The New 52, Week Four and Beyond

Well, I’m somewhat behind with this post, what with traveling and all. It’s barely relevant ((If it was relevant at all to begin with, of course.)) anymore, but my compulsive completist side says I have to post it.

All-Star Western #1

I liked this one, provisionally. It’s got a nice mix of Jonah Hex with something out of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, set in late-1800s Gotham City. There’s creepiness and brooding western action. All in all, it’s a good mix, and I’m interested in seeing where it goes.

Aquaman #1

I’m not an Aquaman fan. I did not expect to like this book. That said, they tackled a lot of concerns I have with the Aquaman character head-on in a clever way. I found myself really enjoying the story and the take on the character.

Batman The Dark Knight #1

This was a solid Batman story, but not as engaging as Batman or Detective Comics. Still quite good, though, and laying foundation for better stuff to follow.

Blackhawks #1

I hate G.I. Joe. Just want to put that out there as the reason I was initially predisposed to hate this comic, which seems to be doing the same sort of thing. But it’s doing it better than I expected, with some interesting quirks and twists. I’m actually interested in what happens next, which I did not expect.

Flash #1

Never been a huge fan of Flash. He’s got a reset, no longer married to Iris – after the Brand New Day reset for Spider-Man, I’m very leery of this kind of thing. But the setup for the book is interesting, and is using Barry’s skills as a forensic scientist as much as Flash’s speed. So, I’m intrigued.

Fury of Firestorm #1

I haven’t read any Firestorm books for years. I always thought the dual nature of the hero – two minds sharing one body – was interesting. This book seems to be taking some neat chances with the ideas behind the hero. I hope they keep it up.

I, Vampire #1

I really wanted to like this book. But the first issue is a disjointed garble of flashbacks, with no help trying to put them into a sequence that makes sense. Disappointing, because it looks like there’s a good story lurking in the background that I’d like to read.

Justice League Dark #1

Okay. I like any comic that has John Constantine in it. Unfortunately, this one also has Shade, whom I really dislike. This is causing me no small amount of cognitive dissonance. The underlying story has some promise, though. Let’s see where it goes.

New Guardians #1

Here’s the thing, DC – flashbacks are cool and all, but you really need some way to show when you’re switching timeframes from the past to the present and vice-versa. Points for flagging that the initial scene takes place in the past, but minus points for not showing when we jump to the present. I mean, the GL mythos is tangled enough that it’s almost impenetrable for newbies like me. You gotta give us a fighting chance of understanding how the pieces fit together. This was not as bad as in I, Vampire, but it still was a major impediment for me.

Savage Hawkman #1

Never been a Hawkman fan. I’ve said that about other heroes, but the difference here is that this book didn’t do anything to change my mind. I just didn’t care enough about the character to get into his angsty wonking about being Hawkman and all that stuff. Oh, well.

Superman #1

We get another relationship reset here, a la Brand New Day, and I’ve already mentioned how I feel about that. That said, this book has a good story, and some great Superman moments. What I like best, though, is the way this Superman – older, more mature, less wild and carefree – contrasts with the Superman in Action Comics. The differences – and the similarities – between the two are wonderful to see, and really make the character richer.

Teen Titans #1

Starting fresh with this book. Tim Drake’s Robin showing some good leadership potential as he starts to build the team. An interesting threat in the background, and the beginnings of fun group dynamics. I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes.

Voodoo #1

Wow. Shapeshifting alien stripper hunting men. Someone has watched Species too many times. Not a good book so far. If they can pull it out of the smut-spiral, it might have some potential, but I’m not hopeful.


So, that’s a look at all the new #1s. I’ve been reading the new #2s as they come out, and am generally pleased, though nothing has really changed my initial impressions of the books I’ve been reading so far. I plan on giving the books three issues to grab me; if they can’t manage it in that time, I’ll stop reading. There are a few – Action, Detective, Batwoman for the three most obvious ones – that have already really hooked me, and I’ll be continuing. Others are gonna have to fight it out.

DC isn’t just putting out the New 52, though, and I’m happy to see that. Last week, they released Penguin: Pain and Prejudice, which was a really great look at the Penguin ((They also released Supernatural #1, which was less good.)), and they’ve released The Shade this week, which I haven’t read yet.

All in all, though, I think this New 52 launch has been a good thing, especially coupled with the day-and-date electronic sales model.

So, congratulations to DC Comics. I think you’ve done a great thing.

The New 52, Week Three

So. Let’s see what we’ve got this week.

By the way, I have come to the conclusion that the mysterious cloaked woman I have spotted in several of the books probably appears in all of them, but I just haven’t seen her. In some, she is very obvious. In others, not so much. This is obviously something leading up to a big tie-in or reveal, so keep an eye out for her. I’m gonna stop mentioning when I see her.

Batman #1

I like this story. It does a good job of laying out the situation for newcomers to the series ((Really? Newcomers to Batman? I guess there must be some. Or, at least, newcomers to this incarnation of Batman, with the son and the multiple (ex-) Robins.)), while pushing into an interesting storyline that looks to go in an unexpected direction. It also ties in nicely with Nightwing #1, so bonus points. And, I have to say, I was nicely baffled by the opening sequence. Good stuff.

Birds of Prey #1

This has some potential, but I don’t really have any investment in the characters. I mean, I know who Black Canary is, but I don’t really know all that much about her, and I have no idea about Starling. Still, the set-up has some interest to me, so we’ll see where it goes.

Blue Beetle #1

I never got into Blue Beetle, much. I liked the Ted Kord Blue Beetle in the Justice League books, but I don’t know much of the backstory, beyond he’s got a magic bug talisman that gives him superpowers. That means that I don’t know how much of the backstory of the scarab told in this book is rehash, and how much is new. Not that it really matters; I was pleasantly surprised by the story, and the ideas – it’s a good book. I just wish I knew more Spanish so I could follow the dialogue a little better. It’s not that there’s a lot of it in Spanish – it’s just that I’m kind of a completist, and I hate feeling that I’ve missed something.

Captain Atom #1

This is not a bad book, I just don’t care all that much about the character, and the story has yet to grab my interest. Some neat stuff, but not enough for me to buy in completely.

Catwoman #1

This book is the clearest example of why people are upset about the portrayal of women in comic books, I think. It’s pretty much all T&A, heavy on the sexualization, and empowering the female character in a very stereotypical dominatrix way. This is a real shame, because the character deserves better than this.

DC Universe Presents #1

Nice recap of Deadman’s origins, along with throwing in a nice twist. Boston Brand’s crisis of faith could make for some very interesting stories, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

Green Lantern Corps #1

Of all the Green Lantern books so far, I like this one the best. It’s got an interesting threat – one that’s on a scale with the Corps – and solid characters. Some of the best stuff is character stuff with Guy Gardner and John Stewart, but the book does not skimp on action, either. Good fun.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love me my Legion of Super-Heroes. Yeah, it’s corny, and campy, and has a convoluted membership awash in soap-operaesque drama, but I love it. This book makes me want to track down the LSH stuff from the past couple of decades that I missed, so I know the new faces and understand the current status quo. For example, reference is made to a lot of Legionnaires dying – I need to know about that!

Nightwing #1

This book meshes nicely with Batman #1, giving a look at a different part of the emerging story. It is well-done. The character moments with Dick and the circus are particularly good, reminding you that, though he was Batman for a while, he has a different core than Bruce does. It doesn’t make him weaker, it doesn’t make him stronger, but it makes him different. You can see the mark Bruce left on him, but he is more than just an ex-Robin. I really liked it.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

Hmmm. Red Hood, Speedy ((Yes, I know he’s Arsenal, now. He’ll always be Speedy to me.)), and Starfire. Okay. The book is full of gratuitous violence, and, as usual, Starfire is displayed very gratuitously. That said, there’s an interesting story lurking in the background that’s got me intrigued. I’ll give it a chance.

Supergirl #1

Nice action scenes. The beginnings of a mystery. Looks like Supergirl is being re-origined again. This makes, what, eight times? Nine? The only character in comics that I can think of with more convoluted origins and versions is Jean Grey. Still, having her show up on Earth with no idea how she got there, remembering Krypton like it was yesterday, could make for some interesting stuff.

Wonder Woman #1

I was really not expecting to like this series. Instead, it may be one of my favourites. They’re drawing in the Greek mythology lurking in the character background, and running with it. I like that. A lot. I like the story, I like the characters, and I like the nasty twist they’re putting on things. I’m really looking forward to the next issue.

The New 52, Week Two

So, let’s see what we’ve got from DC’s New 52 this week. I’m still loving the day-and-date electronic sales, and am rapidly becoming an even bigger DC fan. Not everything is perfect, but there’s some good stuff going on.

Batman and Robin #1

The main story in this one is framed by the start of a new, very cool-looking storyline. This is good. What’s not so good is that the framing story is better than the main story. Yes, as a new #1, a jumping-on point for new readers, it’s important to establish who the characters are and what the situation is. But the main storyline is just Batman (Bruce) trying to keep Robin (Damian) from being a perfect cocky little shit. And failing. I’m hoping that, now that the dynamic has been spelled out in big, bold letters, the book backs off on this aspect of the mythos. It’s hard enough to like Damian at the best of times – and he is not being shown at his best.

Batman has an interesting little character moment that’s been a long time coming in the sewers, but outside of that, he seems more like Mr. Wilson trying to babysit Dennis the Menace than the Dark Knight. As I said, I hope they get over this bit and on to some good stories.

Batwoman #1

I liked the Batwoman run in Detective Comics a lot. This picks up from that, and does a pretty good job of giving us a tough, smart, female hero. There’s not a lot of meat to the story – again, it’s trying to lay the foundation for new readers, I think – but there are hints of good things coming, and the character scenes in the book are very good. Bette Kane is back, trying to earn the right to be Flamebird to Kate Kane’s Batwoman, and there’s some understandable tension between Kate and her father after the revelations in the Detective Comics storyline. All in all, I’m hopeful for this one.

Deathstroke #1

I’m not really a fan of villain books ((Matt Wagner’s amazing Grendel is a notable and sublime exception.)), and Slade Wilson is definitely a villain. Not even the Punisher is as much an unmitigated bad guy as Deathstroke the Terminator. I’ve enjoyed seeing Deathstroke opposing many different DC heroes and teams, right back to The New Teen Titans, but I’m not sure how much I’ll be grabbed by a book with him as the star. On the other hand, his miniseries in Flashpoint was pretty good.

This book is also pretty good. It latches on to the idea that, legendary super-badass or not, Slade Wilson is getting old and, while it may not be slowing him down much, his clients are starting to think it is. So he’s gotta prove he’s just as hard, just as nasty, just as scary, and just as effective as he’s always been. I’m going to give it a couple of issues to win me over.

Demon Knights #1

The Demon Etrigan, Madame Xanadu, Vandal Savage, the Shining Knight, and three others I don’t recognize get caught up in an invasion, led by the Questing Queen and Mordru ((Whom I remember fondly from his attacks on The Legion of Superheroes in the 31st century. Guy’s lived a loooong time – right up to when Darkseid drained him dry in the Great Darkness Saga. Good times.)). It’s set in the middle ages, and looks like a great deal of fun.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

As might be expected in a comic starring Frankenstein and the Creature Commandos, this is a pretty weird, silly book. Not necessarily in a bad way, though. I liked the bizarre story and the strange characters. It had a nice touch of the absurd mixed in with the horror and action. I’m not really a fan of the art style, though. It’s a little muddy for my taste, though well-done. But for me, that’s a little quibble.

Green Lantern #1

With Blackest Night and Brightest Day, it seems the Green Lantern mythology has become very complicated. Now there are rings of all sorts of colours. Sinestro has a green ring back, endorsed by the Guardians, and Hal no longer has a ring. Having followed neither Blackest nor Brightest, I’m a little out of my depth with the background, but the story itself is not bad, if a little trite ((I saw one scene in an old Lethal Weapon movie, for example.)) – ex-superhero dealing with the difficulties of returning to normal life. Could be interesting.

Grifter #1

I’ve never read anything with Grifter in it, except for his appearances in Flashpoint, so I don’t know much about the character. Because of that, it was nice that the series is starting with an origin story. It’s a pretty good story, too – reluctant, misunderstood hero, alone and on the run from the police and military and his entire life, a mysterious ((Speaking of mysterious, this is the second comic that I’ve spotted a strange, cloaked and hooded woman floating in the background of a panel. Wonder what’s up with that.)) threat tied to his origin, and general confusion about what’s going on. I’m liking it so far.

Legion Lost #1

The Legion of Superheroes has changed a bit since I used to read the series. The look of Tyroc is far less 70s funk, and they’ve brought along Gates and Chameleon Girl, along with heroes I’m more familiar with: Wildfire, Dawnstar, Tellus, and Timber Wolf. The team has chased a bad guy back from the future to stop him from releasing some sort of pathogen ((Which has not been explained yet.)) and, predictably, they get stuck here in our presence.

I like the story, but that may be because of the love I have for the LSH. It was the first series ((Well, first superhero series. Mike Grell’s The Warlord was a long time favourite before that.)) that hooked me with an ongoing storyline – the Great Darkness Saga. So, I’m more forgiving of some of the oddities and awkwardnesses ((It’s a word if I say it’s a word.)) of the book.

Mister Terrific #1

Again, I’m not familiar with Mr. Terrific, so it’s good that they’re doing an origin story. I like the hero – nice combination of haunted and driven, relying on intelligence and tech ((And money. Lots and lots of money.)) to fight crime. I think they’re jumping at the twist a little early in this one – I don’t know the character well enough to care deeply about it yet. But it is a good twist – no denying that.

Red Lanterns #1

More lantern mythology. Atrocitus lacks direction, so decides to become an avenging angel. I dunno about this one. On the one hand, that is one bad-ass kitty cat he’s got. On the other, I’m not sure I’m all that interested in a book about taking savage and bloody vengeance on all and sundry. I don’t think that’s totally the direction the book is going – there are strong intimations of more complex and interesting stories – so I’m going to give it a bit of a chance. But it’s going to need to work hard to win me over.

Resurrection Man #1

I liked this book. Resurrection Man is another new hero that I’m not familiar with, but this book is less of an origin story than some of the others. This works, mainly because of the mysterious nature of the origin. There’s a bit of a The Fugitive vibe being set up, with what looks like both Heaven and Hell hunting for him, coupled with a built-in story generator – the feelings that draw him to perform certain acts and go certain places. It’s got a nice mix of creepy and action.

Suicide Squad #1

I have mixed feelings about Suicide Squad, both as a group and as a book. The basic premise is interesting for about five minutes, then quickly reveals itself as an excuse to write about the main characters being absolute bastards. On the other hand, the story in the book was pretty good, even if they did telegraph the twist in it a little bit. And I like the character of Harley Quinn.

There’s been a bit of Internet grumbling about Harley’s new look, and it is certainly a more gratuitously sexy look than in a lot of other versions ((Especially than in the animated series.)), but I gotta say that those complaining must not have seen her in the Arkham Asylum video game. There’s also been some complaints about Amanda Waller’s new look – slimmed down and sexied up. There may be some merit to this complaint, but it seems like an awful lot of noise over a single panel. Anyway, the look of characters in comic books change all the time, whether as part of an editorial decision or because a different artist brings a different take to the character. With the relaunch, I figure you gotta expect even bigger changes, and I can’t see bashing an entire book because you don’t like the look of a single character.

But that’s just me.

Superboy #1

It’s not the Superboy I grew up with – it’s the post-death-of-Superman, clone-grown-by-secret-project, funky-telepathy-telekinesis Superboy. This first issue focuses on the lab and the shady secret agency that grew him, with hints of agendas and plots and secrets. There’s some strong association to the feel of the Project: Superman miniseries from Flashpoint and the Superboy origin and recruitment from the Young Justice animated series. It’s got some promise.


I plan to continue with Week Three of this little series of posts next week, but it’ll probably be delayed some, as I’ll be traveling. Still, I’ll be able to get my comics electronically, and can read them on the bus and in the hotel at night, so hopefully I won’t fall too far behind.

I generally give a new TV show or comic series three issues to grab me, and that’s what I’m thinking with the new DC universe. I’m only going to write about the new #1s, though – after that, I just won’t have much new to say. I may post a scorecard a few months down to take a look at what I’m still reading, though. We’ll have to see.

The New 52, Week One (Plus History)

I love comics. And I’ve always been a DC guy ((I don’t dislike Marvel. I think Ultimate Spiderman is one of the best series ever, and Ed Brubaker’s Captain America and J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spiderman are examples of great storytelling in any medium. But first and foremost, I like DC. Something about Batman, Superman, hell, even the Legion of Superheroes, just grabs me. I have a theory that your preference probably relates to what you started reading first.)). Over time, I’ve branched out into a lot of other companies, including a lot of the smaller press ones, but I’ve always – at heart – been a DC guy.

So, I was somewhat concerned when I started hearing rumours of a relaunch of the DC titles. And when those rumours were confirmed, I have to admit that I had the initial, knee-jerk reaction common to most fans ((“Keep your hands off my stuff! Don’t go changing things I like!” You know what I mean.)) and started mourning the loss of the comics I loved.

But I hate that reaction.

A little research turned up more information, and I started to become cautiously optimistic. Then I discovered that the entire New 52 thing was going to be introduced by another big crossover ((You know, I kinda hate those, especially when they happen so frequently. And especially especially when they put a gun in Batman’s hand and then kill him like a punk. Thank you, Final Crisis.)) event called Flashpoint. I figured that I could either check out Flashpoint and see what kinds of things they were trying to do, or I could just write off DC and cut waaaay back on my comic buying.

Given that option ((As those who know me will tell you, it wasn’t really a choice.)), I rounded up Flashpoint and started reading.


Well, these big crossover events get pretty tangled, so I was very grateful to find Allyson’s Attic had a reading order list for the various books. That was immensely useful, so thanks for that, Allyson!

In general, I was blown away by the Flashpoint stuff. I realized pretty early on that this was a throw-away universe/continuity/whatever, so they felt safe taking some big risks in storytelling, knowing that the reset button ((Well, not quite reset, but set-back-to-more-traditional-status-quo button, anyway.)) was coming. That said, I was still very pleased by the size of the risks they took, and the stories they got out of it. I mean, when you start off with sinking Western Europe, and the Amazons invading England, you show people you’re serious about doing big things.

Flashpoint was made up of a number of miniseries, with a few one-shots and a single continuing series (Booster Gold) thrown in. Each of the miniseries focused on a different hero or group, and showed you a twist in the way they were in this new timeline. I don’t want to spoil things too much, but Flashpoint won my heart the instant I realized that Slade Wilson and Travis Morgan ((That’s Deathstroke the Terminator and the Warlord, for those who don’t know.)) were waging piratical naval battles in the water above sunken Paris.

The things the series did with Batman, with Superman, with Dick Grayson and Frankensein’s Monster were just brilliant. I wasn’t too impressed by some of the other books, like The Outsider, The Canterbury Cricket, and The Secret Seven ((Really, I have no idea why Shade the Changing Man keeps coming back. None.)), but most of the books were just good reads. I was even impressed by how the Flash ((I’ve never really cared for the Flash much. I don’t dislike him, not like I do Shade (see above), but he just never did much for me.)) was worked into all this.

And then it ended, and it left me pretty jazzed for the New 52.

Justice League #1

This was the first book to come out, and they started it pretty slow. The default assumption for the universe seems to be that Superman is the first open superhero, and he popped up on the scene about five years ago. Batman was around before then, but he was mainly regarded as an urban legend. So this book opens up five years before NOW (with NOW defined as the current time-point in the bulk of the new DC continuity) with the first meeting of Batman and Green Lantern.

There’s some neat stuff that happens, though as I said, it starts slow. They seem to have gone back to basics with the characters – Batman is grim, pessimistic, and kind of a dick, while Green Lantern is cocky, smug, and kind of a prick. The bulk of the issue is devoted to setting up the expectations of both the characters and the world: the characters are as stated, and the world thinks they’re dangerous criminals.

I liked the issue, and I’m heartened by the fact that they’re taking their time with the storytelling.

Action Comics #1

Restarting the numbering on Action Comics is a pretty big deal. The fact that DC did so, in my opinion, shows that they are seriously devoted to the new universe, and I like that.

Story-wise, this book presents a younger, cockier, less-boyscoutish Superman than I can remember seeing. He’s still a nice guy, and he still values life, and still upholds justice, but he’s going after people that the law can’t touch. And he seems to be having fun. That right there is an interesting take on things, and it was surprisingly refreshing. I found myself liking the character, and the book, a whole lot more than I expected. And for those of you on the Interwebs complaining about Superman’s costume in the book, get a grip.

Animal Man #1

Never followed Animal Man previously. No real reason – I just didn’t. This story struck me as very human. Buddy Blake is a pretty normal guy, and the story is, in large part, about his concerns for his family. He’s grateful for his wife’s support, he worries about his kids, and he hopes he can make them all proud and keep them all safe. So that’s where he’s going to get hit, and the hit, when it comes in the book, is really pretty awesome. Definitely hooked me.

Batgirl #1

I’ve always liked Barbara Gordon, first as Batgirl, and then as Oracle. I liked the recent Batwoman run in Detective Comics. I think that there are interesting Batman stories to tell that benefit from ((Maybe even require.)) a female point of view. So, I was happy to see her getting back into the game. They haven’t dismissed everything that happened in Alan Moore’s stunning The Killing Joke – Babs was still shot, still crippled. But in the new universe, she regained the use of her legs after lengthy rehab, and is putting on the cowl again.

There was a lot about this book I liked – Barbara as a strong, smart, resourceful, determined woman, both in the costume and out of it; Jim Gordon’s worry and devotion to her; her own fears and doubts and her struggle against them – but there was some ham-handed stuff that just didn’t work well. I mean, having a roommate introduce herself by saying, “I’m kinda an activist,” and point to a big Fight The Power scrawled across the living room wall in fresh paint. I know they have a limited amount of space to introduce the characters, but that one hurt.

Not enough to turn me off the book, though.

Batwing #1

Okay. A black Batman works for all the same reason a Batgirl or Batwoman works. It gives you access to stories that you couldn’t tell otherwise. And setting the thing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is brilliant. Batman stands out as a sort of dark anomaly in the US – a savage force lurking inside civilization. Batwing lives in a more openly brutal world, with people who aren’t going to be frightened by a bat. He faces horrific conditions without the supporting infrastructure that Batman has. His world is not Batman’s world, but he still tries to do Batman’s work. The character rocks, and the book rocks.

Detective Comics #1

Like Action Comics, it’s a big deal that DC started Detective Comics over at #1. This is a great Batman story, and the Batman in it is less of a dick than the one in Justice League. That may be because this is set later in his life (in the NOW), or it may be because he isn’t interacting with any other superheroes on his turf, so he doesn’t need to do the alpha dog thing.

But this is hard. Core. Batman. It is nasty, and brutal, and glorious, and heroic, and dark, and disturbing. The Joker is awesome and terrifying, and the story that this kicks off really bears watching. It looks to be amazing.

Green Arrow #1

Like Animal Man, Green Arrow was just not a hero I ever followed. I liked Frank Miller’s bitter, disillusioned socialist version in The Dark Knight Returns, but other than that, he didn’t really appeal to me. I’m not sure if that’s changed with the new book, but they seem to be taking a different tack – one more inspired by the Smallville Oliver Queen. He is sort of the anti-Batman, now: rich, dressing up to fight crime, but with a larger support team and less brooding. It bears watching.

Hawk & Dove #1

Well, Hawk and Dove were always heavy-handed heroes. That hasn’t changed. There’s not really anything subtle about the avatars of War and Peace, and not really anything subtle about the book. We get that Hank’s angry. Of course he’s angry. He’s Hawk. And Dawn ((Who seems to be Deadman’s girlfriend. How does that work, exactly? Is that left over from one of the infinite crises that have plagued the DCU?)) is keeping a secret from him, something about his brother, and she’s anguished about it. I’m going to give it one more issue just because it had the line, “Nobody likes zombies anymore!” Maybe it’s just first-issue jitters. Or maybe it just doesn’t work for me.

Justice League International #1

I dunno. This is, like the JLI books of the 90s, a light superhero comic. It’s got a bevy of good comedy-fodder characters – Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Rocket Red, maybe Plastic Man – but it seems to be trying too hard. The story has potential, more because of the political aspect of being a supergroup assembled by and reporting to the UN than because of the awkward comedy so far.

Men of War #1

Really mixed feelings about this one, caused by the fact that there are two stories in the book. The first shows how Corporal Rock became Sergeant Rock, and it is pretty good. It gives some insight into the man beyond his sleeveless shirt and crossed bandoliers, and it places him and Easy Co. firmly in the DC universe, with the appearance of a superhuman ((Which does not go all that well.)). I liked it.

The other story is an anvilicious tale of the Navy SEALs in a modern conflict. It reads like a re-purposed propaganda script, and it drove me nuts. I hated it.

But Sgt Rock. Sgt Rock. Okay, I’ll go another issue.


I remember liking OMAC back when he was a back-up feature in (I think) Warlord. I realize that the idea went through some changes just prior to Final Crisis, because Brother Eye was zapping folks into OMACS left, right, and centre in that arc, but I never really figured out what the changes were. Now this book makes it look like DC is splitting the difference, with one OMAC, linked to Brother Eye, but with transformation and taking over the body and consciousness. I hope that they stick with one OMAC – hard to have a hero book with a random hero every issue ((Though Warren Ellis’s Global Frequency did it with great aplomb, making a great series. But even it was a limited run.)).

There’s plenty of Kirby-esque weirdness going on the book, which is good. The art captures the Kirby style without just aping it – the influence is very recognizable, but the artist’s own style shows through. All in all, I really liked the first issue.

Static Shock #1

Static has moved to NYC, giving the book even more of a Spiderman feel than the character had previously. This is not a bad thing – adolescent superheroes trying to sort out regular adolescence coupled with the complications of super powers is a pretty good mix for pulling stories out. Look how many great Spidey moments came from just the struggle of a teenager to prioritize things.

That said, I’m hoping the book stretches out beyond that bailiwick. If it stays there, it’s going to get more and more comparisons to Spiderman, and the storylines starting to be developed look to deserve better than that. I have hopes – the last page ((Actually, this bears mentioning: pretty much all of the new books end with a page that has caused me to go, “No way!” Detective Comics was the most pronounced (and horrific), but the gang at DC are working really hard to hook you into issue #2 of all the books. And good for them!)) had a cliffhanger that really caught my attention.

It’s a good book, so far.

Stormwatch #1

I was leery of Stormwatch in the DC Universe. The types of stories told in the various Stormwatch series, including The Authority, are both bigger and grimmer than we usually see in the more mainstream comics. And the inclusion of Martian Manhunter on the Stormwatch team really made me nervous. After reading the first issue, I’m still nervous. There’s some less-than-elegant exposition dropped on you ((I’m looking at you, Projectionist!)), and MM’s reason for joining Stormwatch is a little too trite for my taste, but the basic story told in the book is as big and grim and awesome as I could have hoped. I’ll give them a couple of issues to decide if the mix is chocolate and peanut butter or cheerios and spam ((If you have tried cheerios and spam and like it, I don’t want to hear about it. It’s just a bit of rhetorical metaphor. Leave it be.)).

Swamp Thing #1

I like Swamp Thing, whether he’s Alec Holland or just the memory of Alec Holland in a plant elemental. He is, after all, the source of my all-time favourite comic character, John Constantine ((And if you think I’m not terribly afraid about what DC is gonna do to my John Constantine, you really need to buy a clue.)), and the big green thing that saved us all at a certain seance in Washington DC by arm-wrestling the hand of destruction ((Hey, DC! You know what you need to round out your new books? Night Force!)). But I hadn’t followed it the past little while, so I was kind of taken aback by this book. Alec Holland alive and human and working construction was not a sight I was ready for. Is that something that happened in the main continuity, or is it something new?

Anyway, there are some neat things happening here that may (or may not) be linked to what’s going on in Animal Man, and a return of a great foe from the old Alan Moore days of Swamp Thing. It looks promising.

Digital Sales

One of the other things DC did with this relaunch was go to day-and-date electronic sales for their comics. I love this, because I love reading comics, but I have waaaaaay too many of them in my home. So, now I can buy the book electronically on the same day as the print version becomes available, and store them on my computer, read them on my iPad, take them with me on my iPhone, the whole thing. My only complaint about the setup is that I can’t subscribe to the digital comics, getting them automatically downloaded to my devices when they become available. That’s not a big complaint, but it is a complaint.

In fact, looking through the Comixology site while I was getting ready for the launch of the New 52, I wound up buying a number of other comics. These were mainly old series that I had read long ago, but wanted in a convenient, portable form. No hunting for back issues; they were all there to be downloaded. I spent more than I had intended on rounding out my collection in light of the long plane trip coming up for me.

So, yeah, as far as I’m concerned, every comic company should go to the day-and-date electronic sales format. But that’s just me.


There’s plenty of complaining on the web about this new launch. I think there’s something kind of disingenuous about accusing a company of making a cash-grab – companies exist to make money, and that means getting us to give it to them. It’s not a cash-grab, it’s business. And there’s been some complaints about the new costumes, which doesn’t bother me – if there’s one thing we know about comic books, it’s that each artist puts his or her own stamp on a character and costume, and both things change and evolve as the book goes on. And there’s been some public squabbling about gender and race employment and portrayal, and I’m just gonna steer right clear of discussing that.

Me, I come down pretty positively on the whole thing. If this is a cash-grab, DC has successfully grabbed my cash, and I have no regrets about that. I think the fresh start presents the opportunity for a lot of interesting new stories, and I want to see them. I’m hoping that DC will continue to take big risks with the books and stories, doing audacious, challenging stories that will equal some of the things they did in Flashpoint. I think I’ll be a little disappointed in that, but I’m willing to give them the chance to prove me wrong.

I’m more excited about buying and reading comics than I have been in a long time. That’s really all it comes down to.