About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The New 52 at DC, my week #1

When I started reading my selections from the first week of the New 52 at DC, with the earliest f these reviews done within days of the books appearing, before life started to get in the way, I had no idea just how many people would be doing series of posts on the subject. Having started in on week 1, I shall finish, too ,ate to even help guide selections on whether to pick up issue #2...

#1, written by Paul Cornell,art by Miguel Sepulveda
Very doubtful I return for a second issue here.  The stuff the story is made of is reasonably interesting.  Mysterious group of superheroes, looking for reluctant nee member. Something super weird strange is going on on the moon. Mysterious bad guy taking over member of team and from there he will take over the all of it. But at least for me it failed to cohere. It jumped around a lot. It assumed more knowledge of the group and if the characters than I think appropriate for the first issue of a reboot.  Any of the New 52 that I try, I did look thru the art first to be sure it wouldn't actively work against my enjoyment of the story. This didn't do that, but I will say over the course of the whole I found it a little too expressionistic, Goya doing superheroes. 

Batgirl #1, written by Gail Simone, written by Gail Simone, pencils Ardian Sayf, inks by Vicente Cifuentes. 
By modern standards this is very nicely drawn, not Dan Spiegle storytelling but there are pages like 1,2,12 that are outright good to watch,and overall there is a nice integration between the words and the pictures.  I might have preferred for a reboot to just forget the whole wheelchair thing ever happened, to the choice made here of a "miracle cure," but there are arguments to be made on both sides of that. I know I don't like just jumping in with a Family Games villain plot, in part because it's so derivative. And the other villain doesn't excite me.  And even though the front cover has a great first issue smiling superheroine pose, there isn't much of a sense of fun in reading this, no fun at all. I want some fun out of these. Liked this a bit more than Stormwatch, but still iffy. 

Men of War #1 is one of the attempts in the New 52 to be doing something other than a superhero.  It starts off with an origin story for a (not yet) Sgt .Rock. Very much in the reluctant hero mode. The usual cliche of a great father, now dead, he has to live up to. But it worked for me. The art was a little bit gauzy for my tastes, but not distractingly so.  I will be back for more. I do wish they had left well enough alone, but there is an entirely disposable SEALs backup story which jacks up the price to $3.99. Find better, or dump the backup and hold the line at $2.99. 

Batwing #1, written by Judd Winick, art by Ben Oliver
This is a keeper!  Kind of like Al Qaeda, Batman has international affiliates. This one is a policeman in an African country whom at night is battling the corruption of the police and the society in other ways. The main character is somebody I'd like to see more of. The art is nice and clean. Script is full of surprises, check out the cliffhanging final pages and panels.  The setting is fresh and different. Very very good. 

Green Arrow #1, written by JT Krul, art by Dan Jurgens and George Perez. 
This is exactly the kind of comic book I was hoping to see as part of the New 52. It is fun!  It has some action. It has some supporting cast. It has a main character whom I find interesting.  I love the art. It has hot guys, which I think is an underestimated virtue in comic books, and I am sure the gals aren't so bad to look at either. The last panel throws I some hot other kinds of things. I think I can understand why this isn't the best reviewed of the 52. I don't think this title has aspirations beyond entertaining. The characters have real life and fictional role models, Steve Jobs or Stark Industries or Wayne Industries. But I had fun with this one on so many levels, the kind of fun I loved having in the best of the DC Retroactive oneshots. Totally back for more. 

Swamp Thing #1, written by Scott Snyder, art by Yanick Paquette
The Swamp Thing tie-in to Flashpoint was one of the only I wanted to pick up for one issue, let alone stay with for the duration. Scott Snyder has been a hot newish writer for American Vampire, I haven't been reading that but have enjoyed the spinoff series. This first issue is a little attenuated, not as bad as the first issue of JLA but probably could be a half dozen pages shorter. The concept here is that Alec Holland is not Swamp Thing but had a kind of symbiosis from which he has now been severed. Superman checks in to see how he is doing. In the end pages we see that there is some red kind of swamp thing like thing that is causing trouble. And then some Swamp Thing and Alec at the end. Enough script wise for me to be intrigued enough to come back but not totally on board. The art has good storytelling from panel to panel, but the panels themselves are often weird looking, Superman with his back arched back in he weirdest posture, or strange facial expressions.  So good enough, at least. 

Action #1, script by Grant Morrison and art by Rags Morales
This has had some controversy because Superman has lots of attitude, boy does he have attitude. But why not. The ongoing problem with Superman is that perfection is boring.  Most of the best Superman arcs I can think of in a long history reading comics are origin arcs, John Byrnes or Geoff Johns or the Kurt Busiek take, because they can be away just a tad from the iconic Superman, which worked so well in Richard Donner's first movie more than as a rule in the comics. So why not go for an origin approach here, with a young and lively whippersnapper of a Superman. 

Animal Man #1, written by Jeff Lemire and art by Travel Foreman and Dan Green. 
I saved this for last because I was a big fan of Lemire's run on Superboy as well as what he had done with his recent Atom scripts. This ultimately wasn't the superlatively wonderful experience I had hoped for, but more than good enough to come back for a second helping. The art is all over the place, it starts out in a kind of realistic vein and then gets a little weird. This works at the very end when we are given a taste of some of the weirdness Animal Man will be contending with as the series progresses, but it doesn't work as well n the action centerpiece where I found the art to be a bit of a distraction, one strike here vs the brilliant art partner in Superboy. The story is classic origin fare. The placid domesticity of the home life seen in the opening pages is maybe too clearly like any horror movie not going to stay that way. Followed by action sequence to show off powers followed by ending designed to ,eave us wanting more. The Superboy run, with it's obligatory crossover diversions and then abbreviated run on account of the reboot didn't fully cohere with the odd stuff Lemire was mixing in, will this be more fully successful, or ultimately less so. 

All told, got 9 of 13, and inclined to be back for a second issue of six of them. Which already makes the project a success for DC. 

Now, do I have the time to read the other stacks from the next three weeks, or to post about them?  The blog has been undernourished for posting in recent weeks, but is this what the world needs me to post about?

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