Midtowners! Raph here, with the next installment of the New 52 revisit. Let’s take a look at another batch of DC’s relaunch books, with a full storyline under most of their belts!
All-Star Western has primarily been a Jonah Hex book, and Jonah can’t seem to get enough of Gotham City. Hex’s first two adventures have taken place there, and it’s a nice nod to continuity and history that writers Gray and Palmiotti decide to pair him with Amadeus Arkham in solving the cases. The back-up stories have been interesting as well. If you’ve never given Westerns a shot, try this series!
Arguably one of the more unexpected series, despite the talent on the book (the team of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis on words and pictures, respectively), Aquaman has been a great read, both unashamed of the character’s past and aware enough to self-deprecate at times. The initial plot involving unknown underwater creatures was intriguing, and the adventures of Arthur and Mera are some of the better superhero fare coming out of the new 52!
Arguably the most superfluous of the Batbooks, David Finch and Paul Jenkins have pretty much carved out their own niche in the Batman universe with this book. It actually kind of reads like the plot of the Batman Arkham Asylum game, with Two-Face becoming a behemoth monster, but they do introduce a new villain in the White Rabbit. For those of you who want a wild and crazy Batman story that has nothing to do with anything in the mainline Batman story, this is for you!
The Blackhawks were originally a group of fearless pilots from the days of World War II, but in the New 52, they are black ops operatives for the UN, sent out to solve problems that need fixing. The current arc has surrounded a new enemy that assimilates people into it’s technological hierarchy, convinced that the world will be better if everyone joins… and it turns out one of the Blackhawks might be connected somehow! Definitely a series for those who like to see action-adventure from people without capes and tights.
Another surprising book, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have succeeded in telling a terrific story with Barry Allen as the Flash. Manapul had never written a book before this series, and there were some reservations, but he and Buccellato have provided an entertaining, smart comic. Barry’s old friend is in town, and he’s causing a huge problem for everyone. Barry uses his powers and his smarts to try and figure out a solution, but things don’t always work out. The new wrinkle of Barry’s brainpower being accelerated by the Speed Force is a nice touch. Highly recommended!
A book that has had it’s controversy, as well as another artist writing his first book. This time it’s Ethan Van Sciver, of Green Lantern: Rebirth fame. Van Sciver teamed with Gail Simone for a little while, and the results are a little… disappointing. The plot is fine: the Firestorm matrix has become a deadly weapon that’s been spread throughout the world. Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond happen to get involved, and a mysterious shadow group is trying to contain these multiple Firestorms…with extreme prejudice if need be. The characterization of Rusch and Raymond is the big problem… it seems a little forced and unauthentic, particularly to those who know and love the original characterizations of the characters.
THREE Green Lantern series?!? What a difference a movie makes! This series surrounds Kyle Rayner and some of the main players of the different Lantern corps are all sucked into a conspiracy involving the Guardians of the Universe and a threat beyond even their scope! The series is a nice looking series, and I’m personally a big Kyle Rayner fan… but the series itself is the weakest of the three. If you like Kyle Rayner, or like the multiple Lantern Corps that the Blackest Night introduced, then this book’s for you!
Another DC concept revitalized from the past, it details two vampires, and the war the two wage. Andrew sired Mary, who now leads a vampire army to take the world from the living and enslave them. Andrew fights a one-man crusade against her, and against his own kind! The series is nice for what it is, and if you like vampires, it comes recommended. Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov is a great writer, and this book is superbly written.
Not quite a “Justice League” per se, this reminds me of the Shadowpact series from a few years back. A disaster involving Enchantress forces Madame Xanadu to bring all of the magic practitioners together: SHADE the Changing Man, Constantine, Zatanna and Deadman! The first arc was focused on bringing the group together, and the interplay is nice, but the jury’s still out on whether this series will really fly or crash and burn.
Tony S. Daniel. He’s an artist, who decided to write. He wrote Batman prior to the relaunch, and has since taken over Detective Comics. His writing really leaves a lot to be desired. Daniel threw out the convoluted history of Hawkman, which is fair. Hawkman’s story is so messy that it took Geoff Johns to weave all of that knotted, twisted yarn into a tapestry. The fact that Daniel made Hawkman into Indiana Jones was kind of ok too, he’s an archaeologist for hire, who goes around the world deciphering artifacts and identifying objects… this was ok too. The execution of the story… not so much. When people disparage the 90’s as a whole, they really ignore stuff that was good, and are talking about very specific things… Savage Hawkman is in the vein of those really specific things.
If Savage Hawkman is indicative of bad 90’s comic book storytelling, Superman is indicative of the storytelling of the 1980’s, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something that is difficult for people to get. The George Perez run on Superman reminds me at times of the John Byrne run: good characterization, good development of the supporting cast, and a modernizing of the roles that Lois and Clark play: Clark is still an ace Daily Planet reporter, but Lois runs the network for PGN, and is clearly a very powerful woman. So these are the positives, what’s the negative? A glacial pace. The first issue was overflowing with word balloons and captions. Perez committed a no-no that as an artist I’m surprised he committed: he suffocated the art. Perez isn’t a bad writer, he just over does it, which is an amateur move. The art works in tandem with the writing, and one should never overwhelm the other. You can’t have a comic without both working. Jesus Moreno’s art is incredible, to be fair, and I do like the Perez story, just not as much as I would if it were just a tiny bit decompressed. This book is the anti-Bendis: overloaded with words. If you like stories in the vein of John Byrne’s reboot, get this book. If not, Action Comics is THE Superman book.
A book that surprised me. One of my friends loves Scott Lobdell, and having read Superboy, I enjoyed his work. The book is written very well. I like the concept of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. trying to capture and manipulate teenage metahumans, and Red Robin opposing them. I liked the team that was assembled. What was the surprising part? I don’t hate the art. The character designs released early by DC made me very unhappy. Bret Booth isn’t one of my favorite artists, and his redesigns left me feeling a little dissatisfied. The art isn’t that distracting, and it doesn’t take away from the story.
A book that probably wasn’t on a lot of peoples’ radars, Voodoo is actually a former Wildstorm series, joining the DCU with Stormwatch and Grifter. Voodoo has been intriguing, especially with the revelation that the Daemonites are going to be a big threat in the DCU, and that Voodoo herself is a Daemonite/Human hybrid. What does this mean for her? Where do her loyalties lie? It’s a nice little universe building series, and if you’re reading Grifter, Superman, Demon Knights, Blackhawks and/or Stormwatch, this is a book you want to pay attention to as well.
That’s it for this week, until next time –
STAY BLOGGY MY FRIENDS,