September continued the relaunch of DC Comics’ entire universe with 13 titles last week. In week one old faces like Batman, Green Arrow, and Swamp Thing and newer faces like Static Shock and Batwing return to the inked pages to start all new. It took the better part of the week, but I was finally able to finish this week’s releases (stupid day job!). Each issue is giving readers, new and old, seeds of stories that will eventually grow, and hopefully keep fans coming back month after month (JLA #1 hit stores on 8/29).
Action Comics #1
Superman in jeans with knee patches, a symbol on his t-shirt, and a small red cape – this is the image most people are aware of with the new launch. Action Comics takes place five years before the new Superman comics will. Superman is a young man with an attitude just out to save mankind, regardless of being hunted by Metropolis’ finest and military. Grant Morrison and Rags Morales do justice to comics’ biggest legend. It is easy to see that there is a great amount of effort being put into this story.
Check this one out; I will be following it monthly for sure.
Animal Man #1
Jeff Lemire brings back one of DC’s former characters in this all new telling of Buddy Baker, a family man with the ability to take on the traits of animals in the persona Animal Man. Travel Foreman’s art reminds me of the animated film the Hounds of Baskerville or an Adult Swim show – it has great detail and the emotions in the faces of all the characters is very obvious. The story meshes the private and professional sides of this hero’s life.
I’m still not sold on this story and want to give it a few issues before I say to buy into it. Though if you are looking for great art, I say check it out.
After Action Comics, Gail Simone’s Batgirl is probably the next most anticipated book of the week. Barbara Gordon has returned to the mantle of the Caped Crusader’s most famous, female sidekick. After hearing Gail speak numerous times at conventions and on her Twitter account about the strength and greatness she wanted to bring to this character (and Firestorm – more on that in a couple weeks). Long time fans, and especially fangirls, are watching closely to see if Batgirl will be a strong woman character or just another shadow behind the Bat. Simone rocks this story! Batgirl has a strong presence and still keeps the fun personality she’s always had, while regaining her hero-bearings after being paralyzed for a few years (courtesy of the Joker, as seen in the “old” universe in the Killing Joke, not sure how that will play out or be related in this new universe yet.).
Get this book! Great look, fun writing with just a touch of drama, AND Barbara Gordon’s back!
One of DC’s newest creations shortly before the end of their old universe, Batwing, tells the story of a new bat-man from Africa. Recruited, funded, and equipped by Bruce Wayne’s Batman, Incorporated, Batwing fights crime throughout Africa. David Zavimbe is a police officer by day, and a hero by night. Judd Winnick writes this new monthly series of Batman’s newest team member. Batwing is still a part of the Batman, Inc. fighting the good fight on his continent chasing down a murderer going by the name of Massacre.
I liked the idea of Batman, Inc., but I could not get into the idea of more bat-men. There was Dick Grayson’s Batman, Batgirl, Batwoman, and then other characters around the world, like Batwing. Batwing is new and fresh and tells stories from a different part of the world but I still see it as the same Batman story with a different costume and name. This is not to say Judd Winnick does a bad job, I just don’t see why we need another Batman series.
Detective Comics #1
Tony Daniel and Ryan Winn bring the Dark Knight into the new DC Universe with Detective Comics #1. Batman is hunting his arch nemesis, the Joker, after a string of gruesome murders in Gotham City. Joker is a part of the mystery but is not the only one holding cards in this story, another big villain is working with the Joker and Batman is about to find out.
Check this one out for sure. I think the darkness and action that should be part of the Batman storylines, will be a constant presence in this new run and should put back that small difference that separates Batman from other superheroes.
Green Arrow #1
Oliver Queen is back as the Emerald Archer to fight evil with the strum of his bow. On a mission in France, Green Arrow is giving chase to three supervillians out to use their powers for fame and riches. With the aide of his tech-team, Jax and Naomi, back at HQ, Green Arrow takes on the triple threat. Well equipped with infrared goggles, not-so-common arrows, and disc-restraints, the archer is able to quickly resolve the situation.
I was just getting into Green Arrow before the relaunch. I liked his personality and the problems he faced personally and as a hero (not too mention I’ve always wanted to be good with a bow and arrow). This new edition of the character tells a modern story, but the art looks like a retroactive 1980’s book. The technology is state-of-the-art and the references to YouTube are relatable for today’s reader, but the drawing was nowhere near as sleek as Action Comics or even Batwing. I am going to try a few more issues to see if the art improves otherwise I’m going to let this one slip out of style like neon clothes in the 80’s.
Hawk & Dove #1
War and Peace are out to stop a terrorist attack by the science-terrorist, Alexander Quirk. Hawk & Dove are opposites teamed up to balance each other out as they take down bad guys and thwart crime. When not fighting, Hawk is fighting with his anger over losing his brother/former partner and mysteriously being teamed up with this woman as the new Dove. Dove’s personal life includes galavanting with her boyfriend Deadman (in his own comic later this month).
I was not really looking forward to this book. I have never really liked Hawk & Dove and Hawk’s dialogue seemed more like a child’s temper tantrum. The theme behind this book, the balance of War and Peace is something I do like (besides being the understory of every good vs. evil story). After reading the story, I am more interested and will check it out for at least a few months.
Justice League International #1
Booster Gold is leading the new international team of the Justice League! No joke, the man from the future is given the chance to lead at the bequest of the U.N.. The world is facing problems that human kind is not able to handle and need the world’s biggest unified body, the United Nations wants a team at their beck and call to help fight those big challenges. Booster is joined by Batman, Green Lantern: Guy Gardner, Vixen, Godiva, Fire and more to serve on the U.N.’s new task force, headquartered at the Hall of Justice.
With all these new origins and stories, I’m trying to piece together a timeline for the new 52. How is the United Nations is forming a Justice League International when the Justice League of America has not even teamed up yet (see JLA #1)? I like Dan Jurgens’ interweaving of multiple characters and the quickness and substance of each word bubble – short and to the point. I think this book has potential and will be one to watch for sure.
Men of War #1
America is more patriotic than ever, supporting soldiers fighting the war on terror. It’s fitting to see a comic honoring soldiers and bringing back one of DC’s greatest soldiers, Sgt. Rock. He’s not a sergeant yet, but Rock is still a soldier; a great soldier according to his superiors whom want to recruit him for a special team.
In this day and age, I’m glad to see a comic that portrays stories about real heroes. The story was a little quick but that’s just to keep the suspense going for the next issue. I will be following this one for a few months to see where it goes.
This is a story of a big, blue, strong, fella and no, its not Superman. A voice in his head is trying to get OMAC to reconnect it with CADMUS Labs. OMAC is the vessel by which the mysterious menace will succeed at his objectives. A young scientist, Kevin, has been overtaken by OMAC and is tearing through CADMUS to get to the mainframe at the orders of his nameless commander. Nothing can stop the blue menace and after achieving his commander’s goals, Kevin is released from his OMAC suit but is not done working for Big Brother.
This was another title that I was not excited about. I heard Dan Didio talk about it during San Diego Comic Con 2011 and thought I’d give it a shot. The story went faster than I thought it would and was able to keep my interest. After the last panel, I am looking forward to see where the story goes and what makes Kevin turn into OMAC. So I’ll say, check this one out.
Static Shock #1
Static Shock is back, flying through New York chasing a man-made shield device stolen from his new employer, S.T.A.R. Labs. Another young hero, Virgil is starting a new life in the Big Apple with his family, facing a new school, and a new intership with the help of a new ally. New York has been void of heroes for a time and Static is more than willing to take up the fight. A group of villains is trying to steal technology from S.T.A.R. Labs for their bidding, setting up the guard that Static is chasing. Static saves the day, but now has a new target on his head from the evil group.
There is not much in way of origin story here, which may not help new fans starting to read Static Shock. For ongoing fans, the feel of Static Shock’s Saturday morning cartoon and early stories is intact. The story ends in a cliff hanger that makes it worth buying the next issue for sure, check it out.
Another closely watched title from part of the DC New 52. A reluctant hero, Apollo, is being recruited by a group that wants him to help fight super powered beings that abuse their powers. Stormwatch is out to recruit Apollo because it is believed that his power can rival Superman’s. Apollo does not want to be a part of a team, he is content with his life and the small rescues he’s been performing.
Critics were singing praises for this book early on and it is easy to see why. The book is well written with twists already happening. The slew of characters includes big names like Martian Manhunter and smaller, less known names like Harry Tanner. The mystery of what Stormwatch is and how all these supers work together make it intriguing and I want to see where it goes – I recommend checking it out.
Swamp Thing #1
Alec Holland is hiding himself away from the world as weird natural phenomenon take place all over the world. Concerned, Superman hunts down Holland to see if he can help with what’s going on. The botanist does not want to embrace his superhuman alter ego and explains the phenomenon as plausible anomalies before sending Superman away. Holland is having issues with the things he has done as Swamp Thing and fears what will happen if he does transform again.
Great art, serious dialogue that is not boring, and a link to the biggest heroes in the DC Universe makes me think this new Swamp Thing could be good. There is a back story that should be clarified more to keep questions focused on the future, not the character’s past. Check this one out.