DC Comics continued to rule comic book sales for a second week this month as 13 new titles his shelves. Justice League of America, Action Comics, and Batgirl have all been announced for second printings (Justice League already has an order for a third printing before the second publishing even goes on sale!). For what it’s worth, here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts on Week 2 in the September release of the New 52.
Batman & Robin #1
Father and son, Batman and Robin, head out on the anniversary of the death of Martha & Thomas Wayne. Bruce’s sentimental feelings toward the anniversary make Damien (Bruce’s son) annoyed. He cannot see why the caped crusader must constantly relive that fateful night. But this year’s anniversary is different, in the sewers below the alley, Batman explains to Damien that this is the last time he will honor the anniversary of his parents’ death. Batman has a new outlook and wants to focus on the future. This story made it very clear that Father and Son do not see eye to eye. Damien is different than other Robins and will not make the job any easier for Batman. The family talk was a little boring at first, but picked up as the dynamic duo had to respond to a break in. The art looks great, but the tone of the story is different from Detective Comics #1 for sure. Give this one a few months before deciding whether to subscribe or not.
This story has been hyped for a very long time. I think it was even supposed to come out earlier this summer. But DC Comics saved it for the relaunch. Before anything else, the art has to be talked about. The pages of this book are very busy with great imagery to illustrate the story. I know every comic is an “illustrated story” but this book seems more like paintings than drawings. Lots of two-page spreads with dialogue spanning several images and not framed in panels like most comics. Batwoman’s attitude is much like the seriousness of Batman and gives great tone to the story. The villain in the new adventure is more mysterious than expected and has a legend all its own.
Deathstroke is a badass assassin. That sentence in itself can sum up this first issue. Deathstroke, a.k.a. Slade Wilson, has been getting some “small time” protection jobs but now his manager has a big job for him. The job is more than it seems and includes Deathstroke teaming up with a team of amateur teenagers. Slade is going to show he is still the best at what he does and handle the situation, and all parties involved, his way. Is he good, bad, or just doing a job? Check this title out for sure.
Demon Knights #1
Etrigan, the rhyming demon is back in an all new story about a group of special beings in medieval times. They try to stay out of trouble, but it always seems to find the Demon Knights. The first issues shows how the group came to be and parts of each of their origins. The story was not suspenseful enough to make one anxious to see issue #2. The art is not to exciting over. I have always liked to see Etrigan’s rhyming dialogue in his stories and that trait still holds true to the demon but over all this is a title I think one could skip if you are short $3 that week.
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
I liked the idea of this story, legendary monsters forming a team to take on threats that are bigger than mankind can handle. Frankenstein has survived centuries and been working with the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive to protect the world. “Frank” is an example of what can happen when some one plays with life and he wants to show that he can be a good guy and stop those that would abuse the gift of life. His new team includes a werewolf, vampire, and mummy. All but the latter used to be human but chose to be experimented on in order to be more like Frankenstein, much to the team leader’s dismay (because he knows how humanity views “monsters”). Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli bring this story to life at a great starting point. I saw some similarities between this team and another publisher’s comic about a “big red” hero that fights monsters, but there are more layers to Frankenstein’s tales than other monster books. The S.H.A.D.E. headquarters is this awesome 3 inch ball that floats all over the world to bring the team to disasters invented by a famous DC Universe scientist, Ray Palmer. The biggest question I had at the end of this issue is who is Frank’s 4-armed wife that is teased?! This will be a fun one to follow.
Green Lantern #1
This title is carrying over the background of what happened in the “old universe” during the War of the Green Lanterns. I do not want to spoil things, but if you cannot tell from the cover Sinestro is a Green Lantern again (If you didn’t know he wasn’t part of the Green guys, then there’s alot you need to go back and read). The characters and art look pretty much the same as before; Hal Jordan is on Earth dealing with personal issues, Sinestro is eager to maintain his power and control, and Carol Ferris is dealing with Hal. As the consequences from the War are revealed, an agreement between foes, Jordan and Sinestro, kicks off this new Green Lantern title. New and old fans should be able to jump on board (which was DC’s hope all along) at #1 and still be able to follow along. Check this one out for sure.
A con man experimented on, escapes the lab he was being held in. He cannot figure out if he’s been knocked out for 17 minutes, 17 hours or 17 days, all he knows is he here’s these voices of the people chasing him. The voices lead him to kill passengers on a plane and then jump out to escape his tormentors. Branded a terrorist and now being hunted by the U.S. government (being led by his high-ranking, military brother), the Grifter must find out where the voices are coming from and evade capture by the government. The story went quick and keeps you guessing as to what will happen next. I found myself asking a lot of questions and that makes me want to follow this title to the next issue, you should check it out too.
LEGION Lost #1
Heroes from the future, the LEGION of Superheroes, are chasing a villain back in time to prevent him from releasing a virus that will destroy their future. Alastor got a head start on the heroic team and already released the virus. Now, Tera, Timberwolf, Wildfire, Tellus, Dawnstar trapped in the 21st Century without their futuristic gadgets to help them adapt to the times. The young heroes must use what they know to subdue Alastor and figure out how to fix the damage he has done. The story (by Fabian Nicieza) was a little hard to follow with so many characters but still created a plot with suspense to keep readers wanting to know what happens next. Pete Woods does a great job to depict each character’s individual powers and traits while still showing them as a team. The landscape and background also play well into the story. This will be a title to try out for a few months and see where it goes.
Mister Terrific #1
The third smartest man in the world uses his wealth to turn himself into a hero after a vision of his dead son tells him to do so. Mister Terrific is the story of Michael Holt and his mission to make the world a better place. Using state of the art technology from his company and his very high IQ Holt is able to assume the identity of Mister Terrific and hold his own with the other superheroes out there. A new threat has infiltrated Holt’s lab and his personality to make Mister Terrific dangerous to those around him. The Gianluca Gugliotta does a fantastic job of bringing Mister Terrific’s world to life with sharp art and a very futuristic look. The story keeps readers interested and guessing what will happen next, as comics should do, and makes it worth buying into this title.
Red Lanterns #1
Another part of the Green Lantern world, Red Lanterns also takes place after the War of the Green Lanterns. Atrocitus feels his power shrinking and control over his lantern corps. diminishing. Having lost the chance to get bloody revenge on the guardians responsible for his peoples death, the leader of the Red Lanterns finds new purpose. He will not let injustices go unpunished in the universe any longer. He will stop abuses with all the bloody rage his Red Lantern power will fuel! First, he must take back control of his enraged corps. This is the second title this week that has put the main character on a different direction than previous stories have. The new Atrocitus mission is intriguing and I look forward to following it into the coming months. This one is worth checking out.
Resurrection Man #1
Mitch Shelly dies, alot; and then he always comes back. Each new resurrection bestows a new power and purpose on him. The constant revival has made Shelly’s soul a very valuable commodity to the mystical world. In addition to savingpeople he now has to protect himself from those who wish to take his power. I had no idea about this title going into it, never even heard about it. The story was not complex but was not simple. I was reminded of that old tv show, Quantum Leap because of how the story seems to be set up, each month will be a new purpose for the main character however there is this underlying big plot being played out in the background that will come to the forefront in a big way once all the pieces have been laid out. I recommend following this one closely if you are looking for an interesting, monthly title that does not involve tights and a cape (at least, not yet).
Suicide Squad #1
Harley Quinn, King Shark, Deadshot! That is a team up I would never imagine. Recruited to handle missions so crazy its suicidal to accept them, this squad has been hand picked, trained, tested and are headed out on their first mission. The government has micro-chipped these major villains with an explosive in their brains to prevent escape. The first issue shows the team being tortured for info on who they work for after being caught during their first mission. The layout and story is great, lots of jokes and carefree attitudes from this team that has nothing to lose but their heads. These are villains so there is not a lot of touchy-feely dialogue. This is also the first view of the redesigned Harley Quinn. I am still not a fan, she looks more like a cracked out, rave hangover than the Joker’s sidekick she used to be; no need for a jester cap and shoes with curls on the toes, but something more homicidal-psychopath with some fashion sense would be nice. This is definitely a book worth reading.
CADMUS Labs has grown a clone and studying every thing down to “its” tiniest atom to make sure that this ultimate weapon is safe to be released from stasis and begin to be used. Unbeknownst to the scientists, the clone can hear them and understand their intentions; especially the intention to end its life and dissect it when they think they’ve failed. Superboy, as CADMUS calls it, breaks free before it can be terminated and destroys the lab and those scientists inside before collapsing and is returned to the lab for more studies. The secrets of the project died with the scientists killed in the lab, so the new project manager must work without knowledge of where the clone came from or how it came to gain some of its traits. RB Silva has given Superboy a great new look. From the very beginning, old fans will recognize the resemblance to where the clone’s traits come from. The simulations illustrated and the story by Scott Lobdell show the internal conflicts Superboy will face out on the world. The next issue teased that Superboy will be used to face off with the Kid Flash, Robin, and more young heroes. This is not a title to miss.
As more of these titles are released DC’s original message of “This is not a redo of stories” is becoming more clear. For example, Green Lantern #1 takes off where War of the Green Lanterns ended this summer. As more of these stories come out, hopefully old fans are seeing that DC is not destroying the old universe they loved so much, more of a merging with some small alterations. The timeline of the stories is still confusing to me (I cannot see how the heroes do not know each other in JLA #1 but have references to each other in all the other books) but I think as all the #1’s are released and the series’ continue, we will see some big reveal by DC Comics. Check back next week for the third installment of DC’s New 52.