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What You Should be Reading : Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man hits the Big Time!

15 Oct

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I’m usually not one for clichés, but Spider-Man and Wolverine are right up there in my list of all-time favourite comic book characters. The story goes that I came back to reading comic books three and a half years ago, a time when both characters were beginning with their respective iconic runs, with the rotating team of Web-Heads (Joe Kelly, Dan Slott, Fred Van Lente, Mark Waid etc.) on the Amazing Spider-Man and Jason Aaron (of Scalped fame) on Wolverine : Weapon X and later the new volume of Wolverine (and now Schism and Wolverine and the X-Men). For today though, let’s just save the talk on Aaron’s Wolverine for another day and concentrate on what Spidey’s been up to of late.
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The Run-Up
See, the story leading up to Slott’s solo run really starts with the Spider-Man crossover event One More Day , co-penned by the then ASM writer Joe Michael Straczynski, a.k.a. JMS (grudgingly) and the then Marvel Editor-in-Chief (and now Chief Creative officer) (Seriously, someone cast this guy as Perry White already, he loves being called chief) Joe Quesada. It involved Peter Parker making a deal with Mephisto (essentially The Devil) to save his (once again!) dying aunt in exchange for his marriage with Mary Jane Watson being erased from history. It was basically Marvel’s attempt to de-age Spidey and bring him back to his “more relatable roots”. Fans were obviously angry and plenty threatened to boycott the series. The initial year or so of Brand New Day, which was essentially what followed One More Day, was a critical disaster, as the writers were too concerned with establishing the new status quo and new villains, who felt a lot like rip-offs of classic members of Spidey’s Rouges gallery. However, once the dirty work was done,

a point which can be marked by the Character Assassination arc, the writers delivered one magnificent arc after another, making this title one of the biggest bestsellers in the market. The Brand New Day phase lasted a whopping 101 issues, thanks to the thrice-monthly schedule, and set the stage perfectly for Dan Slott’s solo run on the book, under the Big Time banner.

Dan the Man
Dan Slott’s strengths as a writer for ASM include his uncanny ability to combine the charm last seen in the 60’s on the title, under Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, with a very modern relatable feel. What this basically means is that he knows the universal time-transcending appeal of the character while adding relevance and contemporary concepts to his stories. The basic status quo of Big Time involves Pete getting a new job at Horizon Labs, getting a new girlfriend in the form of NYPD detective Carlie Cooper and juggling al this with his responsibilities to the streets of New York, Two Avengers teams as well as the Future Foundation. With a star studded revolving team of artist consisting of Humberto Ramos, Stefanno Castelli and Marcos Martin, he certainly has plenty of choice in regards to finding the right tone for each arc.
Click to enlarge the amazing!
Arc one
The first arc seeks to generally set the new status quo for ol’ webhead, while introducing a not-really-new goblin. It opens with Spidey leading the Avengers (yes, you heard that right) against Doc Ock’s ‘War of the Worlds’ inspired octobots, while we see Phil Urich take up the mantle of Hobgoblin. Fantastically written and illustrated, the arc serves the purpose of laying the foundation of what is set to happen later on while clearly distinguishing its tone from BND. It’s got all the trademarks and decompression and does take a while to read. 
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The Bad Guys
23 issues in the run so far, we’ve seen Slott go through plenty of villains from Spidey’s rouges gallery without falling into cliché or camp territory. The one’s we have seen so far are the Hobgoblin, Doc Ock and the sinister six, Spider-Slayers, the De-venomized and Re-scorpionised Mac Gargan, a new villain who goes by Massacre, Anti-Venom, Venom, Mister Negative and easily the villain most dreaded by Spidey Fans : <Drumroll> The Jackal. All very well (and awesomely) handled. 
What’s with Ock?
It’s apparent that Doc Ock and the Sinister Six are planning something big. There have been plenty of appearances in the Marvel Universe here and there to suggest that. First, he shows up in Amazing Spider-man #648, unleashing giant octobots on Manhattan as a diversion to infiltrate a military base with tiny octobots. Next, we see him dueling with the three smartest men in the Marvel Universe (Reed Richards,Tony Stark and Hank Pym) at different moments, basically trying to prove he’s smarter than them. We know Slott is going with the same approach as his team did in BND, with multiple arcs leading up to the big tent-pole event. My bet would be on the summer of 2012, with The Amazing Spider-man movie coming up.
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Spider-Island
Speaking of tentpoles, here’s the one currently stopping the presses. See, it takes a very different kind of writer to write a good Jackal, leave alone making sense of something as crazy (and awesome) as every inhabitant of Manhattan morphing Spider-powers. By using bedbugs, no less, the Jackal his given the people of Manhattan great power, without the lesson of great responsibility. With tie-ins that are actually good (Hello, Flashpoint), its being called the best event of 2011. Recommendation : Go catch all he back issues and catch up while this event is still on!
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The Shipping Schedule
One of the most revolutionary things Marvel did with Brand New Day was the three times a month schedule. This allowed one single path of storytelling in one single title, rather than multiple series confusing readers with their timelines. When Slott started his solo run, the series became bi-weekly, which coupled with Slott’s decompression abilities pretty much means you get half an arc in the same time Bendis’ Avengers talk around on their A-marked Dining Table.
Sister Books
When the run started, we were given two sister books in the form of Paul Tobin’s sadly cancelled Spider-Girl and Kelly Sue Deconick’s excellent mini series Osborn. We currently have Rick Remender’s amazing (adjective, not part of the title) Venom series, starring “Flash” Thompson as the symbiote’s new host. A must read even if you’re not much of a Flash or Venom fan. Also we now have Zeb Wells and Joe Mad’s Avenging Spider-Man, which will look at Peter’s role as an Avenger. There certainly does seem to be an effort to build up on Spidey’s corner of the Marvel Universe.
Predictions for The Future
  • Mary Jane retains her Spider-powers post Spider-Island
  • Marvel has hinted at the return of the Scarlet Spider via teasers. Not only that, it appears Bleeding Cool is aware of his identity and has released a list of contenders (http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/09/30/who-is-the-new-scarlet-spider-we-have-the-answer-somewhere/) My guess? Mary Jane, Kaine or the returning Ben Reilly.
  • Venom goes on the run
  • The Osborns returns to Spidey Books. (Has been a while)
  • Ben Reilly is in the lab next to Pete’s at Horizon Labs.
  • Hobgoblin and Spidey discover each other’s identities.
  • The series continues its streak of awesomeness.
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NOTES AND SCREENGRABS FROM THE AVENGERS TRAILER

14 Oct

 

 So yes, finally on the 11th of October 2011, Marvel has released the first theatrical trailer for the Avengers.
If you have been living under a rock the size of Switzerland, you can check it out down here.
  • We know Nick Fury has some kind of information on an impending threat either from Loki or someone else in a sequel, which is why he starts assembling the team.
Yeah, I’ll take a Royale with cheese… (Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • The general tone Mark Ruffalo’s Banner is being handled with seems similar to Norton’s, which will hopefully make this transition a lot smoother.
FML! (Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • ScarJo farts fire.
(Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)

  • What exactly is Loki doing under SHIELD custody? And why is Nick Fury stupid enough to think he can keep him there?
Now you see me… (Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • Aaaaaand we have a Quinjet.
Who the hell put a flame-thrower on a plane?!!? (Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • Stark’s armour looks pretty much the same from Iron Man 2.
(Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • My hopes are still up for the Hulkbuster armour, though.
Oh man this makes peeping at hotties so much easier! (Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • Cap’s uniform looks much better in action than in the leaked set pics. There’s a lesson in this, folks.
Nah… too far away… (Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • Sleeveless Thor!!!!!!
Is she looking? Maybe I should flex more… (Click to enlarge!)
  • RDJ is awesome as always.
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  • There appears to be an ego clash between Stark and Cap. This is consistent with Joss Whedon’s comments a couple of months ago about each of them considering themselves to be most qualified to be leader.
Oh yeah?! Well I’m taller shrimpy. (Click to enlarge!)
  • Nick Fury + Bazooka = Win.
His cool-ness will blow you away. Literally. (Click to enlarge!)
  • I wish we’d seen more of Hawkeye. All we’ve seen is him running around shooting arrows.
…And my bow. (Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • Cap vs. Thor. Poor Cap.
Worst! Trust exercise! Ever! (Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • At 1:29, we have the Quinjet flying past, wait for it, Stark frickin Tower.
(Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • At 1:31, Loki appears to have either the cosmic cube or the mind gem from the infinity gauntlet on top of his staff.
Haaaa-duken! (Click to enlarge awesome-ness!)
  • More Stark one liners, it does look like he’ll be somewhat leading the movie, if not the team.
I’m sorry, can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome I am! (Click to enlarge!)
  • Also, we finally have Ruffalo’s hulk. We don’t see much, but it thankfully looks to have more in common with Norton’s hulk than Bana’s.
I’m coloured like a giant booger dammit! (Click to enlarge)
  •  Your move, DC!

DC New 52 Final week REVIEWS! Hardly the end!

30 Sep

And so we come to it folks… the final week of #1’s… (at least the main titles!) and what a crazy month it’s been! Some fantastic titles, we’ve been shocked, amused, horrified, saddened, fascinated and so much more over these 52 titles and its been a total blast reading and reviewing them all for you guys!
 

Granted I’m tired enough to almost never read a comic again – almost I said! – but it feels well worth it for our fellow comic addicts out there.
We all hope you enjoyed this rundown the last few weeks and stick around, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming before you know it, but will continue to cover your new favourite DC titles as they come out.
Share your likes and dislikes kids, let us know what you want to hear more about and we’ll mark of the release dates on our calenders just for you.
Now sit back and enjoy this finale round of #1’s reviewed! (AND AS ALWAYS, CLICK FOR NICE BIG VERSIONS OF THE COVERS!!)
All-Star Western
(Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, Drawn by Moritat)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 10/10)
In a lot of ways I was expecting exceptional things from this book, especially given my love for the lead character – Jonah Hex – and that the creative team writing it were masters with his stories. And man do they deliver! Bringing a high-plains drifter style bounty hunter with a penchant for always getting his man and extreme violence – all while keeping to his own unique moral code – to a new, gritty and crazy place like Gotham City (in its early days) has been handled brilliantly! Toss in a weird serial-killer mystery, no shortage of action and intrigue or character exploration and an awesome ending to boot makes this yet another of the best of the reboot in my view! And honestly, the art is so damn good and suitable to the feel and narrative that I almost didnt realise how little I was thinking about it, flowing organically with the tale until certain things just catch your eye!
Anubhav (Score 8.1/10)
This being my first exposure to Jonah Hex, it definitely makes me wanna read the back issues. There’s a solid introduction to Jonah’s no-nonsense attitude. Also welcome is his team up, with Amadeus Arkham, which roots the story firmly in DC (& Gotham City) continuity. Moritat and his art team give us a splendid noir look for the book, and shows great variety throughout.
Aquaman
(Written by Geoff Johns, Drawn by Ivan Reis)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7.5/10)
A most interesting beginning to the newly reborn aquatic superhero and King of Atlantis. I was not entirely sure what to expect from this book, I trust Johns’ skill and know he has a lot of love for the character but was unsure how much would be rebooted and how much carried over from the recently reborn Aquaman from Brightest Day. To start with, the art really stood out for me in this issue – good clean and crisp art that really fits the super-hero style and therefore works great here. The story does a good turn in giving us his origin story fairly concisely, showing us a new more powerful (and bulletproof??) Aquaman at a turning point in his life/career. There are even a couple of great humour moments that people familiar with the character a bit will really get some laughs out of – though anyone could – and a strange, looming threat keeps some excitement up for the next issue.
Anubhav (Score 9.8/10)
It’s easy to make fun of Aquaman. Sure he has some absurd superpowers and may have been handled in a pretty bad way before this, but then again, Geoff Johns just proved that there’s no such thing as a bad character. DC has been trying to make Aquaman badass for pretty much decades now, but it looks like Johns has found the right formula. Instead of changing the character to look or sound badass, he tackles all the problems associated with him head on, in much the same way Morrison did to Animal Man. The second half of this issue’s success story is artist Ivan Reis, who gives one solid panel after another, showing the characters having very real emotions and expressions, while drawing the heck out of Sea Monsters. I want issue 2 yesterday.
Batman – The Dark Knight
(Written by Paul Jenkins & David Finch, Drawn by David Finch)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 4.5/10)
One of the more surprising titles for me in some ways. I was to be honest expecting this to be a total waste of time story-wise because I have been quite unimpressed by the issues of this title prior to the reboot and was surprised it was kept as part of the reboot. Finch’s art is still really good though, I’ll admit that, and he really seems to have a nice feel for the Batman art and dark feel making the book nice to look at regardless. The story was the surprise for me though – it actually didn’t read badly at all and while no award winner, was decent enough that I thought for a moment about adding it to my pull-list. But then I reached the pay-off, the finale reveal/moment and as much as I would love to share it, I can’t spoil it. It was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. Sure, maybe I’m over-reacting and they have good plans ahead – but this was so bad (for me) that it made the Catwoman issue ending seem great by comparison.
Anubhav (Score 4.6/10)
No DC, adding Paul Jenkins as co-plotter had absolutely no effect. This one’s only for David Finch fanatics, who provides one beautifully gritty page after another, so much so that I’d prefer Finch making a series of posters instead of a self-authored comic book. The story revolves around an Arkham breakout (again) and GCPD snooping into Bruce Wayne’s Batman business (again). Yeah the story isn’t much but you can always buy it off a $1 bin for the art. Or just read Batman #1 from last week again.
Blackhawks
(Written by Mike Costa, Drawn by Graham Nolan & Ken Lashley)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7/10)
This book was little bit of a black-box for me in that I was not sure what to expect. My familiarity with Blackhawks is largely limited to Lady Blackhawk of the earlier Birds of Prey comics and I got the impression that this would be just another version of DC’s old The Web comics which were decent enough. What I got was a nicely drawn action-adventure romp following a covert agency of soldiers that made me think of a cross between G.I.Joe and S.H.I.E.L.D at one point. The artists do a good job of making some really dynamic and fun art and the uniforms and character designs seem quite nice to me, me like! Story-wise its a good blend of elements and spends a good amount of time among them including team members which is always a pain for team-books. Worth a read and if it carries on this way I will rate it higher and read it regularly.
Anubhav (Score /10)
Personally run
Green Lantern: New Guardians
(Written by Tony Bedard, Drawn by Tyler Kirkham)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6.5/10)
I have to admit I was little let-down in some ways with this book. Perhaps I expected too much too soon, but Im a bit split about it. The book starts off giving us an intro to the origin of our lead character – Kyle Rayner a.k.a. Green Lantern – and then leads into some very beautifully rendered pages of various Lanterns (not just green) in some pretty stressful situations, and all of this then leads right back to Kyle as he finds himself at the edge of the frying-pan looking into the fire with no way back. A decent read with a good ending and I understand needing to give Kyle an origin and make the book more reader friendly – but to me it felt like they could have easily shortened the origin story to take less of the book and given us more Lantern action so that it did not feel quite so much like “Over already? What?!?” Will be checking out the next issue because its still a good read and concept, but hopefully the next issue will up the pace and get into the real mystery that is the driving force of this adventure!
Anubhav (Score 6.9/10)
In the first appearance of Kyle Rayner in the DCnU, writer Tony Bedard seems to have chosen the middle path between introducing the characters anew and making them follow from where we last saw them. The beginning of the issue involves Ganthet making a Kyle a lantern, while the other half involves rings from the other corps choosing Kyle Rayner. The plot generates interest, but just doesn’t have too much awesome-factor. It’s just out and out storytelling. Art, meanwhile, is largely unimpressive, considering the solid stuff we’ve seen in Green Lantern. Kirkham needs to work on expressions ASAP.
I, Vampire
(Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, Drawn by Andrea Sorrentino)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7.5/10)
Thank you lord for non-sparkly, geniune homo-vampirus once again!One of the bigger surprises for me of the reboot, I expected to seriously dislike but actually find myself wanting to read #2. Too early to tell how good or bad this book will turn out to be eventually. A slower book then most in the reboot, with gore and action but again in smaller doses, with more time spent expanding on the characterisations and the world they inhabit in the DCU. Still a little unclear in the end, we essentially see the falling out between Andrew and Mary – two uber-vampires on opposing sides of an argument. Lovers for ages who now fall apart because she wants a war to take over the world and he doesn’t. Could be cheesy and horrible, but its handled nicely I feel and while a bit confusing at moments (though thats more the letterer’s fault) it is not hard to understand and leads to an ending that promises much of interest. The REAL selling point for this book though? THE ART! Andrea just blows me away, the style, the feel and the colours just drew me in and were almost mesmerising in a way. She has really given this book a distinctive look and feel from every other in the “New 52” – now if Fialkov can keep writing a good enough story, DC might have a sleeper hit on their hands here.
Anubhav (Score 9.1/10)
Twilight has scarred me for life. I, for the love of God, can never enjoy a vampire love story again. Or so I thought. Yes, this is that good. An angst ridden, dark love story between a vampire queen and a vampire hunter, its written and paced beautifully, though people more acclimatised to linear storytelling might have some problems. Its gritty, its dark and its twisted. The mix of grit and blood provided by Andrea Sorrentino’s art matches the tone of the book perfectly. Also, the Vampires in the book don’t sparkle.
Justice League Dark
(Written by Peter Milligan, Drawn by Mikel Janin)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 9.5/10)
One of the few titles to live up to the hype of fans like myself and to go beyond even that – frikkin’ loved it! Milligan once again shows his masterful skill as a story-teller introducing us to Zatanna, Shade, Madame Xanadu and the rest of the cast nice and easy while never compromising the story’s flow. In fact by the end I was amazed at how much story had been covered in this one issue – which made my earlier experience with New Guardians even more annoying. With art that really stands out nicely as being heroic like a super-hero story should with nice clean lines and such, while retaining a wispy and unusual element that works great with the story. Kudos Mikel! We see the beginnings of this ‘dark’ JL coming to life and the grave threat that see’s the big guns of DC (Supes, Wonder Woman, Batman and Cyborg in pleasantly surprising cameos) brought down with only the strange and not-so-heroic heroes of this title as a glimmer in the dark as evil magic threatens everything! (what else right?) It reminded me warmly of Shadowpact, another title that grew out of an event (Infinite Crisis) as an unexpected favourite and got its own monthly that I love till today. Maybe Im giving too much credit, but I would recommend this book to all who are not afraid of a slightly darker story now and again!
Anubhav (Score /10)
It looks like Peter Milligan has big plans for this series. We get introduced to all the characters and their status-quo’s through brief snippets while Milligan paints the bigger plot involving the Justice League fighting the Enchantress. Milligan finds the right voice for each character and packs in just enough weirdness to keep the reader hooked. I would have liked more face time for Constantine and Deadman, but guess that’ll have to wait. The real star however, is Michael Janin, who given us a gorgeous book, mixing right in with the tone of the story.
Superman
(Written by George Perez, Drawn by Jesus Merino)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 8/10)
I have to admit in all honesty that I was expecting this book to be decent at best – but between this and the first issue of Action from two weeks past, my interest in reading a Superman book outside of an event has been rekindled for the first time in years! Credit to Perez who crafts a good tale of Superman (here in the present, unlike the past in Action) established AS Superman and fighting the bad-guys. The Daily Planet has been taken over by a businessman – Morgan Edge (old readers will remember him) – and Clark is having issues with it and with Lois, who in this new DCU neither Clark nor Kal-el are involved with at all. Lots of action and fighting and things that look like jobs for: SUPERMAN!, coupled with intelligent and quite dense story-development in just one-issue, we get a real treat here. And while I was unsure either way at first, I find myself really liking this new incarnation of his outfit and Merino really seems to have a feel for it and the character. Add in Perry White channelling Spock a little and I quite enjoyed this opening salvo. Altogether a nice read that makes me positive for whats to come.
Anubhav (Score 6/10)
George Perez is a master visual storyteller. There’s absolutely no denying it. However, judging purely from Superman #1, as a writer, he has strengths and he has weaknesses, the latter frequently overshadowing the former. First the good : Compression. In a day and age where both writers and publishers prefer long arc storytelling (I’m looking at you, Matt Fraction), Perez manages to pack in a good done-in-one story establishing the Superman status quo and planting threads for later issues simultaneously. Also, he looks like he has a plan for this series and isn’t just making up stuff as it goes along. However, the problems come with the fact that George Perez isn’t a legendary writer. He’s a legendary artist. And he’s pretty much written this issue the way you would expect an artist to. The story moves from point A to B smoothly, but in the process, we lose out on some precious characterisation, aside from a few panels here and there between Clark and Lois, that feel more like filler than conversation. Also, the issue could certainly have done better with more dialogue. Art is what you’d expect it to be with Perez doing breakdowns : Storytelling and Panel Work 101. The issue clocks in at just a notch above mediocre.
The Flash
(Written & Drawn by Francis Manapul)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6.5/10)
Definitely better then expected – I take back my initial reservation and give Manapul due credit for crafting an engaging first issue. We join The Flash (Barry Allen) as he navigates a regular day for him as hero of Central City and police forensic investigator, only to have things turned more then a little upside down by an unexpected death and an even more unexpected identity to the deceased, all giving us a good kickstart. His art of course is fantastic and I really like his rendering of Flash and in general, like a perfect showcase of his talent. Add in that he is doing what I would love to be able to – draw the story I write making my page exactly how it is envisioned – and you have one roller-coaster of a visual treat. Barry Allen has always been a bit of divisive Flash, being the original and then being compared to Wally West who was much loved (like Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner somewhat) and is now Flash no-more. He doesn’t even seem to exist anymore, so the real challenge is going to be making and keeping Allen’s character interesting, something many people have felt was his weak point unlike Wally. All signs point to a good book, the only question remains whether Manapul can maintain a good story till the finish line!
Anubhav (Score 7.3/10)
Francis Manapul is DC’s Marcos Martin and Oliver Coipel combined. Compared with the other two artist-penned issues of the week, Manapul’s flash comes on top purely because of the stronger script. The story is good, character work is excellent and artwork is mind blowing. See, Manapul knows where to put his panels, and it is that strength that is on display in this issue. Good debut.
The Fury of Firestorm
(Written by Ethan Van Sciver &Gail Simone, Drawn by Yildiray Cinar)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 4/10)
Better then expected, but still utter rot in the end. At least thats what it feels like by the time I reached the ending. I guess perhaps this will appeal far better to new readers then most, but for me it was a real let-down, more so since it actually gave me a glimmer of hope in the early parts. Cinar does a fantastic job with the art and the intense action scenes in the last 1/3rd of the book was exceptional. Even the story was fairly decent while it stuck to the two characters that prior to the reboot joined to create Firestorm – Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch. Even the over-the-top bad-guys at the start come off well enough, for psychotics anyway. Unfortunately they work for an evil cabal of some sort who are after this new variation of the Firestorm which has been converted from a theoretical “Firestorm Matrix” that made the one we knew, to a special formula using some heavy science to explain (I like it but its not necessary and becomes too much) leading to more then one Firestorm (many in all likelihood) and an ending that left such a bad taste in my mouth that I actually wished I had a comic to throw away instead of digital version. I trust the writing ability of Simone so she might still surprise me, but as it stands, if this issue was the decider I would drop it in an instant.
Anubhav (Score 4.8/10)
The issue revolves around Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond, polar opposites of the high school ecosystem, discovering mutual hatred and then coming together to form the titular hero. I’m of the belief that teenage angst is one of the most difficult concepts to be portrayed in a comic book, and it is due to this reason that the comic book falls flat. There are some good monologues, but nothing really to make the reader care, as the characters sound a little too whiny. The art is essentially hit and miss, with highs coming in the form of character interactions, and the one big low coming on the last page.
The Savage Hawkman
(Written by Tony S. Daniel, Drawn by Philip Tan)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7/10)
When I saw the solicit and the cover art for this book I was expecting it to be a bad-a** reboot of Hawkman, but it appears to be much more. At least to start with it does not delve beyond the surface into an origin story, instead morphing into a re-origin of sorts with a failed Hawkman/Carter Hall symbolically and literally burying his super-hero aspect, only to have it um.. backfire. We then get a whole NEW Hawkman that in my view is what this character deserves. A unique concept from the beginning and with every incarnation, a mainstay of so many great stories over the years and yet he has always been a second tier hero at most. Now I see the potential being taken advantage of for the first time in ages these past couple of years and it culminates in this exciting issue that made me really want to read the second. A grim and power-hungry new villain (one Im not familiar with anyway) and dark and grim art that follows the mood set by the covers nicely, I quite like – however the pencilling is a little off at moments, specially human faces, and though the colouring is so good it overshadows it, this is something they need to work on.
Anubhav (Score 6.3/10)
The issue sees Carter Hall trying to unsuccessfully get rid of his Hawkman persona, while discovery of an alien craft goes awry by the appearance of Venom – scratch that – some kinda black alien entity. The issue establishes the status quo for the hero, but in the process, like so many of the DCnU titles, fails to make the reader care for the character. Artist Philip Tan proves to be the better half of the creative team with some good visuals generating contrast between the normal and the abnormal. However, the writing is too off-putting to make this issue enjoyable.
Teen Titans
(Written by Scott Lobdell, Drawn by Brett Booth)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6.5/10)
One of the most controversial books in the relaunch, this title took a lot of flack for discarding the backstory and reinventing the entire line-up and their costumes. After reading the Superboy #1 though I took heart because it was nicely handled and would (obviously) be tying into this book which it does within this issue itself. We get introduced to Kid Flash making a total ass of himself trying to be a glory-hound hero, Red Robin being himself which works for me cos I love that character and Cassie Sandsmark a.k.a. Wonder Girl who is new to all the super-heroing stuff. Feels a little short but is a fairly solid story overall, we get a good sense of the characters and the situation around them as Red Robin is trying to gather young heroes because many are being ‘disappeared’ and he and Cassie both get targeted leading to good fun for us! We even get to see the meek Caitlin Fairchild making me hope she gets added to the roster along with Superboy. Feels early to tell but worth checking out more – the art is good too, though the designs for Cassie and Kid Flash still look pretty weak to me, though Red Robins is decent enough. There is one moment with him being shot at that could have been better composed, small detail but its bugging me!
Anubhav (Score 8.1/10)
Teen Titans #1 gives us the second issue of the first kinda sorta crossover of the DCnU, with Robin recruiting Wonder Girl – much the same way with Batman and GL in Justice League #1 – while Kid Flash makes a total ass of himself. It’s a good first issue, showcasing the beginning of the Titans’ struggle against N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Some badass character moments for Red Robin and Wonder Girl cap out a well written issue. Brett Booth provides fantastic detail and amazing dynamic action to make this one a winner.
Voodoo
(Written by Ron Marz, Drawn by Sami Basri)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 8.5/10)
Damn killer opener! Ron Marz has always been among the better comic writers around in my view, though his style and story-telling tends to be within a limited range – a range in which thankfully Voodoo falls smack in the middle. A slow, deliberate narrative that you can’t help but be drawn into, helped in no small part by Basri’s oh-so-enticing renditions of the um… female anatomy. Damn… Anyway, for fans familiar with the character from her Wildstorm days, this will be a nice welcome back I think, yet a good mysterious opener for the new readers as well. How much of the original origin remains relevant here? How will they explain her powers and all that in this new status-quo? Is she good or evil? Toeing a fine line of grey characters, this book is one of the more interesting of the launch and flows nicely, even with the more shock/action/exciting moments being just a small portion of the story – yet you can’t help but just follow Voodoo’s path and be amused, astounded and intrigued by all that it is and all that is has the potential to become. Well worth a read and very promising!
Anubhav (Score 8.6/10)
This being my first exposure to the character, I am pretty intrigued. As in “what the hell is going on!?” intrigued. There’s plenty of skin in this issue, but what’s important is that it’s a in the background of solid character moments. The art adds a very slight real world tinge to the overall slow-paced story, while the real mysterious part comes towards the end. It’s a good issue, generating both interest and investment, so much so that I will be picking up subsequent issues just to find out what’s going on. Solid debut.

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.

DC’s new 52! Week 3-in-double-review!!

16 Sep
 

(Click to enlarge)

Batman and Robin
(Written by Peter J. Tomasi, Drawn by Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7/10)
One of the bigger name titles starts off this week – an ongoing series being renumbered to a new volume, unlike many of the entirely new titles in this DC reboot. This was a title I was both anticipating but also solidly weary about. Kick-started previously by Grant Morrison to bring the world the Dick-Damian version of the Dynamic Duo, this new series has a lot to live up to and more so being that it is also the first real time given to the Wayne father-son dynamic since Damien first being introduced. It was this dynamic and the direction Bruce’s character takes that makes me hopeful for this as a series/book, because it was the characters and their relationship that marked the awesomeness of the original series. The friction between the two leads was well portrayed and I was glad to see it touch on the Batman Inc. part of things but I don’t much care for what I see of the villain here. The art was good and went well with the story but nothing spectacular. Still has a lot of potential, but as a first issue, I would say only ‘good’.
Anubhav (Score 9.0/10)
God Damian Wayne has got to be the awesomest Robin yet. Peter Tomasi gives us a very good issue illustrating the Father-Son relationship between Bruce and Damain and moving Batman’s character plenty of leaps forward by showing him finally looking ahead to the future instead of the past, while Damian debates the need for looking back to the fateful day in Bruce’s childhood repeatedly. Some solid character interactions in the backdrop of an engaging plot makes this issue a total win. Patrick Gleason delivers just the right amount of Noir required in the book, in a way that the art doesn’t distract readers too much from the characterisations.
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Batwoman
(Written by J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman, Drawn by J.H. Williams III )
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 9/10)
Hands down this is one of the titles I most anticipated – and while it is not the same as Williams run on the character with Rucka on Detective Comics, it takes from that and has come back in a great form here. I was unsure about Williams writing skills for this but he and his new partner-in-crime really bring a great story to life that complements the art beautifully (for Williams work on Kate Kane’s stories I would buy the books, he’s that awesome) and really, the story is an eerily intense one that grabs you from the first page and grips. Urban-legend, ghostly-serial-killer, murder, mystery, strong characterisations and fantastic art makes this a must read this week for all fans, DC or otherwise. And I appreciated the finale, keeping the title clear of Batman entirely we get a brief moment with him and a promise of things to come.
Anubhav (Score 8.5/10)
This being my first real exposure to the character, I have to say I’m very pleasantly surprised. With an overall spooky tone with both script and art, JH Williams 3 has provided one of the strongest debuts of the new 52. As with Batgirl and Detective Comics last week, this manages to make sure the reader is gonna stay aboard for a while. However, one negative I would associate with this issue, as well as every other non-Batman Bat-family title, is the appearance of Batman. In my humble opinion, DC needs to let all these characters step out of Bruce’s shadow and gradually become their own thing, kinda like Dick Grayson did by moving from Robin to Nightwing. Great issue, nevertheless.
(Click to enlarge)
Deathstroke
(Written by Kyle Higgins, Drawn by Joe Bennett)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 5.5/10)
I have to admit, this title gets a far better score then I was expecting because it actually surprised me a little. For the longest time I’ve felt that this is a character who is terribly under-appreciated and wasted on books like Teen Titans and side-lined. Slade Wilson is by design one of the scariest men on the planet – a smart, tactical genius with enhanced speed, strength and all that jazz; essentially (to quote this book), “A major damn bad-a**!” And while it will starkly divide readers I think, this book to me was just a flat out action-fest and shamelessly so! It follows a crotchety Deathstroke working the job and unhappy throughout and we stick with the book mostly for the action, the somewhat curious story-line and the slightly cliché but amusing characters. The pay-off is the books finale making this a good intro to a potentially lethally entertaining book. The art is far from brilliant but works well enough so far, but if the book carries on the way I think it will, I hope Joe can really get dirty and violent!
Anubhav (Score 2.8/10)
Okay, we get it, Slade Wilson’s a badass. That’s about all the characterisation you’re gonna get out of this issue. As the first issue of an ongoing, this issue completely fails to generate interest. The process of showing Deathstroke’s badaassery is way too drawn out so much to the fact that it gets quite boring and unnecessary, especially when one considers the fact that one dialogue from Nick Fury in Hickman’s Secret Warriors is gonna get you a much better effect. The issue could certainly have used better plotting, as the story about the titular character working on an assassination with a bunch of kids is way too dull. The art isn’t too bad but not too good either, just delivering on some safe illustrations and storytelling options. Only for Deathstroke fans.
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Demon Knights
(Written by Paul Cornell, Drawn by Diogenes Neves)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 10/10)
Another of DC’s new “Dark” line of books after Swamp Thing and Animal Man – Most definitely one of the most fun books I’ve read in the DC relaunch and once again it is Cornell delivering a rollicking ride. He seems to really have a feel for team books going by this and last weeks Stormwatch and the eclectic and fun mix of characters he has selected for both. Here he brings together iconic and fan-favourite demon Etrigan, Madame Xanadu from the Vertigo books in an intriguing role, Shining Knight who was a character with much potential last seen in the epic Seven Soldiers by Grant Morrison way-back-when. Giving just enough of a set-up and some hints to get the ball rolling and then throwing it into a really high gear by issues end, this is the single must-read choice for me out of this entire week! And Neves was a pleasant surprise, I was not sure what to expect, but though shaky at first, the art style works amazingly with the medieval setting and I look forward to many more issues to come!
Anubhav (Score 8.4/10)
After the mediocre Stormwatch last week, Paul Cornell’s other team book, Demon Knights is off to a much better start. Opening in King Arthur’s England and showing the quite literal bonding of Jason Blood and Etrigan the Demon, the book gives us some pretty good storytelling, even if the whole point of the series may not be completely clear yet to a new reader. The rest of the main cast is teased in the second half of the book, which takes place during the dark ages. Greatly aiding the storytelling and the mystical tone of the book is the art by Diogenes Neves, who delivers one excellent panel after another. This might actually turn out to be the most good-looking book in the reboot.
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Frankenstein – Agent of S.H.A.D.E
(Written by Jeff Lemire, Drawn by Alberto Ponticelli)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 8/10)
Yet another of the books on my “must read” short-list for this reboot, this book was good fun and filled with loads of potential but not quite as good yet as I was hoping. I have to remind myself however that the scribe of this book is Lemire who is not always a fast-paced story-teller, but consistently a great one. Here we are introduced to Frankenstein and the agency of SHADE that is yet another super-secret super-spy agency but with a super-natural twist to it – and with a gentle introduction to our title hero, we cover the basics (which almost starts to feel too word heavy) but then before you can get bored of the exposition, we meet the Creature Commandos, and from there the mystical and guts-to-the-walls action kicks into gear – all leading to a great first issue finale. Great story and suitably cool and gritty art, this is a series to watch out for in the coming months.
Anubhav (Score 7.0/10)
To be honest, I was expecting a SHIELD ripoff, only with Frankenstein in it. Instead, we get one heck of a package combining fantastical elements and modern day espionage. The sheer absurdity of the concept is what really hits you and Jeff Lemire deserves credit for pulling this off convincingly. Frankenstein ends up as a good fun read amongst all the seriousness in the other titles of the reboot. Alberto Ponticelli hits just the right tone for this book, mixing grit and absurdity very effectively.
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Green Lantern
(Written by Geoff Johns, Drawn by Doug Mahnke)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6/10)
Besides my belief that Johns can tell a good story and the understanding that he can write one hell of a great GL story, I had little to look forward to in this issue to be honest. I love what he’s done with the franchise but this last move was one that gave me a moments pause because its a dangerous move to make, one that goes back to a core concept of the franchise as a whole and shakes it – Sinestro and Hal Jordan, Fear vs. Will, Yellow vs. Green. But I was happy to find that Johns does not rush in and in fact gives us what looks like a great start to some serious character work on Sinestro, something sorely needed because he is one that gets those far too rarely and not well enough most times. Very much a personal journey as we find Sinestro trying to figure out what to do with his new status as a Green Lantern bearer, his ruthlessness and all intact, Hal Jordan a mere mortal on Earth dealing with his life and the Guardians sliding further into crazy-ville. Makes for a good start, hope the pay-off lives up to the potential because there are way too many ways this could be screwed up. The art is at par with the previous volume of the title and Mahnke maintains his quality so no complaints there.
Anubhav (Score 8.7/10)
Hal Jordan must totally hate not being a Green Lantern anymore. After a less than impressive track record of late, this one’s a total return to form for Geoff Johns in the title he turned into a firm A-lister. Nothing that’s gonna be talked about for years, but definitely an engaging first chapter which is successful in adding the title to people’s pull lists for at least a couple months. Johns provides some solid character work on the de-ringed Hal and green again Sinestro. Doug Mahnke and the rest of the art team hits it out of the park with the space based action sequences involved in the issue as while also showing a good sense of theatre in the more dramatical Earth-based scenes. Excellent debut.
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Grifter
(Written by Nathan Edmonson, Drawn by Cafu)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 8.5/10)
After his amazing work on Who is Jake Ellis? I was very excited to see a Grifter book by Edmonson and he does not disappoint. For those not familiar with him, Grifter used to be another Wildstorm character who is being brought into the fold and is a great choice for a solo series in my humble opinion – an opinion solidly justified by this first issue. A bit of an origin story and a definite mystery, all wrapped up in a gritty, almost-noir adventure we follow our hero on his quest as he seems to be unravelling before our very eyes. Gripping right from the first page to the last, for fans of less-capes and more driven story-lines I would definitely recommend this book. And of course Cafu I’ve been a fan of from his work on T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents and he continues his stellar artistic performance here.
Anubhav (Score 7.7/10)
The issue manages to accumulate the reader’s interest and intrigue while simultaneously giving us an origin tale for the con man who starts hearing voices in his head. The ongoing mystery is enough for readers to buy at least the next few issues, if only to find out what is going on. Nathan Edmondson, after ‘Who is Jake Ellis?’ delivers a story of similar fashion and in addition to that, there is also a little blend of Lost and Morning Glories in the whole thing. CAFU gives some great free flowing panels while also providing good widescreen action.
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Legion Lost
(Written by Fabian Nicieza, Drawn by Pete Woods)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6.5/10)
This book is definitely the least new-reader friendly out of all the 27 books released by DC thus far – of course I think this works as a counter-balance for fans of the franchise. Let me explain – this book is part of the “Legion of Super-heroes” stable and its always been one of the most divisive books in that it has either very ardent fans or people not interested at all. This one is for the fans most certainly. Using a tool from earlier Legion incarnations/stories, we are at the arrival and earliest moments of a group of future super-heroes who get dumped in the present and are unable to return to their own time. Too much detail, a large cast and an unclear intention of narrative makes this a weak book as a starter and only as someone familiar with the characters and at least the most recent Legion adventures was I able to enjoy this book – if not a regular reader of the Legion books, approach with caution and I would say wait for the other Legion book in this reboot. The art is fairly good but nothing I would write home about, I found the colouring was more interesting in the visuals. Nicieza is a great writer and I trust he has a plan here, he just better not draw it out too much or he will lose a lot of readers.
Anubhav (Score 2.0/10)
How exactly is this issue supposed to bring in new readers? We jump into the issue at one random point when the legion crash lands into the present and then start looking for some guy called Alastor who we earlier saw getting Hulked-out. Fabian Nicieza does very little to make the reader familiar with the cast which makes this a nightmarishly dull first time read. On the other hand, Pete Woods gives the book a good almost cartoonish feel without compromising on seriousness overall. However, it’s safe to say that the art, while good, is not good enough to salvage the issue.
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Mister Terrific
(Written by Eric Wallace, Drawn by Gianluca Gugliotta)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 2/10)
I’m a big fan of the JSA (Justice Society of America) and was very bummed out by their being left out of the main universe in this reboot – though rumour that they will be in another book down the line as part of the multiverse was great news. Throw in the decision to make a solo book around Mr. Terrific from that team, a character who while great, has never been really given solo adventuring in my experience? Not a confidence builder for me. And sadly, while I was willing to give it a shot, this book was a disappointment. We follow government operative and all-round super-dude Mr. T as he fights the good fight and at first there is a slightly lighter and witty tone to the book that I actually liked, but then suddenly out of nowhere we get all brooding and serious and intense and apart from the jarring shift itself, the book just felt like it got weaker with every page – to the point where at the end I was barely able to read it and had to MAKE myself finish. A truly wasted book! Decent art too, wasted on a story that so far makes me not want to pick up #2!
Anubhav (Score 1.6/10)
If you thought people were mad about an African American Spider-Man, wait till they see this. There is so much that could have been done with the character : He’s a man of Science, an Atheist and a free thinker. Instead, the issue focuses mainly on the character’s origin in the form of a monologue flashback while the rest of the issue revolves around dull plot points and a mystery that gets focussed on for only a couple of pages. The writer seems to try too hard to make the character familiar to new readers and the book makes one lose interest in the process. As it turns out, a poor man’s Tony Stark-Reed Richards amalgamation does not make readers like a character automatically. Gugliotta’s art also has its fair share of problems with anatomy and expressions, although the first action sequence has some good visuals. Dissapointing read for the most part.
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Red Lanterns
(Written by Peter Milligan, Drawn by Ed Benes)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7.5/10)
Another hotly anticipated book, this title continues the trend from some of the other’s out so far as it shows the start of a character journey – albeit in this case a savage and bloody one. We follow Atrocitus post the “War of the Green Lanterns” story-arc as he is losing himself in the wake of Krona’s death and his Red Lantern Corp is getting ready to run wild, with the disturbingly hot Bleeze topping that list of potential-mutineers. Slower then one would have expected after the highly entertaining opening action sequences, the book builds story and all nicely and at the end I was eagerly wanting to see where Milligan would take this next! Ed Benes of course is of the Benes family of artists, all of whom are absolutely phenomenal and he does not disappoint in the least, really bringing the book to life nicely. Can’t wait for the next!
Anubhav (Score 4.3/10)
Talk about pointless. The debut issue of Red Lanterns achieves very little in plenty of time and pages. The plot revolves around Atrocitus trying to regain his rage after his disappointment of losing out on taking revenge from Krona courtesy Hal Jordan. Hardly anything happens in this issue, which makes it look pretty ugly when compared with the also released this week Green Lantern. The art is largely inconsistent with some good detailing in some panels and Blank backgrounds and bad anatomy in others. Not recommended.
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Ressurection Man
(Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Drawn by Fernando Dagnino)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 8.5/10)
A true treat to read! Dan and Andy get to return to the character they created, one that developed a tremendous following among its fan-base, and they do not fall short in this first issue. Our hero is Mitch Shelley, a man who can never die – well not exactly, you see every time he dies he comes back to life and each time he has a new and random super-power. If this was not enough, he has been given a more intense story this time around with both Heaven and Hell gunning for his very soul. Another book that I would not expect unfamiliar readers to get into right off the bat unless the style/genre interests them, but I am very glad to see DC giving some due with books like these to their long-standing fans who are more deeply familiar with characters and things the more mainstream and casual fan may not even be aware about. Regarding the art, I do not know Dagnino’s work much but he does a good job of fitting the tone of the book and is consistent in his output – I hold out a lot of hope for this book.
Anubhav (Score 1.0/10)
I had some pretty good expectations from this series. Think about it, a man who comes back to life everytime he dies with a new ability. Under the right writer(Read Dan Abett and Andy Lanning), this can be a masterpiece. However, the depressing tone and the overall boring story beats go a long way in making this one of the lesser fancied titles out this week. With hardly any character development, the issue generates neither love nor hate, just indifference. The art also gives the same feeling, nothing revolutionary and nothing atrocious. ‘Meh’ book of the week.
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Suicide Squad
(Written by Adam Glass, Drawn by Federico Dallocchio)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 3.5/10)
I can honestly say this book is the one I’ve least been looking forward to in this relaunch – a large part of that being that I hate the new Harley Quinn and Deadshot redesigns, but also because this signalled the end of Secret Six which remains an infinitely superior book. And you know what? I was not off-the mark by much. Simply put – its a black-ops team made up of psychotics and lifers given a shot at redemption or death. Mediocre story-telling and character development that I’ve come to expect from Glass was as expected, the saving grace of this book though will be the fact that it’s a good black-ops unit kind of story which will actually be good for newer readers but not good for fans of the characters mutated in this book – the one decision though that really made me dislike this book (and its a small thing) was the decision to take an iconic character like Amanda “The Wall” Waller and redesign her to be a good-looking skinny babe. Thats just wrong and pandering to kiddish readers who like hot comic babes – just plain sad and a low point for an otherwise excellent character. The art was actually quite good and is the reason for my giving this book most of the score I have, but am I likely to read more then another issue or two out of curiosity? Not likely unless the book improves drastically.
Anubhav (Score 5.2/10)
As a Marvel fan, it’s safe to say I’ve read this story way too many times in the Thunderbolts, which immediately puts this issue, thanks to similarities in concept with Thunderbolts, off to a huge disadvantage due to being compared to a book that has been consistently providing good storylines. There is plenty of déjà vu throughout the issue which in a way inhibits any fun that might be had. However one scene that does stick out is the one wherevthe cast gets interrogated in terms which takes us deep into each of their character motivations. Dallocchio’s art, while mostly good, suffers from a subtle dullness, due to which the book fails to grab enough attention.
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Superboy
(Written by Scott Lobdell, Drawn by R.B.Silva)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6.5/10)
I have to admit I’m a little torn about this book. Lobdell has taken various details from the Connor Kent character, brought in Rose Wilson (a.k.a. Ravager, daughter of Deathstroke in the old DCU) , the pre-amped up version of Caitlin Fairchild from Wildstorms Gen13 books and crafted an interesting origin story that definitely makes me want to come back for the next issue. The book has elements of the previous Superboy’s origin but builds a good character, concept and story-line that fits well with this new Universe and ties into the new Superman too (if only by reference thus far). Silva also has a nice feel for the book and his character designs actually look pretty decent, though he seems to have some issues with faces/expressions in a couple of panels here and there. Potentially a good addition to the Super-family franchise of books.
Anubhav (Score 7.7/10)
This one’s pretty interesting.With some similarities to the Project Superman Flashpoint tie-in, Superboy #1 makes for an interesting read. We get some solid characterisations as we are shown how test tube Superboy sees the world by way of his inner monologue. One more point to be raised is that the identity of the human cousin to the clone is not revealed in the book, even though most of fandom already knows his identity. An interesting plot twist could be changing that detail just give seasoned readers a good surprise. RB Silva gives us some pretty Kinetic art which flows well with the tone of the book. Worth a try.

DCnU Week 2-in-review! All 13 titles!

9 Sep
Welcome ladies and gent’s to Comic Addicts special rundown that we’ve created just for all you good folks out there!
We have for you burst reviews of all the new DC #1’s out this week from two very different points of view – one an old-hand DC reader familiar with it all, the other a Marvel fan relatively new to the DCU a.k.a the kind of fan DC is trying to attract with the reboot.
Will DC’s reboot gel with new fans? Will old fans be offended? Will the creative teams do the books justice? Who’s review will you agree with? Hell, will the reviewers agree on anything? Keep reading to find out!
And of course – all images are good resolution and can be clicked on for nice BIG versions!

Action Comics (Written by Grant Morrison, art by Rags Morales)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 10/10)
Right off the bat, let me say this is my favourite book out of all I’ve read so far and its done nothing but cement my opinion that Grant really, truly loves and knows this character and will really do this new incarnation justice. Great story, well told and well paced with a fantastic finale to the issue and what an opener for #2! I was in awe! Even Lex is awesome here in his young and oh-so-aggravating way. This is Superman the way he should be, as a young and wayward man who has no family ties, no real home and is just a decent person at his core – albiet idealistic; watching him wanting to kick ass and have fun swatting away bullets and such, great fun!.  So deeply reminiscent of the original superman from his earliest days before he was rebooted a few decades later.
The only weakness was in the art – overall Rags has got a great feel for this and he seems to transfer Grants energy well from script to page, but there are inconsistencies in the facial designs and such here and there, hopefully he can improve on that over the issues ahead.
I’m definitely going to be following this!
 
Anubhav – Score : 9.1/10
So yeah, looks like Morrison has another masterpiece coming. After his stellar Batman run, Grant Morrison has now shifted his focus to re-establishing the early long-jumping-instead-of-flying part of the Man of Steel’s career. This is the Superman everyone always wanted : Vulnerable and not afraid to kick ass. Master storyteller that he is, Morrison has established the main cast and their relationships with both Superman and Clark perfectly in this issue, a list which includes General and Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Lex Luthor. The art by Rags Morales finds just the right blend between good action and excellent character depiction. Particularly worth a mention is his work on depicting a younger Clark Kent as well as his alter ego. Solid debut issue, all in all.

Animal Man (Written by Jeff Lamire, drawn by Travel Foreman)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 8.5/10)
Absolutely amazing. Buddy Baker a.k.a Animal Man has been a very long-time favourite of mine, of course the revamp that started with Grant Morrison was the starting point for me as it was for many others.
Lamire makes a major mark here giving us a story with strong, yet inherently human characters and relationships, which is essential because Buddy has always been characterised by his family as much (if not more so) as by his powers and here the writer creates a believable version of this family that I find as an old fan is familiar enough to make me right at home – plus as a new fan I think this would be fairly easy to get into. My most eagerly anticipated out of the supernatural titles, this book does not disappoint. As Swamp Thing treads into “The Green”, Animal Man (obviously) starts to get into “The Red” and with a finale that caught me totally off-guard and has already made me start drooling for #2, this is a must read for fans of the supernatural, old fans of the character and anyone with an open mind. Im still on undecided about the new costume though, I really liked the old look, maybe it will grow on me? Lets wait and see…
The thing I was not happy about? The art. No major problem, just overall there were many panels where I found it was flat out not good. However the art seemed to improve toward the tail end of the story so perhaps it was just temporary – I’ll be finding out for sure next month. 

Anubhav – Score : 8.6/10

 
Jeff Lemire must totally hate his job. With everyone getting their Supermans and Batmans in the DC reboot, he ends soon to be getting compared with the incomparable Grant Morrison on Animal Man. But guess what, true believers, Lemire looks totally up for one heck of a run with the iconic hero/activist/Stuntman/Movie Star. Opening with a news article that tells everyone what they need to know about the character, the issue delivers on the sort of character moments the Morrison run is famous for. There sure are plenty of parallels between the two first issues, especially the opening scene showing Buddy’s conversation with his wife. The art, though a little empty on the talking head scenes, totally makes up for it with some good gory gritty action. Travel Foreman’s work especially on the dream sequence is extremely breathtaking. Solid first issue which has me eagerly looking forward to the rest of the run. 
Batgirl (Written by Gail Simone, drawn by Ardian Syaf)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score 7.5/10):
I have to admit, I was pretty apprehensive about this series, don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those who think Barbara Gordon should only and only be in the wheelchair – I just liked her character as Oracle and the recent Batgirl was actually very good. However Gail Simone has been writing this character brilliantly for a VERY long time now and if anyone was going to make this happen well, it was her. And she does not disappoint. A fast and intense story shows Barbara getting back into the superhero game – saving lives and kicking ass – but at no time does this stick to just that. My favourite part is that they did not gloss over and remove Oracle from continuity, the Killing Joke and much that followed is shown to be in canon with her having been paraplegic for three years. A thus-far intriguing new villain for her to face, a strong finish and overall a great tone made this a very good read. Better then expected for me and ensured I’ll be back next month.
Art-wise this book was again better then surprising. Im not too familiar with Syaf but the work here is impeccable for the most part and the Indonesian artist seems to really be getting right into his new gig at DC – a great new costume and excellent detailing, his art really helped this issue stand out. And of course I HAVE to mention the gorgeous cover by one of my favourite comic-artists of all time – Adam Hughes, no one can do the ladies like he can!
Anubhav (Score 9.4/10):

When news cameof the DC reboot, one of the first things we found out was that Barbara Gordon is somehow completely healed from her ordeal in the cult classic ‘The Killing Joke’. This, however, is only half true, as Gail Simone’s first issue of Batgirl shows. We see a Batgirl showing Great strength and confidence on the outside, while deep down she’s still waiting for scars to be cured. Some amazing character work is on full display here as the Barbara’s inner conflict comes in the way of her success as a crimefighter. The ending, instead of giving us a startling reveal(which seems to be quite a trend in the reboot), instead delivers one heck of a character moment which would be talked about for a while. The issue is greatly aided by Adrian Syaf’s artwork, delivering both on facial expressions as well as the gritty action scenes. If you never thought art mattered much in talking head scenes, switch to the little conversation between the Gordons and check out how much the Expressions feel in Synch with the Dialogues. This one’s a must buy, folks.

Batwing (Written by Judd Winnick, drawn by Ben Oliver)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score 6.5/10):
I have to say I was on the fence about this book, the costume, Winnick writing and in general. Im happy to report that for a first issue this book was surprising and entertaining enough to make me want to read more and Winnick has even managed to put together a solid plot and some character that makes it overall a good issue. Story-wise this shows the hero’s recent becoming, introduces retro-actively a group of African supers back in the day and the beginnings of a supporting cast for Batwing much like Bruce’s back home. Unfortunately between his assistant/friend, his police friend and the unpredictable psychopath killer he is facing – well lets just say that I hope they are careful not to make it just a Batman ripoff and give both him and the villain and others genuine character in the issues to follow.
The art was stunning and I really like the way Oliver has styled everything and even the hero’s costume design comes off better then the initial impression it gave. Overall I enjoyed this enough that unless they screw up the coming issues, I’ll be keeping this on my pull-list for the immediate future.
Anubhav (Score 8.3/10):
Easily the sleeper hit of the week. Initial thoughts when this title was announced seemed to suggest this was going to be one of the first of the new 52 to be cancelled. However, the creative team here has managed to ascertain the fact that a good story on a new/lesser known character can really help matters. Judd Winnick completely delves into the character of David Zavimbe, ironing out his motivations and differences with Batman as a crime-fighter. Making a Batman clone for Africa would have been too easy (and expected) and the writer deserves credit for making Batwing his own thing. Ben Oliver has come u with some very elegant artwork with a touch of realism, which makes him a very good match for the gritty nature of the script. With some good stuff all around from the team, Batwing looks like it’s going to make for an excellent addition to the Bat family of titles.
Detective Comics (Written and drawn by Tony S. Daniel)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score 7/10):
Daniels art really suits the story for the most part, dynamic and dark. And his Joker is quite well done, I enjoy the look of this version quite a lot.
Overall a very good read – a great introduction in the making to the dynamic between The Batman and The Joker. It makes the reboot worthwhile in a lot of ways as we can see this dynamic being built once again – one of the most iconic rivalries in any story ever. BUT (and this is a big huge butt) while the story itself is engaging and tense, Daniel seems to be pushing-the-envelope a little too much in my view, I think he might be trying too hard for this first arc and I can’t see how he’s going to keep going with this and where this is meant to go for both hero and villain, its a most unexpected and shocking ending.
I hope he has a good plan and can maintain the story, else this might be the first unexpected bust from the reboot. Will follow but always with an eye to if/when it shots itself in the foot.
Anubhav (Score 9.4/10):
Ask anyone who follows Batman comics (which is pretty much anyone who reads comics) about Tony Daniel’s writing skills and you get “It’s okay, I guess”. Well, not any more. Mr. Daniel, this is your best work as a writer yet. The story follows Batman chasing the Joker around Gotham after a string of serial killings. If that sounds generic, let me tell you it’s not. In the midst of all the mayhem, Daniel manages to get an amazingly tight grip on the characters of both hero and villain and adds to it a layer of mutual adoration and respect for each other. Add some excellently pencilled action sequences and you have a total winner.The issue leaves you craving for more, especially the ending, spoiling which should be a criminal offence. Let’s just say the Joker seems to have made a new friend.
Green Arrow (Written by J.T. Krul, drawn by Dan Jurgens/George Perez)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score 3.5/10):
I wasn’t expecting much from this book and it pretty much delivered. The only good part was that unlike a lot of comics it kept with the concept of some of the others in this new DC line so far and just jumps in and gives you enough to allow the story to progress, so at least we didn’t have to sit through another origin issue. Other then that though it was a fairly standard hero-tracks-villain-and-saves-the-day story – nothing special. The fight scenes were a plus point with some good usage of his weapons, though the villains seemed pretty damn lame if you ask me so that dampened even that some. The art was passable but nothing to write home about, Jurgens style is his own but this was a pretty mediocre looking issue for me, couple that with not much caring for the new look GA is sporting, from the hair to the weird new Wolverine-rip-off fuzz they’ve been giving him… even with an ending promising blood and mayhem, I’m not inclined to pick up #2 of this series.
Anubhav (Score 5.2/10):
In the middle of a stellar week from DC, Green Arrow is one title the disappointingly falls in the ‘Meh’ category. With the bulk of the issue being the titular hero taking down three villains on a boat, there’s plenty of action but not enough characterization to get me invested in the character. JT Krul, after all the hate he got for Rise of Arsenal, seems to be trying to lay it safe here, which is against the basic concept of the reboot. Jurgens’ work also echoes the same feelings as the script, with sound, almost retro art but nothing that’s going to blow your mind.
Hawk and Dove (Written by Sterling Gates, art by Rob Liefeld)
Akshay (Wayfarer Scene 4/10):
This is the title that from the moment it was announced has been the most confounding for me and a great many others like me.
Written by Gates who has been having an excellent time and coming off his much loved and acclaimed run on Supergirl recently a lot of people were excited to see how he would reinvent this much loved but always under-rated team in their new, more prominent role in the DCU. He does not disappoint, I’ll say that much, bringing an interesting new kind of villainy for our heroes to deal with here that somehow makes sense as a bad-guy especially in today’s world. Throw in a relationship dilemma between the two team-mates, personal baggage on both sides and a cameo by Deadman a.k.a. Boston Brand who gets to keep his relationship with Dove from Brightest Day makes for a good read. Not entirely sold on the mirror/evil-versions villains thing that they’ve got going here but I give Gates enough trust to wait out the first couple of issues.
However that brings me to the other side of the coin here. On art we have legendary artist Rob Liefeld who is either one of the most popular or most despised artists in comic history. Personally I cannot stand the man’s work so you can imagine perhaps the effort it took to get past his awkward proportions, weird dimensions, constant gnashing teeth, strange lines and features, etc, etc, etc… Bottom line, I want this book to do well because first impression is that Gates might have something worth reading here – but I don’t know how long I could put up with the kind of artwork that makes me feel like my eyes are bleeding and my sense of art and aesthetics is being used as a toilet.
Anubhav (Score 0.5/10):
My normal method while reviewing is that I talk first about the story and plot and then move on to the art. However, sometimes, when the art is either very good or very bad, the first thing that comes to mind regarding an issue is the art. With Irregularities in anatomy and less feet than a, well, a really short person (I’m sorry, I know that was bad), this is textbook Liefeld. Not that Sterling Gates does any better with the script. Every plot point from Dove dating Deadman to the mad scientist with a zombie plane, everything just seems very, very dull. Avoid at all costs.
Justice League International (Written by Dan Jurgens, drawn by Aaron Lopresti)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score 6.5/10):
Allow me to start by saying I’m a big JLI fan from back in the day and a HUGE Booster Gold fan too. That said its a bias but realistically also a negative one because my expectation from this book is very high.
In all honesty I was hoping for a lot from this book and while it delivers, its still like a youngling finding its legs. I guess that makes sense since it a story of a new and varied team finding their balance and all so perhaps it might be early to judge. Conceptually its a good one, the UN wanting to have their own version of the Justice League and bringing together this new group including a Russian (Rocket Red), Chinese (August General in Iron), Brazilian (Fire) and Norwegian (Ice) among others – making it a truly international team. The characters are not all well defined, Booster, Red and Gardner are alright but the rest are either not given enough space (understandably in just the first issue) or don’t come across well enough – Godiva is proving to be a most annoying twit and soured my experience on this. All the familiar JLI faces including Vixen and even a cameo by Batman who was written pretty well – and I like that even in this reality/universe he and Booster have a quiet mutual respect going – made this a pleasant if not exciting read.
Art-wise it is great, Lopresti was doing a fine job on the recently concluded “Justice League: Generation Lost” with a lot of the same characters and he seems to have just kept on going with it which is a big plus overall.
Will be reading more but not as excited about it as I was going by this issue.
Anubhav (Score 7.8/10):
Dan Jurgens on Booster Gold = Win.
Jurgens wastes absolutely no time (unlike Johns in JL #1) in assembling the international all star team and setting up their relationships with each other. The book does a good Job while not taking itself too seriously and delivers on both story content as well as character moments, while the art suits the light-hearted tone very well. The interactions between Batman, Booster and Gardener are especially well handled. Definitely makes for an entertaining read.
Men of War (Main story “Joseph Rock” written by Ivan Brandon, drawn by Tom Derenick + back story “Navy SEALs: Human Shields” part 1/3 by Jonathan Vankin and art by Phil Winslade)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score 5.5/10):
Realistic war-time action in a fairly contemporary kind of setting.
“Joseph Rock” is the main story here, acting as an origin story for this new incarnation of iconic war-comic hero Sgt. Rock. Mostly readable and well put together, the main character comes across interesting enough to make me want to try #2 and the art seems to suit the story quite well. Not too crazy about taking a character so equated with WW2 stories being brought to a modern arena, treading touchy ground, but so far it reads better then I was expecting.
“Navy SEALs” is the first of a three-part story and I found the story and characters here to be quite interesting, more so then the main one. Following a small group of SEALs in a war-zone, it feels more human and real by far and I would buy this book again for this more likely. The art however does not feel as consistent and good overall as the main story.
Will follow at least the first couple of issues to see if they can build my interest in the main story.
Anubhav (Score 1.5/10):
Perhaps for someone who isn’t that into superheroes, DC has put a war book in the middle of all their superhero titles. I was intrigued when I first saw the solicit mainly because I’ve never really given this genre much of a try. However, it’s safe to say that this book has done absolutely nothing to make me read other war books. Bad plotting, bad characterisations and bad art overall make this a very forgettable issue. The intentions are good with showing a couple of flying costumes fighting while soldiers helplessly watch, but the execution is, to put it bluntly, flat. Also, the artwork, while not adding anything really to the story, also messes up anatomy on a number of occasions. I normally don’t call on stuff like this normally, but I am definitely not getting anywhere near #2.
OMAC (Written and drawn by Dan Didio and Keith Giffen)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score 4.5/10):
I’m unclear to start with what exactly the division of work has been going by the credits since it gives them both credit for story and art.
Anyway – read it and am still squarely on the fence about this book. The story was mostly a nothing kind of story, basically it stuck to the solicit, we get introduced to OMAC (a.k.a One Man Army Corp), Brother Eye is involved and we have Cadmus. Mostly this is entire issue is nothing but a giant SMASH-fest with our big blue hero destroying any-and-everything in his path. It all looked great, lots of explosions and colour and clobbering – but no real story yet so can’t judge if Didio has finally learnt to write a story. The art was decent enough, the action looked good, but I really did not like the faces AT ALL, the fact that Dubbilex looked the best out of them all says something I think. Oh and I know the character has always had a mohawk, but this fishtail-palm-leaf-mega-mohawk thing that they’ve put on his head is really frikkin ridiculous!
Likely will read the next issue to see if they carry out their promise alluded to in the closing that we might see some real story next time around, but chances are I’ll drop it thereafter that will be it unless the book drastically improves.
Anubhav (Score 5.1/10):
With plenty of good (and some bad) issues and high profile releases this week OMAC’s retro approach did little to make me wanna buy the second issue. Both Dan Didio’s writing and Keith Griffin’s art are really not working too great for me. While delivering some fun, it ultimately comes across as a pretty mediocre title.
Stormwatch (Written by Paul Cornell, drawn by Miguel Sepulveda)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score 9/10):
Folks, Paul Cornell continues to prove that he is one of the most promising talents to watch in comics today. Taking a very unlikely mix of characters in a new concept and bringing them into the DCU proper is no mean task and as a start I think he does a bang-up job! Giving character and depth to several of the team-members (as much as can be done in one issue) and creating a team dynamic, a role for them and establishing a base for future stories, he weaves a very solid tale that fully justifies this titles position at the top of my reading list for this reboot. Raw and filled with a good amount of action we get to see multiple narratives flow easily including a global threat on the moon, attempting to recruit a young Apollo and the home-base – Cornell does not let up for a second and even shows us a more intense and darker side of the Martian Manhunter which seems to work in his new life, quite unlike the familiar Justice League tactician he has been for many years.
I can imagine though that people with a passing familiarity or none at all will find some things hard to digest or comprehend because this seems to be a more intricate and character heavy story and I think far too many people are unfamiliar with the Stormwatch and The Authority books that this derives from really. Its a double edged sword I think, you need at least a passing knowledge of that because this is one of the more complex books of the reboot, as was expected from the announcement – but that will cost readers to the title until and unless Cornell can bring more to it sooner or perhaps Stormwatch gets parts/cameo’s in other books in the line.
Art is great, suits the story and in fact Miguel seems to bring a great energy to some of the panels and his rendering of certain designs, like the Martian Manhunter taking on a war-form for example are a really great style that seems to suit the tone and feel of the book.
Anubhav (Score 5.0/10):
Easily the biggest disappointment of the week. This had me really excited because of the rumoured importance to the nature of the reboot, but honestly, the whole issue completely fell flat for me. Maybe its unfamiliarity with the main cast save the Martian Manhunter, but there’s a lot of stuff that seemed awesome in the solicitation that did not feel as good in the book. Paul Cornell, after his fantastic work on Lex Luthor in Action Comics, completely failed to meet expectations here. Worth a special mention is the one bad horn-related pun towards the end of the issue, that really distracts the reader from whatever’s happened in the issue so far. The art on the other hand is terrific and makes this issue at least a one time read. Also, its funny how a comic that ties into something that happens in Superman #1 happens to get released 3 weeks before it.
Static Shock (Written by Scott McDaniel, drawn by John Rozum)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score 3/10):
Static is a character who I’ll admit is more known to me from his cartoon series then from any of his comic appearances but I did read some of his Milestone and early DC comics after I first came across the character and he was always a fresh and unique one.
The story started out well enough and pretty much everything except for the villains introduced half-way in and then at the end, was decent. Statics home-life and family and the intelligent villain take-down early on were all well written and kudos to Scott for his scripting in this bit. Unfortunately I did not enjoy the direction this new Static seems to be taking – firstly they move him from Dakota to NY, which is fine I guess, but the circle of villains introduced in this issue made me cringe a little and the final moments really were a disaster in my view, I would say more but spoilers will be kept in check for those who may want to read the books being reviewed.
Artwork was passable but thats about it – the cover art is nice but the interior art, while it has its moments, is largely nothing great or memorable though I give the artist points for some of his detail and facial rendering of Virgil and his sister. Other things, not so great to look at. Off-hand I’m not likely to follow this book beyond the next issue which will be a curiosity read unless it gets much better.
Anubhav (Score 7.2/10):
Gee look, DC has its own Peter Parker now.
Some excellent action and good character concepts make this a real good debut issue. The approach is definitely to provide a spider-manesque teenaged character by making him relatable and giving him a solid supporting cast. Scott McDaniel, as both co-writer and artist, does an excellent job in providing a light-hearted yet real stakes tone for the book. There’s an ending I don’t really like, but it definitely makes sure I’ll be picking up the next issue to see what happens next. Good stuff all around.
Swamp Thing (Written by Scott Snyder, drawn by Yanick Paquette)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score 9/10):
I was expecting Snyder to do a passable or at most good job on this series, especially under the shadow of guys like David Michelinie, Alan Moore, Len Wien, Rick Veitch, Mark Millar and Joshua Dysart – but he met my expectations and then some!
A very nicely paced and interestingly developed story that takes us happily FAR-far away from the most recent waste of the character post Brightest Day and brings Swamp Thing and Alec Holland into interesting territory again. With a cameo by a slightly older, more trusted and respected Superman (also characterised well here) and the atmospheric vibe of the whole story – very nicely complemented by Paquettes artwork that just flows quietly along as you read without realising the subtle quality – as a whole makes this one of the best books of the week and I would even bet, one of the best starts out of the whole 52.
I will definitely be reading this series next month and onwards if it maintains this quality!
Anubhav (Score 8.9/10):
I’ve never read Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing. It’s just one of those things you mean to do, but somehow never end up doing. So keeping in mind that I have nothing to compare this issue with, I’d like to say that I very thoroughly enjoyed every moment. The issue is just 22 pages of full character exposition for Alec Holland. Fresh off his (awesome) Detective Comics run, Scott Snyder gives us a deep perspective of how the history of the character looks to Holland and how it has changed him. The Dialogues between Superman and Holland are extremely well written with Snyder’s talents on full display. Paquette’s art simultaneously does a hell of a job of effectively displaying all the weirdness of swamp thing’s world as well as the faces and body language during the talking heads scenes. Complete package of awesomeness.