XX: DC Comics New 52 – The Final Weekby Bobby Acosta on Oct. 05, 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.
Even more exciting still, regardless of selling out of their first runs at the distributor level, DC Comics is re-releasing a TON of their #1s that sold out. Heroes and Villains has them too. So, with the final week of the New 52 here, now is the best time to go and get them.
“I don’t talk to fish.”
I’ll be completely honest; the thought of buying an ongoing Aquaman series seemed as unappealing to me as I’m sure it does to any normal person that I would ask on the streets. I’m sure we all remember him as the hero that was given the lame treatment on the old Superfriends cartoon show where his ability to talk to fish has become a sort of mocking status of all that he used to stand for.
This new series, helmed by DC Chief Creative Officer and all around awesome writer Geoff Johns, acknowledges his previous gaffs in pop culture, but makes Aquaman the regal, reserved man of action which works much better. Probably one of my favorite series of the entire relaunch.
“Today we being our holy war against the humans. Many of our will die, more of theirs will. We were meant to inherit the earth, but instead we let it be stolen by aliens and masked men”
Hands down my favorite book of the entire relaunch!
I, Vampire chronicles the beginning of an all out race war between monsters and superheroes (how freakin’ cool does that sound?).
The basic gist of the thing is that the vampires, who assumed themselves to be the next phase in human evolution, are enraged by the sudden appearance of superhumans in their world and have vowed to eat them all before they grow in number and reshape the face of the future.
“If you’re not moving, you’re not living”
Stripped of the baggage his old continuity saddled him with (marriage, children, a sidekick, an extended family of “speedsters”), Barry Allen has been stripped down to the bare essentials: he’s a forensic scientist, a hero, and the fastest man alive. What more does anyone need? The lines of justice never blur with this man, and it’s refreshing to have a character like him in today’s world of shades of grey.
All Star Western
“With intelligent and persistent effort, a man may hold fast to his time and place in the world, but that is the most that he can hope to do”
In a further attempt to turn every single character in the DC stable into Batman, Jonah Hex, DC’s most popular western icon, moves to Gotham City and teams up with an Arkham to solve mysteries.
Also, some vagrants try to eat his horse.
Green Lantern: New Guardians
“Kyle Rayner of Earth, you have been chosen”
Kyle Rayner is the George W. Bush of the Green Lantern corps: people either love him or hate him.
Less of a white bread, tough guy Hal-Jordan-type, not quite a militant, cause of the week, liberal John-Stewart-type, Kyle Rayner exemplifies the “slacker” attitude of the 90′s (during which he was created).
Kyle’s strength as a character is that he fills the Peter Parker “everyman” role better than anyone else in the DC universe. Essentially, he’s a comic book fan given the chance to star in his own comic book, and that’s pretty cool.
“My life is never going to be the same”
“No. It won’t. But maybe it can be something more. Something better”
Like all the best young adult fiction, Teen Titan pits a group of noble teenagers against a horde of evil adults, “The Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.”.
Red Robin takes the lead in this series, rebooted into a young James-Bond-type who travels the globe in search of super powered youth to mentor.
“In this place ‘very nice’ gets you a five. Slutty gets you a twenty”
Justice League Dark
“This is my territory. Spells, hocus pocus, demons. It’s meat and drink to me”
Probably the coolest concept in this entire enterprise, Justice League Dark teams up all of the spooky Vertigo Goth kid characters and tosses a bunch of Dio-album-cover-demons at them until they do something awesome.
And they do. They totally, totally do.
Batman: The Dark Knight
“I am never afraid. And I never will be”
Before the relaunch Batman: The Dark Knight didn’t have an author attached. David Finch, an artist with no writing credits under his belt, was allowed to write his own material–and it felt like it.
Comic book artists are like pop singers: they think that since they’re good at one thing they’re qualified to do everything.
But this issue rules! It has classic villains, new femme fatales, and a couple of really great Bruce Wayne scenes.
Plus Batman punches some dudes. Hard.
The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men
“It could be the key to all human knowledge. Black holes, time travel, physics on…on another level”
I read this book with the intention to make fun of it. Firestorm was my least favorite character in the old Superfriends cartoon–a whiny teenager with an ill-defined power set and a boring old physics professor stuck in his head, like some emo/schizophrenic Luke Skywalker…
But this book was really, really cool. I tried not to. I really, really did.
It’s got everything that makes a superhero comic good: theoretical physics, subtle allusions to occult disciplines, end-of-the-world stakes, and, most importantly: superdudes fighting other dudes who combine to form an even bigger superdude!
The Savage Hawkman
“I did it. Hawkman’s dead. One of us had to die. I’m glad it was you”
Hawkman is the Indiana Jones of the DC Universe, only he hunts down super sweet alien artifacts instead of boring old human ones.
He’s the greatest creation since fire.
Also he hits guys in the face with a mace all of the time.
“Hey, I got the job done, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, and you almost got killed”
“We’re a military unit. We almost always get killed! It’s a dangerous job”
Remember that time you had your G.I. Figures fight your DC Superfriends action figures?
That’s exactly what this is. And God bless it.
“On this day, a grateful city has said goodbye to one of its oldest residents. Its battered, war-scarred body finally succumbing to the ravages of age and the inevitability of progress”
A meta-commentary on the Superman character himself, Superman deconstructs Clark Kent’s supporting cast, setting and premise and axes everything the current creative team finds discordant with contemporary life.
Predictably: The Daily Planet has gone digital, Superman now wears a high-tech suit of armor under his civvies instead of spandex, and the Lois/Clark marriage is gone. PLUS, Superman fighting a fire monster high above a city. You know, what the movies should do.
So what was accomplished with all this? A massive raise in interest in DC Comics and all their properties, new contemporary tales on their characters for better and for worst, which shouldn’t matters since either way it has people talking.
If nothing else, instead of only getting 2 DC comics like I was before, I’m now getting 6. Even that counts as a win. Kudos to you, DC Comics. Let’s keep this party going.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org