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 Storehere 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.
“You know the deal Metropolis. Treat people right or expect a visit from me.”
Action Comics, the prime Superman comic for the last 70 years, launches and helps kick things off with a bang. Taking place five years in the past, when superheroes were not even acknowledged as heroes, a Superman runs the streets of Metropolis. Is he the beloved hero we know? No, not yet.
This is a different Superman. He’s not fully the character the world trusts in yet, but he’s one doing the best he can. He’s a hero that believes in what’s right, now always what is the law. Superman has no problems causing some trouble for the police force.
And that, in and of itself, is totally worth the read. See the dawn of superheroes with the first and the very, very best.
“I am known in some quarters as a hero. I can wear that shape. But when I need to be a warrior–I do it with Stormwatch“
Stormwatch is the angry teenager to Justice League‘s complacent old fogey. The Justice Leaguers wear spandex and lyrca, the Stormwatchers wear leather and PVC. The Leaguers never murder, the Stormwatchers’ raison d’etre is “to kill every evil bastard in the world”. The League is an independent gang of rugged individualists, Stormwatch is a fully-sanctioned black ops team who is armed and paid for by the government.
The “relaunched” elements so far include the dissolution of Apollo and Midnighter’s marriage (the only same-sex marriage in all of comics), the redistribution of their adopted daughter “Jenny Quantum”, and a mysterious connection to the author’s other DC Comic (not yet released) Demon Knights.
“S.T.A.R. labs is so lucky–and they don’t even know it. Not only do they get the handsome, brilliant uber -genius Virgil Hawkings…they also get the not-so-mild-mannered, super-cool, and fiercely awesome Static“
Static is the New DC Universe’s answer to Ultimate Spider-Man: a young, tragically un-hip (despite his best efforts), science nerd with a heart of gold whose superhero persona offers a much-needed respite from his home life.
The best parts of Static Shock are the real scientific factoids at the bottom of the page which offer dream-logic explanations for the physics behind Static’s superpowers.
Long-time fans of the book will flip out over the allusions to Static’s supporting cast of old. I totally did.
“I told Batman that a man dressed as a bat will not instill fear in the average criminal in Africa. They have seen too much. He told me, ‘you have to just sell it“.
Batwing continues the popular “Batman Inc.” storyline, in which Bruce Wayne (super-capitalist that he is) turns the Batman identity into a franchise, and (much like Santa and his legion of Mall Santa stand-ins) installs a Bat-themed hero in every major city in the world (except Metropolis. ‘Cause…y’know).
Batwing’s alter ego is David Zavimbe, a police officer for the Tinasha Police Department. His Alfred analogue is Matu Ba, a veteran of The Children’s Harbor (a child soldier rescue organization).
Batwing seems to be the most mature title in the DC relaunch so far, examining the effectiveness of the classic American superhero archetype in a continent where genocide, rampant political corruption and murder-by-machete are more common than flamboyant performance-artist-criminals and neon crime-robots.
“Gotham is a Hell Hole. Always has been. Always will be”.
“Like Hell it will”.
Despite the “New 52″ logo printed on the cover, Detective Comics reads like an old fashioned Bat-yarn: The cops chase Batman, Batman chases The Joker, Batman pummels The Joker into incoherence, The Joker goes to Arkham Asylum.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right?
The only new elements introduced in this issue are: “Bat-bots”, which are, as the name would suggest, cute little bat robots (undoubtedly scheduled to appear soon in a Happy Meal near you) equally inspired by the “bat sentries” of Kingdom Come and the real-life unmanned spy drones that the U.S. military uses to hunt down terrorists, and a brand new baddie named “The Dollmaker”, whose modus operandi seems to be cutting folks up into little pieces in front of their youngest living relatives.
If nothing else, Detective Comics #1 proves that the DC Comics relaunch was not executed in an attempt to skew towards a younger readership.
Except for those “Bat-bots”…
Men of War:
“Every order you’ve ignored has led to some aggravating tactical victory for your men. I ask again, corporal. Why are you here?”
Men of War tries its best to everything to everyone: it’s a patriotic salute to the United States Armed forces with a lead who’s a rebellious-yet-sensitive rabble-rouser. It’s a war book whose villain is an old fashioned, costumed supervillain. It blends gritty realism with Marvels-style eyewitness reports of superfolks in action.
In short: it’s an endearingly schizophrenic, genre-bending attempt by DC to tip their baby toe into a new genre.
Also there are explosions. Lots and lots of explosions.
- 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