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.