Tag Archives: DC New 52

So Far, So Good…

It has been 6 months since the New 52 started.  Mostly, it has been a spectacular success.  With the first few title cancellations announced (predicted here and reviewed after the fact here), and the second wave announced, it feels very much like there is a plan.  There may not be, but DC is really making it look as thought out as anything I’ve seen in comics in a long time.

Seems like an eternity since everyone was terrified by this image.

The plan as stated at DC is that the books will be on time, even if it means that they will replace creators (in mid arc if needed) to keep things moving.  So far only one book has been late, a Justice League book got pushed back a week or so, and now that book will go to a fifth week release schedule and will have an art fill in for a couple of issues to allow Jim Lee some catch up time.  I cannot say I like this emphasis.  I want the books on time, but if I have to chose, I want consistently good stories over an on time schedule.  There have been several very public changes and moves, most were always going to happen.  George Perez was really only ever going to do the first arc on Superman, but David Finch was behind on the Dark Knight book before he even started, so he got help on the writing, which can only help the book.  Dark Knight was a vanity project from the start to utilize a popular, now exclusive creator, to the greatest benefit.  If the changes make for an on time book that is actually better as well, then great, but that remains to be seen.

As the second arcs begin on the titles there have been other changes, most notably is Travel Foreman leaving Animal Man to do Birds of Prey.  AM was a huge surprise hit and has been the poster child for the success of the New 52, so his departure from the art duties there, may sting a little, and to be honest, I cannot picture him on BoP.  That mix seems off somehow.  But he is a good artist, and things may improve over there, as Birds has been in the middle, and floating down if the sales figures I have seen are accurate.  And there are the other surprise hits, like Detective Comics.  Was any fan out there all that excited?  But it is one of the standouts.

Having read about half of the new books, the only complaint I have is that the reboot, did not reboot enough.  Some of these books are seamless continuations of the pre New 52 titles, like Green Lantern and some of the bat-books.  JLI is a direct, but kind of clunky transition from Generation Lost, etc.  Action Comics, Superman, the Dark books etc, are much more of a reboot/revamp and are almost all much better for it, but the lack of a line wide wipe of old continuity bothers me.  I am something of an “in for a penny, in for a pound” kind of guy.  Go big or go home.  Insert whatever clichéd phrase you want.  While I may not have liked everything that was changed, had they really thrown caution to the wind, I think the overall response from the people that actually read the books (instead of just complaining about them) would have been even more positive.

I am going to defiantly pick up 8 of the new trades/hardcovers, and am deciding on 3 or 4 others that may make the cut.  As a trade waiter, that will be the big test.  If they read well as complete stories, I’m convinced.  The low page counts make them a not very enjoyable read month to month, so this will be the final test for me.  But at this point, I’m still enjoying the biggest and most controversial thing to happen in comics in years.


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Secret Six: A Last Look

Well, the last volume of Secret Six is out now, and with it, one of the best things from the pre New 52 comes to a close.

This series just kept getting better and better.  Written by Gail Simone, this was a great character study book.  Filled with the D-Lister’s D list, there was never an issue that I didn’t find some aspect of Ms Simone’s writing an absolute thrill.  Comics has, particularly in the last two decades, gone out of its way to take popular villains and anti-heroes, and turn them into leading character material.  Wolverine made the dark hero popular and profitable, Venom made the leap to dark anti-hero, Deadpool and countless others,  all have been lost along the way.  Some because the core of the concept was lost in the quest for sales and others because, to make the character palatable for the mass consumption market, they stripped away the few interesting things about them, reducing them to darker versions of the true icon that was originally popular.

Not so with Secret Six.  There was not one really popular character in this book.  Bane?  Catman?  Was ANYONE really clamoring for more stories about Catman?  Everyone on this “Team” was a mess in every way possible and on many layers.  Some were characters that were never fully realized or created in a time when depth was not something that was an issue.  The most promising of this bunch was Scandal Savage, daughter of Vandal, and she was created more or less, specifically for this book.  Simone created her and imbued her with everything that makes for a good lead, but she didn’t hold the lead for long.  She was quickly supplanted by more internally powerful, or at least more externally forceful individuals.  Bane, Catman, Deadshot, all had moments taking the lead role on this team, and the title was always well served by this.

The most surprising and fun member of the team was Ragdoll, a crappy leftover from the Golden Age.  Originally created by Gardener Fox, reborn marginally more interesting in the 80’s, Simone has made him (in the form of the original’s son) the soul of the book.  Between obvious lines mean for comic relief, he speaks as though he were the conscience of the team, all the while fantasizing out loud about some pretty unspeakable things.

There have been complex relationships all through this book’s all too short 36 issue run (not counting a few guest shots and the Villains United series they started in) that have given this book a feel that was alway far more believable than virtually any book in the DCU.  The complex relationship between Bane and Scandal took much of the time, but others have had their time in the light as well.  In the end, everyone was well served in this book by a skilled writer at the top of her game.

DC did not serve this book well.  With the reboot, all this was essentially wiped away.  The series ended satisfactorily enough, but as with all the OLD DCU, it felt a bit rushed.  I imagine Ms Simone was given notice to wrap things up well enough, but I think there could have been many more great issues of this series.  That combined with J. Calafiore’s very nice, expressive art, make this a missed gem.

The other way DC has failed this series is the fact that the early volumes are out of print.  Villains United and volumes 3 and up are still easily available, and one and two CAN still be found, but the prices are rising slowly.  I know that it does not benefit DC to keep everything in print, but this series is not some crappy book that limped along for a dozen issues and was killed after just enough issue to collect in a trade.  This was actually a fairly well received book.  Popular with critics and fans, and should be seen by everyone that enjoys watching a writer with real skill craft a fine book.

I highly recommend this to anyone that wants something a little off-center from the standard super hero fare and far better than all the “reformed” bad guys books.  Jump on these while you can still find them for a reasonable price.  Go.  Now.

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The Ax Hath Fallen…

The first casualties of the New 52 are official.

Earlier I posted my personal predictions, based on just the first set of numbers, saying that any book selling less than the lowest selling Vertigo title was at risk of cancellation.

You will NOT be missed. DIE. DIE. DIE!!!

There were a few surprises, but all in all, much of what I thought would happen, has.  Mister Terrific, Hawk and Dove, OMAC, Static Shock and Blackhawks were my likeliest candidates and they are all now going to end with issue #8.  No I am not supernaturally gifted with a power beyond mortal ken, this was just simple numbers.  A bit more of a surprise to me was that Men of War is also ending.  The impression I had gotten was the sales of that were climbing, and was really developing a following.  Many of these will end their runs selling better than other titles that I predicted for the chopping block.  House of Mystery and Captain Atom appear to be getting a few more readers and holding on though.  I would expect announcements of some getting the ax will come once numbers on the first trade and hardcover collections come in.  There have always been books that survive only because of the sales of the collections in the past and the New 52 will be no different.

I can’t imagine that there was anyone inside or outside of the DC offices that expected all 52 to survive and this is just the first wave of cancellations.  There will almost certainly be another bunch, 3 or 4 titles at least to end with their second arc.  To DC’s credit, they are spinning it well and making it feel organic.  They were ready, as we all would have suspected, with the launch of a new group of books to replace them.  In some cases, the replacement is pretty obvious continuations of concepts and characters that we saw in the cancelled books and other recent DC projects.

The new books have a great deal of promise.  Everyone expected to see another Batman Inc to conclude the arc and it is now official.  Not a surprise.  Also announced early on, and now on the schedule is Earth 2 by James Robinson and Nicola Scott.  The characters have been a fan favorite since their return to the DCU and Robinson’s take on them has been excellent and mostly well received.  On my must get list is World’s Finest, starring Power Girl (yay!!) and the Huntress by Paul Levitz with George Perez and Kevin Maguire rotating art duties for each arc.  These are the Earth 2 versions, stuck in our world and trying to get home.  Makes me wonder what will become of this Earth’s Karen Starr though, as she has been relegated to girlfriend in one of the now cancelled books.  This new book looks to be a continuation, of sorts from the Huntress mini series, and Levitz is the only writer that has ever really done justice to the Huntress.  Of course he DID create the character, so one would hope that to be the case.

Dial H, G.I. Combat and The Ravagers all look to be interesting books.  But only Dial H will get a look from me.  I have never gone in for combat books and anything spinning off from the mediocre Teen Titans holds no interest for me.  I have always been surprised that war books do well.  Men of War  is likely going to have its audience carry over into the new book.  China Mieville on Dial H will be a draw for a while at least, but I think The Ravagers will not hold on very long, just a hunch really.

I am still enjoying the New 52 and think that it is being handled well.  I am looking forward to what happens next, and that is what DC really want to hear from the fans.  Love the books or hate them, they are still generating interest nearly 6 months in, and when was the last time a comics “event” did that?


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DC New 52 cancellation watch

Well, it was inevitable that there would be cancellations among the crop of new 52 from DC.  Nothing yet officially, but based on the Diamond sales numbers, there are some fairly safe bets on books that will see the ax long before they hit issue 12, some much earlier.  This is of course ignoring the possibility that DC will, or has already planned, to keep them all going for 2 complete arcs (12 issues-ish) before making the ax fall.  That way they can claim it was planned, or that the dead books reached their conclusion naturally.  This is a possibility to be sure.

Don’t misunderstand me though. I take no joy in these predictions.  I WANT the new 52 to succeed.  Really.  DC has done right by the fans for a while now in the single most important way, good books.  Marvel has been missing the point now for a while, every good thing they do, overshadowed by a bad book or odd choice in book cancellations.  DC has had its share of problems, like the female creators flap as the New 52 started up.  But to be blunt, the sales and the quality of so many of the books is what is talking the loudest right now.

Most of what is fueling these predictions is coming from the Diamond sales figures and advance estimates for this month and the last 2.  Also, I have read many of the new DC books, but not all.  Some of the remaining ones, I did catch the previews for though.

Sad to say, but I think that any of the DC books that sell lower than even the worst selling of the Vertigo books will be gone soon.

Static Shock is selling pretty poorly even given the niche market for this book.  The character is most remembered from the cartoon and really has never had a strong comic book following.  Even so, it should still be selling better that the paltry 5200 books.

OMAC is the next likely candidate for the dollar book bin.  This reboot looked kind of clumsy from the start and I think it really is only there for the function it may serve in the overall arc they are trying to create in the 52.

And then there is Hawk and Dove.  This book was so profoundly stupid that I am convinced that people only bought it to see how bad it was really going to be.  There are a few fans of the duo out there, but that will not keep this one alive much longer.

It is at this point working our way up from the bottom of the numbers, that we reach the lowest selling book on the current charts from Vertigo, Scalped.  This book deserves more sales than it gets but the people who read it do so loyally.

Blackhawks and House of Mystery are next.  I really wanted to like both of these but just could not make it work for me.  Sales support that these are not reaching the audience at large either.

Voodoo and Mister Terrific come next.  Was anyone really crying out for either of these?  And a lot of fans are smarting a bit from the garbage status of Karen Starr in the latter.

Based purely on sales, Captain Atom would probably get axed too, but I think this is a book that will be allowed to limp along as long as possible.  Personally I really liked where this one is going.  The reason it is likely to last despite poor sales is that this is a character that has real marquee potential in the eyes of a lot of people.  A well written book with this guy will hang around as DC, I think, really feels that the Captain should be in the big boys sandbox.  Not up at JLA levels, but he really has promise.

I, Vampire is just a boring book and I think it will be gone soon, or at least folded in with another book as a co feature.  That might actually be a good way to handle it, but to be honest, I don’t really think this book is worth the effort.

These are the books that are closest to the edge from a pure numbers standpoint.  There may be editorial preference that keeps some of them alive longer than they might otherwise last.  DC are clearly playing favorites with some of the characters and books, but why not?  May as well throw the dice on a bet you like if you are going to throw them at all.  It should be pointed out that none of these books is over 10k in sales.  That seems to be the mark that is a magic number these days.  There are still a huge pile of the New 52 that falls below that number, but at this point you are getting into higher profile books like the Legion of Superheroes by Paul Levitz and Birds of Prey, the latter being the first book above the 10k mark on the current charts.

With all the talk about everything getting second prints and att the titles over 100k, it is easy to forget that we will soon see casualties, probably just after the start of the new year.  Some deserved, some not, but I think any objective fan should be comfortable calling the New 52 a success on almost every level.  There are always going to be books that don’t last and that is fine.  I just hope they keep trying to give it their best shot.  Unlike Marvel these days, I think DC can really be the one to watch for great stories and fun new ideas.

UPDATE:  How did my predictions hold up, you ask?  Well, this post months later has the update on what was eventually cancelled.


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As the first month of the New 52 winds down…

Well, I ended up buying 13 of the New 52, with 2 more of interest next week.

So far I can safely say, I have enjoyed all of them.  Some much more than others.  Some I will not buy the next issue.  Technically, I will probably only get the first arc for Action Comics, Batman and Detective Comics.  Animal Man and Resurrection Man are still on the bubble.  So here I will do a quick recap for all of the books I have read so far as I may not do full reviews for all of them.

Logo for the DC Edge books

Stormwatch:  This is the only one of the Edge group of books that I have had any interest in, and to be honest, I was disappointed.  I had really been looking forward to this one and found it every bid as bland as most of the old Wildstorm titles.  The various groupings of books is pretty tightly done, with the Edge books mostly being the books brought over from Wildstorm and a few odds and ends.  My high hopes were than they would make Martian Manhunter a little more interesting and less of a fifth wheel.  They didn’t, he is just a dick.

Green Lantern:  I was really not going to bother with this one since I have done just the collected editions of the main series, as well as Blackest Night and Brightest Day hardcovers.  But what the hell.  I grabbed it and it was decent.  I’m not going to get the floppies on a regular basis as I will still just do the hardcovers.  The Lantern books have read better in a single sitting since Geoff Johns started writing them.  A word about the grouping on these.  As far as I know, all of the Lantern books are in their own group, but I don’t recall seeing that officially anywhere.  I may have just missed it though.

Batman group logo.

Batman: This book was purchased based entirely on the creative team.  Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo drew me in and did not let me down.  The story had several good twists and made for a fun and fast paced book.  Capullo’s art was exactly what I had expected.  Sometimes a bit cartoonish for my tastes, but he has a strong storytelling sense that works well for this book.  Any anything that gets him away from the Spawn books is a winner in my mind.  Now we will see what he can REALLY do.

Batgirl:  Niiiiice!  This is going to be a really interesting book if the editors at DC allow this to go the way I think it is intended to.  This could get really cool.  I would not have touched this book with a ten foot pole if Gail Simone had not been tapped to write it, and I think she has gotten it off on a great path.  The Killing Joke is now officially canon, even though through some as yet unexplained “miracle”, Barbara Gordon can now walk.  Ardian Syaf’s art is perfect for this book, a good sense of action and pacing, while not being too dark and gloomy.  That is what the next book is for…

Detective Comics:  A great book.  See my review here.  A quick word about the individual books logos.  They have redesigned almost all of the books logo for the New 52.  Action, and the other Superbooks have not changed.  Neither has Swamp Thing.  For the most part, they look very nice.  The Blackhawks logo is awful.  Looks like a hight school football logo.  Just crap.  The others are sharp and modern, with some really standing out.

DC Dark group logo.

DC Dark books group logo.

Animal Man:  This is the first of the DC Dark books I read.  My review is here.  I liked all of the Dark books so far and they were the ones that I was most interested in from the start.  I will be picking up Justice League Dark next week.

Swamp Thing:  This one feels odd.  The fact that Superman appears threw me off, if only because Superman is being almost fully rebooted and Swampy appears to be more of a soft reboot, with much of the history being referenced.  If there is any line wide weaknesses in the New 52 it is that Batman and Green Lantern will maintain virtually all of their history, as the continuity will not change for them, but Superman and all the other books are changing.  Some very little and some quite drastically.  Held on its own, without the rest of the DCU attached, Swamp Thing was a good read and I am interested in the continuing story.

Resurrection Man:  If they keep this up, this could be the sleeper hit of the New 52.  I liked the character when he first came out in the 90’s but there was not much done with him.  This book is tightly plotted and strong with Abnett & Lanning (the character’s original creators) looking like they are one the verge of doing their very best work yet.  I have enjoyed the cosmic stuff they have done at Marvel and this looks like it could top even that.  This book has one of the best of the new logos too.  Very cool with a retro feel to it.

DC Superman group logo.

Supergirl:  A lot of fans were bothered by the creative team shuffling of some of the books.  What they came up with for this book is something that looks very promising.  Writers Green and Johnson have a good handle and a potentially interesting take on the most boring heroine in the DCU.  Mahmud Asrar’s art is inconsistent, but engaging.  Stylization sometimes wins over rendering, but not distractingly so.  There is a lot of promise in this book too.

Action Comics:  Boo-yah!  If you read only one of the new DCU, this should really be the one!  I have re read this since my original review here, and like this book even more.  It is too bad they didn’t launch with this instead of Justice League.  Superman #1 is out next week.  Still have not decided if I am getting it or not.  And NO.  If I do not get it at my LCS, I will not waste my money buying it on ebay.  That’s why DC is happily reprinting the really hot books.

DC Justice League Group logo.

Justice League:   Speaking of hot books, this is on a 3rd printing, and it looks like a 4th coming.  Good for you DC.  I just wish the book had been better.  My review is here.  Just not as strong as it could have and really should have been.  May turn out to be the first book to start losing readers quickly if it does not find its footing fast.  I know this is intended as a prequel of sorts to the rest of the DCU, but so is Action Comics, and it is much better.

Captain Atom:  Of all the old Charlton characters, this is the one I wanted to like the most and ended up not having any interest in.  Since Alan Moore did his version in Watchman, the Captain seemed poorly handled at best.  I was not going to pick up this book.  I’m mostly glad I did.  This is one of the books that I have seen so far (animal Man and Swamp Thing being the other 2) that could actually have a finite run and work well that way.  They are books that seem like a real beginning, middle and end to the run would be in the best interests of the title.  I can see all 3 with a clear arc.  If I thought that they would actually DO that, I would sign up for all 3 without a pause.  That is what would work best for these and serve the characters as started in the New 52 perfectly.  But all creative options aside, I know these are, first and foremost, properties.  They will not take a book to a logical and intelligent conclusion and end it when it could continue for more issues.  It is a mentality I have never wanted in my comics.  Why CAN’T Animal Man run for a finite number of issues and be an end to the character for a while.  Finish telling your story then let the book rest until someone comes along with a new take on things.  But DC, like Marvel, has the quantity over quality model going, despite what they say publicly.  The fact that they are more interested in getting books out on an arbitrary schedule than keeping a creative team is evidence of that.  The way to solve late books is not to replace teams, just hold off printing until more issues are in the can.  If the artist or writer feels like they are getting screwed, then they are in the wrong industry, and it IS an industry.  They do not print these things for fun.  They are there to make money and there is nothing wrong with that.  But there is a middle ground where the creative side and the corporate side CAN meet, they just never seem willing or able to.  Captain Atom is a book with a lot of style, sometimes to its detriment.  The art is sometimes more distracting than it should be, and the visual storytelling is spotty.  There are more positives than negative though.  The characters are still bland, but there is time for fleshing them out going forward.  The art has moments of being very off model, but the dynamic styling is powerful and hard to ignore.  If this WERE a finite story, I can see it really working well.  But I see this first arc being paid off and then just more issue coming where the premises being set up here will get watered down and made on-going.

Justice League International:  This book is a mess at times.  Dan Jurgens can be very hit and miss.  His best, can be classic.  This is not that book.  They have chosen the most B-listy bunch possible to people the group and they are not well written here.  Booster Gold has always been one of those guys with lots of unrealized potential.  So now for this reboot, he seems to have very abruptly realized it.  That does not really work well.  Fire and Ice are a team that have only really worked well when…well…they have never worked well.  If you look at their past stuff, they really are just plot hammers.  Or they are there so someone else can react to something about them.  They themselves were never all that interesting.  Guy Gardner seems like they are playing him as less of a prick, but since I never liked the guy no matter how they played him…  Rocket Red is fun to have here, and so is August General in Iron.  Having Batman at all is just silly.  He is being repositioned in the new DCU to being back to the dark shadow in Gotham, and he is just not a good fit here.  Fortunately, he is not likely to get  much play and can be more or less written out.  His presence here is to add some connection to other characters for the reader, like propping up Booster a bit with the readers as well as the other members of the team.  I can see this book always being in flux until they find the right mix.  With team books though, that is not a bad thing.

All in all, a good start.  I want to see risks.  Like the ones I have seen in other books of the relaunch like Catwoman or Red Hood and the Outlaws.  These are books that will push away long time fans, but maybe they will bring new ones in with stories that are daring and new.  Detective and Action look like they may be off to similar starts.  Here is hoping the New 52 changes the game as much as I think it can.  If it does, we are all in for a Hell of a ride!

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DC New 52: Action Comics #1 review

Action Comics #1

DC Comics

September 2011


Well this one certainly lives up to the title on the front of the book!

Now THAT'S a cool cover!

To start off, I think it is inevitable that Superman will go back to the same character we have all know for our entire lives, The Big Blue  boy scout.  I really don’t see that staying away for very long.  The core concepts of the character are pretty much untouchable, but the things that hover just at the edge of that, the apple pie goodness that so many fans find foolish and hokey, seem almost as pervasive.  As a quick aside:  I am not blind to the fact that many people just don’t like Superman.  There is one particular reader out there that seems to waste focus a great deal of energy on just how much he dislikes the character.  First to that person, and the other people out there that calls themselves “fans” of comics…  It is perfectly acceptable to dislike everything you read, see, hear and otherwise experience.  I would respectfully suggest that if you do not like something, stop trying to explain to everyone why you hate it, and try to spread the word on something that you DO like.  On this blog I welcome all views as long as they are reasoned and expressed respectfully to everyone that might read it.  To be honest, I am not a Superman fan.  Not really.  There are people who have an allegiance to a character regardless of any other factors.  I am not one of them.  I enjoy good comics, and that starts with talented and inspired creators putting that product out there for me to read.  Superman, like all other company owned properties, has had many creators far beyond the two kids from Cleveland.  Many have been hacks, or at least did not really bring their “A Game”.  Many others were masters of their craft.  And many more were somewhere in between.  I should not really ever say (but sometimes I do slip up on this) that I like or dislike Superman, Batman, Thor, The Avengers and so on.  What I should say is I like Thor as written by Walt Simonson, or the Avengers as drawn by George Perez.  Saying “I hate Superman” is really not saying anything of substance.  Opinions are only valid when expressed with a reason attached, even if that reason is irrational.  It is like saying “I hate cabbage”.  Well, OK, sure, but WHY?  No one NEEDS a reason to hate something, true.  But without a reason, you will not get anyone to listen to your opinions.  The best way to get people to dismiss or just plain ignore your opinions is to shout them out at the world like an idiot.  So if you have an opinion, share it, but do so intelligently and respectfully.  The words “Superman Sucks” over and over will lower the interest has of everyone reading it.  Even if they agree with you.  If you don’t like something here, that I DO, or the reverse, try to change my mind.  You probably won’t, even as I cannot change yours.  Opinions are like that, once formed, they tend not to change much.  But the debate is always more fun and stimulating that just mindless bitching.

Having said that, it is true.  I am not a Superman fan.  On my shelves right now are 8 trades or hardcovers where they are predominantly Superman books, and that is out of, what I will guess to be something between 750 and 850 similarly formatted books.  ( I don’t really do floppys anymore and the New 52 books I am reading now are very much the exceptions to the rule, as I might have something in the area of 100 floppys at any one time.  When they are put in a nice trade or HC, I tend to get rid of the originals)  Those Superman books are by some of the best of the modern writers.  (sorry, not much of the classic stuff out there that I enjoy enough to own and re read) Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman, being the most recent of the really fine books.  And that is why the New 52 and the re launch of Action Comics really had me interested.

If you were not previously much into Superman, this might be the book that changes your mind.  If you prefer the boy scout as mentioned above, this may really send you screaming.  I hope not.  As I said, this will not last.  The Supes we all know will slowly return.  But for now, there is a pretty good take on the character.  This Superman has returned to the social crusader that first appeared in the late 1930s and his methods have a lot more in common with Batman than the big blue we all recognize.

This book is in the past, behind the continuity of all the other new books except Justice League.  These are here to establish the world as it is now.  As I understand it, JL will eventually catch up.  That has not been explicitly stated for Action, but that is a safe bet.  The world does not understand or really even trust this guy in a tight T-shirt, jeans and a cape.  They are wary and frightened of him.  The police and military are after him even as he tries to fight FOR them.  Lex Luthor is here too, and he is on the side of the average man, much like he has always claimed.  The plot really is just “let’s get Superman” at this point.  They manage to re-establish that Clark Kent is there and that he still works for a news agency , but Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane work for a rival one.  This Superman is FAR from invulnerable.  Yes we have seem him take a pounding in books before, but not really like this.  The beating he takes has consequences and they follow him.  Clark SHOULD have bruises if Superman does.  I like that this Superman is more fragile, it adds impact to the story, but I don’t want to see his de power go to far.  He should still be the most powerful being on the planet.

That is where I didn’t care for this book.  To me, and this is strictly MY opinion, Superman IS a Sun God, just as Morrison has stated.  If any but the most amazing mortal was confronted with seeing a being with the kind of power that Superman has, they would likely be unable to function.  They would go bibbldy.  At least they would wet themselves.  That might be why Superman has been a character I have failed to enjoy as regularly, I cannot believe in the more simple aspects of the story.  Suspension of disbelief starts with very subtle things, after all.  My version would probably not make for very human comics, though, so the approach here is bringing the Sun God down just a bit, and making him more believable.

Grant Morrison and Rags Morales are the writer and artist that are bringing you this book, and I have to say that it met my very high expectations for it.  I will be picking up the monthly issues for the duration of the first arc.    Morales’ art has found a perfect complement in inker Rick Bryant.  The line is stunning and pulls you in and keeps you there.  Clark is believably human and he and Superman actually do look like they might fool you into thinking they are different people.  Morrison’s new take on Superman is an interesting one and I can only say 2 things:  One, please stay on the book as long as you have good stories to tell(with the obvious thought that there are a lot to tell, rather than just this first arc).  And two, that they don’t chicken out.  Take your ideas to the logical conclusion without making concessions to the commercial aspect of the industry.  I doubt DC editorial will allow something with an actual beginning, middle and end, but I can dream.

Buy this book.


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DC New 52: Animal Man #1-review

Animal Man #1

DC Comics

September 2011


This is one that I was looking forward to, based mostly on the creative team.  My familiarity with the lead character here was limited to his appearance in the series 52 from a few years ago.  Sorry guys, I have not gotten around to the older series, but it is on the eventual list.  Jeff Lemire and Travel Forman, with Dan Green are the team behind this issue, and they have done a very nice job.

This book starts off with a text “interview” with Buddy Baker about his newfound celebrity as Animal Man and manages to give you the set up for the current continuity.  We can assume that the past for Buddy that we know DID more or less happen, or not.  It is up to you depending on your preference and level of familiarity with the history here.  Very new reader friendly, really.

Buddy Baker has begun to settle into a life as an actor and part-time hero.  His home life is pretty normal, and he is a bit restless.  Anchored by his family, he stays in touch with who he is and keeps a level head.  His daughter wants a puppy, and things are mostly good.  It is when changes in his and his family’s established status quo that things get difficult for him. 

This is a reasonably fresh feeling book.  Story and art are excellent and fit the book very well.  There are sections where Forman inks himself and others where the masterful Dan Green handles the inks, and for the most part, that works quite well.  The art is very stylized and funky.  My only real complaint here, is that the book is too short to give a real taste of what to expect.  Like most first issues these days, this is not much more than a teaser for the first arc.  Had they doubled the size, to give us a deeper look, I would likely give this one much higher marks.  As it stands, this is a very good book and another excellent building block in the new DC 52.  definitely worth a look, particularly if you have not previously been interested in Animal Man.  In fact, I am hopeful that is where DC will see the biggest bump, in established readers will take a chance on books they would not have otherwise read.  In my case, the creative teams are bringing me over to books that I don’t generally read like Action Comics, Batgirl and this one.  The new ideas and premises on books like Detective Comics, and Stormwatch are pulling me on those books.  Everybody needs to look closely at the books hitting the shelves this month from DC.  I have been pleasantly surprised so far.


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