DC Comics’ First 52 in Review by Indie Writer, Dale Wilson part 03

It was becoming a regular thing now. Every week, my three buddies from work and I would hit our favorite cheap Chinese restaurant that was down the street from the local comic shop and spend a bit of our lunch break at the comic store. DC Comics’ efforts to get people into stores and buying their books was working. But how many of them were books that we’d keep up with? How many of them were worth keeping up with? It kept bothering me and drove me to read all of DC Comics’ New 52 first issues. And here we are again with another week of reviews.

Batman And Robin 1: Whiny. I knew there had been some hype around the new Robin and that he was more edgy than previous ones had been but I did not know that he was so damn annoying. I am not sure if I would have liked this book without him but I certainly did not really care about it with him in the book. I know he did not raise him but I was saddened that the dark and brooding genes of Bruce Wayne made this. I won’t be reading this or any other books with this Robin in them.

Batwoman 1Batwoman 1: Good Even with Batman. I was a fan of the character from what Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III did in their trade that had come out earlier that year. I dig Rucka’s writing and I’d buy damn near anything Williams III draws but throw in a little trippie-horror and I am that much more in. Then, say that Williams is doing most of the work on this new Batwoman book and with a single issue, I knew that I was going to be buying another Batwoman trade paperback – even if there was another goddamn annoying appearance by Batman. Does the entire universe have to pivot on the decisions that he makes? Here’s to hoping that his presence in the book ends with issue 1 cause he is not really needed. OK, before I get pulled aside by Batman’s unnecessary appearances in every book, I wanted to mention again that J.H. Williams makes this book another comic, “where the medium should be.”

Deathstroke 1: Hook-Driven. It’s an action-intense book with creepy vampires and a bad-ass ultra-villain as the main character. So, I’m a little more interested than I might have otherwise been. I am after all, a big fan of doing new and even relatively new things with superheroes. It was a lot of fun and I was totally sold on the hook – great move. But it felt like a one-shot (pun intended). It did not seem like there was really a future to this book and based on that, it did not make it to my list of trade paperback to buy.

Demon Knights 1: Fantasy Cool. It is the only fantasy book, it has cool characters and some interesting dynamism. There is a good deal of “mystery” going on here – I am attracted to this book because I really don’t know where it is going to go. That having been said, there is something missing from this book. What is it? A main character? An immediately lovable or interesting character? I think so. I also think that this is another example of a book that would have been better suited with a Vertigo editor. I’ll check out the trade paperback.Demon Knights 1

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 1: Horror Twisted. This book does most of the others should – it takes already existing icons and presents them in a new and interesting ways. Given that I’m normally interested in pushing idols and that I’m a horror fan, I should be all over this book. But I’m not. Why? It’s forced. This issue feels like it’s in a rush to present the characters, their goals and idiosyncrasies – how they are not like the other versions of these characters that you know and love so well. I get no sense of what these characters are really like as individuals, just what they need to be like for this story going forward. I will check out the trade paper back but doubt that I will buy it.

Green Lantern 1: It Was OK. I’m not a big Green Lantern fan – I love the idea and I really thought it was cool when I was a kid but I don’t really keep up with it. The only interesting part of Green Lantern to me was always the Corps – all of the exotic aliens and the peace-keeping aspects are pretty cool. That having been said, I felt like I had seen/read most of this book several times already. It seems pretty obvious that the twist is that Hal Jordon does not have his ring and Sinestro does but it was just not enough. Hal was kinda a cocky jerk and Sinestro seemed a lot more sympathetic than Hal. Why would I want Hal to get the ring other than because it is what Sinestro wants? Maybe I’ll read the Sinestro book when it comes out but no Green Lantern for me right now.

Grifter 1: Was Already Done Better. One of the things that was nice about the old version of the Grifter character was that he was stupid-smooth – it might not have been realistic but it was a classy character trait. As the character progressed through the Wildstorm books, it was this character trait that could be tweaked for the sake of development. In this new version of the character, he just seems crazy; the book seems crazy and there seems to be little or no direction for me to come back to. I’m not interested in the new version of the character and not interested in the book.

Legion Lost 1: Where Did It Pick Up? Right in the middle of action is where we got dropped. Great. I was immediately drawn to the strange, non-traditional characters of the team – more great stuff. But I didn’t love the book. Why? Too much all at once. I needed a slow, not rushed introduction so that I could learn the characters – the truly important part. Admittedly, I don’t know the Legion of Super-Heroes so I am at a loss in terms of history but I could, no, would have preferred a slower, still action-packed beginning. Even if we just had an action packed beginning of a single character, I’d be more inclined to check out the trade paperback.

Mister Terrific 1: Fair Play But That’s All. I wanted more from this book. The art and writing are serviceable even if there are some location transitions on the right page that bother me. The main character is different and interesting even if his main visible power is a set of powerful Ben-Wa balls and his name is Mister Terrific. What’s missing here? I honestly don’t know – maybe nothing and maybe it’s just not my kind of book? Possibly but I’m still not interested in the trade paperback.

Red Lanterns 1Red Lanterns 1: Interesting. It has some cool things going for it – all the cool things about Green Lanterns: cool powers, crazy-looking aliens and my personal favorite, rage. This book also has a good use of time – we live in the head of a single character for most of the book as opposed to trying to rush through the entire gambit of interesting characters and not getting enough of any one. What are my problems with this book and why am I not completely sold? Too much mystery and does Earth always have to be the center of the universe? I’d have been more into this book if we’d have stayed completely off Earth and seen alien existence as more of a metaphor for human existence.

Resurrection Man 1: Better Off Dead?. No, it’s not really that bad but it was not that great either. It was kinda forgettable. It’s essentially more mystery-horror in the darker side of the DCU. The writing and the art is certainly serviceable but I could not help but feel like it would have been better served in Vertigo. This is one of those titles that makes me wonder why it wasn’t just handed off to a Vertigo editor and made really un-accessible and good.

Suicide Squad 1: Good for Bad Guys and Gals. I inherently like books from the villain’s perspective. It is a relatively new and interesting way to look at the superhero genre and that is sorely needed. That having been said, it’s also a good book. Well written and drawn, it also experiments with format in a fun way, breaking up the story structure and page breakdowns. Too much experimenting? Nah. However – will I be picking up the tradepaper back? Probably not. Other than some interesting character changes, in the end, the only thing that it has going for it was that it broke some rules – like a good villain.

Superboy 1: Kinda Cool and Quirky. Like the main character, this book is a little strange but that’s ok and makes this book better than most. In the end, it’s Superman if he had been grown and controlled by a sterile US government secret-lab. It works for me because it’s a new way of looking at the character but it doesn’t really do anything for the superhero genre so it falls a little short. I don’t feel a burning desire to see where this character goes, oh well.

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