Posted on: September 25th, 2011 DC’s New 52: Week 3 REVIEWED!

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We’re week three into the re-launch already. How are you all feeling? Tired yet? I don’t know about you, but my eyeballs have abs already. Here’s the run-down on the latest batch of re-launch titles:

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Batman #1

20086_180x270Scott Synder writes an amazing Batman book. He’s been doing it for a little while now between Detective and Gates of Gotham. This issue is simply a continuation of his high standards. For those of you that haven’t been keeping up with the Bat, here’s where we stand: Bruce is Batman again. His biological son, Damian, is his Robin. Dick is Nightwing. Tim is Red Robin. This issue sets the tone for Snyder’s Batman. You see the family dynamic between Bruce and the boys, get a look at how high-tech his operations are, truly grasp the romanticism that Bruce holds for Gotham, and towards the end you see where the story arc’s headed. It’s a beautiful book from its script to the art from Greg Capullo. I assure you that you’ll be glad you picked this one up. [Auburn]

Birds of Prey #1

20095_180x270This one was a little slow going for me, but I came around by the end of the issue. Although the cover also promises Poison Ivy and Katana, only Black Canary and a new character, Starling, actually end up in the book. It’s an interesting first issue, centering around a journalist who gets himself caught up in the Bird’s excitement. Writer Duane Swierczynski has crafted a fast-paced and exciting story, with plenty of action and character to keep Birds of Prey on my pull list for now. My one complaint with the issue is that there are far too many flash-backs and flash-forwards over too short of time. If you’re like me and you read fast when you’re excited, parts of the issue can be overwhelming. Jesus Saiz’s artwork is great, with some stellar line work that really emphasizes the action. More importantly, Saiz is apparently more aware of the female form than can be said about most artists working today. That’s not to say that these women are representative of the true female body – not by a long shot, the heroines in BOP are all what the media would sell us as “ideal” – but he seems to get curves and proportions a little more realistically, and resists the urge to add a few more letters into their cup sizes. On the downside, Black Canary’s costume re-design is far too 90’s, seeing the addition of shoulder pads and armour, like the rest of the Justice League. [Ryan]

Blue Beetle #1

20176_180x270It’s an honest-to-goodness origin story! Of lovable loser Jaime Reyes and how he became Blue Beetle. Not only is it an origin, it’s an incredibly straight forward origin considering it deals with alien tech. Tony Bedard is responsible for this story of one of the remarkably few Hispanic characters in comics today. Ig Guara is behind the art and could probably catch a gig drawing a Green Lantern title. His alien work is pretty strong. I won’t say that any socks will be rocked off by this first issue but I’ve got my fingers crossed for the future. It sounds like we’re going to be diving pretty deep into the obscure DC villain pool. To be fair, when you boil it down to the truth, I’m just thrilled to see a Latino carrying their own title. Took a while. [Auburn]

Captain Atom #1

20064_180x270I just straight up didn’t like this issue. There’s really nothing interesting or remarkable about this new Captain Atom or any of the surrounding cast. I found the pacing way off and the dialogue without a real sense of voice, and I just couldn’t get a grip on who Captain Atom is. Not in the sense of what he can do – we get that, in various forms of expository dialogue – but in the sense of who he is as a personality. So far all that’s defining him is the fact that he’s Captain Atom, and that’s even more boring than Superman. Give me something to latch on to. I can see where the main arc is going – mild spoiler: the more the Captain uses his powers, the more likely he’s going to “die” – but this soon in the game I don’t really care. I almost want him to die, just to increase the chances of getting a JSA title sooner. JT Krul (who’s Green Arrow still might be the worst of the re-launch) matches inconsistency in his story with artist Freddie Williams’ stumbling panels. I think there is a place for Captain Atom, with a more daring team behind the wheel, but sadly this isn’t it. [Ryan]

Catwoman #1

20094_180x270Want a sexy comic? This is a damn sexy comic. This is also a comic with sex. So…you know, you can stick that Teen Plus Rating in your pipe. Judd Winick doesn’t start out with a back story issue, its more of a slice of life depiction of Selina Kyle. And, yes, that life involves sex with Batman. Come on, you know that’s how it works. They’re both so damn pretty. Guillem March draws a tremendous Catwoman-I enjoyed his Gotham City Sirens work in fact. He seems to enjoy drawing Catwoman’s boobs. She’s got at least one breast falling out of her wardrobe in like 9 panels. So if you find bras and sex offensive, you may want to sit this one out. If you find yourself open to such material, go to. Having no issue with either, I’ll be picking up the next issue. [Auburn]

DC Universe Presents #1

20067_180x270When I heard about the re-launch including a new anthology series, I was pretty excited. I love anthologies. I grew up on Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt and Marvel’s What If. It’s the chance to expose readers to a new character, usually without the hassle of all that pesky back-story, and the tales are usually quick and tight (said the actress to the bishop). DC Universe Presents kicks off the series with a Deadman mini. This is cool. The first issue is pretty much all origin-story with a fresh coat of paint. Primer for great things to come, I hope, but this is the perfect first issue for someone who’s never read a Deadman story before. Paul Jenkins’ writing is great here, doing what Captain Atom didn’t do, and gave Deadman a voice; a point; something to hold on to so that we get the character. Now while you might be disappointed if all you’re looking for is cover-to-cover action, in it’s place is solid character development and the foundation for a great story featuring one of the more unsung and rich characters of the DCU. You’re also getting 22 pages of great art from Bernard Chang. Though his faces can seem a little… off… in some panels, he’s got these great splash pages and layouts that make you forget. [Ryan]

Green Lantern Corps #1

20103_180x270I’m happy to say this is the best of the Green Lantern titles in the New 52 so far. We’ll just have to see how New Guardians does. Peter Tomasi tells of the two Lanterns of Sector 2814 that opted not to wear masks and how it affects their day-to-day living. I’m talking of Guy Gardner and John Stewart, of course. Do people want to hire someone that would endanger the lives of others around them? Does being a known superhero give you any sort of privileges? When everyone knows you’re a space cop, how can you lead a ‘normal’ life? Would you want to? Fernando Pasarin does some excellent work here. Especially in his execution of an underwater alien world. Logistically, I’m sure you could skip the other Green Lantern titles and just read this one but I doubt it would give you the full effect of that world. Just know that you’re actually going to get your money’s worth on this one. [Auburn]

Legion of Super-Heroes #1

20178_180x270I’ll admit I’m only casually aware of the Legion of Superheroes, though I totally dig what I know and have read of them. Even with that knowledge, which is still more than the target reader that is picking up a Legion comic for the first time, I have no clue what is happening in this book, or who anyone is. Yes, you’ve placed a caption next to each character with their name, home planet and list of abilities, but when you do that over and over and over and over, page after page after page, it begins to fill up the old grey matter and stuff starts leaking, if you know what I’m saying. Writer Paul Levitz, who has worked on Legion before, simply failed to create an engaging first issue for readers new and old alike. Artist Francis Portella, however, never had a chance; Karl Kerschl’s cover is gorgeous. Beautiful and smooth and elegantly painted. Portella was destined to disappoint from that moment on, with crowded panels, unfriendly design choices and a general inconsistency. There are a couple of Liefeld panels in there. Nothing in here is memorable, there’s too much going on, and I don’t care about any of it. I don’t think there’s even a story in this issue, so even among the umpteen character introductions, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. [Ryan]

Nightwing #1

20093_180x270Feelings. Nothing more than…feelings. Kyle Higgins brings us this very introspective look at Dick Grayson. How he feels about his time as Batman, how he feels about being Nightwing, how he feels about his past, how he feels about women, how he feels about living on his own. Yeesh. In the meantime, Eddy Barrows is delivering enjoyable art. His movement within the panel layouts is very well done and his action-shots are nicely crafted. If you can manage to wade through all of the internal brooding, this may end up being a crucial tie-in to the Batman storyline. However, if the content doesn’t deliver, this book is going to be just a bit too long-winded for me. [Auburn]

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

20096_180x270Let it be known that I’m not going to touch the heated discussion online, the non-troversy, in my opinion, regarding the apparent sexualization/objectification of female characters. That’s just silly. I will go on the record as saying that I find Starfire’s portrayal – in a reboot, don’t forget – to be believable. She’s a red-haired, green-eyed alien – of royalty, remember – wearing little more than dental floss and demanding that she be pleased sexually while making a point to communicate that she doesn’t care who does it. Is that controversy? Nope. Is that worthy of all the debate? Puh-lease. Moving along to the real issue, no pun intended…

Red Hood and the Outlaws is the most surprised I’ve been with all the re-launch titles so far. I know I’ve said that a few times – which is great, I love a good surprise – but I think this one cinched it. I groaned at the thought of yet another bat-title (seriously, can we stop it with the bat-titles already?) but was majorly relieved to find that this really isn’t a bat-title at all. Much closer to Teen Titans in tone, this title is bright and fun. Former Robin Jason Todd continues on as Red Hood, using the first issue to bust his pal Roy Harper (Red Arrow? Arsenal? Speedy?) out of a war prison. Right out of the gate we get great action and seamless introductions from writer Scott Lobdell. The team work together really well, almost like a successful 80’s espionage television show, and their banter on the down-time – even if it is sexual and * gasp * something that people in real life do – is equally as interesting and feels authentic. The book is just a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to keep going with it. Kenneth Rocafort’s art is stellar too, easily one of my favorites of the entire re-launch so far. It’s different, full of excitement and his page layouts are inventive. I’m not just talking about two pages in the issue either, I’m talking about most of the pages in the whole issue. Don’t be swayed by any silly internet poo-pooing or an inherent hesitancy to invest in another spin-off bat-book; Red Hood and the Outlaws is worthy of neither. It’s awesome! [Ryan]

Supergirl #1

20073_180x270Another legitimate origin story in the New 52. Michael Green and Mike Johnson are writing the story of Kara Zor-El’s arrival to Earth. She’s just waking up to a new world where she has new powers, she’s being apprehended by our soldiers and she doesn’t understand the language. She’s scared and we’re scared. Oh, awkward first encounters. They’re the best. Mahmud Asrar does an excellent job on this book. The sensory overload Kara goes through when exposed to the yellow sun was some beautiful artwork. You can just see that she’s about to break. The writing felt like a list of quick facts about the differences between Krypton and Earth. I’m hoping now that the language barrier has been broken thanks to our neighborhood Kryptonian, things will pick up. I hope. [Auburn]

Wonder Woman #1

20054_180x270I think it’s fairly unanimous and goes without saying that the new Wonder Woman is awesome. Not necessarily a “much needed” return to form for our Princess Diana, but a very, very welcome one. This is the kind of issue that puts into perspective how good it is when the character is totally effective, but also how groan-inducing it can be when she’s handled totally all wrong. Brian Azzarello doesn’t waste any time in setting the tones of the story and characters, and gets right into it, weaving the mythology and the narrative together in a mature yet easy-to-follow-way. Make no mistake about it either, this is a violent book. There’s plenty of hacked limbs and dead animals and arrows and swords, but it’s never overkill (see what I did there?). Bookended with an intriguing new villain, it looks like Wonder Woman is going to be a huge ongoing for a while yet. It doesn’t hurt that Cliff Chiang is providing some of the most beautiful artwork in any comic on the racks right now. This issue is just the total package (also my nickname in high school, by the way). [Ryan]

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That wraps up this week three of the re-launch titles. Stay tuned this week for reviews on the final batch: All-Star Western, Aquaman, Batman: The Dark Knight, Blackhawks, The Flash, The Fury of Firestorm, Green Lantern: New Guardians, I, Vampire, Justice League Dark, The Savage Hawkman, Superman, Teen Titans and Voodoo.

Stay classy, Squidlings.

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