XIX: DC Comics New 52 – Week 3by Bobby Acosta on Sep. 28, 2011, under Comic Books, DC Comics, Opinion, Reviews
Over the entirety of the month of September, DC Comics, publishers of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and a slew of other characters, some widely known and others that are not so known, will be publishing 52 brand new issue #1s. In these efforts, they hope to reach out to a brand new audience, making all the comics completely accessible to any reader hoping to pick up an issue.
To further their efforts, DC Comics is also simultaneously releasing the issues as they are released on electronic devices, like tablets or smart phones, to reach a new breed of electronic audience. I believe that showing such a strong initiative is a definite admirable move, one that everyone should be taking advantage of.
However, with 52 brand new issue 1s, I barely have the time to be able to read all of them. Fortunately, Heroes and Villains Comic Book Store here in Tucson is teaming up with Comic Matters to review all 52 issues. With everyone involved, we plan to give you the ultimate comprehensive list of all the new #1 issues and why you should check out each one, whether it features superheroes or government agents or western epics or space travelers or vampire wars, DC will have something for you.
“If we ask ourselves what we can be–what we will be–tomorrow…then we’re asking the right question. Because to hope, to dream, to predict is to shape the city yourself, rather than to be shaped by it”
This could be one of the biggest no-brainers on the list. It’s Batman, the true Batman, Bruce Wayne, back in cape and cowl able to rock it out. It’s weird to think that there hasn’t been a “Batman #1” in almost 70 years. Crazy, crazy times.
Moe to the point, however, this issue starts with the biggest bang of all: Batman, in Arkham Asylum, taking down one by one some of his worst enemies. What for? Cause, there was the potential for a breakout. The slightest inkling of a breakout and Batman is there, swinging his Bat-Fists and knocking in bad guy skulls.
Handled intelligently and leaving you with the biggest cliffhanger of the 52 so far, we all have to wonder, what’s next?
Birds of Prey:
“A church. It had to be a church. Like I’m not already damned as it is”
DC’s token “bad girl” book, Birds of Prey reads like a comic book adaptation of the best parts of Charlie’s Angels II: Full Throttle (which is all of them. All of the parts).
Everyone’s in leather. Everyone’s punching stuff. Everything is exploding. Everything is exactly as it should be.
“Now, Gotham has nothing that can scare me”
Batman’s former boy-sidekick is back with new threads and a new, spookier attitude.
After filling in for Bruce Wayne for a year after the man was killed by The God of Rainy Days and Hurt Feelings (Hot dang, I love comics), Dick Grayson is finally back in the persona that fits him best: Nightwing!
The experience has left him a tougher, more skilled, more Dracula-esque crime fighter.
He’s a younger, more handsome Bruce Wayne. Who is also an acrobat.
“This sudden ability to manipulate molecules other than your own is remarkable, but your inability to maintain form is alarming“
Borrowing heavily and unapologetically from Alan Moore’s Doctor Manhattan character from Watchmen (who, Fun Fact: was inspired by the original Captain Atom from Charlton Comics), Captain Atom tells the story of a Godlike super-being whose omniscience comes at the cost of his humanity.
Green Lantern Corps:
“Where there is a force of will–there is a force of destiny“
Like the other Green Lantern books in his relaunch, Green Lantern Corps isn’t a relaunch, so much as a reintroduction of the series.
This issue reacquaints readers with lesser-known Green Lanterns Guy Gardner and John Stewart as they try, and fail, to carve a niche for themselves in civilian life.
Green Lantern Corps differs from Green Lantern in that its leads don’t have secret identities–they represent themselves as much as they represent The Corps.
Guy and John don’t get to take time off and go race cars or fly experimental jets like Hal Jordan…for them, there is no life beyond The Green Lantern Corps, beyond the never ending battle of Good vs. Evil.
“I’m not sure I like doing anything unless it puts me out on the limb. ‘Cuz that’s where the fruit is, right?”
Catwoman is not a role model. She’s not a superhero. She’s a costumed super-thief with no sense of right or wrong.
You’re going to hear a lot of people complaining about the fact that she dresses super scantily, robs some dudes, beats a man to death with her bare hands and then casually beds a prominent Justice Leaguer by the end of her first issue.
Just keep repeating the first line of this review as a mantra and I think you’ll enjoy everything about this book just fine.
“Oh Gods, I don’t…I don’t think I’m dreaming. I think this is real! And the sun– something’s wrong–something’s wrong with the sun! This isn’t Krypton!“
What would have happened if Superman landed anywhere else but Kansas to be loved and cared for by an old, kindly farm couple? Sure, that’s been explored in other stories. Except now, it’s time for his cousin to experience the cold, harsh realities of Earth.
Supergirl is as much an icon as her cousin, but it’s always been tough to nail down something that can set her aside. Having her arrive on Earth as a teenager all the while being attacked by robots that have come to investigate the crash site makes it all the better.
This opening story is intense, fast paced, and full of mystery? What would there not be to love about a story like this? The fact that it features Superman’s favorite cousin knocking around some sweet, Japanese-looking robots makes this worth a second or third look. It also makes it totally worth passing around to everyone you know.
“Diana. And you’re safe here, I give you my word…”
More in line with stories like Buffy and Twilight than Justice League, the new Wonder Woman casts Diana Prince as a wondrous woman endowed with supernatural gifts that enable her to protect humanity from the creepy creatures of myth.
Wonder Woman’s enemies aren’t cackling supervillains or greasy purse snatchers this go ’round, so much as monsters masquerading as men, living in the fringe of society and feeding on wayward souls like they were pretzel M&M’s.
“The Blue Beetle is very old, Plasmus. The Brain said it was found in a Mayan pyramid and has changed hands for decades“.
Blue Beetle is cool, if only because he’s the only Hispanic hero in DC right now (even though every square inch of his skin is covered up, so you’d never know unless you listened to the endless stream of Spanglish running out of his azul mouth).
He feels more like an contemporary American kid than Ultimate Spider-Man ever did, and his cast is the most naturally diverse in all of comics right now.
If Blue Beetle has any drawback it’s that he’s almost too relatable. He’s a believable portrayal of an average American teenager…but all of his peers are extraterrestrials, Gods and super-billionaires.
Legion Of Super-Heroes:
“Never subscribed to any of the religions that value martyrdom highly. A lifetime should be weighed, not simply the moment of death”
Legion has always been of one DC’s most fun, imaginative titles and this relaunch hasn’t changed that one bit. There’s thousands of characters on every page–and just as many big ideas.
The average Legion book has enough “high concepts” in one panel to keep a lesser book afloat for years. It’s a sensory overload of awesomeness, and one of the only books on the stands that demands a second (and sometimes third) reading.
The coolest aspect of the book as it currently stands is the fact that the characters within are aware of the relaunch happening around them. There’s references to “time anomalies” and a “Flashpoint wall” which renders the time travelers of the DCU incapable of going back in time to the present day.
It’s a bonkers, blacklight poster of a comic book and I wish it came out everyday.
DC Universe Presents: Deadman:
“And so Johnny Foster becomes yet another living brick on my path to enlightenment. Another innocent soul about to get stuck to my shoe”
Probably the most highfaluting of the lot so far, Deadman recasts the formerly Casper-The-Friendly-Ghost-esque titular lead as a lost soul in search for enlightenment.
In the past, Deadman was able to posses mortal bodies at will (once even taking over Batman himself to take down a criminal foe), this new incarnation (joke intended) has his hosts already preordained for him.
Deadman is now a cosmic Searcher of Truth, surfing from soul to soul in an ongoing attempt to accrue life experience and literally walk a mile in his fellow man’s shoes.
And, of course, every adventure sees our hero possessing somebody cool–a soldier, or a cat burglar or something else visually interesting, probably no 3rd grade teachers, or champion knitters or anything like that.
Red Hood and the Outlaws:
“The All Caste is without any known equal. Nothing short of an alien invasion could do that.”
Like we talked about with Nightwing, being a former teen side kick of the Batman is a tough, tough, tough, tough path to live with. Because there is always the very real possibility of walking in the big man’s shadow. He is one of the most recognizable heroes in the world, after all. Maybe the second closest thing would be being the child of the President or something similar.
So what does Jason Todd, the second Robin, now the anti-hero known as the Red Hood go and do? He springs another young, former side kick and begins an around the world journey interrupted by the assassination of an ancient order that taught him everything he knows.
Featuring some of the sickest artwork of the entire relaunch, this is definitely the book to check out if the goody-goodiness of Batman is just not your thing. And that’s saying something.
- Heroes and Villains Comic Book Store is located on 4533 E. Broadway Blvd., in between Swan and Columbus. They were voted “Best Comic Book/Game Store” by the readers of the Tucson Weekly in 2009 and 2010. You can reach them at 520-321-HERO(4376).
- In addition to writing for the column “Comic Matters” for the Tucson Citizen website, Bobby Acosta is also a 5th Grade Elementary school teacher, frequenter of local comic book shop Heroes & Villains, and explorer of the importance of comics. Contact him at email@example.com