Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week 3 of the New DC Comics: Part Deux!

In this post are my brief comments about the other half of the comics released in the third week of the New DC line. None of the six comics discussed below were previous monthly reads, and only one of these was a book I had really read at all. After reading these six comics, four of them were so good I want to continue reading them, while two of them were so God awful I want to ask for my money back!

Green Lantern CORPS: This was a book I had little idea of what to expect from. I read the monthly Green Lantern series, but none of the supporting GL books. This book centers upon two of the Green Lanterns, Stewart & Gardner, who are the only two GL's from Earth who do not have private identities. The book immediately focuses on the issue of their public identities while to a lesser degree builds up the back story of an entity that is murdering GL's from other sectors. I liked how the two main characters came together over how to maintain a normal life on Earth when it was public knowledge that they are GL's, which is counter to most comics that discuss the problems of maintaining a secret identity. In all, the story was enjoyable and I sense a lot of great potential in the book. The art is also also enjoyable with solidly rendered pages. This could easily become one of the sleeper hits of the New DC line!

Legion of Super-Heroes: Welcome to one of the bigger messes that DC put out! This book made very little sense as the reader is thrown into some kind of covert operation involving characters the new reader has no clue about. The story continually flips between three different groups of people without no explanation as to who they are; and no, a listing of their name and super-hero is not enough to build a character from. The art is also sloppy and does not clearly demonstrate what is occurring in each panel. The book also references a book that came out in the first week of the New DC (Legion Lost) that I had not read, which left me even more confused as to what was happening! This book would have been greatly improved with the story focusing on one or two groups of people and more explanations provided for why these events were taken place.

Nightwing: This was a very enjoyable book with solid art, although it did appear that the artist, Eddy Barrows, gave more attention to some pages over others (mainly the middle pages). This book begins a new chapter in the life of Nightwing, aka Dick Grayson, who had recently left the mantle of Batman. Previously, Bruce Wayne had gone international with seeding the world with his versions of Batman. I'm not sure why, but Wayne stopped doing this and returned to Gotham to reclaim the mantle of Batman which left Grayson to go back to being Nightwing.

This first issue examines Dick Grayson's past and introduces a new villian, while also providing a narrative about how being Batman changed the way he now handles being a super-hero. I really enjoyed the development and introduction of Nightwing's character and I see promise in where this story is going. My only complaint is that I am still confused why some characters in the New DC comics have their origins redone in the first issue while other characters are presented as coming straight off of where they were left in their previous books. This is most evident in the Batman books where it seems very little if anything has actually changed in the character's lives except that a new chapter in their lives is being presented -not a reboot as DC said would happen. Furthermore, as an avid reader of the Batman books, I find it very disappointing that DC is not spending more time on exploring Dick Grayson's departure and Bruce Wayne's return as Batman. If DC is not going to be wiping the slate clean on the Bat books, then they need to at least clean up the issues left unresolved; instead, it seems DC wants us to ignore the whole thing! Nightwing, while being a strong book from DC's new line, is frustrating for there is little reason for the book to have been renumbered and waters down DC's reasoning for the relaunches -to reboot their comics so they become accessible to new readers.

Red Hood & the Outlaws: Welcome to the second book I discuss which was a disappointment. To be fair, this book is far superior to the Legion book and the principle reason this book fails is because of its depiction of the character Starfire. Kenneth Rocafort pencils the book with a loose and angular style that stands out against the other DC books. This is a compliment as I really enjoyed this book's art but did wish that backgrounds were filled in more (too much negative space), and some of the paneling did not use up as much of the page as they could have (again, leaving too much negative space). The story line was fun and I greatly enjoyed the concept of the book and the introduction of the mysterious background of the Red Hood character. However, the character of Starfire is presented as some floozy bimbo with Superman 'esque powers and wish to sleep with any man in a 100 yard radius. This was a weak move by  Lobdell, the writer, as the other two main characters (Red Hood & Roy Harper) are bold, funny, and dynamic. It feels that Starfire was an afterthought of a character and is no way a flattering example of what a female super-hero can be. This is highlighted by how great other female characters have been used in the New DC comics such as Catwoman, Batwoman, and the to be mentioned Wonder Woman and Supergirl.

Supergirl: Holy crap this book blew me away! I read this book in under a minute partially because there was very little text and partially because the introduction of the character Supergirl had me in a headlock of awesomeness! The dialogue was brief for sure, but the combination of the brief dialogue and the engaging art made for a truly worthy read. While the dialogue was brief, the plotting of the book told another side of the story, which was told very well and demonstrated how well the writer, Michael Green, and the artist, Mike Johnson, worked together. The art, by the way, was really incredible. Supergirl's new costume looked really great and is an appreciation of a more modern design that incorporated the classic elements of Superman with a more alien, angled lines. I also appreciated how this book was a relaunch /reboot of the character. The reader needed no previous knowledge of the character when beginning this book and was exactly what expected from DC in their New 52 line of comics. This was a superb comic that I will be adding to my monthly collection for sure!

Wonder Woman: Yet another hit by DC comics! In contrast to Supergirl, Wonder Woman #1 presented a much longer and more involved story, but like Supergirl this issue began a story that the reader needed no previous knowledge base. Wonder Woman was presented as a secondary character who acted as a detective for the character Zola who was attacked by mysterious, supernatural like creatures. Wonder Woman's origin was not divulged in this issue and it seemed to be picking up from wherever the previous book left off, however this book did not seem to reference any previous events of the earlier story lines. The story also featured some great action sequences and some truly grotesque moments that are superbly rendered by the highly capable artist of Cliff Chiang. Again, this was a very strong book that I greatly enjoyed despite it not seeming to be a true reboot.

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