Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 2 in the new DCnU

by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
The Good: A very good starting point that covers a lot of ground in showing the growth of Bruce Wayne, something we haven't seen in the new DCnU Batbooks until now. Also, we haven't seen major traces of Batman Inc until this issue, which is also refreshing, even though the fate of the Batman Inc character introduced is rather unfortunate. Overall a good launching pad for how this very interesting relationship is going to have to grow as both a father and son duo and a criminal fighting duo. All Robins have been in one way or the other heirs to the throne, and here comes the first son of the Bat, who is harder to trust or like than any of his predecessors. There is nothing but an awesome story to tell here. Let the games begin. In addition, we get an international enemy of Batman Inc as the villain that presents real, palpable danger. A great first test brewing for the new dynamic duo.
The Bad: Sometimes it felt like Bruce and Damian were having separate conversations, which I think was the point in part, but it resulted in being more distracting than leading to making a point. I am actually not sure how crazy I am about Bruce being so happy and so OK about the event that made him (his parents' murder) as much as that may make sense after the RIP and The Return of Bruce Wayne storyline. Also, DCnU relaunch notwithstanding, Damian seems a little more annoying than before, and I figured that some time with Dick would have made him outgrow that a bit.
The Grade: B+
Status: Stays in

by JH Williams III and Haden Blackman
The Good: This is the comic book of the week. Stunning and original art from beginning to end, every inch of this book is beautiful. Splash pages that leave you gasping. It definitely is a unique way to enjoy a comic, and there is nothing like it in the new DCnU. That's just the art. The writing is impeccable, and clearly complemented by the art. This is something that is extremely unique in the new DCnU thus far and I hope that sends a message to everyone on what comics should be about. The interesting thing, as I've posted before, is that this book existed in this form and shape (with minor tweaks) prior to the DCnU relaunch. So to award the success of this book on the relaunch would be ludicrous, this book should be what good comics should be about and it was completely independent of the relaunch.
The Bad: Absolutely nothing.
The Grade: A+
Status: Stays in (for the long haul!)

by Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves
The Good: I had no idea of what to expect from this book. Aside from Etrigan and Xanadu, everyone else seemed like characters I didn't know or care about. But enter Vandal Savage and my heart is filled with warmth, and all of the other random characters that join the motley crew make this book not only fresh and original, but also fun. I was hearing a report on NPR about how most revolutions (military, political and ideological) have assembled in a bar, particularly in the US throughout its history. How fitting that the gathering of these heroes should happen in the same place in such an organic manner. The art is fun and perfect for this story and way of story telling.
The Bad: As much fun as I had, very little actually happened in this book. I am looking forward to the origin stories of other characters in the books to come, since we only got abbreviated versions of Etrigan and Xan. Most definitely want to know more about their encounters with Savage in previous times.
The Grade: A-
Status: Enthusiastically added!

by Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke
The Good: Doug Mahnke and Geoff Johns continue their story as if the relaunch had not happened. This story picks up where the aftermath of the War of the Green Lanterns left off and that's good news because it puts two of its most developed characters (Thal Sinestro and Hal Jordan) in the most interesting position they could find themselves. The art is as always gorgeous and the issue does a good job at introducing new readers to the situation while letting the rest of us that have been enjoying this ride since Rebirth see where it takes us.
The Bad: I would have hoped that Johns let both Sinestro and Hal simmer a little longer in their undesirable new situations longer, really have them sit in the reality of what these new positions they find themselves in are and do further character development. It does not look like Sinestro will be leaving the green ring any time soon judging from December solicits, but I don't like the idea that they already may have a plan to start putting everyone back in their place. We'll see how it plays out.
The Grade: A-
Status: Stays in

by Ntahan Edmonson and Cafu
The Good: Cafu's art is gorgeous, particularly in the opening sequence that feels takes straight out of Lost or 24. Very well done across the board. 
The Bad: The story is just OK, and Grifter is written so much channeling Sawyer, and I really don't get to care about any of it (including the mysterious otherwordly villains) by the end of it. It's a bland origin story and I was hoping for much more.
The Grade: C-
Status: Dropped

by Peter Milligan and Ed Benes
The Good: In very few pages we get Atrocitus origin story, the renewal of his rage depite the events of War of The Green Lanterns, the beginning of a revolution within the Red Lanterns and the prequel to an origin story of a new Red Lantern (tentatively) back on Earth. That is a lot of a small book, and it does so seamlessly both welcoming new readers and old. We even get (I think) a pseudo-tribute to the art of Kevin O'Neill in the famous "Tygers" story with the opening scene. This is a universe that has a lot of potential to be developed, there are so few Red Lanterns that we have gotten an origin story form, and this is a nice opportunity to see what drives all of these creatures from all over the universe, while exploring familiar ground.
The Bad: There was quite a bit of violence in this book, which is to be expected, but it may only descend into more chaos. This is a complaint many readers of the new DCnU are getting, and I don't think it's totally unjustified. There is also the matter of the mumblings of the Red Lanterns, how they operate out of pure rage and can barely put a thought together while communicating, whereas Atrocitus looks and sounds like a genius compared to his troops. It makes for difficult reading, but also leaves readers scratching their heads a bit.
The grade: B+
Status: Stays in

by Scott Lobdell and RB Silva
The Good: I was not expecting this book to be this decent, since I was thinking I'd drop it after the first issue. There's good writing, good action good twists. In very few pages we have a "recreation" of the escape of Superboy from the lab from Death of Superman, in a brand new fresh (and violent!) way. But we also get to meet all these new and old characters, with fun winks (two versions of Rose Wilson!) and interesting hints (the Dr. in charge of Superboy is either called Dr. or "Red", but never by her last name- perhaps a Luthor?). 
The Bad: This is one of the outfit redesigns I have been the least happy about, but I guess it may have to grow on me. I'm also curious of how they treat the origin of the human DNA for Superboy as such a mystery, while dropping way too many hints as to the obvious answer. They may be pulling our leg for a big reveal later on, or making this unnecessarily mysterious even for new readers. As enjoyable as it was, I'm not enthralled by this book at this point and may only stay in my pull list for a short period of time. Unless of course, the overlap with Teen Titans is phenomenal and the story develops a little more complexity. We'll see. 
The Grade: B-
Status: Stays in for a couple of issues

Lastly, the following books were not reviewed and their Status remains unchanged for me: Browsed Through, Still Not Interested.

  • Legion Lost
  • Deathstroke
  • Resurrection Man
  • Mister Terrific
  • Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  • Suicide Squad

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