By Hunter Camp
Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 10:00 pm
As most of you may know by now, DC Comics is relaunching their entire line of comic books this Fall alongside a day and date digital comics initiative. What you might not know, however, is that it all started three weeks ago with the releases of the last issue of DC’s summer event Flashpoint, and the beginning of the new universe with Justice League #1.
This Wednesday is the third big week of releases and I’m picking up a lot of these books, and there are still a lot of books to look forward to in these upcoming weeks, as well as plenty that you and I will probably want to stay away from for varying reasons. So, in the order of kindness and assignments from my editor, I will be breaking down each title with their creators, what they’re about, and what you can expect from each of the new books. And, guess what? I’m not in love with a lot of the decisions that they’ve made, so this should be fun!
Every Tuesday through the end of September, I will be writing another installment so you know when you can get yourself to the store, or to your mobile app, and purchase your new #1s from DC Comics! Also, it’s worth noting, dear reader, that since you’re coming to the game a little late, you can’t be guaranteed an issue at the comic book store, so call ahead to see if they have it. Or if you go the store and they don’t have any copies left of these DC books, you could always buy an indie comic like All Nighter, The Red Wing, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and B.P.R.D., which all come out this week, coincidentally. There’s more to comics than just superheroes from DC and Marvel, you know?
But that’s probably why you’re here, and now that I’ve gotten the indie comics alternative plug out of the way, let’s talk about the universe that I’d rather live in, the DC Universe!
Batman #1 (Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion – $2.99): This is the one I’ve been waiting for. One of my favorite writers finally gets a shot at one of his favorite characters. The Bruce Wayne Batman story written by Scott Snyder. If you haven’t been following Snyder’s thoughts on his Batman story, Snyder is going to be writing a story in which Batman’s city of Gotham turns its back on The Dark Knight. Snyder will be telling a tale about the darkness of Gotham and how it affects The Batman. If you for some reason were foolish enough to miss Snyder’s amazing run on Detective Comics with artists Jock and Francesco Francavilla, then you missed out on one of the greatest stories ever told in the pages of the legendary comic book title. Snyder, who also writes the newly relaunched Swamp Thing as well as Vertigo published American Vampire, has an uncanny ability to meld horror comics and super heroes seamlessly to tell an amazing story, and I have no doubt that his unique style will be successful on Batman as well. Snyder loves this character. I love this character. And I love Snyder. Also, it’s worth noting that Capullo and Glapion did the art on the majority of Haunt issues from Image thus far, and let me tell you, they are an insanely talented team of artists who should not be under appreciated. This creative team, as a whole, has the potential to tell one of the greatest Batman stories of all time. This title cannot be missed. Batman fan or not, this is going to be a Hell of a ride.
Birds of Prey #1(Duane Swierczynski/Jesus Saiz – $2.99): Honestly, I have no idea what I’m getting myself into with this book. I’m definitely going to be buying it, but I have no idea what to expect. Birds of Prey, to me, has always meant Oracle, Black Canary, Huntress, and Lady Blackhawk (to an extent). Those are the four core characters, in my eyes. So, when I saw that this book does not have Oracle (the leader), Lady Blackhawk, or Huntress, I began getting worried. Well, not worried as much as uneasy. I haven’t read a lot of Swierczynski’s work, but from what I hear from people I trust is that he’s an incredible writer. And without a doubt, Jesus Saiz is one of the most talented artists working in comics today. As a result of this, my feelings for this title are much like my feelings towards the Gail Simone scripted Batgirl. Insanely talented creative team behind a comic that I’m just not behind at all. Under normal circumstances, I’d love to read comics written by these teamed-up creators, but as weird as it is, I hold Birds of Prey pretty close as a title not only about a team of kick-ass females who go on awesome missions, but more as a book about friendship. The relationships between these core four are what always made the book for me. Replacing Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, and Oracle in this book are Starling, Katana, and Poison Ivy. Yes, Poison Ivy. I just don’t think these characters are going to provide me with what I loved about this book for so long. So to have that gone, I’m just not into it. Previously, I’ve loved all of the incarnations of this series, so we’ll see how this holds up.
Blue Beetle #1 (Tony Bedard/Ig Guara, Ruy Jose – $2.99): The return of Jaime Reyes to his own ongoing book! YAY! If you’re not familiar with the new(ish) Blue Beetle, let me catch you up. It’s pretty simple. Jaime Reyes is teenager who loves super heroes. He’s always wanted to be one, and his dream comes true when he finds the Scarab. I’m not going to get into the Scarab thing, as it’s kinda of complex, and I’m sure they’ll also cover the origin in one of the first few issues of this series. But if they don’t, go check out Infinite Crisis and 52! Now that we’ve got the character out of the way, let’s focus on the creative team. A.) I LOVE Ig Guara’s art. It’s sort of cartoony with an actiony feel, so it should be able to catch the exciting and upbeat tone that the character deserves. B.) Tony Bedard has been hit or miss for me. At first, I really didn’t like him when I read some of his earlier work up through his recent run on R.E.B.E.L.S., but as of late, I’ve kinda grown to love his work. But at this point, I’m still on the fence whether I’d buy a book just because his name is on it, so I still find myself questioning whether or not this book will be everything I want it to be. Also, I expect this comic will play out much like the Static Shock series that came out earlier this month, which isn’t really a bad thing, but I’d like some variety to my teen-centric comics. But the team is a good, and I hope they can inject some non-lethal excitement to the book that I’m not expecting.
Captain Atom #1 (J.T. Krul/Freddie Williams II – $2.99): Oh man, I just do not care about this book, at all. Like I said in a previous article in this series, J.T. Krul is a talented guy. He can and does write good books. It just so happens, though, that those good books are comics that I could care less about. I didn’t read Green Arrow, and I won’t be reading this, either. Captain Atom, if you’re unaware was the inspiration behind Watchmen‘s Dr. Manhattan. Now that trivia time is over, let’s talk about this book! Captain Atom is nuclear powered and yet still a man. So, I guess the series is going to center around on whether he begins to lose his humanity or not. It’s kind of been a common theme with the character, but my experience with him mainly comes from Justice League International comics and the recent Brightest Day tie-in Justice League: Generation Lost. I don’t really have anything else to say about the book other than the fact that Freddie Williams II is a great artist, and if you like J.T. Krul or Captain Atom, then you should definitely buy it. Also, if you think nuclear powered super heroes who are pretty much invincible are totally rad, then pick it up! Me? I just don’t care.
Catwoman #1 (Judd Winick/Guillem March – $2.99): Oh God. Okay, so Judd Winick is writing a Catwoman book that is dirty, sexy, and filthy. Times a million. Or at least that’s what interviews with the creator would have you believe. What I believe is that this comic is not going to be very good. Guillem March is really good, and so is Winick, don’t get me wrong. Well, I should say that they both can be good. But when March goes down the cheesecake route, he seems to be focused more on how to draw an ass than he is concerned with drawing something resembling a human’s body or telling a good story with art. Also, pretty much the same thing can be said for Judd Winick. If he gets ahead of himself with “innovative ideas” and giving a “unique voice” for an “under-appreciated character,” he loses himself in the concept. For example, Red Hood: Lost Days, actually, even Batman: Under The (Red) Hood are both great stories up until the last issue or so. He shoots for the stars, but only reaches the moon sometimes. Moreover, this type of thing happens with the writer when he is not making some sort of social commentary (he is very good at social commentary, by the way). And believe me, I don’t think we’ll have any kind of social commentary, or any kind of commentary at all in this book. I know I did this before when I initially ran down the titles when they were announced, but look at the solicitation one more time:
Meet Catwoman. She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is – she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good. Find out more about what makes Catwoman tick in this new series from writer Judd Winick.
Addicted to Shiny objects? Addicted to Batman? Really? Really? Who knows, I could be completely wrong, and this could be the breakout title of The New 52, but I sincerely doubt it. There’s nothing wrong with telling a “sexy” version of Catwoman, I mean, it’s Catwoman, she sexy by default. But to focus on that as a major selling point? In the words of Kevin McCallister, “I don’t think so.”
DC Universe Presents #1 (Paul Jenkins/Bernard Chang – $2.99): I have no idea what to expect, so I’m really excited about this book. Supposedly, this book features one character or group of characters per story arc, so it has the potential to be kind of like a Brave and the Bold type of title, but that’s pretty much speculation at this point. What’s not speculation, however, is that Bernard Chang’s art is awesome! Also, this first story arc focuses on Deadman, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen a straight up Deadman story, so we’ll see how this goes. Deadman can be both cool and interesting, so hopefully Paul Jenkins can pull this one together and get us a really cool story. I really hope this book has a rotating cast, because it would be great to have a title to go to that showcases all sorts of different characters. Maybe we’ll actually get to see the Doom Patrol again, who knows?
Green Lantern Corps #1 (Peter J. Tomasi/Fernando Parasin, Scott Hanna – $2.99): The title of this story arc is called “Triumph of the Will,” which just so happens to be the name of an award winning Nazi propaganda film. Trivia aside, I’m not big on Peter J. Tomasi at the moment, considering last week’s Batman and Robin, but he has always seemed to shine with Green Lantern Corps. Like I’ve said before, Peter J. Tomasi is not a favorite writer of mine, but he certainly possesses the ability to tell an engaging story in which readers can immerse themselves. A lot of people I’ve talked to over the years have been big on Tomasi as a writer all around, and the only time I ever saw that was during the Rainbow Lantern Corps expansion and Blackest Night tie-ins within the Green Lantern Corps title. So, if you love the Green Lanterns, or you love The Peter J. Tomasi, then pick this up, for sure, because a lot of readers love his work. Again, I am not one of those readers, so this book gets a pass from me.
Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (Paul Levitz/Francis Portela – $2.99): Legion! Hopefully this makes more sense than Legion Lost did! It’s Paul Levitz writing it, so I hope it does. As I said last week, I’m a fan of the idea of the Legion of Super Heroes and the concepts integrated within the stories, and I also like Paul Levitz, but I’ve yet to find a good starting point with the title that’s not utterly confusing. So, hopefully this book really is a good jumping on point, and you don’t have to read the recently relaunched title that started in 2010. Because I didn’t. I will be reading this, and if you like Sci-Fi, the future, time travel, and diversity, then you should probably read this book, because to my knowledge, that’s what this book is all about. That’s also kind of what Star Trek is all about, as well. So, if you haven’t watched Star Trek, then you should do that, too! Wait, we’re still talking comic books. Alright. So, the Legion of Super-Heroes is a great idea that I want to read about, but I don’t want to read 50 years of comics to know what’s going on. I am the absolutely perfect audience for this newly relaunched title, so hopefully they can grab me. I want to love this book, so the ball’s in your court, Legion.
Nightwing #1 (Kyle Higgins/Eddy Barrows, JP Mayer – $2.99) Another book I’ve been waiting for all summer! I must say that I haven’t read everything that Kyle Higgins has written, but I’ve read some of it including Supreme Power, Gates of Gotham, and the newly launched Deathstroke, and one thing is for certain, Kyle Higgins does not suck. Now, I may not have liked everything I’ve read from him (::cough::Deathstroke::cough::), but I don’t think it’s his writing that caused that result. He is a talented guy that tells a solid story. Sometimes I like the way things happen and end, and sometimes I don’t, but I’ve never read something from him that I thought was bad or that I outright hated. And that is a unique compliment that I can only hand out to a small group of creators. In addition to Higgins’ writing prowess, he also loves the character of Nightwing and seems to be giving a description for a really cool Dick Grayson story that involves his circus roots. Now, remember, that we have a young 20s Dick Grayson who has also been Batman at some point, but try to dwell on that unfortunate side effect of the relaunch that makes literally no sense. Instead, try to focus on the story at hand, and enjoy it for what it is. Like I said, Kyle Higgins is solid writer that tells engaging stories. Also, Eddy Barrows is rad.
Red Hood and The Outlaws #1 (Scott Lobdell/Kenneth Rocafort – $2.99): For me, Scott Lobdell is hit or miss. Kenneth Rocafort, on the other hand is always a hit, in my opinion. I love everything that I’ve seen from him, and I fully expect this book to be a title that I love having my eyes on. That said, I really don’t care too much for the team up book of former Robin, Jason Todd, former Speedy, Roy Harper, and former Teen Titan, Starfire. Actually, the inclusion of Starfire confuses me. The could be a really cool title about the failed former sidekicks who lost their way, etc., but that doesn’t apply to Starfire. Oh well, that still seems to be the main driving point for this story, which could be cool, honestly. Two terrible examples of humanity trying to show an alien what humans are like. That actually make it sound even better! From the solicitations of this book, it’s definitely hard to tell how this book will end up. Could be great, could go south, only one way to find out! Shell out those three bucks to DC Comics!
Supergirl #1 (Michael Green, Mike Johnson/Mahmud Asrir – $2.99): Not interested. The new Supergirl is being billed as angry, violent, and short tempered when it comes to the human race. I got news for you, though. I don’t love the name “Supergirl” enough to to buy this title when everything I liked about the character fell in line with her youthful exuberance and her positive outlook onto the world. Whether it was having fun, or kicking ass, Supergirl more than likely had a smile on her face, and that’s what I liked. Replace that smile with a scowl, and I’ll be keeping by three dollars, thank you very much. No offense intended to the two Michaels and Mr. Asrir, as I’m sure they are all talented folks, but I’ll spend this money on an indie book. So, I guess I should thank DC Comics for encouraging me to expand my horizons a little bit further to a non-big two published book. But hey, if you like young and angry super heroes, give this one a go, and leave a comment here below to tell me how it is.
Wonder Woman #1 (Brian Azarello/Cliff Chiang – $2.99): Ah yes, the comic book that everyone was concerned with how Wonder Woman would be dressed for the fall. Would she dress appropriately for the cooling weather with log pants, or would she be sporting the crime fighting, star-spangled trunks? Do you know how many times I talked about Wonder Woman’s fall fashion over the summer? Zero. Because all I know is that Brian Azarello is one of the most gifted independent writers on the scene today, and he’s being accompanied by one of the best artists out there to create a story within the pages of Wonder Woman that have been described not as standard super hero faire, but as a horror story starring Wonder Woman. That sounds legitimately amazing, as Azarello’s forte is crime and the Macabre. And to go back to Cliff Chiang for a minute, his art is unlike anything else be published. He has a signature style that can be confused with nothing. And he draws the Hell out of Wonder Woman. He draws her so good, in fact, that I’m convinced that she is his favorite character. This book has all the potential in the world to be the best of The New 52, but we’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out if that’s the case. One way or another, Wonder Woman is a can’t miss book.
That’s it for this week, but make sure to show up next Tuesday for titles like All-Star Western, Aquaman, The Flash, I, Vampire, and Superman!
But if you don’t know where your closest comic book store, and you don’t have a convenient way to read digital comics, then make sure to find your local comic shop from the Comic Shop Locator!