The New 52 – Week Two

I’ll keep this briefer than before, unless something specifically stands out.

BATMAN & ROBIN
This is an interesting way of telling us about the origin of Batman by him explaining it to his son, Damian. Both characters are interestingly flawed, Bruce’s inability to move on about his parents until this issue and Damian’s ungrateful attitude towards his origins.
The combat feels unnecessary because of this, it’s bombastic and has potential, but jarring compared to the somber start.
I’ve liked Peter Tomasi’s writing on Green Lantern Corps, but here I almost want someone else to write it. Batman & Robin’s had greats such as Morrison and Cornell on it, so this feels odd compared.
As a new reader, it doesn’t introduce anything out of the ordinary and validates a lot of the Morrison run, showing a Russian Batman and the whole Damian Robin thing. Still, I don’t know, this and Detective don’t feel like first issues, they feel like mid-series jumping on points.

BATWOMAN
This is a continuation of the old Detective Comics Batwoman, but with the artist, JH Williams III taking over. We’re given the introductory perspective of her new sidekick, Bette Kane. In the ancient, ancient continuity, she was Bat-Girl. Now, until she earns her right to be a proper sidekick, she’s just called Plebe by Batwoman. You can tell the military training in her origin compared to Batman’s more martial arts based one.
A nice story, a mysterious villain, a mandatory Batman appearance, and lovely artwork.

DEMON KNIGHTS
Paul Cornell’s a fantastic writer, normally. Stormwatch #1 was a blip, and this proves it. Like his series, Knight & Squire, this comic’s one flaw is that it’s very busy. And that for some reason beasts and dinosaurs all need armour like Battlecat from He-Man (here and recently in Secret Six, this pointy armour on already deadly animals seems like they’re trying too hard).
Still, the plot of Demon Knights is an interesting one. Camelot falls and Merlin, sod that he is, plants a demon in his apprentice, Jason of Norwich. Hundreds of years later he’s Jason Blood, whose girlfriend, Madam Xanadu, is having an affair with the demon contained inside him. They meet Vandal Savage (former villain, current drunk), the chivalric transvestite Shining Knight and other strange figures.
Like any old school D&D game they’re all after a drink and monsters appear. It’s all quite interesting and a lot happens, even though not much plot happens. That’s not a bad thing, as I said, it’s busy. There’s a ton of worldbuilding as this is the first time we’ve been to this era in the New 52, and a few of these characters are brand new to DC. I can’t wait to see issue two.

FRANKENSTEIN & THE AGENTS OF S.H.A.D.E.
A weird one. Again, it’s very busy. Sadly I only got to read each title once, so I want to take this in properly. Frankenstein is a weird agent for an agency hidden by the wonder of Ray Palmer (the first Atom)’s powers. There’s no need to know he’s the Atom here, all backstory isn’t necessary, which makes it a good first title. The concepts are fast and weird and that’s how I like them. It’s interesting seeing how Marvel glossed over Grant Morrison’s concepts the second he left New X-Men and DC’s wading in them. A curious keeper.

GREEN LANTERN
I’ve been a fan of Green Lantern as, like Legion of Super-Heroes, it’s sci-fi and super heroism. This may as well be the continuation of the regular series. Maybe it’s a jumping on point for people who suffered through the film and are familiar with concepts like Sinestro and Carol Ferris. It’s not a great start, but it reinvigorates the slightly tired Lantern continuity and for that it has my blessing.

LEGION LOST
Our first Legion title. So as a Legion fan I had to read it a couple of times. It makes sure to do the right #1 things by telling us the names of the characters and what they do. The art’s colourful in a sub-Stuart Immonen way. The only problem is the villain and the situation are both confusing. The future swear words should always be used sparingly, and I’m not sure what the resolution of this issue was. Did they go into the future and it was a wasteland? Did they explode into the present/past/some point in time and it was a wasteland?
The plot’s basically that there’s a villain who want revenge on humanity, went back with a virus and I think it’s wiped out the future. The Flashpoint Breakwall (present equivalent of when the Time Trapper conveniently blocked time travel) stops the team getting back to the future. And they may have killed one team member already, off-panel.
I’m getting it because it’s Legion and Fabian Nicieza is generally a good writer.

MISTER TERRIFIC
Since the JSA first reappeared in the 00’s, I’ve been a fan of Mister Terrific. He’s smart but not arrogant with it, has been brought low and made himself something good, something inspirational to others.
We get a brief origin here, delivered in flashback, and an appearance of Old DCU Power Girl, Karen Starr. I like her in this, but it seems like a weird choice to de-power her. There are a couple of clumsy bits of dialogue about race, and some of the artist’s faces look identical to each other. In fact, the faces are possibly one of the weaker parts here. The story’s not too notable, but the premise is okay and I like the Karen/Terrific dynamic. Another tenative keeper.

RED LANTERNS
Rarrr! Rage Lanterns feel rage! Except Atrocitus, another wonderfuly, terribly named Green Lantern character. Why make this book? It seems like an odd choice. Atrocitus is moaning, some punk kid on Earth kills an old man and his sons fight, Bleez prepares a rebellion as best as someone who can barely speak can. That’s it. Atrocitus gets a vision of all the wrong in the universe. Apparently it’s all only on Earth.
I’m ditching this book right away. If it crosses over with the Green Lantern titles, I’ll grab that issue, but no others.

SUICIDE SQUAD
Speaking of a terrible excuse for a book, here’s week two’s controversy. It seems mandatory that something gets on everyone’s wick and here it is.
Suicide Squad gives unlikable makeovers to a bunch of characters, making them, “edgy and cool” because they’re psychos and kill people and that’s edgy and cool.
As I have a sentient flying shark as a character in a webcomic I want to make, I’m kind of pleased that King Shark is monosyllabic, but it’s a step down from his reference-quoting, person-eating monster in Secret Six. Deadshot’s shaved, which is a sin against all facial hair, and not the interesting psycho who doesn’t realise he has a conscience from (again) Secret Six. Harley Quinn… there’s not much character there. Apparently her abandonment issues made her slice people up and dress sluttily. There are other guys, but they’ll probably die as they weren’t on the cover or recognisable.
Then something happens. Something terrible. They made Amanda Waller, The Wall, not fat. I’m overblowing it by saying that, but this feels like making everyone look generic, like they have to be “Hollywood normal”. Deadshot going from rocking a tash to stubble makes him look like every damn person else. Amanda Waller being thin and hot doesn’t reflect that she’s early in her career, it shows that apparently she has to be like everyone else.
After this, is Ma Hunkle’s in this universe, she’d better not be some hot MILF.
Thanks to this book I immediately re-read all of Secret Six, which is fantastic and how you do villains without falling to immature, teenage attitudes of what’s edgy.

SUPERBOY
I enjoyed this book more than I thought. Like Legion Lost, this has a former survivor of 90’s X-Men comics, Scott Lobdell, on it. Superboy’s in a lab somewhere, more specifically, NOWHERE. He thinks he’s in Kansas, but he’s in a VR world after being taken apart and put back together again by an evil shadowy agency.
The reason I picked this up is a bad one. I’d heard a lab tech redhead was one Caitlin Fairchild, from Gen13 which was one of the books I loved as a teenager. In retrospect, there were a ton of flaws with that series, but Adam Warren and Gail Simone’s runs were great. In fact this reads like the Gail Simone run.
The art’s light and nice, the mystery’s good and I look forward to where it goes. My only problem is that I might end up buying Teen Titans to see how Superboy is in that.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s