Thursday, September 8, 2011

Some of the New 52 - First Impressions

I picked up a handful of DC's releases this week.

For clarification purposes - I did not pick up:

Batwing - I really, really do not care for Judd Winick.  I am sorry.  He has enough of my money.
Detective Comics - I will pick up in collected format.  No need to spend money twice.
Green Arrow - I don't plan to get this.  I will have to hear sterling reviews. The preview didn't grab me.
Hawk & Dove - Same as Green Arrow.  The concept didn't grab me from descriptions.

What I read tonight (which wasn't Action Comics, which we'll get to later):

Animal Man:  This was the best issue of those I read this evening, and was strongly recommended by Brandon of Austin Books.  This reminded me of early-era Vertigo, mixing superheroics with perhaps horror and a bit of a mature approach to characters as three-dimensional people.  The comic touches loosely upon Buddy Baker's past inside and outside of the stories and his publishing history (one and the same to him, uniquely, I'd say), and sets some genuinely mind-boggling stuff creating a tremendous hook for what's to come.  I'm definitely onboard for the next few issues.

Batgirl:  A title I've been very nervous about.  If I can be frank, sometimes Simone can be a little precious for my tastes with things she just loves (and I'm not yet sold on).  And I'm a bit disappointed in the loss of Oracle.  But this is a different DCU, and I think this is a fair, sharp start to what seems to be a promising new series while embracing the classic Batgirl concept of bright, capable young woman whose greatest gift is overcoming self-doubt to get the job done.

Justice League International:  There's a whole lot to swallow here that doesn't make much sense to longtime readers and is spoken of elliptically in an unuseful way for new readers,with some oddly herky-jerky pacing.  We don't really meet any of the team members except for a "flirty" Lady Godiva who seems plucked from a late-80's/ early-90's comic, and the comic feels more like its playing hide the ball than setting up genuine mysteries.  Throw in the fact that its a sort of legacy team based upon a Justice League we won't see for 6-12 months, and its an odd fit.  I'm just not very excited by this one.  That said, its still a brisk read, and it does more to set the foundations than Justice League #1.

Stormwatch:  Sadly, all this book did was remind me of why I quit reading The Authority for any number of reasons almost exactly a decade ago.  While the book certainly feels like how I remember Authority, I now remember that I haven't really missed anything about WildStorm's approach since giving up on them a while back.  Some day I should write a post about how The Midnighter is either an absolutely genius critique of the past 20 years' worth of approach to Batman, or possibly the most egregious example of someone's unconscious Batman ripoff character from their middle-school notebook actually making it into print.  And I don't think either fits very neatly into the DCU proper.

Still to come:

OMAC, Men of War, Static Shock, Action Comics


Simon MacDonald said...

Well we agree on Animal Man and JLI. I've sent you a separate mail with my reviews of the 4 books I just read.

Also, the character Lady Godiva is also from the Global Guardians team which Fire and Ice used to be members of as well.

The League said...

I am vaguely aware of Godiva's existence and she sort of got treatment in "Lois Lane and the Resistance".

My issue was more with the dialog Jurgens put in her mouth. It reminded me of the standard "sexy" characters from back in the day. I found it clunky back then, but that sort of constant drone of "my primary characteristic is hitting on people" seems like an 80's relic to me.

I'll get your reviews up this evening (we're having a small formatting issue it will take me a few minutes to fix).

I'll likely be talking "Action Comics" tonight.

Simon MacDonald said...

Yeah, the JLI was a bit clunky over all. I liked Bats belief in Booster but that was about it. No reason why Bats would be a Booster, er, um booster was given though.

No worries about my review. Curious to hear you thoughts on Action!

The League said...

I assumed that Bats' knowledge of Booster as the world's most secretly successful hero was intact. But it wasn't explicitly stated, and Booster himself felt so different (and with no sponsorships anywhere on his suit) that I wasn't sure.

In some ways it was new, and in others, like Jurgens didn't get the memo that this was for readers new to the DCU.

Jake Shore said...

No love for Rob Liefeld?

Mikey said...

I actually picked up Static Shock and really enjoyed it. This is a really fun title that I think actually channels the energy of the cartoon and 90's series pretty well. It seems a little skewed towards younger audiences, but given that I'm a proponent of all-ages comics, that's no problem with me at all.

Overall, I think Dwayne McDuffie would be pretty happy with where his kid is going. :)

Mikey said...

Two other things:

1)Animal Man was definitely the winner this week.

2)Gail Simon's Batgirl is awesome.

The League said...

@Jake - I was not part of the Liefeld revolution, so I don't have a lot of nostalgia for the guy, and I never read his Image work. I also don't have the same vitriol for him as some folks seem to carry around, but I do get the criticism of his work, I guess. But I rarely refuse to pick up a book based on not liking the artist (and I do like writer Gates).

I didn't pick up Hawk & Dove because it just didn't grab me. I'll check in again when the trade solicits come out.

@Mikey - I was supposed to read Static last night, but life happened. Hopefully this evening.

I wasn't a huge fan of the crazy cop calling Babs a "murderer", which seemed misplaced, but aside from that, a good enough first issue that I'll try the second.

Simon MacDonald said...

@The League

I'm sure I've made this confession to you before but I got back into comics because or Rob Liefeld. When I say the cover to New Mutants 100 on a spinner rack back in 1991 I just had to pick it up and read it. That wacktacular art made me buy it and the crazy story made me get back into reading comics so I'll always have a soft spot for Liefeld. That said, I will never buy another comic books he draws.

@The League, @Mikey

Yeah, the cop calling Babs a "murderer" was a bit forced. Um, why don't you point that gun at the guy who pushed the bed out the window? I'm going to keep reading as I trust Simone.