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Thursday
Sep292011

DC Reboot: Week Five (9/28/2011)

As mentioned in the previous posts, I'm checking out a ton of DC books this month due to the reboot. I'm posting some of my opinions here, generally in the order that I read the books.

So far, there have been some real highlights (Demon Knights, Batman), surprises (Frankenstein, Wonder Woman) and some real stinkers (Green Arrow, DC Presents...).  So, let's see what this fifth and final reboot week brings.

Only five books on my pull list...

DC Reboot: Week Five
(comics shipped 9/28/2011)
DC Titles tried: 5/13

All-Star Western #1 - Jonah Hex is the badassingest badass to ever badass the ol' west.

Palmiotti & Gray did not create Hex, but I think they're responsible for all of the Hex stories I've read so far, and are the reason I fell in love with the character. And now they'e brought him to Gotham. If Batman were around in the 1880s, he might have something to say about that, but he's not and the 1880s Gotham City needs somebody to clean it up a bit.

Not that Hex is going to clean anything up, but he's sure as hell going to kick it's ass.

The story puts our not-so-loveable bounty hunter in a team up with one Doctor Amadeus Arkham. The good doctor is a physician, by trade, but also a burgeoning criminal psychologist. The pair are on the trail of an apparent serial killer dubbed the Gotham Butcher.

I loved every bit of this story and Moritat's art was a perfect compliment. The lines were dark and heavy when needed but also tight and detailed when the scene called for it. Bautista's colors, too, were great. Subtle and muted, but effective, they felt like I was watching a Sergio Leone film.

This is everything I could have wanted from this book. ★★★★★

Justice League Dark #1 - When this was first announced, I was quite intrigued. A team book focused on the mystical? I'm not sure that's ever been done before. John Constantine, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, some guy with a jacket...

The setup involves some major magical problem involving the Enchantress, who looks much worse for wear than she does in Marvel, and the regular Justice League show up to investigate. Superman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg aren't quite equipped to deal with the situation and fail miserably.

You can see where this is going.

The story was interesting enough that I'd like to see more, but I'm more sold on the premise than the implementation so far. It will be nice when the characters are all in the same place and we can see how they interact. (Assuming that's where we're headed.) The art's great, and it serves this style of story very well. ★★★☆☆

Blackhawks #1 - If Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE is Hellboy in the DCU, then Blackhawks is GI JOE in the DCU.

The art was good.

And thus ends my praise for Blackhawks. The story was disjointed and I felt like I was introduced to a dozen characters in about as many pages. It wasn't really that bad, but it still felt so.  Let's see… There was Scarlet, Steven Segal, Wolverine, Roadblock, Peter Gyrich, Doc, Cyclops and Cable. Did I get all their names right? No? Who cares.

I think the writer worked too hard to introduce the team.  It might have been better to give us one or two characters to focus on and familiarize ourselves with before dumping the entire cast on us. (Maybe this isn't an issue for the Blackhawks fans from the Wildstorm days, but one of them, I am not.) I didn't care about any of the characters, and that's never good.

It was a grade C action movie with grade A cinematography. I guess that gets you a grade B flick overall? I had high hopes for this, and I hold out some hope that it gets better, but I don't have much reason to believe that it will. ★★½☆☆

Batman: The Dark Knight #1 - AKA: Batman: Because Three Batman Books Is One Too Few. There isn't much to distinguish this from the other bat-books, at least story-wise. Bruce Wayne doing Bruce Wayne things, and then there's a breakout attempt at Arkham. (That never happens, right?) When Bats arrives on scene he's focused on where Two-Face is, but I'm not sure why. Of all the villains in the bat-pantheon, he doesn't seem like the most dangerous. He's no Joker or Killer Croc. Then, when Bats does find him it looks like Mr. Dent has been hitting the gym quit a bit.  Maybe juicing even. I don't know if he's changed since last time I saw him, or if the change is part of the story. If that's the bat-hook to make this an interesting story, I'm not sure it was enough.

I have very mixed feelings on the art in this book. It's very serviceable, story-telling-wise. Finch draws a lovely Gotham and the action is decent. The faces one all the male characters, though… man those are some ugly mugs. It's like they don't sit right on their skulls. I find it off-putting.

I tried three out of the four Batman books, and I'm pretty sure this is my fourth favorite. ★★½☆☆

Voodoo #1 - It's like if that Demi Moore movie, Striptease, were an episode of X-Files, except we're following the monster instead of Mulder and Scully. Or maybe this is Species, with strippers. I'm not sure yet. Except there's definitely strippers.

The entire issue feels like it could be the cold open to a X-Files/Fringe/Warehouse 13/Sanctuary/Special Unit 2… What? You've never heard of Special Unit 2? It was great. Totally before it's time.

Where was I? Oh, yes… Voodoo #1. I'll give #2 a shot, since I'm curious where this is going in the long run, but issue 2 needs to up the ante a bit and really convince me to stick around. More of Sam Basri's art would also be a decent reason to stick around though. This is a pretty, pretty book. ★★★☆☆

RELAUNCH TITLES SKIPPED: Aquaman, The Flash, Superman, Savage HawkmanTeen Titans, Green Lantern: The New Guardians, Fury of Firestorm, and I, Vampire. It's probably criminal to a DC-die-hard, but I just don't care about Aquaman, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman or Supes. I used to like Hawkman as a kid, but I think that's because he reminded me of Prince Vultan from Flash Gordon and that guy kicked ass.

If I hear really good things about Savage Hawkman or The Flash, I might give those a try. Also, I heard I, Vampire might be good but I just don't have room in my life for more than one vampire comic and that slot is already taken by the amazing American Vampire.

Sunday
Sep252011

DC Reboot: Week Four (9/21/2011)

As mentioned in the three prior posts, I'm giving a lot of DC books a shot this month due to the reboot. I'm posting some of my opinions here, generally in the order that I read the books.

Last week, I had 8 DC titles and I'm kind of happy it's down to six this week.

DC Reboot: Week Four
(comics shipped 9/21/2011)
DC Titles tried: 6/12

Batman #1 - Scott Snyder writes a great Batman story. Greg Capullo draws a great Batman story. Together, they fuse their powers and make a double-great Batman story. Snyder weaves a fairly standard Batman mystery, but it does a decent job of setting up the scene and the characters for his tale. The twists in the middle and end are good, and I'm curious to see where this goes. Capullo's art is fantastic. ★★★★★

Catwoman #1 - Ok, let's get this out there right up front. I have a thing for Catwoman. Blame Julie Newmar being on TV reruns during my formative years. That said, I really do think the character is interesting, but up until this year, I hadn't read too much featuring her. (Earlier this year, I pinged the iFanboy guys for some suggestions on Catwoman books to read and they chatted about it on episode 272 of their podcast.)

I enjoyed most of this book. It certainly had quite a bit of cheesecake, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that.  The storyline itself was decent with her running for her life and toying with the Russian mob.  It just ended on a weird note.  The whole Bat/Cat hookup thing isn't new, but it was kind of strange. It seemed more dysfunctional than … whatever they were going for. Unless they were going for codependent. That said, some of the backlash on the 'net is just plain silly.

The art was lovely though. If you're going to serve cheesecake, this is how you do it. ★★★☆☆

Birds of Prey #1 - I really don't know much about these characters and this book did nothing to fix that.  That's ok, though. I'm ok with learning about them we go. Starling (aka Ev Crawford) is my kinda girl though. Fast drivin', hard drinkin', gun toting', tattooed, all around bad-ass chick. I don't even know if she has any powers aside from badassery and I don't care.

Black Canary is in this too, and she was fun. I guess there will be a couple more added to the roster too, but for me this is the Ev Show. I'm not sold on the series yet, but the art was good and I'd like to see where they are going.  ★★★☆☆

Green Lantern Corps #1 - When it comes to Green Lanterns, Guy Gardner and John Stewart are probably my favorites.  This book features the both of them, along with a small crew of other GLs investigating a mysterious attack. It's space cop stuff… just like it's supposed to be.

I'm most definitely in for this story line.  After that, it will see if the focus shifts to other GLs.  If so, I might be out. ★★★★☆

Wonder Woman #1 - I've tried several times over the years to read a good Wonder Woman story. The character is iconic, but I've never read a WW book that really felt like it did the character justice.  I'd given up for a while, though I did give the ill-fated JMS reboot a chance.

Enter the big reboot and I can sum up my opinion on this book in one word:  FINALLY.

This is a great Wonder Woman story! It's steeped in Greek mythology set in the present day.  Sure, we've seen that kind of thing before, but this is one of the best takes on that story that I've ever seen. The character design is rad, and the entire thing was a little reminiscent of American Gods which is one of the highest compliments I can give anything.  ★★★★★

At least the cover is nice.DC Universe Presents #1 - What?

No, serious… what? The story had great range: from bad to boring. It was convoluted, wordy and uninteresting.  I get the concept, it's Quantum Leap but instead of Scott Bakula, it's a dickhead ghost (is this guy supposed to be likable? relatable?) but instead of where Scott solves the problem and saves the day, this guy fails people. Maybe there's more to him, but hat's what I got from this.

The art, as far as art goes was mediocre.  The art as far as storytelling goes was horrid. I feel like it may have damaged my iPad.

The upside is, Green Arrow is no longer the worst reboot title I've read. So there's that. Call me when the creative team changes and this book is presenting something else. ★½☆☆☆

RELAUNCH TITLES SKIPPEDBlue Beetle, Captain Atom, Legion of Super-Heroes, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws and Supergirl. If it ain't Ted Kord, it ain't my Blue Beetle.

Next week is Justice League Dark and Jonah Hex...

Wednesday
Sep212011

DC Reboot: Week Three (9/14/2011)

As mentioned a couple of posts ago, I'm giving a ton of DC books a shot this month due to the reboot. I'm posting some of my opinions here, generally in the order that I read the books.

I figured seven DC titles last week was the high-water mark. Well, grab the sandbags… we're up to eight this week.

DC Reboot: Week Three
(comics shipped 9/14/2011)
DC Titles tried: 8/13

Green Lantern #1 - I have a love/hate relationship with Green Lantern. Over the years, I keep trying to read Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, but find the stories lacking or overly convoluted. The reboot seems like a perfect time to try again.

I'm honestly surprised how much I enjoyed this book. We start off with Hal, who is an EX-Green Lantern. He's been booted from the Corps because he's too reckless. I like that this isn't an origin story, it's smart enough to know that even new readers can figure out who GL is without all the beginning pieces.

Hal's unemployed, behind on rent, and generally losing at life. It's pretty comical. At the same time, at the other end of the Universe, the Guardians (who run the Lanterns) are reinstating Sinestro, a long time villain, as an actual Green Lantern. I like the setup. I'm in. ★★★★★

Grifter #1 - I've never read a Grifter comic, but he just looks so goddamned cool. He's one of those Wildstorm characters that DC acquired when they got Jim Lee. He's a conman with a cool mask and guns. That's about all I know going in.

I still don't know much more than that, but it's a damned fine ride.  It's one part con-job story, one part action flick and one part X-Files. Let's see where it goes. ★★★★☆

Mister Terrific #1 - I had no intention of getting this.  It was basically a whim based on the preview pages I saw. A super intelligent hero who fights crime with science (read: improbable gadgets and technojargon). Decent premise, but that could also describe Iron Man, Reed Richards, or even Batman or Spider-man (on a good day).

I think it caught my attention because before the reboot, I had never even heard of him. He's certainly not new (the original debuted in 1942!), he just never made it on to my radar. It was fun and the art was decent. I'm probably in at least for the first story arc. ★★½☆☆

Deathstroke #1 - So this is DC's answer to Deadpool? Sure, he's got guns and swords and looks cool, but he's old and not very funny.  And his name? "Slade Wilson" even rhymes with "Wade Wilson." It's like DC wasn't even trying when they came up with the character. What? Deadpool appeared in 1991 and Deathstroke dates back to 1980? Oh. I see.

Deathstroke the Terminator, is a mercenary and assassin. Apparently sometimes he's an antihero. (Emphasis on the anti.) This book sets him up as an older player in the merc game and one that might be thought of as too old to matter. It felt kinda of like one of those action movies where a beloved star is "getting too old for this shit", except those guys are generally likable and Slade Wilson is a prick. Art was ok, story was ok. I don't have a lot to say beyond that. Maybe it could have used some of Deadpool's stupid jokes. ★★☆☆☆

Demon Knights #1 - Starring Etrigan the Demon and a bunch of characters I don't know. I like the Etrigan character, but I wasn't sure I liked him enough to justify reading a book starring him. Then I found out it had a bunch of other characters that sound interesting as well (Ystina, Vandal Savage, Madame Xanadu) and it's set in the Dark Ages.

Turns out there's also dragons.

This book is awesome. It's high fantasy. Sword and sorcery. Dungeons and dragons! Ok, no dungeons yet, but I bet they're coming. You get introduced to a lot of characters fast, so I am hoping they fill us in on them a bit as we go. It ends with the best line of any comic I've read so far this month. ★★★★★

Suicide Squad #1 - Bad guys coerced into running missions for some shadowy agency. There's Harley Quinn and a bunch of other b-list looking villain types. It wasn't good, it wasn't bad. That goes for both the story and the art. I'm kind of curious about the hook at the end, but if I pick this book up again it's because I heard it got better. ★★½☆☆

Batwoman #1 - There's a lot of bat-hype on the interwebs about this book before the relaunch. If the old stuff was anything like this #1, then I can see why. WOW this is a gorgeous bat-book.  It's so pretty, I almost don't care about the story. Speaking of story, it's pretty good but it didn't exactly blow my socks off. It has some action, mystery and character stuff.

I'm interested in this new-to-me bat-character and am pretty amused that she demoted her apparent sidekick to plebe. All in all, I look forward to the next bat-issue. ★★★★★

Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #1 - Dark. Silly. Twisted. Weird. Silly. Fun. People are calling this "Hellboy in DC"… and that's not far off. I don't have a problem with that. The first issue was fun, and I'm certainly ready for more. ★★★★☆

RELAUNCH TITLES SKIPPED:  Batman & Robin, Legion Lost, Red Lanterns, Resurrection Man and Superboy. Meh.