Captain Atom is an interesting one… it seems like writer JT Krul has gone and taken a character derived from Captain Atom, Doctor Manhattan, and incorporated his powers and part of his persona into the Captain Atom character. He’s losing his humanity, and gaining a scary powerful set of skills. I’m all for characters that are ridiculously powerful, but I can understand others not finding that particularly appealing. It’s an exploration of humanity and what it means to lose it… not the lightest of subject matter.
The definition of a guilty pleasure book, Catwoman, the book and the character, are not afraid of what they are. Yes, there was a little controversy in the first issue as the last scene with Batman was one of the more outrageous of the relaunch, but the book definitely has fun with itself. Selina has fun being Catwoman, until things get bad for her and her associates, but she manages to get through it by the skin of her teeth, and Judd Winick and Guillem March really do a great job of making Catwoman the best anti-heroine book out there.
An anthology that covers the nooks and crannies of the DCU, the first story re-examined the origin of Deadman, which was highly entertaining. The ideas of life and death, oblivion and destiny are explored. A little out there, but with Deadman as our guide, the story stays grounded. Up next is the Challengers of the Unknown!
Another Peter Tomasi series, Green Lantern Corps was the book Tomasi transitioned from editor to writer on. In the new 52, Tomasi comes up with another great piece of GL lore: the keepers of the Lanterns! When the Guardians remove the Lanterns, the planet’s inhabitants strike back. The story has been one of the best of the new 52, highly recommended!
This is one of the other series that didn’t get fully rebooted by the New 52, but the continuity isn’t AS bad. Paul Levitz is still writing it, and he’s an old, capable hand at all things Legion. There’s a lot of Legionnaires, and a long history, but Levitz limits the exposition and explanation, the series is a steady read, good for fans of team dynamics and team soap opera.
Another character I’ve missed, Dick Grayson goes back to being Nightwing. I know a lot of people liked him as Batman, but Bruce Wayne is Batman, and Dick Grayson is Nightwing. The new series revisits Dick’s old circus, and a mystery that leaves the original owner dead, and Dick in charge of the circus! Not only this, but Dick is being hunted by an assassin who knows he’s Nightwing! The book is very good, and if I had to recommend a Batman family book that didn’t star Batman, it’d be this one or Catwoman.
Another series that was controversial, Red Hood and the Outlaws has actually become a very good series. Fans protestations over the portrayal of Starfire notwithstanding, writer Scott Lobdell took his time establishing the characters and reintroducing Jason Todd. The plot involving ancient orders of assassins notwithstanding, Lobdell does a good job of humanizing one of the least liked Robins, along with establishing a new status quo for Speedy and reintroducing Starfire. If you were turned off by her being an alien slut, continue with the series, she gets a better personality.
The Superman/Batman team of Michael Green and Mike Johnson tackle the Girl of Steel in the New 52, and it’s hard for me to really say anything. I’ve seen Kara Zor-El’s origin, but the difference is that Supergirl has her own burgeoning rogues gallery, replete with her own mad genius villain. It’d good for people not familiar with the character or new to comics. She’s always been a good character for young women, and that hasn’t changed!
The world’s most popular female superhero, Wonder Woman’s new series is terrific. Brian Azzarello has a really good handle of Diana, revitalizing her origin and modifying the gods. Cliff Chiang’s style is also very distinct when it comes to the gods, and he gives them an almost creepy feel, and in actuality the gods are manipulative, conniving sleazebags, so it works for the story. Each writer has tried to put their own stamp on Wonder Woman, and Azzarello is leaving a clear one. His run reminds me of Greg Rucka’s, in that they both bring out the Amazon Warrior in Diana. Wonder Woman makes Xena look like a little girl playing in kindergarten. A highly recommended!
That’s it for this week, we’ll have more next week, until then—
STAY BLOGGY MY FRIENDS!