Thursday, September 22, 2011

Week 2 of the New DC Comics!

On the week of September 14th came the second installment of the new DC comics! A total of 13 number one issues were released that week, with me buying five of them. I would love to buy them all, but as a responsible adult :), I just couldn't afford all of them! However, I did want to pick up Grifter #1 but it had sold out within an hour or so of the store opening! Insane!

From the five issues I picked up only one was a disappointment. I had previously been collecting two of the books on a monthly basis and will likely continue. The other two are definitely monthly reads now! Below are brief comments on each of the books I picked up:

Batman & Robin: A solid read with equally solid art. This is one of the books I had previously collected and the renumbered book met expectations. The book focuses on the relationship between Bruce Wayne and his son, Damian, who is the acting Robin. Previously the book had Bruce Wayne's son being partnered with Dick Grayson, who was the original Robin that later overtook the mantel of Batman (long story). In the renumbered DC comics, Batman is again portrayed by Bruce Wayne. This story begins with the relationship and roles previously established but Robin is still in the process of learning how to be a superhero, and more importantly a son /man. While I enjoyed this book, I wish that the story of how Bruce's son became Robin was explored in the first issue instead of placing the reader somewhere later on in the story.

Batwoman: This is one of my more highly anticipated books because the previous work on the character was so strong. The previous material was written and drawn by J.H. Williams III, who has continued his vision. This first issue did not disappoint but like Batman & Robin I wish the story had begun earlier in the character's career. The book does begin at the beginning of a new chapter for the character as a new villain and challenges for the heroin are introduced. Besides the story, the art is fantastic and is perhaps the best illustrated book that DC is producing -although Paquette's art in Swamp Thing deserves special attention too. The cover has a gorgeous water color painting by Wiliams that (refreshingly) ties into the story within the book. Williams also uses two different styles of art to tell the story, where a more fluid and painterly style is used when Batwoman is acting as a superhero and a more traditional comic style is used when the main character is not in her superhero persona; makes me think of David Mack's art.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E: Going in I thought this was to be one of my favorite reads. I knew nothing about this character and it is not a book I had previously read. The title seems ridiculous and the premise is perhaps even more off kilter as it stars Frankenstein (the monster, not the scientist) who leads a team of ultra-secret government monster /agents who go after other monsters that threaten global security. This should leave tons of room for the writer and artist to have a lot of fun, however the efforts fall flat. The writer of the book is Jeff Lemire who I have previously admired because of his outstanding work on Essex County & Sweet Tooth. These books were written with great imagination and feeling. This book does not exemplify either of these previous qualities and instead offers a tired and frankly lame story that one would think was produced by a 14-year-old. In the future I think I'll be passing on this title.

Green Lantern: Like the previously mentioned books, GL begins with a new chapter to the main character's life instead of at the character's beginning, which is what I thought the whole point of the New DC was supposed to be. GL is a book I have been reading for the previous few years and the new GL picks up directly from where the last issue ended. This left me VERY confused as to what the point of the renumbering was! The creative staff of the book, Geoff Johns (writer) & Doug Mahnke (illustrator) remains the same, which again works against the idea of changing up the books. Nonetheless, Johns and Mahnke do an excellent job on the book, producing an interesting and exciting work that I will continue to read. My only problem is that this book, in particular, left me confused as NOTHING had changed from the previous GL book.

Superboy: Here we go DC! Finally a book that begins with the origin /introduction of the character. This is what I had been expecting from DC in each of their renumbered comics. This book is written by Scott Lobdell who presents an interesting story of Superboy being born in a test-tube as an experiment by a secret company with equally secretive motives for doing so. The characters are strong and there is plenty of plot lines presented in the first issue to keep this book going for quite some time. R.B. Silva draws the book with a clean, traditional comic style that is very enjoyable to look at. The art isn't fancy and does not have a particularly unique style, but it is strong and well executed. I've never collected Superboy before but after reading this first issue I will surely be back for more!

In all I would have to say the biggest and best surprise was found in Superboy. The best continuation of expectations goes to Batwoman. Batman & Robin and Green Lantern met expectations, but I had expected more from the stories. Frankenstein is the hands-down biggest disappointment because I expected a lot more from Lemire, but in retrospect was still better than the previous week's Green Arrow.

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