Week 3 (Sept. 21, 2011)

Here we go on week 3:

  • Batman #1 was in my opinion a little whelming.  I thoroughly enjoyed Scott Snyder’s Detective Comics run and his American Vampire series is at the top of my list right now. I’m trying to figure out if the Detective run had the same period of break in.  I mean this issue has all the same hallmarks as his past Batman work, and like his Swamp Thing this month, it had the same blend of introspection on the part of the brooding Bruce Batman (Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back . . .) and slasher elements that he is really good at.   And the murderer?  Well it probably isn’t true, but when you find out who the empiric evidence points to, WOW.  Part of the whelmedness may have been that I read this at work and was stressed out. I’ll have to give it a second read later.   (Note from the Future: I read it a second time and it was better, but still nothing compared to what is to come!)

    Greg Capullo's Inmates of Arkham in "Batman #1"

  • Green Lantern Corps #1 was pretty sweet.  Green Lantern is still the book to read in that family, thus far, but Corps is still pretty tight.  As he did in Batman & Robin Peter Tomasi added a great deal of humanity to the main characters of Guy Gardner and John Stewart.  Tomasi is by far the only guy who can write Guy.  Guy Gardner is a douche and Tomasi keeps that going but somehow makes his assholic tendencies endearing.  John is a great guy and Tomasi also keeps that going strong.  In this issue we see both of their hopes and dreams laid out plainly, and are told or reminded (depending on whether you are a longtime fan or just jumping on the wagon) what the Corps means to them both.  That aspect was, in my opinion, better than the overall mystery they are trying to figure out.
  • Wonder Woman #1 was awkward.  I’m sure it will grow into itself, there were the beginnings of an interesting plot (albeit seemingly ripped from the awful film Legion, or the less awful Prophecy II).  Brian Azzarello is a great writer and I want to trust him, but there was very little explanation of the changes made to the character or the crazy events portrayed.  Maybe that was on purpose, but it was a little annoying.  We’ll see.  Cliff Chiang’s art was pretty sweet though. I have always liked his artwork.  Also, on a less than flattering note, I did like seeing Zola in her underwear.  I say that with a sheepish smile.
  • Supergirl #1 was much the same as Wonder Woman.  It offered a rebooted origin, which is good for new readers, yet it also eschewed exposition and characterization in lieu of Supergirl coming to Earth and immediately blowing shit up and being attacked by giant robots.  Fun to look at, but a real noodle scratcher afterward.  Best part though had to be when her super hearing kicked in and they looped in dialogue from three of the other comics that came out this week.  Classy move, Mr. Green. I tip my hat to you. Jury is out until next month as to whether this series is working or not.
  • DC Universe Presents: Deadman #1 was pretty sweet.  I read the first half of the original series by Arnold Drake and Neal Adams and this was an interesting take.  Whereas in the past he kinda wandered around half cocked trying to track down his killer, possessing anyone who struck his fancy or was convenient, in this version Rama Kushna actually has a “five year plan” of people who he is going to possess and leading to him redeeming his soul as opposed to finding out who killed him. He apparently can possess whoever he wants between those dictated possessions.  Anyway, well written and intriguing premise.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 . . . Man, I am an asshole!  I bitched so much about Scott Lobdell coming onboard DC and fucking it up with horseshit writing style from Wildstorm properties.  So far two of his three titles (Superboy last week) have been knocked out of the park. Superboy was pretty damn sweet.  This one, was one of the best that came out.  So great!  Kind of had a CW Network feel to it, like the shows Supernatural or Smallville, but at the same time I didn’t feel like it was inappropriate.  His portrayal of Jason Todd and Roy Harper was spot on.  I feel like he shortchanged Starfire by turning her into a mindless whore, but at the same time, he wouldn’t be the first one to do that.  There is some awesome crossovers he’s done within his own series.  One with the upcoming Teen Titans was made in Superboy. And unless I am mistaken they made one in this issue with Superboy #2.  All around this series started out kick ass and I have no clue where its going, but I am on board for the duration of the trip.
  • Catwoman #1 was pretty damn awesome too.  Judd Winick can write Batman properties.  Anyone who says otherwise is a Nazi.  Sorry, folks, but its true.  One thing he does really well is setting conflict  against internal monologue.  The best part of this is watching Selina nearly get killed by one group, only to set herself against another group (Russian mobsters) who in all likelihood will be trying to kill her next issue, while at the same time having her take us on a journey through her inner most thoughts.  Its fun watching her vaulting over an entire room of coked up Russian thugs and half naked hookers while giving us an existentialist account of how she got into this situation.  And you get to see a lot of her in her underwear, as drawn by the sensuous pencil of Guillem March.  I like this comic. I like the bra shots. I’m not proud of it, but I’m still smiling sheepishly.

    Guillem March's Catwoman making a quick escape in "Catwoman #1"

  • Birds of Prey #1 was another good series, but kind of felt like “Catwoman-Lite”.  It had some very sexy women kicking ass, but lacked the intimate characterization and exposition. I know that some of it is probably forthcoming, but it kind of dragged a bit going through discordant flashbacks with little cohesion to the present or explanation of what significance they serve.  Also the issue only starts with two superheroes.  A third is shown, but doesn’t join, and a fourth is talked about but never seen.  I think that was why I disliked Justice League #1. When you have an ensemble book, unless its established already, I want to see an ensemble in the action.  Two’s just company, I want at the very least a crowd.  Plus, is that Poison Ivy on the front and if so, what is she doing on a superheroine team?  Questions that this issue didn’t answer.
  • I actually collected Nightwing right up to its cancellation after Batman: R.I.P and Nightwing #1 seems to have the exact feel as the previous series.  I even checked to see if Eddy Barrows was the artist on the last couple of issues, but he wasn’t.  Despite that, it had a genuineness that made me feel like I had never left the series.  It has a perfect blend of retrospection to Dick’s past as a circus performer, Robin, Nightwing, Batman, and full circle back to the circus and Nightwing again.  You get a sense of the his journey and what he has learned from each role and the mistakes that have molded him into who and what he is now.  Even if you have never read anything about this character, the issue tells you conversationally and in very short, concise terms everything you need to know.  It has a nice blend of exposition and action, and an awesome twist that makes me wonder if there is a connection between the end of this book and the end of Batman #1.
  • I don’t think in the past year I have made any secret of how much I love Paul Levitz’s work.  Legion of Superheroes #1 is no exception.  This like several other books, namely the Batbooks (except Batgirl) and the Green Lantern books, did not reboot, so you pick up right after the meteoric events of the previous series.  There was an interesting plot point put forth in this first issue and plenty of room to build towards something interesting as well.  They mention the Controllers, which I have seen before but not in the context of the Legion of Superheroes so I look forward to seeing that.  This title genuinely excites me.

    Francis Portella's Legionares in "Legion of Superheroes #1"

  • Captain Atom #1 was so-so.  I love JT Krul as a writer, but the character of Captain Atom I never really cared about nor am I that in love with the art of Freddie Williams II.  In this the coloring salvaged his art a little bit. I did like the sort of pastel coloring as opposed to the computer program coloration he usually uses.  Anyway, not much to say as it had an interesting, apocalyptic, existential dilemma for Captain Atom to figure out, but there were too many little things that weren’t my cup of tea.  But at the same time it is just my own personal tastes.
  • Blue Beetle #1 is another character that I don’t really follow that much.  He has the capability to be good, but rarely the follow through.  Tony Bedard is a great writer, especially his Green Lantern stuff, and he writes an interesting story.  This first issue really lagged on showing Jaime as a high school kid, which can be pretty boring, but there were a few elements that spoke to me: 1) The Green Lantern Corps will be coming in to battle the Blue Beetles so that has promise.  2) The henchmen in this issue mentioned The Brain and Monsieur Mallah, which means that the Brotherhood of Evil are going to be central villains which I am all about. They haven’t been in DC comics for some time and their reintroduction has me stoked.  Not a great first issue, but I am debating about continuing it.  Sadly, it won’t be for the main character, but for the tertiary elements I mentioned above. That is perhaps the saddest part of this title.

Thus ends Week 3 of the Reboot.  All in all, a lot of good things came out this week that make me optimistic about what to expect in the coming months.

Illustration Credits:

Batman #1: Drawn by Greg Capullo, Colored by FCO, Inked by Jonathan Glapion

Catwoman #1: Art by Guillem March, Colored by Tomeu Morey

Legion of Super-Heroes #1: Art by Francis Portella, Colored by Javier Mena


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