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So let’s Talk About the DC Number Ones 9/7/11

‘Cause I’m curious what you guys thought. I got eight of them, and I would’ve collected them all  if they hadn’t sold out.

Jake at my LCS explained it thusly:    DC wanted to limit supply to generate “SOLD OUT NOW!” headlines and appeal to the speculator market, so they under-printed against demand.  Which hurts long-term growth because the fans won’t care about the books if they aren’t new, and if they can’t get the first issue now they won’t buy the second, the third, and the ad infinitum.   (Also the owner rolled his eyes at me for being a sucker for the DC hype when I said I wanted them all, which is the kind of customer service I genuinely appreciate.   I want actual opinions from my comic shop!  Hooray!)

It also occurs to me that the shortages might be a way to boost digital sales, which translates into more money for Time/Warner’s corporate coffers when compared to hard copy sales.

Or, maybe, as Mike Sterling says

Like us, DC has to operate within a realistic budget. I’m sure they would have loved to have looked at the initial orders, said “hmm, better print up ten times that number to meet reorder demand” and sat on the copies ’til retailers asked for them. But that costs money, and again, there’s no guarantee ahead of time, when the decisions are being made to actually go to press, that there would be that much demand. Publishers generally do some overprinting to allow for replacement shipments on items that are lost or damaged, plus some allowance for reorders, but within reason.

On the downside, this means that a lot of people (like me!) aren’t getting comics they want, and probably aren’t gonna buy the books at all if they don’t show up the first week.   If SWAMP THING or STORMWATCH or (*snicker*) DETECTIVE COMICS were good enough I might have  added them to my pull list or bought the trade.  But, now, unless they get rave reviews from E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y assures me that my life will be an empty shell without TITLE X,  I’m going to say “Screw it” and read TITLE X through the library.

Anyway, I WAS gonna speed-review the initial 14.    Not the whole 52, because I’m made of neither money nor caring.  But I was sucked up in the hype enough to want to read the first batch.  I pre-order (and received) five of ‘em, and scrounged up extra copies of three more.  GREEN ARROW, STORMWATCH, BATGIRL, DETECTIVE COMICS and SWAMPT THING were totally sold out.

So no reviews for you guys.  Sorry.  I’d do the digital thing, but (A) I don’t know how, and (B) I like paper so much better that I’d almost certainly be more lenient towards the copies I can actually hold in my hand.

I know that Burgas and Kelly are both gonna talk about ALL of the 52 and I don’t wanna step on their toes too much, and I’m looking forward to both their review and interview posts of (I assume) infinite length.

So I’m just going to lightly brush the stuff I got with the review wand.  I’m basically live-bloggin’ ‘em as I’m readin’ em here.  This’ll be quick.

TIME WARP!!!

Hi, this is MarkAndrew from six hours after I wrote the introduction  traveling back in time to say:  Quick?!  HA!

BATWING: The Cradle of Civilization by Judd Winick (writer), Ben Oliver (artist), Brian Reper (colorist), and Carlos M. Mangual  (letterer).  20 pp.

Premise: It’s the African Batman!  So instead of fighting the Penguin in a Bat-suit, he fights genocidal drug kingpins.  Which is…. better?  Somehow?

Review: Wellll…. I dug the coloring.  It was both slightly to bright and a little washed out, which gave the book a unique and even foreign  feel.  And all the outside shots had this   completely digital sun was HUGE in the background, basically looking like the sun looks in real life.  Just a big brightness.  Which really did convey AFRICA to me.

And there’s some nice, slightly skewed page design.  And the book definitely conveys (with a heap of dead bodies) that this is not you father’s Batman.

(In regular Batman comics, the dead bodies would be artfully arranged. That’s how you tell.)

On the other hand:  Strike One: Artist Ben Oliver does a little interview in the back 0f the book, and all he talks about is how much he likes designing armor.   And he’s drawing the book set in Africa. He does his damndest to cram in as much high tech as he can, but the book is set in Africa. Worse yet, Oliver doesn’t seem to be much for landscapes or backgrounds, which means he never really gives the book a sense of being-from-somewhere-that’s-else.  I’m sure this isn’t a problem for African readers, but as an American I wanted more of a sense of place.    Strike Two: The book jumps all over the place, chronologically.  New reader friendly it ain’t.  Strike Three: It’s completely humorless and very violent superhero comic, which works great when the writer is Alan Moore.  Let’s check the credits to see if it is!  Ooh.  Ooh dang.  That’s no good.  Shame.   Strike Four: Is the annoyingly generic “I HAVE SEEN HoRROR/  I MUST BECOME A MYTH/I AM BATWING” internal monologue which opens the book.  That might be new reader friendly, but it makes this ancient reader right here roll his eyes.   Bought the T-Shirt back in aught four, okay guys?  STRIKE FIVE Is the dearth of decent character bits… But, wait, we’ve already been out for a while, haven’t we?

It’s not an incompetent comic, and I was psyched for the book based purely on the premise – more than any other concept of the 52.    But, quite simply, it doesn’t feel like it’s written by someone who’s spent significant time in Africa or even someone with something interesting to say about Africa.  And it doesn’t feel like it’s written/drawn by someone who can combine Batmantasy with travelogue, while gently and painlessly inserting exposition and grounding it in human emotion with extremely efficient dialog, because the book averages three-and-a-half  panels a page and there’s hardly room to do anything!

Buy the Next One? Nah.

OMAC: Office Management Amidst Chaos by Keith Giffen and Dan Dido(writer and artists?), Scott Koblish (inker), Hi-Fi (colorist), and Harvey Richards  (letterer.)  20 pp.

Premise: Kind of like the Terminator with Kirbymonsters.   Based on a crazity-assed 1970s Kirby comic.  I mean, crazity-assed compared to other 1970s Kirby comics.

Let’s just let THAT sink in for a second.  Whoah.

Review: The major WRITING difference between these books is the ratio of “Getting to know you” character moments and fight scenes!  Exclamation Point!   Omac was allllll about the punchtastic latter.  Basically, the whole book is a chance for  artist Keith Giffen  to ‘joy himself Kirbying the crap out of the scenery, with machinery and bodies flying everywhere and “frrrZZZZZTTTTZKKKKKRRAAACK” sound effects stretching across two pages!

I  had decided that this book would either be a thoughtful response to Kirby’s semi-autobiographical ideas about the corporatization of the future or insultingly dumb fan-fiction that simply didn’t understand the source material!  But, no!  This was 17 pages of fight scene!  “Lord Mokkari will enjoy dissecting you!”  “Your path of destruction ends here, my brutish friend!”  “”You may have escaped, creature.  But this is far from over!”

I don’t have that much to say about it, but I enjoyed it!  But if you’re of a more intellectual bent and require more than seventeen pages of fights or you don’t dig Giffen’s current art stylings, stay away!”

Buy the Next One? Probably not.  I’m saving up for Big Questions and Konga # 1. (Which just went out of stock!  Ahhhh dammmit!)   But I’ll grab future issues out of the dollar bin like *finger snap.*

MEN OF WAR:  Joseph Rock by Ivan Brandon (writer), Tom DeRenick (artist), Matt Wilson (colors), Rob Leigh (Letterer).  28 pp.

Premise: Sgt. Rock’s grandson fights superheroes.

Review:  Fight Scenes A. Character pieces D. And I’m ignoring the back-up story because I want to get to bed at some point.

More?  Fine.  One of my very favorite modern comic fight scenes is the Zorba/Boogie Girl superbrawl  in Bendis/Oemong’s  POWERS.  It worked so well ’cause it didn’t focus on the combatants… It was all about the cops on the street trying to stay alive and keep everyone else alive and do some damage control while masonry and laser beams hit the ground all around them.   You really get a sense of how destructive superheroes can be due to the ground-up POV.  Powers.  Volume four.  Check it out.  Awesomesauce.    And Defenick’s fight scenes here are ALMOST that good.  The main action set piece has Sgt. Rock and his friends running around on the ground while faceless (or face-obscured) superheroes pulverize entire city blocks.  And it looks GREAT.  I counted  eight separate open-mouthed “DAaaaaamn!” worthy panels -  my favorite being a (really high up!) bird’s eye view of our heroes parachuting into this terrifying  blazing inferno that looks like actual fire.  (I’m a classics nerd at heart, but I really dig modern computer coloring.)

But as good as the shooting and property damage bits are, the effect is weakened ’cause the narrative gave us no reason at all to care about any of the character’s except the Sarge.  (Who isn’t a Sarge yet, whatevs.)  I had to look back to figure out who the guy who dies at the end was, which means I didn’t even remotely care.    (OH CRAP!  Spoilers!   This guy dies at the end.  Yup.)

Come to think, I could make the same weak-characterization complaint about all three of the books I’ve read.  While I’m sure it’ll all read better in trade or as one-of-a-package digital downloads, the current nature of decompressed comics require the writers to do be amazingly incisive and efficient in their character-work, and none of these guys are up to the  task.   Which, to be fair, is a bitch and a half.  Here, Brandon does an alright job fleshing out the lead, but he’s one man surrounded by a bunch of interchangeable, predictable, uninteresting military goons.  And a lot of the interest in fictional characters comes from how the react to other interesting characters.

Buy the Next One: Only if it’s one big fight scene.

STATIC SHOCK: Recharged Scott McDaniel and John Rozum (writers), Scott McDaniel (pencils), Jonathan Glapion and Le Beau Underwood (inks), Dezi Sienty (letters) , Guy Major (colors) 20 pp.

Premise: The ever-so-young-Spider-Man-y Virgil Hawkins fights evil with electric powers and an annoying sister.

Oh, yes.  Yes.  Very much so yes.  This?  Right here?  Is the stuff.  Oh yes.

See, it CAN be done.  A full supporting cast of characters can be defined in the space allotted, and it can be funny to boot.  The “family around the dinner table” scene, here, is just as interesting as the 17 page fight in OMAC.    The majority of characters are given motivations, and most of ‘em have clearly defined relationships.   And they’re given good, and funny dialog!   I wish this issue had been passed around to ALL the 52 writers, ’cause this shit  is textbook.

Honestly, there are a dozen things that really impressed me.  The villain designs.  The way the heroes powers and general attitude were efficiently explained in the first few pages.  The smooth, logical, new-reader-friendly introduction of another Milestone hero.  The establishing shots and the backgrounds, giving a sense of place to the proceedings.  The heavy use of pink on the cover.  Rock on, Guy Major, you’re my favorite supremely-confident-in-your-sexuality-colorist.

Here’s just one example of the thought the creators put into coming up with a cool comic.    The talky talk scenes tend to be fairly common-looking block panel-based grids (albeit enhanced with a neat circular camera motif in one key page.)  But the fight scenes have jagged, choppy looking corners that don’t exactly fit together -  And look kind of like a lightning bolt!  I LOVE that!

Buy the Next One: Maybe I’ll wait for the trade, because I’ve got all the Milestone-released trades up ’till now.  But it’s definitely worth my hard-earned $$$$, and will be mine in some format.

ANIMAL MAN:  The Hunt Part One:  Warning From the Red:  Not that you guys need to know the name of the trade or anything, but we thought we’d throw that shit in for no real reason, all bonus feature, you’re welcome. Jeff Lemire (writer), Travel Foreman (artist), Dan Green (co-inker), Lovern Kinizierski (colors), Jared K. Fletcher (letters) 20 pp.

Premise: Married superhero Buddy Baker is “retired.”   Note that we are applying the action movie definition of “retired” which is, in common parlance, referred to as “not retired.”

Review: So the art goes from ultra-mega crappy to “Holy mother#$%^ #$%^ on a #$%^&*$ crutch, get the kids and the dog Mabel, y’all have GOT to see this” on page nine, and again on pages 15-18.

You don’t like the first few pages?  Just hang in there.  The low-definition graphics and terrible anatomy are gone like a dream… and then there’s a breathtaking dream sequence, where panels flow together (approximating dream logic) very few splashes of color are used to make the important stuff pop, and the dreamidea of  absolutely tangible-feeling surrealism is conveyed with a master’s touch.   You might ask yourself “Is it worth buying this book for just five pages of art”, and I would  answer  (intrusively, psychically) “Yes, yes, Oh My God yes!”

But that’s not all there is to like.    I’m a fan of the married with children superhero dynamic – and much like Static I’m impressed with the family based dining room conversation here.   And Buddy’s absolute joy at using his powers – even with the “grab you out of the story” art – is still all kindsa happy-making.

A-typically for a relaunch book this issue eschews fight scenes, but  there are not one, not two, but THREE scenes that were downright creepy, including a hell of a Stephen King style shocker at the end.  And this makes the book unique in the superhero field.  Let’s face it,  “Eerie”  is a tough thing to pull off in the instant-visceral-gratification world of mainstream comics, and there aren’t a lot of roll models to swipe.    Tim Callahan thought this was the best of the week’s DC releases, but I can’t quite forgive the fugglerific art.

(Although I generally really like Travel Foreman, and I’m still not sure it wasn’t supposed to look shitty on purpose. But even if that’s true, it’s… it’s not a good choice for a first issue.)

Buy the next one? Maaaaybb…. Probably.  Almost certainly, at some point, at least in trade.  My comic dollar is stretched every which-way (see above) but this was (A) good, and (B) feeling like it might turn into “really, really good” with minimal prompting and slightly better drawing.

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL:   The Signal Masters Part 1. Dan Jurgens (writer), Aaron Lopestri (drawer), Matt Ryan (inker), Travis Lanham (lettering), Hi-Fi (Colors) and Rex Ogle (editor/Coolest Name Ever.  I want your parents.)  2o 00.

Premise: The UN wants a Justice League they can control.  Oddly, Superman and Batman are not all “I could be a UN stooge?  FREAKING ROCKSTAR!  Sign me the hell up!”  So the powers that be have to do the best they can with what they got, which doesn’t even include Guy Gardner.  Hillarity, hopefully, ensues.

Review:  Right.  Good Man.  If you’re going to name your story after the trade that’s cool, but don’t get bogged down with two many titles.  Take notes, Animal Man.

Aaaand this one felt like a slightly-below-average issue of the Giffen-era Justice League Europe, which is all I wanted and more than I expected.  There are some amusing, one-note characterizations, ably supported by art that tends towards the representationalistic side of the spectrum, but being  just cartoony enough to still be funny.

Listen, originally I was just gonna do capsule reviews like this for all the books but I am physically incapable of writing a post that’s less than 2,000 words.   But I’m gonna let this one go.

Buy the next one? Nah, but I’m glad I bought the first issue.  It’s an amicable break-up.

HAWK AND DOVE:  First Strikes. Sterling Gates (writer), Rob Liefeld (artist), Dezi Sienty (letterer), Matt Yackey (colorist).

Premise: Two superheroes.  One represents war/anger, the other represents peace/self-control.  See how I did that in one sentence?  Hawk and Dove creative team, take notes.

Review: So, Mark, how’s the Rob Liefeld in this?  Still Rob Liefeld-y?

Not… not so much, and that’s a bit of a disappointment.  I’m not saying there are NO perspective and anatomical absurdities here – I’m looking back through this now, and there are plenty.    But there’s very little that grabbed me out of the book WTFing.  (Deadman’s weird little round head did, but that was about it.  It’s so round!  So, so round.)   But there’s a trade-off.  It’s not as energetic and “Rar!” as Rob L’s usual stuff.   It’s just a little bit too staid, too relaxed.    There’s one neat symbolic montage which takes the whole page and has the two leads half-faced and scowly that I kind of dig, but I like my Rob Liefeld like I like my women Rob Liefeld -  all outrageous and in your face and “I screwed up, whateves, screw you!  NEXT PANEL!  CHAAAAAARGGGGE!”

And for the 2 of you who care about the writing:

Nothing, he said sarcastically, says “Bold New Direction” like spending fourteen eighths of your comic (approximate)  recapping the last few decades of Hawk and Dove continuity.  While literally every other relaunch comic I read tries to establish a new status quo , this comic is as much textbook as it is story.  See what I did in one sentence above?  Next time you reboot Hawk and Dove, guys, do that and move the foff on. For what it’s worth all of this exposition is done competently, and it’s done while building characters.  But why are you doing it at all?!

God, there was a lot of stuff that bugged me here.  Dove (a real girl)  is dating Deadman.  (A ghost.  A ghost with a round head.  So round.  So very, very round.)  And this comic miraculously manages to make that set-up feel boring.

And it ends in my least favorite way ever -  There’s a full page splash of the mysterious reappearance of a character from Hawk and Dove’s past.  And if there’s one thing I despise about in-continuity comics, it’s last page character reveals.  And if there’s one thing I doubly despise, it’s last-page reveals of  characters the creative teams haven’t used before.  It’s pure, lazy writing, piggy-backing off fan goodwill for other people’s work in an amateurish attempt to get an “I know that guy!  I am an educated comic fan!” nerdresponse from your audience.

And let’s multiply the above by a thousand if you’re trying to be new-reader friendly.  Listen, H & D guys:  You just wasted your last page for any new reader who doesn’t know who Kestrel is.   Way to go champ!  This seal clap is for you!!!  ORT!  ORT!  ORT!!  ORT!!!    Oh, and Kestrel is the last page reveal.  Oh, and spoilers.  Oh, and screw you anyone who cares.  I hate you.

….

I promised myself I’d end this on a good note to demonstrate my Liefeld solidarity.  There’s a neat action sequence where a national monument is damaged.  That’s good comics-can-do-stuff-that-costs-a-zillion-dollars-in-movies thinking, and pretty cool.

Buy the next one? Yes, and then I’ll eat a pound of poison and stick my tongue down the trash compactor.

And, hell, nobody’s reviewed:

ACTION COMICS:  Superman Versus the City of Tomorrow!

(Dag, that’s even fun to type!)

Grant Morrison (writer), Rags Morales (artwork), Rick Bryant (inker), Brad Anderson (colorist), Patrick  Brossea (letterer)

Premise: Superman goes through his “college idealist phase.”  With a lot more ass-kicking than yours, when you just went to a couple of communist party meetings and signed up for the PETA newsletter.

Review: Dear CSBG friends and colleagues.  I. Can’t.  Freaking.  Believe.  None of you lazy bastards have reviewed this yet.   You’re all acting like their are more important things in your life, like “Oh, well, hey.  A new Grant Morrison Superman comic.  That’s fine and all, but tonight I’m washing ma hair” knowing full well that this isokay, if it’s not the most important thing in your life right now, all you mofos better be pregnant.

And you’re leaving this to ME?  With MY Morrison history?

Well, screw you guys.  I’ma go for the reversal.  I really liked it.

Granted, I’m biased.  The old school Siegel and Shuster borderline-communist social crusader is, flat out, my favorite version of Supes in his 75 year history.   I dig the crazy antics of the Weisinger Supes, I like the tongue-in-cheeks thoughtfulness of Maggin and Swan, I… well, I like all the non-Superman parts of the Byrne reboot, (examples to come)  I scoffed at the Death but thrilled to the Return of Superman, and I loves me some Loeb/Kelly/Casey/Mankhe/Mcguinness and I even kind of liked that New Krypton thing, ‘though I haven’t read the ending yet.  Does it get crappy?  I hope it doesn’t get crappy.

I’m a Superman guy.

But there’s a purity to the oldest version of the character which elevates him above the latter more cynical takes.   It’s like Siegel and Shuster really believed in this guy and what he was doing without the filters of adult irony that have defined damn near all other superhero stories.   And given their stories’ fairly realistic milleu and the lack of X-Ray vision and superdogs and such, I can almost believe that a man can… maybe not fly but leap tall buildings in a single bound.  Which is what this Superman DOES.

This here.. .This is my Superman you guys.  Welcome back.

And here’s MY Superman basically fighting the John Byrne Luthor or someone very much like him, the part-of-the-establishment Luthor, the Luthor who’s not only my favorite take on the character but one of my favorite villains in comics full stop.

So.  biased.

And the character bits are good, and the action sequences are good.   Rags Morales absolutely sells the mussle haired, beat-up, socially awkward, and proud ALL AT ONCE Clark Kent – when he’s “on” he’s one of the best body language artists in comics.   And Morrison, in just a couple lines of dialog per, defines the broad strokes of each character and gives strong hints of their relationships to each other.  (See, you can write for the decompressed format.  Just be good.   Orrr take nine extra story pages.  Whatever.)

On the downside:  This comic is a little confusing in the sense of, y’know, figuring out what’s happening.   My buds on the Classic Comic Forum are having a field day with the first page-as-example-of-the-gradual-decline-of-comics-storytelling  and it IS confusing – and it’s not the only time that the storytelling goes really wonky.

But when the panel-to-panel storytelling hits the sweet spot it absolutely destroys.  The issue ends with Superman stopping a runaway train, and it’s all heart-stopping quick cuts of panicked civilians and widescreen panels making our hero look very small and a final, static, tableau where Superman looks…. at least gravely wounded, and probably dead.  And it’s 100% effective, and as beautiful as violence can be.

As an experienced comic reader, the cool parts far outweigh the “what the hell” parts, but this can be dangerous for new readers.  Action Comics probably IS someone’s first comic, and as such it should (very subtly) double as a lesson on how comics work.  It’s DEFINITELY several thousand people’s first digital comic, and it would be nice if the creative teams could ease them into the world fo comics gently, rather than alternating between bowing and holding the door open and slamming it shut and laughing.

But, for me, this is the ass-kickingnest Superman comic I’ve read in a long time.

Buy the next one? Hell gd yeah.

So NOW, if you’ve managed to get through that, I’d like to hear you guys liked this weeks batch of comics.  How were the five I missed?

I’d rank the eight reviewed here, in countdowny terms of goodness…

8)  Hawk and Dove

7)  Batwing

6)  Men of War

5)  Omac

4)  Justice League International

3)  Animal Man

2)  Action Comics

1)  Static Shock.

How ’bout you?  Let’s here some rankings people!

66 Comments

It’s Tom DeRenick, not “Defenick.” Unless I’m missing a joke?

Action vies with Swamp Thing for best of the week, with Animal Man, Static Shock, and OMAC on the tier below. Of those you missed, don’t bother with any of them except Swamp Thing. They’re all fairly mediocre.

I liked Batwing in the same way you did, although I think I liked it a little more (which surprised the hell out of me, given that it’s Winick). I think I also hated Liefeld’s art a little more than you did, too.

Oh, and apparently it’s not Kestrel.

Good job Mark. Greg, if you did read the DC #1s, why didn’t you review them? I was hoping to see them in your “What I bought?”

I picked up four of the new titles this week – Action Comics, JLI, Batgirl, and Stormwatch.

Action Comics I loved. I find Morrison kinda hit and miss, but this old school, modern 1930s Superman was wonderful. The comic was extra long and packed with story, but it still felt too short. I’m in this for the long haul.

JLI was a Dan Jurgens comic. I went in expecting competent mediocrity and I found it. I love the JLI and think the concept and characters deserve better, but at least it wasn’t bad. as a Justice League completionist I’m obligated to keep reading it and I don’t really mind.

Batgirl is… okay, so I was a big fan of the last incarnation of this title. I also really liked Oracle. There is nothing about this comic that I think is a good idea. But it is a Gail Simone comic and with no more Secret Six and a new writer on Birds of Prey I needed to get my Simone fix somewhere. I think she makes the best of a bad editorial decision, but my prejudices keep me from calling it a great comic. I may try the second issue, but it’s going to be a last minute call either way.

Stormwatch was pretty interesting – picked it up largely on the strength of the writer and, indeed, the writing was good. As someone who has never read much Wildstorm, though, it wasn’t terribly accessible. I liked some of the concepts, though, so it may be worth picking up the second issue, too.

So my rankings would be:

4) Batgirl

3) Stormwatch

2) JLI

1) Action Comics

Personally, the books I read so far was Detective Comics, O.M.A.C., and Animal Man in which all of them rocked (Yes, even Tony Daniel’s book was great despite the hate from you guys)…I did buy Swamp Thing, Action Comics, Batgirl, & Men of War at my local comic shop (I plan to read those later), however I skipped out on buying Static Shock, JLI, and Batwing.

O.M.A.C. channeled the Jack Kirby art with a little edgy dialogue that pretty much surprised me since I had real low expectations out of it. Sold on the next issue.

Animal Man was brilliant in every aspect, no complaints on anything about it. For sure picking up the next issue as Jeff Lemire knocked it out of the park.

As for Detective Comics, it was a solid book…nothing life-changing but it was something I was entertained by and it was enough for me to pick up the next issue to see where its headed.

DC is on a roll with some of the creative teams that are passionate about the characters (and it shows in the final product) and the price point is making it easy on everyone’s wallet. I’m rooting for DC to be very successful but we’ll see…

“On the other hand: Strike One: Artist Ben Oliver does a little interview in the back 0f the book, and all he talks about is how much he likes designing armor. And he’s drawing the book set in Africa. He does his damndest to cram in as much high tech as he can, but the book is set in Africa. Worse yet, Oliver doesn’t seem to be much for landscapes or backgrounds, which means he never really gives the book a sense of being-from-somewhere-that’s-else. I’m sure this isn’t a problem for African readers, but as an American I wanted more of a sense of place. ”

I totally agree. I was a little leery of picking up Batwing, especially after reading an unfavourable review, but found that I loved the characters and the story. That said, I found that the lack of backgrounds took a lot away from the book because, apart from a single panel of a shantytown hut, there was nothing to suggest that this was happening in the DRC! I think that the title would benefit greatly by having an artist, like Brent Anderson, who could draw stronger backgrounds to fit the exotic setting of this book, instead of an artist better suited to something high-tech-y, like Iron Man.

Agreed on the books I read, Mark. I picked up Hawk and Dove solely because I thought the writing would be good, and maybe it will be eventually, but the history lesson in the first issue did not get me excited to pick up more. JLI wasn’t so much a slightly-below-average issue from the Giffen era; it was more like a slightly-below-average issue of the Jurgens run that directly followed the Giffens era.

And I’m sorry to say, New Krypton gets crappy. So crappy.

T.: I’m reviewing them all in one post at the end of the month (well, probably early in October, given the calendar). There are just too many of them for me to feel like I give them justice if I try to keep up weekly, so I’m taking my time with them.

Fully agree on Static Shock. Maybe it was because I went in with no/low expectations, but it was easily the best of the lot 9that i read). And it really was a near primer on how to present a new-reader friendly first issue that also kept things lively for current fans. And McDaniel’s art was the best it’s been in years (maybe since early Nightwing). Good stuff.

Gotcha Greg.

I didn’t read any DC #1 books yet, I plan to wait for certain trades. I did however see a panel of JLI that really impressed me. There was a meta-moment where there are people protesting the fact that the JLI is using the Hall of Justice, and the protesters are obviously meant to represent fanboys.

One of the characters bashing them as basement dwelling smelly internet trolls, and I feared it was going into Superboy Prime territory of self-hatred and projection disguised as smug superior contempt that I expect from Geoff Johns and Dan Didio, a tendency I’ve seen occur in Didio’s DC a lot starting in Countdown to Infinite Crisis and hitting full gear in Infinite Crisis.

However, Booster tells the guy he’s taking the totally wrong approach, and that the way to deal with them is not to dismiss them or mock them but to win them over by doing good work, and if you do good work they’ll come around. Jurgens gets a lot of grief, but that was one of the most mature story moments and commentary I’ve seen from DC in quite a while. It was a better metacommentary than I’ve even seen from Grant Morrison (and a lot more subtle and less self-indulgent as well).

It was definitely a neat line from Booster.

I ordered 8 out of the 52 from my online comics retailer, and those titles, which include this week’s Animal Man, Stormwatch, and Swamp Thing, I’ll read when they show up on my porch in a box, along with my monthly delivery of Gwyneth Paltrow’s head. But the rest, in the spirit of why the hell not, I read digitally. I’m glad to see someone liked Static Shock as much as I did– it was the business. I’m waiting for the trade on Action, but of course I’ll buy it, it’s Morrison and Superman.

Here’s how I’d rank the ten I read, from worst to best, and how they’d score if I was a CBR reviewer.

10. Batgirl: This was surprisingly unenjoyable, like a parody of Geoff Johns comics. One star.
9. Hawk & Dove. This one did not surprise me at all with its unenjoyability. One star.
8. Detective Comics: This was actually better than I expected, but not by a whole helluva lot. One-and-a-half stars.
7. Justice League International #1: Didn’t punch my ticket. Two stars.
6. Green Arrow #1: Didn’t float my boat. Two stars.
5. Batwing #1: Better than I’d anticipated, kinda okay. Two and a half stars.
4. OMAC #1: Yeah, surprised me, too. Not the trainwreck I’d secretly hoped for– it’s okay stuff. Two and a half stars, two and three quarters if we’re cheating.
3. Men of War #1: I dug the man-on-the-ground approach, but I can’t tell any of the characters apart. Three stars.
2. Action Comics: Because, yeah. Three and a half stars.
1. Static Shock: Wow, this was a pleasant surprise, all right. A science hero for the 21st century! That’s what I want DC Comics to read like. It’s getting added to the paper copy pull list. Four stars out of five. Great stuff.

Action Comics was such a fucking boring story, yes it is a telling of when Supes was young…but I’ve read enough of those.
Boring.

Regarding Batwing: You know Africa isn’t a continent consisting solely of jungles. Technology exists in Africa; I don’t see why it’s a problem that a book set in Africa has lots of high tech stuff.

Ehh.
I do agree with T tho on the meta moment.
im not gonna get omac/hawk and dove since im not interested in those writers nor detective as we didnt need three solos on batman.
action comics im picking up in trades.

Swamp Thing was by far the strongest issue this week. Exhilarating storytelling and gorgeous, intricate art. Even the frames around panels were done in different styles throughout the book. Snyder managed to capture the mythos and intensity of Wein and Moore in this first issue. I can’t wait to see where he takes this book. A++

Mark, your reviews were very entertaining! Great work. I even agreed with some of them.

I thought Morrison’s revitalized Superboy (he looked like a teenager to me) was almost as startlingly fresh as when Morrison revitalized the X-Men.

Unfortunately, Morrison (or DC) has chosen to keep the whitebread Lois Lane relationship, which means that when Morrison moves on, lesser writers (who lack his deft plotting and characterization) will be stuck with the same old scenarios that have burdened the Superman strip for decades.

I think a new Superman comic deserves new characters and new settings. For example, I would like to see Superman in fresh situations, such as dating latino or black women whose initials aren’t LL.

Stale seventy-year-old characters like Lois, Jimmy, Perry and Luthor are only going to doom this new version of Superman to another early reboot — soon after Grant Morrison moves on, and other writers fail to maintain Morrison’s level of writing.

As is, I believe we’ll see a huge spike in the sales of Action, as long as Morrison is at the helm. When he leaves, Action will take a nosedive in quality and sales. Because the average writer is still stuck with the same boring Lois Lane/Jimmy Olsen/Daily Planet scenarios that have been ground into the dirt for seventy years.

Though overprinting 10x an order run probably wouldn’t be prudent, given the unit cost of printing a comic-book in high numbers probably wouldn’t really have cost DC that much, esp. if they knew there would be demand. So if there’s a “shortage,” then it’s likely DC has decided to create it. I agree that this feeds in to an old school mentality and they should have tried to meet the demand rather than try to create an artificial shortage.

I found it interesting (in a good way) how Morrison pretty much plucked Moore’s rendition of Luthor (from his mere eight-pages or so in SWAMP THING) and placed it squarely in ACTION, from the a-billion-dollars-per-minute consultation to the mild annoyed disinterest. It’s a great great great Lex Luthor. Great “normal” writing, too, from Morrison, for once! After the very lazy SUPERGODS, it’s great to see Morrison write something with *some* excitement and exuberance this year.

Sorry, forgot to quote this:

And here’s MY Superman basically fighting the John Byrne Luthor or someone very much like him, the part-of-the-establishment Luthor…

before saying, I felt it was more an Alan Moore Luthor, actually.

Nah, Greg, just a (weird) typo. Thanks for catching me.

M. Bloom – How does the deep-continuity Stormwatch book even work? That sounds way bad.

Sean – I feel a little bad. I liked Hawk and Dove more than the review indicated, but it was late and I was grumpy. It did explain the premise and indicate where the series was going decently well.

But, yeah, it’s just baffling to me that the creative team didn’t reboot with the original Hawk and Dove, kill Dove off in the second issue, and then show-don’t-tell the angst progression.

Ricky – I have nothing against Detective! I haven’t read any of Daniel’s Batman stuff. I just thought the cover was doofy!

Kevin – Right, right, right, right, right. I’m intrigued with the premise of Batwing, but I think you’d need a hell of a creative team to pull it off. It’s almost certainly the most difficult book in the line to write and draw, because there’s very, very little like it in comics, so there’s no “map” to what works and what doesn’t. Brent Anderson would be a great choice, but I don’t even know who from the current DC talent pool COULD write it. I wish they’d got Warren Elliss…

kalorama – I didn’t have particularly high hopes, either. (I really, really, really disliked the first issue of Xombi.) On the other hand, I’ve never read a Static comic I didn’t like – Hopin’ it stays this good.

T- GOOOOOOD catch. I didn’t know what that scene was – I figured it was obliquely setting up some future plot point. That’s enough to change my grade from a 6/10 to a 7/10.

(P.S. I did read the book and I do know that Batman was in it. I was walkin’ home last night and I said “Crap.” With the opening joke and all it’s totally going to look like I didn’t actually read the damn thing.)

Casey – Crap. Maybe I will have to try to get a second printing or reorder of Swamp Thing. I’ve always like Yanick Paquette’s stuff, and Swampy’s getting good reviews all over.

James – Yeah, you know, I wouldn’t mind seeing Clark and – even moreso – Lois with some new Significant Other types. I’m curious how the relationship is gonna go over in SUPERMAN which I think is set five years in the future.. Or Action is five years in the past…. Or something. Brain hurts. Having them work for rival papers seems like a small step forward.

adam? – I’ve read that, but I barely remember. (I barely remember a lot of what I read.) Was Luthor in jail?

Nah, he was full-on “businessman everyone loves” at that point.

One of my very favorite Luthor moments. He’s brought in by military guys to consult on how to kill the seemingly-indestructible Swamp Thing. He derisively tells them, “You don’t know from indestructible,” jots down how to kill Swamp Thing on a cocktail napkin, and walks out of the room. And it works.

I mean, of course it doesn’t work, but it gets as close as any plan to kill the main character of a book can get.

Funny how people can have completely different reactions to something. I thought Static Shock was the weakest of the 9 #1s I picked up, and the only one that I definitely don’t see myself buying the second issue of. I typically love Scott McDaniel’s art, and nothing was different here. But I found the story completely uncompelling. It just seemed like a run of the mill super-hero comic from the 1980s, like something Louise Simonson would have written. And I have nothing against Simonson, but I don’t think her style of writing is a good fit for today’s comic industry.

Men of War was the only other issue that I found mediocre, but I still feel like trying out the second issue. Batwing was intriguing but not great, while JLI was exactly the fun book with great art I expected it would be. Stormwatch and Swamp Thing were slightly underwhelming as individual issues, but I really enjoyed the direction those issues took and I expect to love the series (though I think both will work better in trades). Batgirl was a great refreshing ride with outstanding characterization and voice typical of Simone. Animal Man managed to be just as intriguing as Swamp Thing and Stormwatch but succeed better as a single issue. And Action Comics surely has to rank as one of the best first issues I’ve ever read. I honestly can’t imagine a better start to a series. It succeeded equally as an issue, a series opener, and an enticement for the follow-up.

I passed on Detective, Hawk & Dove, and OMAC because Liefeld, Daniel, and Didio aren’t my cup of tea, while Green Arrow I had intended on getting, but I just didn’t think it looked very good. Here’s how I’d rank the 9 issues I picked up:

9. Static Shock
8. Men of War
7. Batwing
6. JLI
5. Stormwatch
4. Batgirl
3. Swamp Thing
2. Animal Man
1. Action Comics

@MarkAndrew – From his experience of devising (unsuccessful, I should add) ways to kill Superman, Luthor was hired as a government consultant on how to get rid of Swamp Thing once and for all. Practically all the beats here, the impossibly-high consultancy fee (it was a million dollars for ten minutes in SWAMP THING), the dismissive boredom Luthor’s exuding in ACTION, are spot-on from Moore’s mere-three-page rendition. Just saying that Moore’s rendition reminded me more of that than Byrne’s 80s-oil-baron type of rendition (from what I can remember of it, at least! Correct me if I’m wrong, of course!). It was in the Gotham City arc, collected in SWAMP THING: EARTH TO EARTH!

Just saying that Moore’s rendition reminded me more of that

Erm, I meant Morrison’s rendition

And just to get into the ranking, my own ranking would be:

4) SWAMP THING
3) MEN OF WAR
2) ANIMAL MAN
1) ACTION COMICS

SWAMP THING is lower in the list as I found it a bit confusing at first: so for Swamp Thing/Alec Holland, BRIGHTEST DAY happened? Or is this true for the entire DCnU? I thought it had so far the best drawing of Superman in his armour, though. And is SWAMP THING’s big bad the Brujeria from the American Gothic storyline? The zombies were (I thought intentional) echoes of the Invunche, is why I ask.

MEN OF WAR was like a Garth Ennis Marvel comic book, in a very good way. Only, I hope it goes down a different road, different from Ennis’s one-way street of art brut superheroics.

ANIMAL MAN reminded me of Delano’s run, and like someone else mentioned somewhere, also Tom Veitch’s, which were the ANIMAL MAN runs I really enjoyed. It was suitably creepy throughout, which is a very peculiar vibe to tap in a mainstream superhero comic book. And yes, the ending was very Stephen King.

ACTION COMICS was gold, I think. I haven’t enjoyed any Morrison book of the last five years as much as I enjoyed this. Mindless fanwankery fun that actually has the potential to be more than that!

Sort of off topic but the first paragraph with the eye-rolling by the comic store owner made me think of my own experiences recently. I’m one of these new readers that DC was hoping to pull in with this event so I headed to the only comic store in town last month after reading that I should make a “pull list” to ensure that I got the books that I wanted. The owner of the store is great, but she is rarely there, instead I usually deal with stereotypical “comic book guy” ala The Simpsons. When I initially went in to create my pull list he was not friendly or helpful but annoyed that a noob was disgracing his sacred shrine. Every question I had was met with annoyance, in fact I had to find most of the answers here so that I could be more prepared next time. If this stereotype is the norm, that’s what’s going to kill this industry, if every time a new reader comes in you treat them like an elitist prick they will not come back, and that may make you feel cool and superior but you need new customers to grow. I briefly flirted with getting my books online but I’m cheap and don’t want to pay for shipping, so I guess I’ll deal with it for now. On topic I picked up Batgirl and Detective Comics and really liked them both, I read my friend’s (another new reader) Animal Man and Swamp Thing and enjoyed them but I don’t understand the praise those are both receiving, I probably will read the second issues to see where they go, but I didn’t think they were any better or worse than DC or Batgirl, maybe I just haven’t read enough comics to appreciate the differences yet.

I only have a few issue ones so far and already have issues with continuity. A fresh start should be a “fresh start”. You can’t have a welcoming number one issue with a flashback to a comic from the 80s. You cant have a Justice League spin off book when the core title doesn’t even have a team yet. Stormwatch even references the fact that he does Stormwatch when he isn’t heroing with the League. Which he isn’t in, (I know it could have been in the past but ISSUE 1!) The fact that Superman 1 is also refferenced past tense means that the releaase order has fallen in a week in my opinion. If you start looking at the disaster that was Flashpoint 5 we also have to take on board that Flash and Batman already know each others identites. We have problems.

To be clear though. I really enjoyed every issue I read, (Flashpoint aside) but they are very much NOT new reader friendly.

I’m curious… Was there any advertising forthis relaunch outside of comic books and comic websites? I haven’t seen any, but then I haven’t been watching TV. Did I miss ‘em?

Um cant they get the guy who did Unknown soldier to do Batwing????
Is it me or is that a MASSIVE nobrainer??

Captain Librarian

September 10, 2011 at 8:32 am

A side note I just sort of realized: Action Comics #1 ends with (SPOILER!)

Luthor BEATING Superman. Without actually being there to celebrate it.

@MarkAndrew – Stormwatch – and keep in mind I know next to nothing about any of its earlier incarnations – functions basically as a group of superpowered individuals who protect the world from large scale threats. There’s some vague reference to Cornell’s other relaunch title with Etrigan as a medieval version of Stormwatch, but that’s pretty much the only information we get about the group’s backstory.

randypan the goatboy

September 10, 2011 at 9:32 am

Hey mike, I dont know if you have ever spent any time on the cbr message boards…but a lot [read an overwhelming amount] of comic fans can be elitist pricks over their obsession. As someone who has spent many years running a comic shop[and almost as many not running one] I can tell you that elitist comic fans have to make up for being on the bottom of the social food chain. they might not be good atheletes or the most popular guys in the cafeteria…but they know when amazing fantasy 17 came out…

randypan the goatboy

September 10, 2011 at 9:46 am

I have a feeling that batwing will be among the first casualties of the next DC implosion[ fingers crossed and eyes closed in an introspective moment of silence for batwing] . batwing done…Hawk and Dove…done next. for some bizare reason peple follow Rob liefeilds work and when Liefield starts running late[and you know it will happen] they will have no choice but to replace him and then Hawk and Dove will be out. Action comics is safe and so are all of the Batman titles [that do not involve Africa] same for Justice league and Justice league international…justice league dark…..eeeeeeeeeeeeeee lost em. I think the concept behind justice league dark is ridiculous and why anyone would think that John Constantine would make a good member of a team book is way beyond me..I give it a year and then the new 52 will be down a few books…only to be replaced by more inept concepts.
captain Atom…done
Justice league dark[ great name for a beer…bad for a super team comic}…done
hawk and dove…done
omac…done
red hood and the other teen titans with no book…done
superboy…buhbye
sgt rock….buhbye
the weird western tales…thats really weird because gotham is in the east…the power of christ compells you..begone evil demon…and so on down the line.
thats the first round of cancellations…check back in 16 months to see how right I am.

Well I picked up Swamp Thing, Green Arrow, Static Shock, Stormwatch, and JLI (Men of War is in my box, was in a rush and didn’t feel like going through check out again, my store didn’t get the right amount of Action Comics so I’ll get a second printing, I like Oracle so Batgirl doesn’t seem great and it sold out at my store, Batwing didn’t look good but I’ve heard otherwise so I may pick it up, didn’t reserve a Detective Comics and it sold out at my shop, and Animal Man/OMAC/ Hawk and Dove didn’t look good to me). Here’s what I think of the comics:

I picked up Stormwatch for the heck of it and it was pretty good. Maybe I’ll pick up the next issue and maybe not. I liked the art and I don’t feel like I wasted money. The only question I have is “Is Martian Manhunter in the Justice League?” as it is hinted he might be. Anyway if you have the money pick this one up.

Static Shock was really great. I had worries that it wouldn’t be good after Dwayne McDuffie’s death but It was totally worth the money. My only beef is I kinda liked the other costume and I think the setting should have been in Dakota. But if the story keeps going like this then I could forget about those little details. Pick this issue up while you can. Personally this will be a monthly buy for me.

Green Arrow was bad. Don’t like the new look and the story was meh. I actually thought it was Connor Hawke on the cover (which I was surprised about but that is Ollie). Don’t buy this, I wasted money on it.

Swamp Thing was pretty good. It normally isn’t my sort of comic but I thought I would check it out. I liked the art and it really has potential. Definitely a buy. I’m curious to see how the series progresses. Also on a side note it seems to confirm that the Death of Superman happened in some form.

And finally JLI. It was an ok story but it kinda seems like something’s missing. It’s close but it’s not quite there. If your a fan of Booster Gold then I would get this. This one’s tricky. You might want to pick this up but like I said something’s missing. I think the second issue will be better and I don’t think I wasted my money. I may pick this up next month just to see how it does.

In all here is how I rank the issues:
1. Static Shock
2. Swamp Thing
3. JLI/Stormwatch (tied)
4. Green Arrow

“I wish they’d got Warren Elliss…”

Holy crap would that be amazing. The Africa of the DCU would be full of training camps for Kobra, H.I.V.E. and other super-terrorist organizations; failed super-soldier programs sponsored during the Cold War; high-tech kleptocracies (cyber-zombie Mobutu Sese Seko!) and advanced civillizations lost to time!!! Something equal parts Pulp Serial and High Tech Thriller!

Ninjazilla, the dude who drew Unknown Soldier, Alberto Ponticelli, is drawing Frankenstein, so he’s tied up at the moment.

@ Mike:

Sorry for such an unpleasant experience with an employee. i worked in Lee’s Comics in Nor Call for 6 years and i can tell you that almost all the employees were trained to be helpful & realize that we had to reach out to people if we wanted to thrive & survive. We ended up getting a lot [i mean A LOT] of moms in our store due to how friendly & helpful we were. Most of the employees were pretty cool and really helpful. i hope that you can have a better experience.

Also, i recommend that if you try an online service, you look for one that sells books at a discount, that way shipping isn’t such a big deal. If you save $ on the books, you still end up saving even if you pay for shipping. i really love my local stores [for the most part], but they can’t get me books at a big enough discount to make it worth it for me. Sorry LCS!

I have to give DC props on getting rid of Oliver Queens stupid goatee. I know someone will eventually bring it back though.

randypan the goatboy

September 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm

That goatee was even more of a identity hinderance than Clark kents glasses….We wont always be there to protect our families…but the mask will. you know what would work better ollie? shave the fuckin goatee

@Randypan the goatboy (cool name, brother!)
“thats the first round of cancellations…check back in 16 months to see how right I am.”

16 months is way too optimistic. Many of these nu52 titles are going to be gone by issue 5 or 6. Some will only last that long because DC (like Marvel) will do anything to make a new series last long enough to squeeze out a trade paperback. Even if Mr. Terrific has to have a different penciler on every issue.

We’ll be seeing the next “DC implosion” early in 2012.

Thanks for the support guys, after thinking about it maybe the guy assumed I was a speculator as I was just coming in at the launch of the new 52. It’s not the case just that I finally have some extra money and this seemed as good a time as any to start collecting as I knew all the books I picked up would be brand new story lines.

plus you’d assume the employees would know that if the fat kid from with his company’s IT shirt on, he’s probably a geek, cut him some slack

If I wrote Green Arrow, the goatee would be fake, but he’d put it on to fight crime. More effective than a domino mask.

[...] a few reviews though, including all 13 #1s at Bleeding Cool, and Broken Frontier, 8 of them at CBR, Batgirl and Action Comics at Newsarama, Action Comics at ComicAttack and finally Action Comics, [...]

“Jake at my LCS explained it thusly: DC wanted to limit supply to generate “SOLD OUT NOW!” headlines and appeal to the speculator market, so they under-printed against demand. Which hurts long-term growth because the fans won’t care about the books if they aren’t new, and if they can’t get the first issue now they won’t buy the second, the third, and the ad infinitum. (Also the owner rolled his eyes at me for being a sucker for the DC hype when I said I wanted them all, which is the kind of customer service I genuinely appreciate. I want actual opinions from my comic shop! Hooray!)”

This Jake sounds like a Douche.
Firstly, its just his opinion that they limited supply to cause sellouts. What is their overprint policy? 5%? 10%? They can’t have a limitless supply because comic shops upped their orders so drasticallyin the last couple of weeks.
Second, they rolled their eyes because you wanted to buy all the DC titles that came out? …god forbid they give the customer what he wants, AND make more money from it! – If they were smart, they’d make special deals for the customers who brought all 13 and generate even more sales!

Someone asked (sorry, lots of replies and I forgot where in the page I saw it) if DC advertized the New 52 outside of house ads in their comics and on the internet. I saw a tv commercial earlier this week regarding the new #1s.

I’ve so far only picked up two of the new #1s. Justice League and Batgirl.

Justice League was interesting, but not enough happened for me to be willing to buy a second issue. I believe this will go to trade, and will probably be cheaper collected than by the issue. So, I’ll wait until next year when that will probably come out.

Batgirl was … I really wanted to like it. I really did. I like Gail Simone. I like Barbara Gordon, although I like her better as Oracle. Maybe that was it. It always came across to me that Barbara fought through her experience and was stronger emotionally as Oracle. This Batgirl seems to be weaker due to getting shot by Joker. I realize that it is suggested that she freezes because of some sort of supernatural or paranormal ability of Mirror, but I really only got that as “Fridge Logic.” As I was reading, it seemed to me that she had a crippling fear of guns.

So far, the New 52 is 0-2. I’m wondering if I’ll end up with less DC on my pull list after this month is over, rather than more as I had initially expected.

Action – Morrison & Morales. Golden Age Superman defender of the little guy. Very entertaining.

Detective – Surprisingly good. Really creepy Joker and the last 2 pages are worth the price of admission.

Green Arrow – I love the idea of liberal billionaire Ollie Queen as a masked vigilante James Bond with a crazy amount of range weapons. I like both Jurgens’ and Perez’s art, but it gives off a 90′s Jurgen Titans vibe, which didn’t do very well. The art style looks very reminiscent of the 90′s, which is ok, but it doesn’t feel very progressive. Not very impressed with the villains here either.

Batgirl – An unnecessary character relaunch IMO. I like Barbara G, but more so as Oracle. Stephanie was a great Batgirl. They should’ve stayed with her. Not to slight the awesome Gail Simone, but it’s just not hooking me. Didn’t buy it.

Animal Man – Classically carries the Delano vibe from the Vertigo run and that’s outstanding.

JLI – Really am intrigued but not enough to pick it up. Feels pretty much like a throwback. Not necessarily bad but not enough to get me to pop for it. Love the idea of August General in Iron being in the group. Passed on this.

Swamp Thing – The team, like Animal Man, hits the best notes of that Vertigo vibe.

Stormwatch – This is very exciting. Cornell does not disappoint. I love the Wildstorm bad boy vibe and thought Martian Manhunter was well played here. Last 2 pages were great. Love the eye and his purpose for being.

O.M.A.C. – Glad to see more people liking this and giving it a chance despite Didio’s critically panned Outsiders run. Giffen is in top form and this title is a great Kirby concept blasting along at super sonic speed.

Batwing – I laughed when I first heard about this, but the idea grew on me. I’m really hoping more people pick this up. Great idea. Art and story are very compelling. Looking forward to seeing this continuing to develop.

Men of War – Loved Sgt Rock back in the day. Cool to see grandson Joe here. The second story by Phil Winslade was nicely reminiscent of Russ Heath. Super military in the DCU is a great idea. Hopefully we’ll see Frank Rock again, maybe in an administrative role.

Static Shock – Borderline on this but I got it because the old Milestone was pretty good. This was good but not great. McDaniel was decent but the art was too muddy for my taste. Maybe a different inker or colorist would’ve helped.

Hawk & Dove – I’ve never liked these characters. Gates has some good ideas, and I’ve heard more like than dislike, but, despite my shop being sold out, still not quit hooking me enough to buy it.

randypan the goatboy

September 11, 2011 at 5:35 am

Truth to tell james I was being kind with a year and a half. Some of these concepts are just really bad. But this is the company that has greenlighted such comic jems as
green lantern mosaic…
The heckler
Chronos
at least 45 new god titles that didnt involve Jack kirby
Azrael
manbat…2 issue run…get it while its ….COLD
Eclipso
Aztek
Prez…little old school Dc suckfest
i could do this all day…

randypan the goatboy

September 11, 2011 at 5:46 am

Jemm son of saturn…smells like uranis
mazing man
justice league task force
Extreme justice…the 90′s were so….EXTREME
Gunfire…more like missfire
John Byrne’s Doom patrol revamp
Hawk and Dove…because no one demanded it
the daring new adventures of Supergirl…if it sounds like an old school marvel book maybe someone will buy it?
takion…?
the DC Challenge…the hard part is reading it
keith giffens suicide squad
keith Giffen blowing up the earth on legion of super heroes…..and nobody noticed. If the earth explodes and no one is around to read it …does it make a difference?

Some will only last that long because DC (like Marvel) will do anything to make a new series last long enough to squeeze out a trade paperback. Even if Mr. Terrific has to have a different penciler on every issue.

In defense of DC, the different penciler every issue thing is due to the fact that DC has made it exceedingly clear from the start that they are serious this go-around about no latenesses. Interviews with various editors and creators have made it clear that there is a zero-tolerance for lateness now, similar to back in the days of newstand distribution where lateness was so frowned upon that comics would do fill-in issues just to avoid lateness.

It’s not about stretching things out for the trade at all. Why would they need multiple pencillers to accomplish that? And since none of the books were on sale yet how can we say yet that it’s just being kept alive to squeeze a trade out of? We don’t know yet which books will struggle and which won’t.

Truth to tell james I was being kind with a year and a half. Some of these concepts are just really bad. But this is the company that has greenlighted such comic jems as
green lantern mosaic…
The heckler
Chronos
at least 45 new god titles that didnt involve Jack kirby
Azrael
manbat…2 issue run…get it while its ….COLD
Eclipso
Aztek
Prez…little old school Dc suckfest
i could do this all day
Jemm son of saturn…smells like uranis
mazing man
justice league task force
Extreme justice…the 90?s were so….EXTREME
Gunfire…more like missfire
John Byrne’s Doom patrol revamp
Hawk and Dove…because no one demanded it
the daring new adventures of Supergirl…if it sounds like an old school marvel book maybe someone will buy it?
takion…?
the DC Challenge…the hard part is reading it
keith giffens suicide squad
keith Giffen blowing up the earth on legion of super heroes…..and nobody noticed. If the earth explodes and no one is around to read it …does it make a difference?

Wow. Troll lately ?

Marvel has had some bombs too. I salute DC for trying some different approaches.

I think DC is going to do better with this than a lot of online bashers are saying.

My favs were Action, Animal Man, Swamp Thing and O.M.A.C.

I have tried every DC book so far, and I am surprised to say that I found not a single one to be overtly mediocre. It may sound like a backhanded compliment or damning with faint praise, but honestly, coming from me that’s huge praise. I think with the track record Didio’s DC has had, unlike most people, I’ve kept my expectations much more realistic. I’m simply looking for DC to have more books that aren’t mediocre than books that are mediocre. I don’t expect great books because to expect them to jump from mediocre to great is like expecting a baby to go from not being able to crawl yet straight to sprinting.

So far every DC book, even Liefeld’s Hawk and Dove, has at least been borderline competent and some ave even been very good. New-reader friendly? Some less than others, like Hawk and Dove and Swamp Thing. But all have been competent. Also, if aiming for as much mainstream success as possible, it’s better to aim for boderline competence than outright greatness. Looking at current pop music, novels, rap music and country music trends, the middlebrow competent stuff is what sells, it’s not like the old days of Michael Jackson and Prince ruling the pop charts and Jim Shooter’s Marvel and Jeannette Kahn’s DC renaissances where things could be brilliantly good and boundary-pushing and still be a great seller too. This is the age of Justin Beiber, autotuned Disney kids turned singers, Drake and Lil Wayne, where lowest common denominator but still marginally competent is what moves units. I think most of DC’s stuff right now is in that slick, well-produced, competent yet not fully great camp, which I think is the best way to go to attract modern younger audiences.

When I read all the DC books so far, I did not roll my eyes even once. I came close a few times during some of Gail Simone’s narration captions in Batgirl but overall the new DC has severely cut down on its purple prose first person narration captions, or what I used to call the “emo noir” house style. The only person still displaying any remnants of it so far is Gail Simone, and even then not so much.

The last time I tried a DC relaunch across the board like this was One Year Later, and back then was a totally different experience. At that time I felt the incompetence to competence ratio was like 6-to-1. For the first time in years it looks like a majority of DC’s books will at least be competent. Once they can master being competent on a regular basis, maybe we can even see a corner of the new comics universe being consistently great.

Two things I didn’t like from the new books: Batman still doing that territorial thing. That will always be beyond stupid to me. SO you mean to tell me that Batman in Justice League is running down a parademon, and he finds a guy who seems to be able to nearly unlimited things with a power ring who’s willing to help him, but he’ll still say something as stupid as “Coast City is yours, Gotham is mine.” Why? Why would a nonpowered guy be so proud that he would turn down help from someone as ridiculously overpowered as Green Lantern. And since we know the current Batman characterization is one who obsessively researches every superpowered being, he has to know Hal Jordan is competent, so we can’t use the excuse that Hal is an unknown quantity that may do more harm than good if he tries to help. Territorial Batman is one of the biggest missteps of the post-Crisis universe I hoped they’d have done away with. The other thing is the use of the mystery lady from Flashpoint #5. They should cut all ties to the old DC universe if this is really meant to be a fresh start. We already have a backdoor entry into the old DC universe appearing in every title as an easter egg. Bad sign.

randypan the goatboy

September 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Hondo you misunderstand…Im a DC guy 4 life. Its all I read. I was just taking some loving potshots at DC. Im still a little mad at them right now so I guess Im in a pissy stage.i will tell you in all honesty that I know why those books were bad…because at one point or another I had them all. trust me when I tell you that after a lifetime of devotion[ almost 40 years dude] That I have earned the right to lovingly roast some of their lamer efforts…like
herculese
Gilgamesh 2
The forever people
thriller…huh what?
silverblade
wilddog…marvel does real good with the punisher lets try that
vigilante…see above
genisis
dc one million…non jla tie ins
the creeper…one word..beware..[because this smells of ass]
supergirl….she’s a what?
Superboy and the ravers…huh?
The huntress
non powered wonder woman
electric blue superman…and
electric red superman…because 1 just isnt enough
justice league elite
shadow war of the hawkman…why?
action comics weekly…the gift that kept on giving the whole year
the silver age…mini series…just so we can have an old fashioned forever ignored in continuity body switch…
Congorilla
countdown…obsolete within a week
aquaman the barbarian
sword of aquaman
the fourth flash….13 issues of bart allen comming right up…what do you mean they dont want it?
titans spotlight…because we all wonder what jericho is up to in between titans issues
jericho?…deathstroke has a son…and he is a pussy
team titans
armageddon 2001….hawk is DR Doom…that will teach our fans to trust us
stanley and his monster 1990s reboot
the trenchcoat brigade…ewwwwww
all done in the name of fun and games…dont be so sensitive.

randypan the goatboy

September 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm

ohh and the shadow in body armor.

Detective Comics was literally the worst Batman Comic that I own. (No, I don’t own many Batman comics, and no I am not using *literally* wrong). Here. Just… Try to read any panel or caption out loud and see if it sounds like anything ANYONE would say.

It (the fire) spread like a book of matches.

I’m trying to figure out why the Joker was naked. Does he always remove his clothes first?

That felt fungasmic.

First two are Batman, last is Joker. The art is mediocre and the whole thing just feels like someone needed to make Batman and the Joker EXTREMEEEEEE!

Bitching aside, I loved Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Action Comics, and hope that Batgirl will get better.

T, I agree with most of what you said.

But, I think that the attitude Batman displayed in JL #1 was showing that Batman doesn’t believe Hal is competent. The exchange when he stole the ring demonstrated that.

I think that the reboot Batman is someone who is arrogant to the point that he believes the “Batman can defeat anybody” trope. I’m actually looking forward to him being taken down a peg or two to show why he would join a team.

Theno

To be fair to DC, a lot of their 90s comics should be judged by 90s standards. Many of DC’s 90s books are awful by timeless standards, but by 90s standards compared to what Marvel was putting out at the same time those DC books were great. I’m talking that era where Marvel drove away all their proven writing talent and old-school art talent by pandering to the Image guys, only to have the Image guys bail, leaving them without their old school writers who could actually write and without their new school writers who couldn’t draw but were at least popular. I’m talking that phase where Marvel was nothing but Image artist knockoffs and writers like Howard Mackie (who was good on Ghost Rider yet somehow bad on everything else) and Terry Kavanagh. Compared to some of Marvel’s post-Image dreck Superboy and the Ravers was great.

I have to agree with this.

It’s easy to take shots now, but compared to what was available then, it all needs perspective.

randypan the goatboy

September 11, 2011 at 7:49 pm

totally agree t..i abandoned marvel during the 90′s. nothing screams sucktacular like 1990′s Marvel

@ randypan :

I kinda see your point. Some of that doesn’t hold up so well, and in fact some of it holds up better.

Sounds like you’ve been collecting about the same time as I have.

Sorry if it struck me as being DC hateful.

Thanks Mark, keep up the good work.

*I’m interested in the contrasting views of Static Shock (you vs. folks like this guy, http://www.whiterose.org/howlingcurmudgeons/archives/012016.html).

*Just so I understand: you usually find Morrison annoying, don’t like a lot of his work, but enjoyed this?

*If you peak at ‘em, I’d love your opinion of the new Batgirl and Detective Comics.

-Douglas

randypan the goatboy

September 12, 2011 at 7:41 am

Yeah my first comic was a jla jsa crossover. they fought carey bates from the dc bullpen[can we call it that for simplicities sake] I bought everything i could get my hands on. new issues and stuff from yard sales. I was devoted and slightly obsessed with DC comics. I had family members giving me their old comics so i had quite the run of bronze age DC. I think I bought almost everything that Dc put out for a long time[slight exageration..but I hope you forgive the embelleshment] As a kid the books i ended up throwing away was the Kirby stuff[ new gods jimmy olsen etc etc...] I hated the thick black lines and all the weird shit.i was a kid so what did I know? So its all good hondo.

So if that WASN’T Kestrel I’m being way too harsh on H & D- And Hawk and Dove probably beats Batwing onbemy favorites list. I did enjoy the first half, all ZOMBIES! ON A PLANE! OVER WASHINGTON DC! high-concept.

Mike – Your store wasn’t in Olympia, Washington (or Lansing, Michigan) was it? I remember having “I’d like to talk to the owner, please. No, I wouldn’t like to talk to you any more. I’d like to talk to the owner!”-type exchanges in both of those places (and the owners were women, which is probably a bit of a rarity)

Although, as I see it, as competition from digital sources heats up, more and more of the bad comic shops will fail. (And, sadly, probably a few of the good ones, too.) Who really CARES if your a speculator – at least from the shop’s point of view, a customer should be a customer.

And a few more words about Animal Man – I liked it because it was the only one of the first batch that wasn’t only character-defining sequences and fight scenes, interspersed. Sure, it was character-establishing scenes and creepy horror, but that’s a little bit different. And the two were pretty well tied together, to boot…. Men Of War, for instance, felt like two very different stories superglued together, but everything in Animal Man flowed together smoothly.

Also Jake totally isn’t a douche – I think some frustration at having a BUNCH of people who want to buy comics and no comics to sell is more than warranted.

(Plus there were customers like me who pre-ordered five book and came in and said “Actually, I kind of want them all. That can’t be fun.)

@MarkAndrew & Sean Whitmore- Actually, the Alan Moore Swamp Thing with Lex Luthor (#53) came out a month before Man of Steel #4. There’s been quite a bit of debate as to whether it’s the first appearance of Business Man Luthor, or the last appearance of Mad Scientist Luthor. Cool thing about it, it works both ways (and if Business Man Luthor had been handled like that I’d have probably liked him).

Can I ask an honest question?

Has Dan DiDio EVER written a good comic book?

And if not, why does DC continue to throw away their money pandering to him? He’s no longer the sole executive, and there IS a publisher above him, plus a parent corporation…so WHY?

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