Published on September 23rd, 2011 | by Michael Harris1
A Week Late #14: DC Reboot – Week 4
Week 4! Batman and Wonder Woman!
I don’t mention it in any of the reviews, but I want to point out a startling trend of these books to be very very violent. There is a lot of blood, a lot of cruelty that I would be shocked to see in the Ultimates let alone a main DC title. I’m not sure what this means, but it is worrisome on some level. DC seems to be pushing very hard for an adult audience, but possibly at the cost of quite a lot of the younger crowd.
Wonder Woman #1
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art by CLIFF CHIANG
Colors by MATTHEW WILSON
Like Gotham City, Wonder Woman needed an enema…and that came out wrong…the sentence, not the enema. The character had been suffering for pretty much forever and hadn’t really done much of consequence since killing Max Lord. She was always prominent in the DCU but DC just couldn’t find a way to make her marketable. Even in Trinity, people didn’t much care that anyone other than Batman and Superman were gone. Azzarello had set out to make her something amazing and from this book, he is well on his way to doing so. I was hesitant about his direction because he has a poor history with superhero books (read Superman: For Tomorrow) and he is much more geared as a writer for dark, criminal books. However, he has pulled out something amazing and with Cliff Chiang (who drew a beautiful book) have made me want to read Wonder Woman. Seriously, this book is amazing. The best book of the week and nearly the best book out of the reboot.
Rating: 9.5/10 (Because Wonder Woman is being written well)
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art by GREG CAPULLO
First off, YAY! Secondly, ALSO YAY! I’m glad that Batman hasn’t suffered any from the reboot. This book is just great. The art, understandably, feels very much like a Spawn book, but I quickly overlooked that because the story was fantastic. We get Dick pretending to be the Joker to help Bruce get to a corrupt guard working at Arkham, we get to see Caupllo’s take on a lot of the villains that we’re used to (of which I am a big fan), and we get to see a very technology-based Batman and a fairly united Bat-family. I don’t know how many times Thomas Wayne has had a different “saying” or “mantra” but it seems to be the most convenient way for Bruce to get sentimental these days. I really like that Snyder is taking Bruce in a more proactive direction towards controlling and protecting Gotham. I always just assumed that he had Bat-caves all over the city, but to see him developing them is kinda fun. I really like Harvey in this book, they captured the comical slobbish detective from the animated series and earlier appearances, but they’re combined that with the brutal experience from the more recent comics and I think I’m really going to like him in this iteration. Finally, the reveal at the end of the book is (while nothing entirely new) done well enough to actually make me excited.
Rating: 9/10 (For assuaging my fears)
Birds of Prey #1
Written by DUANE SWIERZKLKNSIEDNKASLKITENSKI
Art by JESUS SAIZ
I don’t know why this one stood out to me more than something like…Nightwing or Supergirl, but I really liked the art in this book. It was clean, it was dynamic where it needed to be and Saiz didn’t go overboard with the sexuality of the ladies, which he could have easily done. Sure, Ev is wearing a corset, but it could’ve been a lot worse. On the poor side of this issue is, I don’t really know what happened. I get that two separate parties set up this reporter to track down each other but I’m not sure why, or why that reporter exploded, or why the creepy masked guy kissed Canary and said that he killed her, or why Canary is having pre-explosion migranes. A lot of stuff going on that I guess is good story-building but I’m not interested as much as a little frustrated.
Rating: 8/10 (Solid book, could get very good)
Captain Atom #1
Written by J.T. KRUL
Art by FREDDIE WILLIAMS II
Krul surprised me with a great showing in Green Arrow and I was looking forward to what he might do with Captain Atom. It was…awkward. It started fairly well with the Cap using his nuclear madness to defeat a baddie, and we get the main conflict pretty quickly as he starts pulling apart at the nuclear level (protons and electrons). So, we have a situation where the use of his power might just kill him. We also get a pretty good intro to his base of operations “somewhere in Kansas” (because DC seems to think that Kansas isn’t one of the most boring places in the USA) but my main problem is that the book ends with him about to die maybe? I can see this working for a better known character like Nightwing, but with a character that a lot of new readers don’t know and a lot of old readers don’t care about, it seems like a bad move. A item of note is that this is one of the few books where the hero doesn’t seem to be hiding from the government on some level.
Rating: 8/10 (I see potential, but it needs to move quick)
Written by JUDD WINICK
Art by GUILLEM MARCH
Winick is working hard on these new books, its obvious from the way that they’re not taking forever to say what amounts to nothing. I liked Batwing and I like Catwoman. It shows quite a lot about the way she operates and establishes very quickly the version of her that we’re gonna see in this new universe. Still a bit shady, still not completely familiar to Batman, and very nearly a DC Superwhore. It takes her 4 pages to get her clothes completely on and another 3 pages near the end have her sans-shirt. Its drawn very pretty, but it doesn’t make me like the hyper-sexualization of these reboot books any more than I do. I shudder to think of what they would do if Power Girl had been in the 52.
Rating: 7.5/10 (A good book, but unnecessarily sexy)
DC Universe Presents #1
Written by PAUL JENKINS
Art by BERNARD CHANG
The first story arc for DCU Presents is all about Deadman. I don’t know why he’s such a big deal in DC as of late, possibly because Geoff Johns has a dickish hotshot fetish. He’s just never been that compelling of a character to me, and this book didn’t prove otherwise. We get to see that Deadman lives out portions of the lives of various people for various amounts of time. It seems like there isn’t a specific purpose to him possessing each person and I’m not entirely sure how much control or influence he has over these people but its a far cry from the “float around and take over random bodies because I can” Deadman that was sometimes entertaining.
Rating: 7/10 (Because I really don’t get the purpose of this book)
Green Lantern Corps #1
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN
I’m gonna start by saying that I don’t really like John Stewart or Guy Gardner…at all. Stewart could be a great character, with a military past and discipline, but he’s always written as absolutely cold and prickly and unwelcoming. Gardner, also, could be a great character, working as a hotshot like Hal, but with an actual sense of humor and a willingness to shut up and just fight if he has to, but again, he ends up being annoying and detached from the job. Both of these poor versions of these characters are displayed perfectly in this issue. If it wasn’t for the mildly interesting prologue that started off the book, I daresay that I wouldn’t bother reading issue 2.
Rating: 6/10 (It wasn’t an awful book, I just couldn’t find a reason to care)
Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by FRANCIS PORTELA
Very much a companion to Legion Lost, this book is mired in stuff that a new reader would be completely lost in. To be fair, both are series that are hard to sell a new reader on unless Superman is on the cover. Actually, that might have been a smarter move for DC in the long run to introduce both as a part of the new Action Comics run and then give them their own book in like 6 months. Hell, it would have been a better idea to premiere 26 books as a start and then the other 26 6 months later to avoid rushing every single book as it seems they’re doing. However, that’s not what we get. We get a well written book, that you need a DC-tionary open to understand fully.
Rating: 7/10 (Same as Legion Lost)
Written by KYLE HIGGINS
Art by EDDY BARROWS
After a poor debut by Higgins on Deathstroke, I was really worried about this one, but Nightwing was a fun book to read. It wasn’t trying anything really new, but it was well executed. I really like that being Batman made Dick a better Nightwing, and I even liked the interaction at his old circus. The new villian was nothing special. He’s going to be beaten by experience and patience rather than outright skill or some such madness, but I’m liking the direction this book is taking already. On the other hand, I want him to have his blue costume again. I really don’t like this red one.
Rating: 8/10 (My biggest compliant was the costume)
Blue Beetle #1
Written by TONY BEDARD
Art by IG GUARA
On the plus side, we get to see a bit of the origins of the Blue Beetle scarab and a bit of history of the conflict between the Green Lanterns and “The Reach” (the other Blue Beetles). On the negative side, this is a different Jaime Reyes than I’m used to, definitely at odds with his family, not with the most upstanding of friends, and without Peacemaker. I suppose this explains a bit about the appearance of Brother Eye, as Jaime wasn’t there to help the Justice League destroy it, but in that case, did Infinite Crisis ever happen?
Rating: 7/10 (An average comic that I wanted very much to be great)
Written by MICHAEL GREEN & MIKE JOHNSON
Art by MAHMUD ASRAR
Finally, we get to Supergirl. Not really the biggest hype book that DC had going for it. It was a story that didn’t need to be told. After having read it, it certainly feels like a companion to Superman. It doesn’t depend on Superman to exist, but its going to be intimately tied to the Superman because a lot of her discovering the world is going to be due to him. It was a fair issue, showing us how strong she is, how unsure she is, but it doesn’t really fit together. She knows her past but she doesn’t know how or why she is on Earth. It is an issue where a painfully little amount of plot actually moves. She crashes, she gets attacked, she meets Superman. That’s it. The biggest things I think we learn are that America seems to be cosmic bullies and that Superman has learned Kryptonian.
Rating: 7/10 (Its ok, hopefully gets better with issue 2)
Red Hood and the Outlaws #1
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL
Art by KENNETH ROCKAFORT
I don’t know. Lobdell keeps putting out books that aren’t as absolutely awful as I thought that they were going to be. They are by no means amazing, or even great, but they’re not…bad. I was really actually liking the direction of this book until they took Starfire and made her into a DC Superwhore. Not cool, Scott. Not cool. I love Starfire, I love that she was bubbly and didn’t quite understand humans and that she didn’t really care about what people thought, but I have never read a book where she was portrayed as if she existed only for pleasure until this one. The art was impressive, I absolutely love the parts where Rockafort wasn’t using sex to sell a comic book because Lobdell couldn’t write a book that could bring in readers on his own. Also, where is Jason’s red hair. Is that retconned too?
Rating: 5/10 (For ruining Starfire)
On the Marvel side of things I also picked up:
Ultimate Comics: X-Men #1
Written by NICK SPENCER
Art by PACO MEDINA
Lots of talking. Lots of changes to the story that, having not read Ultimate X-Men in a while, I’m not sure are true or not. We see a post-Ultimatum world that has harsh punishments for mutants and a lot of madness about mutants being a manmade “virus”. Unlike the other three Ultimate books, this one requires a lot of knowledge of the recent history of the ultimates universe.
Fear Itself: The Avengers #17
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Art by JOHN ROMITA JR.
I’m just gonna go ahead and say that I’m tired of the interviews. I was OK with it up until this point. Its just boring now. Even on pages with a lot of action, any drama is taken out of it by knowing that his person is going to be interviewed later, its all gonna be good in the end because they’re talking about it. The only thing that seems to be coming out of Fear Itself is some wrecked buildings and Bucky dying.
The Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
Written by ALLAN HEINBERG
Art by JIM CHEUNG
I am absolutely in love with this series. If it was a bit more consistent, it would me my favorite comic book at the moment. A lot of big things are happening in this book, but since this is the only book addressing a lot of the events, I don’t know if its going to affect the larger Marvel universe or just going to exist as a background story that will end up not really making any changes.
Here Comes Daredevil #4
Written by MARK WAID
Art by PAOLO RIVERA & JOE RIVERA
Colors by JAVIER RODRIGUEZ
The story continues with Daredevil beating up the bad guys on the streets and Matt Murdock advising some self-representing clients. I continue to be amazed by J. & P. Rivera’s work on the art with some incredible sequences as Daredevil moves throughout the city to meet a client. The entire book is beautiful.