Week 2 of DC’s New 52, and another 13 books to look at. Again, I’m looking at these books from the eyes of a Marvel reader, who really doesn’t know much about DC apart from the occasional news items and controversy online. And, again, I’m going to start with a featured book before some smaller capsule reviews. Up this week, Green Lantern #1.
Green Lantern #1
Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke take on a book with a hero who should be front and centre in the public consciousness due to the recent big budget movie. It’s a shame that the movie tanked quite badly, because DC really needed to get another character out there, and the comics could have used that extra shot in the arm.
Johns has been writing Green Lantern for a few years now, so I understand that DC didn’t want to junk what seems to have been a very successful run. But there is so much wrong with this issue, in terms of being an introduction for new readers, that I can’t say anything but that DC has botched this, and botched it badly.
For starters, Green Lantern has already appeared in the premiere book of the New 52, Justice League, in costume and powered up. This book, as is clear from the cover, has a different Green Lantern, Sinestro. So, right away, I’m in the dark, and a bit put out, because Hal Jordan, who should be Green Lantern isn’t. I can deal with a mystery, but if there’s backstory to this I should know, tough, I’m not reading it, because I shouldn’t have to.
Jordan’s girlfriend, Carol Ferris, is also introduced really poorly…it shouldn’t take until the third page of her appearance to find out her first name. The fact she has a “star sapphire” ring is just thrown out there casually, when so far all we know is that there are Green Lanterns (I know there are other Lanterns, but this is a sloppy piece of info dump). And, finally, there is nothing in the first scene between Carol and Hal to indicate that they are partners of some kind until Hal’s maniacal face asks her out.
There’s no real plot here involving Jordan, except to show us that he’s down and out. And I’m not sure what Johns is trying to do by offering him salvation through Sinestro. Mahnke’s art is good when on the cosmic scale, the real world however looks weird at time, proportions out of whack on occasion.
I don’t know if old readers of Green Lantern like this or not. I feel like I haven’t been given a Green Lantern book with a fresh start, I’ve bought a comic that’s not talking to me much at all.
Batman & Robin #1
Yes, enjoyed this. A lot. Tomasi writes a fantastic dynamic between the, er, dynamic duo. Bruce and Damian’s relationship is instantly believable, and there’s enough information given to their backstory for it to make sense. And I’ve never heard of Patrick Gleason before, but his art really strikes a chord, moody where necessary and kinetic elsewhere. The double page spread of Batman and Robin entering a fight is all kinds of fun.
This comic makes me smile reading it, which I count as a win.
This is, without a doubt, a beautiful book. Leaving aside the fact that I don’t get why DC need to publish both a Batgirl and Batwoman book, nor how this book really connects with Batman, I can’t remember the last time I saw a superhero book so delicately produced.
There’s some sort of backstory here that I’m not up to speed on, but I don’t care. J.H. Williams has created a book that I want to buy again and again.
Hmm, Deathstroke just feels like an unfunny knock off of Marvel’s Deadpool…nah, I know its the other way round. This is the first book New 52 book that feels like a done-in-one which is refreshing. Another winner though, with a nice little twist at the end which is enough to bring me back again. We’re going well so far this week…
Demon Knights #1
Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves didn’t grab me on this book from the start. There seemed to be something I was missing so I went back and re-read, the first time I’ve done that with these new books. And second time round I enjoyed Demon Knights a lot more. The art’s good, the story’s catchy, and it’s a good old-fashioned fun comic book. Another yes!
And then there was Frankenstein, a pedestrian team up of classic horror monsters fighting other monsters. Nothing out of the ordinary, meh.
Something about possession and demons and an odd choice of character name. I only know Grifter by his mask, and that’s about it. Might read the next issue, might not; there’s not enough here to make me come racing back.
Legion Lost #1
No. Just…no. The worst book I’ve read of the New 52. I don’t know who these characters are or what they’re really up to. And I normally really like Nicieza.
Mister Terrific #1
Some really clunky dialogue in this book, and aside from being super-smart, I don’t know what Terrific’s other schtick is…what on earth are those balls apart from magical doohickeys that do anything? More meh unfortunately.
Red Lanterns #1
And we were off to such a good start. Peter Milligan can be a bit hit and miss, and I don’t know if this book is right for his sometimes skewed style. Instead of Red Lantern rage, there seems to be a lot of self-pity and introspection going on. The Red Lanterns don’t strike me as a concept capable of handling an ongoing series and nothing in this issue makes me want to find out if they can be. Strike.
Resurrection Man #1
Abnett and Lanning are two writers I’m always willing to give time to, and this book is no different. I don’t know why but the noirish, creepy books in the New 52 have grabbed me quite well.
There’s enough going on with this first issue to keep me interested. Some sort of angelic hunter, a couple of evil (I guess) hot women. Good to go on with.
It’d be nice if there was a little more to the lead than the sense that all he’s doing is running from things. He needs to have a goal of some sort, and at the moment there doesn’t seem to be one.
The construction is enough though to feel like a crafted first chapter, and that’s purely due to the way Abnett and Lanning write, and Fernando Dagnino’s art supports well. Nice to get back on track again.
Suicide Squad #1
Torture, torture, torture…it was all a dream…and….lame. No. Not a good idea at all. Blergh.
The 13th book of the week. Superboy is some sort of clone, being raised by mad scientists. And…no. The concept of Superboy feel redundant to me in a world where Superman himself is growing into his powers and place in the world. Superboy is running the same story but from a different perspective, and would have been better served being released once the new Superman was better established. A reasonable book, intriguing enough to follow up even if it is a slightly flawed concept.
The Wash Up
Less middling books this week, only three that are kind of mediocre. Five comics are pretty unreadable (can I get my money back?) but five, Batman & Robin, Batwoman, Deathstroke, Demon Knights, and Resurrection Man, are standouts.
I’m always happy to read more really good comics, so forget about the bad, and DC is doing pretty super with some of these new titles.
I’m up to a definite 10 odd books that I’ll be picking up month on month, and that’s 10 more than I was previously. Let’s see how the next fortnight pans out.