DCnU Reviews – Round 4! WRITE!

23 Sep
 

  
 

 

Another week of madness begins folks! Come share the adventure, the action, the changes and the unchanged – see what we thought of this new batch of DC goodness (and the not so good) and let us know what you thought of the books you like or disliked! (And don’t forget, all images are clickable high-res!) 
And with that said, no more time to waste, lets get to it and bring you some reviews:

Batman 
(Written by Scott Snyder, Drawn by Greg Capullo)

Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 9/10)
Scott Snyder once again shows why he is one of the most prominent rising stars in comic writing today with his migration from a fantastic run on Detective Comics to this new Batman #1. We are given a great dose of classic Batman-ness as the Dark Knight Detective does exactly what that name implies, he is the quintessential detective, hero and the force of nature hidden in the shadows. Spectacular art by Capullo just makes this all that much more a joy to read and the ease with which the existing Batman backstory is just taken and eased into the story (like the three Robins!) and such, it shows a world of promise.
Anubhav (Score 10/10)
Personally, this was easily the most awaited title of the new 52. And boy did it deliver or what. Scott Snyder, after his critically adored run on Detective Comics, has given us yet another excellent issue. The tone is similar to that run, with the personification of Gotham as a living entity, maintaining its ecosystem between the good and the bad. It’s this grasp on both the city and the characters that inhabit it that makes Snyder one of the best writers to ever write Batman. There’s a couple of moments, including the ending, that make you sit up and despite the sheer absurdity of both, make you consider the possibilities. If you were disappointed on not getting Francavile or Jock on art for this issue, don’t be, because Greg Capullo brings his A-game to the table, with amazing action coupled with superb and flawless character work. Read it ASAP if you haven’t already. If you have, read it again.
Birds of Prey
(Written by Duane Swierczynski, Drawn by Jesus Saiz)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7/10)
I had great hopes for this book being a looong-time fan of the BoP under Gail Simone – and you know what? It does not disappoint! I was unsure about how much of the older world would apply, but like Batgirl, this is not a total reboot. There is still the old BoP connection, Oracle was there but is just now not doing it anymore and this follows on a fair bit from the earlier series in terms of the characters and such. But the really good thing is that it does not dig into it, gives enough to refer to past things without being confusing about it (enough to satisfy old fans like me) while keeping a fast-paced, action and storyline going which is definitely on the intriguing side of things. Unpredictable, well developed and enticing with a banging ending! Coupled with nice art from Saiz that is critical when reading a book on such lovely ladies and loads of butt-whooping, the pages seem to flow quite nicely from start to finish, even in the quieter sections. 
Anubhav (Score 1.9/10) 

 

I will always remember Duane Swiercynski for ruining a Cabe series that could have been awesome. Therefore, it’s safe to say that my expectations were pretty low for this issue. It suffers from lack of good storytelling structure and not giving appropriate face time for each of the characters. The slow pacing makes this quite a difficult read. Also, I’m pretty much indifferent to the art here, with nothing really groundbreaking on display.’Meh’ issue of the week.
Blue Beetle
(Written by Tony Bedard, Drawn by Ig Guara)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 4.5/10)
Clearly too early to tell anything at all. Drawing liberally from the backstory of the previous incarnation of the Blue Beetle, this is one of the more full-on reboots of the DcnU, being not a flashback (though the book has a LOT of them, for story reasons) but an (re-)origin story for Jaime Reyes – the most recent bearer of the title. Mostly well told, the story gives us some background on the dubious source of power, the kid who is to become the hero and of course ends with a bang before we can see what he becomes. Guara does not disappoint in his light and fairly dynamic art, but somehow it did not strike me as great except toward the end of the book. All in all not bad, but am I excited? Not sure yet, and for me thats a dangerous sign on a new title. I hope the team can really get dug in and bring this book up in the next couple of issues!
Anubhav (Score 7.2/10)
 

This one’s a debut issue quite similar to the new volume of Static Shock, in that it puts more emphasis on establishing the character and his supporting cast than textbook super-heroics up front. It is a good debut issue in that it helps readers get a grasp on and familiarize oneself with the character. Ig Guara offers a good combination of Cartoonish-ness, darkness and real world-ness painting quite a pleasant wholesome picture overall. Has me waiting for issue 2.
Captain Atom
(Written by J.T. Krul, Drawn by Freddie Williams II)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6.5/10)
This one was the big sleeper surprise for me out of all the books this week! I’ve always been luke-warm to the character and Krul as a writer has proven to be erratic – often leaning to the weaker side as his Green Arrow has proven not so long ago. I’ve always liked Williams art and for the very different version (in many ways) of Captain Atom that we have in this story, the style he has used really seems to work quite nicely! The story itself is the big shocker – Krul shows us a relatively new Captain Atom (clearly more rebooted then some) who is facing some troubles with his powers, both getting more powerful and finding they might also be killing him in a strange way not clear yet. We follow him around being a hero and all that and get a nice picture of his state of mind and his life’s realities. Starts fast, slows enough to get your mind into it more then your adrenalin and then ends with some serious intensity, definitely on my pull-list for the next couple of issues (at the very least) if Krul can keep this up.

Anubhav (Score 9.4/10) 

Easily the biggest surprise of the week. J.T. Krul, after much criticism for Green Arrow #1, gives us one heck of an issue for a perpetual C-Lister. Krul brings a certain energy to the table, which works in perfect Sync with Freddie Williams II’s bright art. The first thing you notice is the lack of inking on the titular hero, essentially depicting him as pure energy. You can bet your ass, I’m waiting for issue 2

Catwoman
(Written by Judd Winnick, Drawn by Guillem March)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6/10)
I have to admit I’m very divided on this issue. Largely because it opens certain doors and takes some very bold steps, but also because I’m not sure whether they are good choices – feels to early to tell with this issue. We have a relatively decent version of a younger Selina Kyle (this series and future ones will suffer forever comparisons to Brubakers epic run) doing what she does best which is basically stealing things and just being herself. We get brief flashbacking, some relationships are touched upon fairly well and the books first half is pretty intense and entertaining. I particularly like her friend/fence character as she is portrayed. The last pages of the book however… Not something no ones thought about and I have to admit it made me think of the hints dropped about this in the earlier Batman books in this relaunch when Catwoman has come up, but this is crossing territory DC has not before. Some will have guessed, some maybe not. Read it and judge for yourself. The art however is above reproach. March really finds his stride from the first page itself and just raises the book up overall.
Anubhav (Score 6.3/10)
See, there are two ways to approach this book. No. 1 is to whine about Winnick’s writing, about how he managed to make Catwoman even more slutty and about how you’d rather read Savita Bhabi. No. 2 is to read it for the jaw-droppingly droolworthy art of Guillem March. Excellent figure, excellent action and yeah, dear pervs, excellent anatomy. Considering the fact that this issue wasn’t made to be the next Watchmen, it serves its purpose in getting fanboy attention. Check this one out for the art guys. Otherwise, just read Batman #1 again.
DC Universe Presents: Deadman
(Written by Paul Jenkins, Drawn by Bernard Chang)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 9.5/10)
Among the books I wanted to read most and expected the most from – a dangerous concept – and now having read it, definitely among the best for me personally! The opening pages are handled exceptionally well and the tale of Boston Brand is touched upon, adapted and expressed here extremely well. Not every readers type of comic, definitely among the more serious/mature/darker side of the tight-pants-brigade, but stunning and engaging all the same. And just as the story starts to feel slow and a starting to drag toward the last pages, it keeps you engaged and then stuns the hell out of you! Complemented nicely by some very emotive, deep and enjoyable art and layouts from Chang, this book is a must read, for old fans most-definitely, and worth a try from newer readers as well!
Anubhav (Score 7.9/10)
 

The story isn’t strictly important or universe-affecting, but writer Paul Jenkins makes one care for the character and generate interest in the plot. It’s a clean, continuity free update to his origin while inducing a change in the character motivation. Excellent Facial Work and overall neat artwork caps off a really good read.

Green Lantern Corps
(Written by Peter J. Tomasi, Drawn by Fernando Pasarin)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 8/10)
I cannot tell you how relieved I am! I used to love the GLC book that was running till now and while I was happy to know the stories were basically carrying on in ring-slinger land, I was a little let down by the nice but ho-hum GL main title. But Tomasi not only lives up to expectation, but shoots well past them! A stunning opener followed by nice story development that I think should make it nice and easy for new readers to find their feet this early on – this is a great read! Pasarin’s art works wonders with the story and is dynamic and sharp enough to match the paces and essence of the story it is showing. All this plus a mysterious new villain that actually struck my curiosity makes for great reading!
Anubhav (Score 7.3/10)
 

After a solid Green Lantern #1 last week, this week gives us the second title from the franchise. The story involves Guy Gardner and John Stewart trying to get day jobs, while a planet in sector 3599 is under attack. Tomasi finds the right voices for both the Lanterns and gives us something of a quiet opening to the new volume. The story could have used some more Lantern action, but guess that would have to wait for the next issue. Pasarin gives us good background detailing and nice expressions during the talking heads scenes. I would, however, like to see him handle some more action in subsequent issues.

Legion of Super-Heroes
(Written by Paul Levitz, Drawn by Francis Portela)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6/10)
A nice change of pace from the many more familiar titles of the week, this was a pleasant enough read. Superior to its companion series “Legion Lost”, this follows the main legion itself, far in the future. Levitz is a man who I think would bleed LoSH if you cut him, a great choice for writing this series and he lives up to it. A good setup taken at a nice pace that brings the legionnaries to the reader gently without overloading with a group shot right off the bat expecting dozens of names remembered. Its a diverse group and he tries hard to ease them all onto the page and let people get used to the new faces and the setting. Even the art was pleasant and well rendered though perhaps it was just me, everything felt crowded at places or maybe the colours were not distinct enough, but the second half did not read as nicely as the first half – though I love the characters and the story is good so far. The ending was alright, I liked it only because it allows for Mon-El (one of the most under-rated of all time if you ask me) to fight someone his equal next issue, which should be a blast! 
Anubhav (Score 1.8/10) 

 

That’s the problem with big casts. Paul Levitz takes way too much time to introduce all the characters, which essentially throws both characterization AND plot out of the window. Add bad anatomy and overcrowded panels to the issue and you have the stinker of the week. Pretty forgettable issue.

Nightwing
(Written by Kyle Higgins, Drawn by Eddy Barrows)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6/10)
I was expecting this to be a weak book and I’ll be the first to admit that I may yet be proven wrong – something I’m very happy to do since I actually really like Nightwing/Dick Grayson. The book does not get too much into the circus as was vaguely thought at first and the first thought that comes to mind is the fantastic art! Really, Barrows has outdone himself and really brings the book, the action and the gymnast/aerialist in Nightwing out beautifully! The story itself seems much like the Bat-books in general thus far, establishing the lead characters relationship with the city of Gotham while touching gingerly on the story-lines before this – all while not trying to confuse potential readers and so far this book seems to do that well enough. A new villain with a twist (I’m interested to see the root of his motivation) this issue made me want to try #2, lets just hope the payoff is worth it!
Anubhav (Score 7.6/10)
The debut issue of Nightwing sees Dick Grayson, high on confidence after his run as Batman, going back to his roots to the traveling circus where his parents died and then fighting a “Wolverine” wannabe who believes Grayson is evil. Good story, introducing new readers to the origins of the titular character without getting too embroiled in continuity. Eddy Barrows gives us some good panel placements coupled with nice detail and action to round off a good opening issue.
Red Hood and the Outlaws
(Written by Scott Lobdell, Drawn by Kenneth Rocafort)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 8.5/10)
Totally loved it! Thank you Scott and Kenneth! Dirty, grungy, packed with some nice action, clever-ness, creativity and a certain amount of wit, this is book moves to among my favourites in the reboot! We get a VERY fast introduction to a seriously rebooted Roy Harper (a.k.a Arsenal/Red Arrow to some), an unclearly new-yet-the-same Jason Todd (a.k.a Red Hood) and a very revamped Starfire (in terms of certain basic characterisation anyway) and a fast-paced story-line that kicks off fast and then keeps going nicely until a totally confounding ending that does what a great story should – gives you enough information to feel comfortable but not too much, and then a cliff-hanger that leaves you aching for more. And of course, the art suits the story and the style of it all really well in my view and Rocafort really seems to created nice versions of the characters that I’m really looking forward to seeing MUCH more off in the coming months!
Anubhav (Score 8.1/10)
 

I love myself some Jason Todd. With the dry,sarcastic anti-hero finally getting his own series, now is a good time to be a fan of the formerly dead ex-Robin. Teaming up with Arsenal and the morally gray Starfire, the Red Hood gets a successful fun-filled first issue with good action along with nice build-up for the rest of the arc. Artwork is very Dynamic and suits the overall sarcastic tone of the book. Good issue that left me craving for more.
Supergirl
(Written by Michael Green & Mike Johnson, Drawn by Mahmud Asrar)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7/10)
This book gets really high scores from me for two reasons: (1) The art by Asrar is really stunning, and I mean stunning! And (2) because this is a Supergirl origin story and is off to a nice start. As a first issue it is one of the fastest reads thus far in the line-up, taking almost no time to read. We see Kara’s arrival on Earth, we see the human response when they try to contain her and the inevitable conflict runs wild across many spectacular pages when they can’t understand each other and as always (of course) the military shoots/punches first and does not really ask any questions until they’ve started getting their behinds whooped. We end with the Super-cousins coming face-to-face and the promise of conflict between them – this conflict and how this new version of a much loved character (especially for older fans after a much loved and defining for some run by Sterling Gates just before the reboot) will develop and evolve from the very next issue is the deciding factor on whether this is a good book or a bad one. But as a first chapter, it definitely is an enjoyable read!
Anubhav (Score 7.9/10)

 

The first arc of Supergirl vol. 6 is an origin story. Sounds weird doesn’t it? Okay so i realy haven’t followed the character much in the past, but if I were a DC fan, I’d be mad about them wiping out the continuity and history of the character. However, purely from the perspective of a new reader, this actually does turn out to be a good first issue. With slow pacing to allow characterisation, we get a peek into the very confused mind of Kara-El. Of course with this being from the writers of Smallville, a series with more lows than highs, my initial expectations were low, but this is definitely a good first issue which has me looking forward to what’s to come later.I’m not very familiar with Mahmud Asrar’s work but there are certainy plenty of similarities in art style with Stuart Immomen(that’s a pretty big compliment, by the way). Mission Accomplished.

Wonder Woman
(Written by Brian Azzarello, Drawn by Cliff Chiang)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 10/10)
Joining the earlier reviewed “Red Hood and…” on the top of my list is this book. Without any doubt whatsoever. I was convinced Azzarello had the chops to write this character even though most folks were happy to feel otherwise and pigeon-hole him to his more familiar genre. But here he delves into Greek mythology and story-telling and brings us a fast-paced and devastatingly entertaining new form for the world’s favourite Amazon. I have to admit, for people not familiar with mythology and with less inclination to such stories there is question how much they’ll like it – but for the rest of us this promises to be sheer joy! Not getting into origins and the like (for a change), we jump right into some serious divine madness right here on old-mother-Earth and then see some lovely action and brutally brilliant violence right from the start. Chiang outdoes himself here and the script gives him more then enough with so much promise on the horizon – highly recommended to all!
Anubhav (Score 9.3/10)
First thoughts on Azzarello writing Wonder Woman suggested he may not be the right fit for the character. However, as the issue suggests, maybe a fresh perspective is what the character needs to stop being part of the background of the DCU. The issue firmly established Diana Prince’s mythological roots with Centaurs, Hermes and Zeus references being aplenty. It does justice to the pre-release billing of the series as more mythology-horror than Super-heroics. Maybe Diana could have done better with a slightly bigger appearance, but the issue certainly makes a the right moves in placing all the pieces into position for the rest of the arc. The art gets the tone point-blank, mixing controlled grit with greek mythology epic-ness. Solid debut.
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