Monday, October 3, 2011

DC Comics' New 52 - Week 4

Big week, purchase-wise. I have to say, after hearing from a few people that this week's books sucked, I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked ALMOST all these books.

All-Star Western #1 -$3.99
Art and cover by MORITAT

Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant – and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex's special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Find out in this new series from HEX writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with lush artwork by Moritat (THE SPIRIT)

Two writers I love. An artist I love. A character I love.

I was REALLY nervous about this book. Jonah Hex is one of the titles that I really think should've survived the New 52 purge. It was simply the most consistently great book DC was putting out. I was not overly excited to have the series blend more closely into continuity. I was not excited to have a "Western" series set in one of the largest DC Universe's east-coast cities.

But, y'know, it works.

Hex gets more than a few laugh-out-loud badass one-liners, and I was amused by Doctor Arkham's attempts to psychoanalyze my favorite western bounty hunter. Generally, the story was compelling, and the characters were fun. I do hope the whole series isn't built around Hex and Arkham as some sort of Holmes/Watson team, and the title (and price) seem to suggest an anthology book. I'll be there.

Aquaman #1 - $2.99
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO

The superstar creators from BLACKEST NIGHT and BRIGHTEST DAY reunite to take AQUAMAN to amazing new depths!

Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily. Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges… The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them, The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!

Pretty good first issue. I think maybe they hit the meta-textual "Aquaman sucks" angle one too many times. I certainly can't imagine the whole series based around people insulting Arthur Curry, then watching him kick ass. That said, a solid introduction to Aquaman, and a gentle reminder that he is a power player in the DCU.

Also - I'm looking forward to seeing how The Trench will play out. They're excellently creepy.

Batman: The Dark Knight #1 - $2.99
Written by DAVID FINCH

The Dark Knight struggles against a deadly – yet strangely familiar – foe in this phenomenal debut issue from superstar writer/artist David Finch (BRIGHTEST DAY, ACTION COMICS)!

As a mysterious figure slinks through the halls of Arkham Asylum, Batman must fight his way through a gauntlet of psychos, and Bruce Wayne faces the unexpected legal ramifications of Batman Incorporated!


Oh, yeah...I'm dropping this book.

The Flash #1 - $2.99
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Variant cover by IVAN REIS and TIM TOWNSEND

The Fastest Man Alive returns to his own monthly series from the writer/artist team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato! The Flash knows he can't be everywhere at once, but what happens when he faces an all-new villain who really can! As if that's not bad enough, this villain is a close friend!

Good start. It was more compelling, and made Barry Allen more of an interesting character, than Geoff John's series. I'm assuming Manapul is plotting. If so, nice job. He seems to understand that The Flash is all about movement, and keeping a flow going. Well done.

I also have to admit, sacking the Barry/Iris marriage, and inserting another possible love interest perked things up a lot. I like how Iris seems to assume a lot with Barry, and Barry's just kind of confused by it. Drama, man...

Superman #1 - $2.99
Breakdowns and cover by GEORGE PÈREZ

The new adventures of Superman begin here! What is The Man of Steel's startling new status quo? How does it affect Lois Lane and The Daily Planet? There's no time for answers now, because Superman must stop a monstrous threat to Metropolis – one that he somehow is the cause of!

Still hate the suit. It's just too much blue. The red belt sets it off a little better (better than the suit for the new movie, anyway), but it just makes it look boring.

I had a friend say that Perez's dialogue sucked, but I don't agree. I felt it was a real classic comic book feel, and really the "ripped from the headlines" element flows a bit better than in Action, simply because the whole story is about it. It's a dense, classic, type of issue. Very little decompression. Perez shoves a lot of story into these 22 pages. I appreciate that, a lot.

I'm sad he won't be with the title longer...

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