A Week Late and a Few Dollars Short Animal_Man_1_Cover - Copy

Published on September 8th, 2011 | by Michael Harris


A Week Late #12: DC Reboot – Week 2

Lordy, lordy, lord… There was amazing stuff this week. But there was also, some terrible, terrible, heartbreaking stuff this week. I remind you that this is spoiler-ridden and if you haven’t read this weeks books, do not read this until you do. Or if you don’t care to read them, know that I will tell you pretty much what you need to know from the stuff you’re not gonna read.

Hawk and Dove #1

Hawk and Dove #1

– That first splash page features a Hawk that must be at least 9 feet tall, or he’s fighting hobbits.
– That being said, proportions are a bit more reserved than your classic Liefeld, and look…FEET!
– Why is compassion listed among Dove’s abilities? Also, why is “a huge asshat” not listed among Hawk’s?
– NO! Not the Washington Monument! Pretty much the most avoidable national monument via plane in the United States.
– NYARR! HRR! FNYARR! (and other things that zombies might say)
– Hank Hall’s teeth-to-face ratio is unnerving.
– aaaand Liefeld forgets that he orignally drew claw-gauntlets on zombie #1
– Bird pun count: 1
– Hank Hall changes size and muscle proportion every panel.
– There are 2 panels, count em folks, in which Hawk is not either yelling or gritting his teeth.
– Hank’s dad really looks like Michael Buffer
– Did Dove just smash the roof of a car in without explanation? Where’s the compassion in that?
– How old is Hawk supposed to be? Hank became Hawk when they looked to be teens, he was partners with Don for “years” and he was alone for a while, and he’s been partners with new Dove for “years” and he’s still college-age. I’m not sure of the purpose in bringing up college for him, either. It all seems really awkward.
– Also, can Deadman fly, because those buildings look awfully far away?
– Hawk and Dove’s origin is very nearly the worst origin that I’ve ever heard. They wished really hard? Really?
– Dove has deep dark secrets relating to Don Hall? Why is he still called Deadman if he doesn’t have anymore dead-powers? DA brown avatar who has a similar grimace problem to Hank Hall? NYARRR!? Find out all the answers you’re probably fairly passive about next month in HAWK AND DOVE!

Rating: 4/10 (For gratuitous use of cheekbones)

Justice League International #1

Justice League International #1
Written by DAN JURGENS

– Lots of people in this big team shot that I don’t remember from JLI: B’wana Beast, Speedy, Jamie Reyes, be-mowhawk-ed Captain Atom, Frankenstein, big face guy behind plastic man whose name I don’t know (Possibly Dr. Zaius)…is this the new team?
– Apparently I was right that they were picking nation-representative heroes, this might have been revealed before, I just never read it.
– Ok, that was Green Arrow…not Speedy. I miss the beard.
– All of the little nods to the nations and commentary by the delegates seems forced and unnecessary. It just interrupts the flow of the story.
– Also, why show this characters that would otherwise make it an interesting read (Green Arrow, Blue Beetle, Batman) if they are going to remove them.
– Who in the hell is Godiva? I’ve never heard of this woman. A look around and she didn’t exist before this comic, at least not that I can find.

– …excuse me, I got distracted reading a story that wasn’t awful. The “protestors” referencing Black Hawks pulled me out of it. I like that the DCU is trying to be more cohesive, but it seems forced. Black Hawks are supposed to be an elite, covert-ops team and your average person is able to steal explosives from them?
– Also, I approve of Batman being on the team without the U.N. knowing.
– I get the feeling that Godiva is going to be a double-agent at some point. She’s unknown, useless in a battle, and openly flirts with the leader of the group. She must be evil.
– This also made me realized that the DCU is seriously lacking in the way of British superheroes.

Rating: 7/10 (For surprising me with a good team dynamic despite uneven dialogue and odd character interaction)

Batwing #1

Batwing #1
Written by JUDD WINICK

– Damn…that’s pretty.
– Seriously, this is a beautiful book. Oliver and Reber have surprised the hell out of me.
– Unhappy with the villain…”All I need is for people to die!” is not a compelling bit of dialogue.
– Halfway in and the book is very well written. I actually care about this Batwing fellow. I’m actually really liking this.
– And then Batman says “…or I’ll hurt you more.” Clunky dialogue, awkward, not ok. Couldn’t come up with anything more threatening?
– It shows a lot of Batman giving him this starting push at being a superhero. I like this, I hope it shows him getting his own stride, getting his own style because I might have to start reading this book in earnest.
– Did I mention how much I like the look of this book?
– Book ends on a cliffhanger, but one that has no weight when considering the beginning of the book, we know he gets out, we know he fights Massacre again, but y’know what? I really want to read it.
– I’m glad that Winick has told a quicker story. He usually goes for a long-play plot based around the trade. I like the quicker pace that its set up, but it also has roots for a larger story. Its…well done.
– Cheers, Judd. You and your art team have won me over for a few more issues.

Rating: 8/10 (For surprising me so wonderfully)

O.M.A.C. #1

O.M.A.C. #1

It was advertised to be Kirby-esque, and it is. However, I am not a big nostalgia kinda guy for comics. I can appreciate the older books, but they were a bit hokey and silly at times. This proved to be no exception to the rule. No reactions for this one, just disappointment. Brother Eye is still around, and it is hijacking the bodies of random people in order to…??? I have no idea about the motivations of this thing. Is it going to be like Brainiac and just collect knowledge? Is it going to go all “Hal” on us and kill man in order to save man? Is it just being a dick and doing things in order to do em? I really don’t care. Its a book where I can’t root for the “hero”. Its a book where I can’t root for the creators.

No rating, I just didn’t really like it.

Batgirl #1

Batgirl #1
Written by GAIL SIMONE

– Prologue has me interested pretty quickly. Simone doesn’t disappoint on the odd and evil.
– Nor on the mental state of Barbara Gordon, I buy it, but I’m still not sure I like the cost of three great characters for the reward of one.
– Who swings like that? Honestly, that looks uncomfortable. Something about the way she’s looking or the angles or that the swing-line is not taut…it just bothers me.
– Villain’s first lines…I renewed my love for Gail Simone. She does twisted humor so very very well.
– Slight nod to the new legs, well handled.
– I always did like that Barbara was the female counterpoint to Dick. I love that she smiles in a fight, that she’s a sarcastic jerk. It was also something I liked about Stephanie Brown though.
– DAAAAMN…that kick must’ve hurt.
– They’ve reduced the 23 years that Barbara Gordon has been in a chair to 3. Her legs fixed by a “miracle”. I’ve heard weaker explanations for recovery in comics though. I like that they haven’t completely lost the Oracle part of her character.
– Our first look at the new DCU’s Jim Gordon. He’s got color in his hair again, but he’s the same guy, I’ll count that as a win.
– The line about her experience in the wheelchair were perfect.

– …sorry, got distracted with a good story again. Batgirl ended kind of odd. It makes sense for the character, but it was just such a downer for a first issue. It required a bit more knowledge of the character than most of the other first issues as well.
– I’m really happy that Simone is writing this. Nobody knows Barbara better.
– Like I was saying to Colin, this book is really measured against the memory of Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain. It isn’t the same. It isn’t quite as good, but I’m willing to put a “yet” at the end of that statement. I think it has a hell of a lot of potential.

Rating: 7/10 (For giving me more wonderful Gail Simone)

Men of War #1

Men of War #1

– Nice tone immediately set. Already exceeding my expectations.
– Clever lettering, its not often you get exceptional performance by a letterer. Usually they go unnoticed, which I suppose shows their great quality, that they aren’t appreciated for creating such an integral piece of the story. I quite like this. Cheers to Rob Leigh.
– As much as the idea behind the book seems ill-considered, I like the character and I like the pace.
– I wish some of DCU’s regular superheroes had the depth that Sgt. Rock has in just a few pages.
– The dialogue in this comic is really good. (I swear I don’t talk like this all the time)
– As interested as I am in the superhero battle, I’m much more interested in the soldiers and their struggle.
– Ending doesn’t quite have the emotional impact that I think was intended, but it was a great little story. If more issues are this enjoyable, I’m definitely gonna be a fan.
– Remember way back in the long long ago when I said that I’m not nostalgic when reviewing O.M.A.C., I’m totally nostalgic for Sgt. Rock and I kinda love this.

Rating: 8/10 (For giving me back Sgt. Rock)

Detective Comics #1

Detective Comics #1
Written by TONY S. DANIEL

– I like how Daniel draws. I don’t like how he writes.
– I am immediately drawn to dislike that he used his full name. I don’t know why, I just don’t like it.
– Batman looks good, leg proportions are little odd, but its drawn well and the coloring is very nice.
– Batman given away by a…bat-camera? I don’t like that either.
– GCPD is still untrusting of Batman. I’m not sure where this book is on the timeline of the DCU, but I don’t like a Gotham thats antagonistic to the Batman.
– The way Daniel is drawing Batman feels very reminiscent of The Dark Knight Returns. Same Frank Miller-like lines, heavy shoulders, hunched-over. Interesting choice.
– Very stylized Batmobile, a batmobile that I don’t really like, but its not about the car.
– This is being written like the Joker has only been around for a year. Interesting choice. He also has a mohawk. Bad choice. It didn’t work for Storm, it doesn’t work for The Joker.
– Nevermind my complaints about the GCPD. I’m glad Gordon is a part of the Batman universe.
– Wow, page 15 looks like a different artist drew it. Rougher. Batman looks like he’s wearing a different costume. Also, looks like he’s shaped oddly. Very strange choice.
– Art is fixed a page later but some discrepancy with either coloring or lettering makes some of the thought boxes odd. Just an editing issue, nothing major.
– Harvey Bullock back in the DCU. I like it. He’s a dick, and he adds some tension for Gordon.
– “binocular thermo-imaging lenses” is bad writing. Its Batman. Show, don’t tell. Daniel, as the artist and writer could have done this a lot better.
– Very young version of Batman, must take place before the rest of the DCU.
– Very dangerous version of The Joker, as well. I like this Joker.
– Very gruesome ending as well, unnecessarily so, I think. Daniel is trying to shock the reader to make up for a story that didn’t have a lot going for it.
– In closing, the art was inconsistent. It shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but when it could have been fixed with a team rather than a single creator, I think I’m at least a little bit justified. The story was ok, it was a young, unsure Batman. Something that’s been done before and done better. Its nothing new, and it was better than I thought it was gonna be, but it wasn’t and still isn’t worth my money.

Rating: 6/10 (For a mediocre Batman story when it could have been amazing)

Animal Man #1

Animal Man #1
Written by JEFF LEMIRE

Now we’re to the books that I actually bought this week.

First off, I’m going to forever love Travel Foreman for this issue. I didn’t know what to make of him before I read this, and I had originally decided not to get it, but I’m glad I did. Along with Swamp Thing, its by far the best book this week. Foreman’s art is refreshing, and perfect for the story being told. It lets you know immediately that this story is different, that this isn’t going to be a superhero story. Lemire handles the legacy that he inherits with a story that I did not want to end. Animal Man is struggling to find out exactly who he is in the world. He’s an activist, an actor, a superhero, a father, a husband, and any number of other things that are balanced expertly by Lemire. He shows Buddy Baker to be a multi-faceted character without neglecting anything that makes the story compelling or making him silly. Foreman’s art, again surprised me when the story became extremely dark, the coloring by Lovern Kindzierski was equally amazing. The dream sequence was beautiful and haunting and terrifying and the last panel of the story was the perfect end to a surprising story.

Rating: 10/10 (Seriously, I can’t imagine it being better)

Swamp Thing #1

Swamp Thing #1

I can never decide how I feel about Yanick Paquette. He is clearly a chin-fetishist, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Its just that I’m pointedly not…a chin fetishist. That being said, Paquette’s layouts are amazing. Him and Fairbairn set the mood perfectly on each page, and every layout enhances what the story is trying to say at the moment. Snyder handles Swamp Thing with skill, using Holland to give the reader perspective. Making him just as confused and clueless as you are. Holland, also, is given more definition than I’ve ever seen from him. In a few pages, and one conversation with Superman, Alec Holland becomes sympathetic, intelligent, simple, and burdened, and that’s four things that I couldn’t say about him before I read this book. The plot going on around Alec I can’t really get a hold on. I don’t quite know what’s happening, but I’m not really supposed to. The evil is big and unpleasant, it turns heads around and uses insects in ears to infect. That is not ok, ever.

Rating: 9.5/10 (Not perfect, but darn near it.)

Action Comics #1

Action Comics #1

Visually, this book was beautiful. Morales drew the hell out of those action sequences and I love that you could feel Superman’s speed and strength. You could feel the world reaction to him. However, something was up with the faces. So many times reading this book (I’ve read it three times now), I wondered why everyone’s face looked so odd. Why everyone’s eyes looked a bit crossed, or why their face was concave instead of the reverse, or why sometimes it was very detailed and sometimes it was strangely sparse? Superman, is written with a great attitude. He’s young, he’s learning, he’s developing and he’s still a great person. Lex is still a dick, and Morrison can write one hell of a dick. Its interesting seeing a Superman that can be hurt so readily. Another change that I like is the Jimmy/Clark relationship and how it leads into the Lois/Clark relationship. He’s not at the Daily Planet yet, he’s not perfect, and unlike Detective Comics, its something that I haven’t really read before. The book ends on a cliffhanger, but despite being one that you know he’s going to eventually get out of, its still something I want to read the how of. I want to know how he survives this, and that marks a very good book.

Rating: 9/10 (Amazing, but not everything I had hoped for)

Stormwatch #1

Stormwatch #1

I’ve seen Stormwatch and the ideas within drawn by some amazing artists. Miguel Sepulveda didn’t exactly WOW me in this issue. Maybe it was that Passalaqua’s colors didn’t mesh as perfectly as they could have but everything was a bit awkward. I use that word a lot, but it applies. Faces look a bit flat, backgrounds don’t blend with the foreground, characters stand out too much. For example, the moon is absolutely detailed with the shape of a giant claw coming out of it, but the foreground characters look flat, even flatter in comparison. Little things like this happened throughout the issue and it pulled me out of being immersed in the story. J’onn is placed very well on the team, and despite my lack of familiarity with everyone on the Stormwatch team, I didn’t feel lost. The introduction of Midnighter at the end was satisfying and as a bonus I learned a quick way to get rid of the Martian Manhunter if it ever comes down to that. Always prepared. I absolutely loved the new century child, Jenny Quantum and the overall storyline seems like its going to be a big story and could be amazing. I love you Paul Cornell, please do make me regret doing so.

Rating: 8/10 (For making me want to re-read The Authority)

I also picked up New Avengers Annual #1 in which Wonder Man is an absolute jerkass and you wonder if the New Avengers team should have had a different roster. It was a good read, but probably not worth the $4.99 pricetag. Strange to note how little Marvel is doing to combat the reboot.

Also unfortunate to note is that I didn’t get a chance to read Green Arrow or Static Shock. Hopefully I can get those to you before the weekend.

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