As mentioned in the previous post, I'm giving a ton of DC books a shot this month due to the reboot. I'm posting some of my opinions here.
For the record, I'm listing these in the order I read them, which sort of denotes my excitement about the title, or if I was convinced to buy it a little later due to word of mouth.
DC Reboot: Week Two
(comics shipped 9/7/2011)
DC Titles tried: 7/12
Green Arrow #1 - I've never read Green Arrow unless he was in a team-up or crossover. I like Hawkeye from the Marvel U, and have always though Green Arrow looked like he might be cool too. Maybe he is. His comic, on the other hand, has been hit right in the bullseye with a mediocrity arrow. I figured this would be a good jumping on point, and it is in the sense that it sets up the character’s situation and supporting cast. It failed to give me a reason not to jump right off though.
There’s action, but no risk. It seems like every problem can be solved with a MacGuffin gizmo arrow. I think that’s the challenge in writing a gadgeteer character, you have to make the person more interesting than their gadgets. Beyond that, it felt very cliched. This seemed more like a bad TV show version of a comic book. Maybe this will improve now that the foundation has been laid… There is potential. The art was ok, but wasn’t impressive. Decidedly average. Blah. ★★☆☆☆
Justice League International #1 - The 1987 JLI series mentioned in my previous post is perhaps my favorite DC title ever. So, while I didn't expect this to live up to that level I still was looking forward to it quite a bit. Especially when they revealed the cover and it showed at least six characters from the glory days of that book. So, how is it?
Excellent. It's very much a first issue, and the team is being formed, and it has a good take on an old comic book standby where a series of candidates are being considered. After forming, there's a little strife, but it already has the group dynamic that makes a team book work. (I love the tension between the Russian, Rocket Red, and the Chinese hero, August General in Iron.)
I'm definitely happy with this book. ★★★★☆
Detective Comics #1 - It's Batman in a fairly average Batman story up until the end*. Batman on the rooftops, stalking his enemies. Saving a little girl. Evading police. Eh. Ok. It whet my appetite for Scott Snyder's Batman #1 though.
* The very end of this book: Holy Shit Fuck. I gotta buy it next month… ★★★☆☆
Stormwatch #1 - I know nothing about the old Stormwatch, except that it's from Wildstorm and Jim Lee created it. Apparently they are a secret group of super heroes that have been protecting Earth from alien threats for centuries. Sounds interesting enough. Wait, Martian Manhunter is on it? I'm in!
The first issue was very much a setup issue. It explained a lot of what Stormwatch (now) is, and sets up a couple of different story arcs. It seems like it might be less DC-hero-ish and retain some of it's darker, hipper roots. (Yes, hipper.) I'm not riveted, but I am intrigued. The art was only OK. ★★★☆☆
Batgirl #1 - This is one of the titles that I was reading and enjoying before the reboot. At that point in the DCU, Commisioner Gordon's daughter Barbara, who used to be Batgirl, was in a wheel chair due to the events of Killing Joke. The awesome thing was that she was still fighting crime as Oracle and guiding the crimefighting career of a perfectly wonderful Batgirl by the name of Stephanie Brown. Losing Stephanie Brown as Batgirl to the reboot is a bummer. Losing the awesome character Oracle is a downright shame.
That said… This new book is pretty good. I wasn't ever drawn to the edge of my seat, but Gail Simone's characterization of Barbara Gordon is fairly charming. She gets a roommate in the fist issue and sets up a lot of potential real life vs super-hero strains. Those can be fun. It get another issue to capture my attention... ★★★☆☆
Swamp Thing #1 - For years I had been hearing Swamp Thing is an interesting character with good stories. He's bounced around between Vertigo and DC for a while, but now he's got his own DC title in the reboot and I figure I might as well give it a shot since I'm trying so many others. I'm very glad I did. Turns out this is a horror book! (Who knew? What? You did? Ok, whatever.) We get a pretty concise backstory for the Swamp Thing, yet not everything is explained. The evil thing that's going on, and yes, that's intentionally vague, is creepy as fuck.
The art was pretty good, but for the brief period where Superman shows up, it highlighted that his costume upgrade is NOT good. At least not when not drawn by Jim Lee.
I'm looking forward to the next issue. ★★★★☆
Animal Man #1 - I wasn't really planning to get this. I don't know much about the character, and his powers seemed kind of lame. Well, I take that back, the powers are cool, but the manifestation is lame. Somehow, this guy can temporarily call forth the "power" of any animal. e.g. The strength of a rhino or the flight of a bird. Kinda neat.. except there's no physical changes. He just starts flying… no wings, no explanation. Bird does it, so now he does it. Lame.
I picked up this book after reading (& hearing) iFanboy's review. It really is quite good. Animal Man is basically settled down with a wife and two kids. The wife knows about his super-hero antics and it's part of their marriage like anything else. I like the idea of a mature, somewhat grounded hero.
The art is interesting. It's not a style I normally go for, but it really works for this book. It's very expressive. ★★★★☆
RELAUNCH TITLES SKIPPED: Action Comics, Men of War, Batwing, Hawk & Dove and OMAC. I don't care about Superman, the Batman of Africa or Rob Liefeld. (Sorry, I'm not a bandwagon Liefeld hater. I just can't read a book he's drawing. I'm even skipping a Kirkman-written book because of it.) Men of War was on the maybe list, but then the iFanboy review made me glad I skipped it. OMAC is still on the maybe pile, I might check it out after the price drops a month later. EDIT: I also skipped Static Shock. Skipped it so hard I forgot it existed.
Seven DC books in one week. What's the world coming to? Until next time, Make mine DC… covered in Marvel sauce.