The New 52 – Running Down Week THREE of the DC Relaunch

OK, you know the drill by now.

Each week DC has 13 books.  Here’s where I go through them and tell you what I think.

If you are keeping score it breaks down like this

ON MY PULL LIST: 14
INTERESTED IN ISSUE TWO : 5
ON THE FENCE: 2
NOT LIKELY TO CONTINUE 5

You’ll notice I am including Justice League in this batch.   Yes, it came out on August 31st, but it’s designated a “3rd week” book, so issue two will not come out until October 19th, with the rest of the books listed below.

This week was an interesting one,  there was no ambivelence here.  The books I liked, I really liked.  The ones I didn’t I really didn’t.   There were a few where despite some flaws, I am still curious to see what happens.

Of course this weeks books included a couple of books that were a bit controversial.   Only one of them really bothered me.  Wondering which?  Well take a look below.

HITS – Already on  my pull list

1. WONDER WOMAN
(w) Brian Azzarello (a) Cliff Chiang
Wonder Woman has been a character that I have read sporadically, but I never felt a particular need to read her title.Well that is going to change.Brought to you by Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Batman Knight of Vengeance) and Cliff Chiang (Detective Comics, Justice League Generation Lost, Neil Young’s Greendale) this is a Wonder Woman we haven’t seen before.

It’s still Wonder Woman. Red White and Blue costume, (with the briefs here, but I didn’t mind the pants)  Greek Gods a plenty (looking amazing too, no togas here), and mythological creatures all right alongside the everyday world.  Azzarello starts us off with the mystery worthy of the Gods – where is Zeus?  Why does Hera want a mortal woman dead?

I love Chiang’s work here. The book is gorgeous, and gruesome.  The birth of the centaurs (who knew?), his take on the Olympians, and of course any panel Diana is in, no matter what she is wearing…  or not wearing. (who new she slept in the nude?)

2. BATMAN
(w) Scott Snyder (a) Greg Capullo & Jonathan Glapion
Batman is Batman, no doubt about that.Snyder starts us off with the unthinkable, Batman, up against some of Arkham’s deadliest inmates by himself, it looks like they just may take him, until he joined by the most unlikeliest of partners.

The Joker.

Why the Clown Prince of Crazytown is helping Batman?  Well I am not going to spoil that here.  But wow big things are happening in Gotham, both for Batman and Bruce Wayne.Oh and Greg Capullo is now my favorite Batman artist, both highly detail, but Batman is a living shadow.

Almost every Bat family book has been a hit, but it’s his title book, alongside Detective Comics, that stand out above all of them so far.

And that’s the way it should be.

3. BLUE BEETLE
(w) Tony Bedard (a) Ig Guara & Ruy Jose
When they killed Ted Kord back in 2006, I was not at all happy.When they replaced him with a teenager, I was skeptical.But then I got to know Jaime Reyes, and I like what I saw.  Smart, funny, self deprecating,  a worthy heir to the Beetle mantle.

This relaunch doesn’t change this Beetle much.  but does simplify his origin a bit (no need for Infinite Crisis and the Rock of Eternity exploding)  But, in my opinion, it leaves room for the scarab to have belonged to Dan Garrett and/or Ted Kord at some point in the past.

It’s an pretty straight forward origin story, and a great book for new readers.The art is crisp but not too cartoony, very accessible. I like that Jaime and his friends look like teenagers (OK Paco is a big guy)A great book to give to someone who hasn’t read a DC Comic before, or any comic.

3. NIGHTWING
(w) Kyle Higgins (a) Cody Barrows & J.P. Mayer
I am glad to see Dick back in the Nightwing role.Not that I didn’t like him as Batman.  I did.  I also really liked the relationship he developed with Damien.  He is a natural mentor. (Hint: get him his own team of Titans)

The story, having Dick’s past coming back to Gotham, The Haley Circus in town, and the circus always brings some trouble for Dick.  But this time it also brings back some friends,

I am curious what sort of life Dick will choose, now that he is not wearing the cape and cowl.  He was once the leader of his generation of heroes, but now that generation is lost to Flashpoint.  Where does that put Dick?

I had my doubts about the version of the costume, but I get the red, connecting all the former Robins (even Jason Todd, the Red Hood, see below).

4. GREEN LANTERN CORPS
(w) Peter J. Tomasi  (a) Fernando Pasarin & Scott Hanna
Hal may not be a Green Lantern anymore, but Guy Gardner and John Stewart  still are.  And apparently they are looking for day jobs.I always found it odd that Green Lanterns don’t receive some sort of stipend from the Guardians of the Universe.  I mean they are expected to be on call 24/7. The are cops. Why shouldn’t the be paid? Maybe that is something they should look into. But right now they aren’t so Guy and John have to do something to pay the bills, don’t they. But what?

So after some mundane job issues, John and Guy decide to head back to Oa, and get sent of to the end of the universe on a mission against someone or something that has already killed 4 Lanterns.I think I prefer the pairing of Guy and Kyle better, but now Kyle has his own book.  John and Guy are an interesting pair, both have spent so long in Hal’s shadow as Green Lanterns, it will be interesting to see how they work together as a team.

 

6.JUSTICE LEAGUE
(w) Geoff Johns (a) Jim Lee
It’s Geoff Johns and Jim Lee doing the Justice League.  Of course it’s on my freakin’ pull list.I know this book came out three weeks ago, but it is officially a week three book, so I am putting it with the rest of the week threes.

What did I think about it?

It is a good start, a slow start, but that is by design,  It also only features 3 members of the team in action.  And of course they are the three most recognizable characters DC had this summer.

Of course the real interesting story here is Victor Stone’s, the future Cyborg.  Still a High School star athlete here, with 100% human parts, we can only wait to see what tragedy is awaiting Stone,

SOLID – Will definitely take a look at issue 2, and see from there.

7.  SUPERGIRL
(w) Michael Green  (a) Mike Johnson, Mahmud Asar, and Dan Green
A great start for the Last Daughter of Krypton.

I think the only thing that is keeping this from being a pull list book is I can only afford so many books each month, and there are some really good books coming out next week that I am looking forward to.

But enough about my relative poverty, let’s talk about Supergirl.

Sure there have been a couple different Supergirls in the past 10 years, but this is Kara Zor-el, cousin to Kal-el, you know him as Superman.

I think the only thing I really have to say bad about this book is what the heck is up those boots?

8. CAPTAIN ATOM
(w) J.T. Krul  (a) Freddie Williams II
Here’s a character that I really cared much for, one way or another.Captain Atom has always been a great team player, with the League but a bit of a stick in the mud as a leading man,  Even Dr. Manhattan, the character based on him in Watchmen, is kinda boring.

So I was surprised how much I liked the Captain Atom.  He had a personality!  He may be funny even, I am not sure yet.  But he’s much more likeable.  Apparently Flashpoint pulled the stick out of his ass.

I am curious about how he got his powers?  And who he was before the accident that gave them to him.  I am also wondering about the timecodes, what are they counting up to?

I just hope they won’t wait too long to start answering questions.

9. CATWOMAN
(w) Judd Winick (A) Guillem March

It’s Catwoman! and her Boobs! There right there on the cover.Ok, right of the top, I am going to say it.  I liked the story here.  I like what Winick is trying to do with Catwoman.  I like her voice.  She is tough but vulnerable, but she’ll never show it to you. That is, unless you are wearing a pointy cowl and cape.The relationship between Batman and Catwoman, and how it is depicted has caused a bit of a stir, and I won’t lie, reading it reminded me of being 12 and discovering late night cable tv.  I know I shouldn’t be looking at what I was seeing, but I couldn’t look away.

You can’t deny that Guillen March’s work is fantastic.  His Catwoman/Selina Kyle is sexy, but tough.  Was it appropriate to watch her and Batman do the deed, but it’s not like we didn’t know they weren’t doing it

 

10. BIRDS OF PREY
(w) Duane Swierczynski (a) Jesus Saiz

Black Canary and the Birds are back.  But it’s not the same.No Oracle, No Huntress, and No Lady Blackhawk. it’s a whole new team that Dinah is putting together.  Barbara Gordon does make an appearance, and clearly she and Dinah have a history, but their relationship is strained.I am most interested in Dinah here, and her story. She is trying to lead her team, while being wanted for murder. Her new partner Ev Crawford is a bit of a wild card. I would imagine Canary’s teaming with her would only make proving her innocence that much harder.

Will this book recapture the spirit and the fans of the original Oracle led team?  I am not so sure. But I am willing to see where this going for a bit longer

11. DC Universe Presents
(w) Paul Jenkins  (a) Bernard Chang

Anthologies – Very hard to tell how good they are.By their very nature, they change.

One thing I noticed off the bat is that it’s not clear this is an anthology series.  The series title “DC Universe Presents” is very innocuous on the cover.  This book looks like it is a Deadman on going series.   DC should address that.

I do salute them for not using a Batman related character to launch this series.  It would have been easy to slap a Bat on this book to give it a boost.

Deadman is a fascinating character, and his journey to enlightment and light, like Dr. Sam Beckett leaping from life to life, trying to right wrongs and save lives.  But what happens when there is no clear way of knowing what is right and wrong?

12. LEGION OF SUPERHEROES
(w) Paul Levitz (a) Francis Portela

Why can’t I get into the Legion?Actually when Geoff Johns brought back the original Legion in the Lightning Saga arc in Justice League, I started to get into them.

So I am trying it again.

Legion Lost didn’t do much for me.

DISAPPOINTED –
13. RED HOOD and the OUTLAWS
(w) Scott Lobdell (a) Kenneth Rocafort
I really wanted to like this book, when I first heard about it.

I found the teaming of Jason Todd, and former Green Arrow Sidekick and recovering addict Roy Harper an compelling teamup.  Adding Starfire to the mix was a bit mind boggling.

And while I kinda like the way Roy and Jason played off one another. I was completely turned off by the portrayal of Kory.  She had absolutely no personality.   Starfire was always a positive force, no matter how dark it got around her.  And nothing mattered more to her than her friends.  Here she can’t even remember them.  Especially Dick Grayson.

It does make me wonder if there is something bigger happening here.  I am hopeful that there is some reasonable explanation for this behavior (She’s a robot is the only thing I can expect, and when Kory does turn up, she’s gonna kick some ass.)

I just don’t know if it’s worth sticking around to find out.

About David Vandervliet

Once, King of all these lands, but now I am just an aging nerd. I enjoy talking about my favorite things to geek about, and hopefully I say something to make you think a little too. My favorite things include: Comics, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Science, Astronomy, Math, Music, theatre, movies, writing, baseball, college football (Go Blue!)
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