Week 2 (Sept. 14, 2011)

Ok, here’s Week 2 of the reboot and my impressions (circa Sept 14, 2011):

  • Batman & Robin #1 feels like it hasn’t missed a beat.  Bruce is Batman again, not Dick Grayson, and the ‘dynamic’ of the Dynamic duo is slightly different, but all in all the world and feel of the series is almost identical to that which we left off at before the reboot.  I really like how humanistic the story is.  Apart from a really awesome, enigmatic villain, coupled with a brief nod to the scope of “Batman Inc.”, the story mostly was writer Tomasi taking the bull by the horns and showing the intricate and, until now, never explored dynamic of Batman and Robin not as mentor and protege, but father and son.  In this Bruce lays bare everything that is sacred and integral to him for his son to plainly see and then Tomasi gives a very real portrayal of Damian’s response to his father’s humanity from the POV of the perfect eugenic experiment he was conditioned to be.  Damian, during Bruce’s absence worshiped a “god” that Batman has made himself into; an invincible, transcendental force of the night, and Bruce sheds all of that and tries to give insight to Damian, who is just that, a built up image of perfection and inculpability with his humanity tucked away in the recesses of his psyche, what is truly important and how to not lose yourself in the crusade.  Truly one of the best comics DC is putting out.  I love Bruce (the ONLY Batman) and I love his son Damian for his imperfection within perfection, and seeing the two of them together as the dynamic duo, and with such poigniance, makes this book something INCREDIBLE.
  • Batwoman #1 was another that I really loved!  The character of Kate Kane is one that has been written sporadically since 2005, evolved, and persisted because she is a character rife with possibilities.  Making her debut in the meteoric 52 series, she later had cameos in the following series: Countdown to Final Crisis, Final Crisis itself, and The Crime Bible which starred her former lover and newly christened superhero, ex GCPD detective Renee Montoya.  She had an incredible run as a lead character, taking over the starring role in Detective Comics during the first year of Bruce Wayne’s “death”, where we TRULY got to delve into her character, history, relationships (both romantic and most especially familial), as well as where she fits into the power base of Gotham City.  Also important was her appearance in Batman Inc. where we see her juxtaposed against the original Kathy Kane Batwoman from the Batman comics of the 50’s and how Grant Morrison is retaining the old Kathy and simultaneously positing the explanation of this  new Kate Kane Batwoman.  Speaking from the perspective of someone who has watched her new incarnation from “birth” through the development of years, this book did not disappoint in the least. It carries all the heartache, uncertainty, fear, aggression, and mystery that the Detective run set into motion and the others supplemented.  Well worth the read, and certainly on the pull list for as long as it’s published.

    Interior art of "Batwoman #1" written and drawn by J.H. Williams III

  • Green Lantern is another series that didn’t miss a beat. You read the series up until the reboot and this first issue reads just like issue #62.  It is intriguing as it does follow Hal Jordan after his unfortunate circumstances following the last issue, trying to make a go of things and screwing them up, but also it holds tight on the surprise new main character of the series.  It is difficult not to spoil the plot, but the dynamics of one Lantern being cast down from his position and another being cast into the position of a Green Lantern unwillingly is quite an interesting dichotomy.  I’m a Green Lantern fan to the end and this has done nothing to deter my fervor in collecting the Green Lantern title.  LONG LIVE THE CORPS!!!
  • Demon Knights #1 was one that I anticipated for MONTHS.  Everything about it was exciting. Paul Cornell is a genius writer, who proved his DC chops on such titles as Action Comics during the year without Superman, featuring Lex Luthor as the title’s “hero,” as well as the Brit-sploitation title of Knight and Squire.  Both excellent reads and both compelling to this title’s possible merits.  Last weeks dud of Stormwatch had me apprehensive, however.  Yet at the same time it had the stunning artwork of Diogenes Neves, of whom I became aware of during the previous Green Arrow run that so beautifully preceded the monstrosity that now bears that name, and it also had two central characters that I love beyond belief: Madame Xanadu and Etrigan the DEMON!!!  Both are such RICH characters that someone of Cornell’s caliber could make a symphony out of.  And its set in the Middle Ages where these characters find their origin, so the cards are all laid for perfection.  The product was next to perfection.  It was beautifully rendered in art and story.  The medieval characters of DC were all there and in top form.  Shining Knight made the scene, alongside Vandal Savage, Morgan Le Faye, Mordru,  etc.  The love triangle created between two people, Madame Xanadu and the one body and two souls of Jason Blood and Etrigan was also quite engrossing as you try to figure it out, and watch them try and figure it out.  This comic is perhaps the best portrayal of Etrigan since the days of Kirby himself.  I intend to follow this one till the end.
  • Red Lanterns is a title that I HAD to get.  Peter Milligan writing about the most complex and misunderstood of the Lantern corps is something you can’t miss.  It starts with one of my favorite Lanterns, Dex-starr the Cat, and continues into a very intricately crafted story of founding Red Lantern, Atrocitus, discerning his place in the Universe.  It is nigh Shakespearean as he delves into his past and what made him into the engine of vengeance he is, how his feelings of rage have changed since he founded the Corps, and how he feels his control slipping away from him.  Milligan delivers in spades and the table is set for a compelling book that will define the new incarnation of Green Lantern books that come out for decades to come.

    Ed Benes' rendering of Atrocitus from "Red Lanterns #1"

  • Deathstroke #1 was ok.  It was just Slade Wilson killing.  Sure Deathstroke is a badass, but it seemed to lack any depth.  He is a man with so much potential to be explored.  In New Teen Titans he defined an era and posed as a complex villain whose life and past defeats made him strong and virtually unbeatable.  This is merely him posturing and seemingly trying to stay relevant.  An interesting premise, if done properly, which I am sorry to say in my humble opinion wasn’t accomplished here.  I can think of so many other stories that could be told that would make the character work.  I’ll buy one or two more issues and then call it quits if something doesn’t materialize.
  • Grifter #1 was a surprise.  I got it, honestly, because it was a #1 and I wanted to give all the books a fair chance.  This one was engaging, well plotted, intense and suspenseful, and quite skillfully reintroduced the character into the DCU’s new continuity, without shoehorning.  It has the right closeness, but more importantly, the right distance from the central nucleus of the DCU that is fits in its own independent orbit.  I have read W.I.L.Dcatsin the past and am familiar with the character, but this story takes him in a familiar but completely different direction and puts him in a conflict with enemies that are familiar but also seemingly new, leaving me guessing what it all means and how he fits into the main scheme of things.  This is the perfect equation for a good book, and has the hook set in me.

    Last page of "Grifter #1" drawn by Cufu

  • Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E #1 was an entertaining book that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Jeff Lemire brought a lot of previous work into this one: the ant farm from his Atom secondary feature in Adventure Comics as well as his Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creature Commando series.  It is brusque and well thought out, as his stories usually are, and full of twists and turns that meander and take the characters and indirectly us the readers to some interesting places.  Jeff Lemire takes it off the wall in some aspects, but grounds it firmly in reality with his narrative style.  It got my interest and I will continue with it for awhile.
  • Resurrection Man from the aptly named Resurrection Man was a character I had heard mentions of in the past, but knew nothing about except that he dies often and is resurrected with a new superpower each time.  The cool thing about this one is the pair that created him are back writing it.  It had a very interesting premise that looks to deal with Heaven and Hell and the nature of life and death.  Kind of interesting.  We’ll see.
  • Legion Lost #1 was interesting, although uninspired.  The Legion Espionage Squad is trapped in the past trying to stop a man from the 31st century releasing a virus in our time.  Fabian Nicieza is a decent fill in writer, but not one to helm a project like this.  Legion of Superheroes requires a special kind of writer that has the skill to tackle such intricate subject matter.  That is one reason why most Legion of Superheroes stories have been subpar. I hope this is a short run series, because honestly the plot I don’t think can sustain itself for long. After they contain the contagion and bring the villain to justice there doesn’t seem to be much else they can do after that.
  • With Superboy #1, here’s to lowered expectation!  I had nil expectations for this series, but it actually turned out pretty darn good. Superboy isn’t the facsimile of rage and raw emotion that Superman seems to be in Action Comics. He is very intelligent, eloquent, and introspective, just like in the Jeff Lemire series that I loved so much.  The introduction of Rose Wilson into the mix was a very interesting touch as well as the enigmatic origin of his human DNA. This story makes me more optimistic about what may happen in this title’s future as well as the future of Teen Titans and Red Hood and the Outlaws.

    Last page of "Superboy #1" drawn by R.B. Silva

  • Mr. Terrific #1 was ok at best.  Michael Holt was always kind of a C-lister and I never cared much for his character, but the story was enjoyable.  Not a whole lot to say about it.  They established a compelling back story to him and set up an interesting problem for him to solve, but all in all so-so.
  • Didn’t get a chance to read Suicide Squad #1,  as it was sold out at the shop. Drat. Next week hopefully.Thus ends Week #2.

Illustration Credits:

Batwoman #1: Art by J.H. Williams III, Colored by Dave Stewart

Red Lanterns #1: Drawn by Ed Benes, Colored by Nathan Eyring, Inked by Rob Hunter

Grifter #1: Drawn by Cafu, Colored by Andrew Dalhouse, Inked by Jason Gorder

Superboy #1: Drawn by R.B. Silva, Colored by Richard and Tanya Horie, Rob Lean

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