The first full week of DC’s New 52

So, everybody’s supposed to let the world know what they think of DC’s “New 52” initiative, right? This is just a cut-and-paste of an email, with a couple of edits to “yesterday” references, etc., that I sent to a friend with capsule thoughts on the books I read this week.

So, the six books I bought [Wednesday], in alphabetical order:

Action Comics – really liked it. There was a bit too much of “we assume you’re familiar with these characters already” that seemed to me to be not in line with this re-launch’s goal to add new readers (that sentiment comes up again later in a few of the other books, too), but beyond that I really liked this story. The smart-ass young Superman who’s just getting into his powers is a great idea, and I liked how Grant Morrison wrote it. Good story; will definitely continue with this one.

Animal Man – for my money, this was as good a first issue of a comic as I’ve read in a long time. I just loved everything about it. The prose page to open that established *everything* you needed to know about the character going in, even if you had zero prior knowledge like I did, was fantastic. I felt like I knew that guy and knew what he was about even before I turned to page 2 and could actually see him. I loved the minimalist art, with the sparse or non-existent backgrounds, because it really made the characters pop. The art was gorgeous; I loved all the varied facial expressions that were shown all throughout the book, particularly on his kids. The dream sequence was outstanding. And holy shit, that last page was fantastic. I just loved this. On board here, for sure.

Batgirl – really liked this. The nervous super hero who is too cautious for her own safety was a great way to play this, I thought. Not really too much to say; liked the costume, really enjoyed the art, solid book all around. Definitely will keep up with this one.

And, after reading Batgirl, I even more don’t get the general feeling that just because Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl means Oracle is gone forever. I can absolutely see something happening over the course of this story that would lead her back to being Oracle again; hell, I don’t even think it’s beneath DC to seriously injure her *again* in order to accomplish that. That just kinda seems like it’s how they roll. She could easily make a mistake in some fight 10-12 issues down the road and end up paralyzed again, or what I think is probably more likely, just decide she can’t mentally handle the stress of being in the field and decide to become a behind-the-scenes support operative.

Detective Comics – I didn’t get into this at all. I really liked that they were playing up the detective Batman; I think that’s awesome. But the incredibly brutal Joker didn’t really resonate with me, and that last page was definitely a “what the HELL” moment, but at the same time I’m a) not sure why that was necessary, and b) really not sure where they’re going with it and what they hope to accomplish. I saw a comment this morning that this felt like somebody just recycled an old “Spawn” plot, and that seems like it fits. 🙂

Justice League International – this felt like a Marvel “We must put Wolverine in every single damn book” type thing. I didn’t really feel like Batman added anything to the story that couldn’t have been accomplished with any other A-list DC character, and without any background to the tension between Guy Gardner and Booster Gold, I just didn’t care. This was definitely a book that presumed the reader had prior knowledge of characters and relationships, and since I didn’t, I didn’t find a hook for this book at all. I doubt I’ll pick this one up again.

Swamp Thing – I haven’t paid a shred of attention to Swamp Thing since that movie with Adrienne Barbeau in the early ’80s. I liked the characters, Superman’s appearance was interesting, and the last-page splash was enough to make me want to come back and see what happens next. I’m on the fence with this one, and could see it being one that gets left behind on a week where there’s a lot of other stuff out. But this was a pretty interesting start.

Plus, I went back and bought two more today after Twitter chatter [Wednesday] afternoon and evening:

OMAC — I knew absolutely nothing about this, but somebody said “guys, this is really good” and I took him at his word and grabbed it. I really liked it; it just felt like throwback 1970s space craziness, like ROM: Space Knight. I’m not sure if it’s something I’d get into long term, but there was a lot of robot-punchin’, computer-smashin’ fun in that first issue.

Men of War — I had no idea this was an updated Sgt. Rock book. I really liked this one; it’s right up my alley, like G.I. Joe with super heroes. That could be really fun. I wasn’t terribly crazy about the backup story, and if that’s why it’s $3.99 instead of $2.99, I wish they’d cut it. That seemed like a very bizarre title to stick an extra dollar onto. But I liked it; will be back for #2, for sure.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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1 Response

  1. September 9, 2011

    Bloggage: First full week of #DC52, my thoughts on the 8 books I read: http://t.co/emj1GgI

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