Weekly Comic Review for 9/7/11

Yes, I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve been meaning to get this post up for a couple days now. I’ve only got 1 or 2 more books from the following week to read so maybe I’ll get that up tomorrow. (With all the New 52 books out there, it’s definitely taking longer to get through the books with everything else I’ve had going on since my vacation. But I wanted to get some work done before I have to head off to the Magic the Gathering pre-release tournament today. I’ll get it finished up in the morning. I’m adding “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” as my review of the New 52 titles and then will hit the rest of the books for the week.

The New 52
Action Comics #1 – After over 900 issues, Action Comics is at #1. And with #1 comes a whole new Superman. For this issue, he’s in a short sleeve shirt and jeans with a tucked in cape. And with the new look comes a new attitude. Superman is no longer the boy scout, he’s a asshole. He’s still a hero but he got a major attitude. He’s no longer married to Lois and he works at a different company than Lois and Jimmy. We start off with an appearance by Lex Luthor. I’m not really impressed It’s Superman and it’s Action Comics so it’s not going anywhere but…

Animal Man #1 – First things first, the new customer SUCKS. The old one was kinda tacky but it was cool in that way. There’s mention of sending an “audition tape” to the Justice League which means his history with the Justice League is probably gone. Things are just starting here and they could be going in a lot of directions. The new twist at the end with Buddy’s daughter could be quite interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes. It may fail but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.

Batgirl #1 – This one I was really worried about. I thought they were going to just ignore the whole Joker thing but supposedly she is somehow healed from being in the wheel chair. (Not sure how yet though.) I’m not sure if the whole Oracle thing is being ignored or just hasn’t been mentioned yet. That’s one thing I’m going to miss. This one might have a chance here even if it wasn’t a Bat title.

Batwing #1 – Judd Winnick takes on a character who appeared in about 1 frame of a comic so far. This gives him a lot of space to work in since there is no history even before the reboot. The new character is in the police force in Africa. Ad is the trend in the new DC Universe, he’s wearing armor. (You’ll start noticing a trend…) This could have a chance. They’ve started an interesting base for the character and the area around him. Not sure that I’ll follow it but it will have a chance.

Detective Comics #1 – It’s Batman vs. the Joker in the start of the series. It’s Bruce in his Bat Armor. (I told you there’s a trend!) I’m not sure how he’s being stealthy in that outfit. I guess that’s why the Joker keeps escaping this issue. And the Joker is as psycho as ever. It appears he may be up for a change too as the issues ends with his face having been removed. This could get really interesting.

Green Arrow #1 – It’s a younger and clean shaven Ollie in the green tights. His suit looks more like the Green Arrow from Smallville than the pre-reboot costume. I like the look but the previous one was better. (Yes, I’m a fan of the face fuzz.) He’s back in charge of Queen Industries and has a new team backing him up. He’s going to have his hands full with the whole team of bad guys appearing this issue to take on. I’m waiting to see where this goes.

Hawk and Dove #1 – I’ve always been a big fan of Hawk and Dove so I was happy to see them get a title. (I was wondering if they would when Hawk came back during Blackest Night.) One bad side of this, Rob Liefeld doing the art. Yes, he did it in the mini-series that started this pair, but I can do without him now. It seems Hank’s father (at least) is around. I don’t remember him having his parents before but I would just be misremembering after this time. We get a Reader’s Digest version of the original Hawk and Dove’s origin as well as a cameo by Deadman. I really don’t see the whole Dove/Deadman thing. It should be Hawk and Dawn. But things seem to be progressing and we’ll just have to see where things get taken from there. I’m definitely on for the ride for now.

Justice League International #1 – Unlike where things looked like they’d be going at the end of the Brightest Day mini-series where Batman was going to form the JLI. At the start of the issue, representatives from the major global governments discuss forming a super-hero team under their control. Interestingly, the picture of potential heroes on the first page includes B’wanna Beast who is dead. (Or is he back after the reboot?) A number of heroes were nixed (Batman and Green Arrow for ties to the Justice League, Plastic Man for being “whacko”, and Blue Beetle for being a rookie) which left the team with Fire, Ice, Guy Gardner, Vixen, Godiva, Rocket Red, August General in Iron, and Booster Gold as their leader. Guy refuses to accept Booster as the leader but Batman attempts to convince him to stick around while he joins the team despite the politicians’ decision not to include him. The members bicker (especially Rocket Red and August General in Iron) all the way through to their first battle. I’m actually on the fence about this. It seems like they are trying to hit some of the comedy of the old Justice League so it could do well if they pick up or it might flop.

Men of War #1 – Are war comics still in style anywhere? Yes, some of the characters were interesting, but do they draw people in any more? The story of this issue is how Corporal Rock becomes Sgt. Rock. You get to see what’s in his head as he fights the promotion, just wanting to be a simple soldier. While it was an interesting story, I couldn’t see myself ever adding this to my pull list. It may draw a few readers but not enough to stick around I don’t think.

OMAC #1 – The big thing that stands out is that art style of the book which is done to greatly imitate the style of Jack Kirby. This OMAC looks different than the ones we’ve seen before, taking over the body of Kevin Kho who works at Cadmus. We even get to see Brother Eye at the very end. I’m sure OMAC’s attack on Cadmus and where all this will lead to will clear up over time but it’s a little confusing and not all that interesting. You need to pull people in from the start and I don’t think this comic did that.

Static Shock #1 – I never did figure out how he got his powers back after his sting in the Teen Titans. I guess none of that matters now though. Virgil has a new costume and is now working at STAR Labs and flying around on a honeycomb plate with a big hole in the middle. (Ummm… Wouldn’t it be safer not to have the big hole?) I didn’t read the old series but I know in the cartoon, Virgil lost his mother. She’s here in this series though. Aslo, Static seems to be working for Hardware, another character from the old Milestone universe. Overall, it really didn’t grab me.

Stormwatch #1 – I never really read the old Stormwatch title so this was something totally new for me other than the Martian Manhunter. This seems like a total reboot as Apollo and Midnighter are not members and just meet at the end of the book. Stormwatch is just trying to get Apollo to join the team in fact, which is something he doesn’t want to do. One thing that is interesting is that they mention how the Martian Manhunter was part of the Justice League. This book has some potential and could have a future. I just hope they still pursue the relationship between Apollo and Midnighter and don’t wipe that out to get rid of a couple of gay characters.

Everything Else
Heroes for Hire #11 – Yes, it’s more of “Fear Itself”. It’s more of Shroud and Electra vs. Killgrave and Paladin, Gargoyle and Misty vs. the Yancy Street Monster. The one humorous part is when we find out that Electra was in charge of herself because she held her breath and therefore never lost control. The “Next Issue” page shows “The Final Hire” so I’m guessing this title won’t be lasting much longer. It’s a fun concept but they haven’t picked the greatest of character to really pull it along so it’s not too surprising.

Moon Knight #5 – This isn’t really an overly exciting issue. Moon Knight and Echo are caught by the police. The Avengers in Marc’s head argue over what to do and he ends up escaping. Echo gets away on her own and Moon Knight catches up with her. While hiding in a dark alley, Marc tries to kiss her which ends up getting his ass kicked. I’m actually loving the dynamic of these two, including his “Will you marry me?” comment while laying on the ground and the comment about his “braveness” of quipping to a deaf girl with her back to him.

New Avengers Annual #1 – Wonder Man pulls together a team to take down the Avengers while he thinks has lost direction and is the reason for most stuff that has gone wrong. He gathers a team called the Revengers including Anti-Venom, D-Man, Captain Ultra, Devil-Slayer, Century, Altas, Goliath, and Ethan Edwards. I actually had to look up Goliath on Wikipedia since last I knew he was dead. I’m assuming this character s actually Bill Foster’s nephew though. Captain Ultra is a lame joke and is taken down with flames. Tho D-Man is another joke character on the team who just keeps saying “You know me!” as he was loosely associated with the Avengers and Captain America in the past but never really made it as a hero. I’d love to see more of Devil-Slayer as I don’t think he’s appeared since his mini-series and I enjoyed when the Eric Payne version was in the Defenders. Long story short (OK, too late for that…), after lots of punching and breaking things, the Revengers win. “OK, you’ve defeated the Avengers. What are you going to do now?” I’ll give you a hint and it has nothing to do with Walt Disney. They’ve set their sights on a skyscraper with a story continuing into the upcoming Avengers Annual. I’ve missed the old Avengers/West Coast Avengers double Annual cross-overs.

Thunderbolts #163 – I haven’t read Thunderbolts in a LONG time but this one was labeled “1st Issue of a New Era” on the cover. Quite misleading. A number of the Thunderbolts were tossed back to the World War II era. This brings in the Invaders, one of my favorite super-groups. The current team of Thunderbolts doesn’t appeal to me. The one thing I thought was cute was Moonstone changing her costume into more of the WWII period. I think this will be a one time pick-up of the series since I expected something better of it.

The Marvel books carry a secondary story about 9/11. There’s no speech in it, just pictures to convey the story of a family fighting with each other through the morning and then pulling together following the devastation of the World Trade Center. It was quite a good story and told very well without any text.

This is just the first week of the New 52 and I’m already getting confused. I don’t know what is rebooted and what is not. The prior week’s Justice League shows a fresh start 5 years before and doesn’t include the Martian Manhunter yet we find out in Stormwatch that he was a member. In Justice League International, we see that the old JLI apparently never existed which wiped out everything from Justice League Lost as well. I feel like I’ve walked into the middle of a remade movie. You don’t know what happened in the first half of the movie and you don’t was kept from the original version. This is why so many people are just walking away from DC right now. I’ve been a big fan od DC over Marvel for years but I have to say they are both disappointing me.

And that just leaves me with the Top 3. All those comics and my first pass didn’t come up with 3 titles that I would REALLY recommend. After giving it some thought, I’ll go with Animal Man, Batgirl, and Green Arrow. Hopefully DC will pick up over the next couple months. (And, yes, the top 3 includes the Marvel Comics. None of them made it this week.)

[Note: I noticed I’m missing Swamp Thing #1 from the first week. I’ll have to review that once I get it from my comic store.]

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