Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DC Comics The New 52 Week 2: Part 2

Well, the wait is finally over!  The New DCU is upon us, and whether you're ready or not, this week sees the release of 13 all new series.  It's strange, exciting, and truly a great time to be a fan of the medium of comics.  Now, on the review side, I'm trying to be as spoiler free as possible with these reviews, mainly due to the fact that experiencing them yourself is paramount.  I'm also going to try to do full reviews for a lot of these new series, though time constraints and my current sanity level will prevent me from doing all of them.  That said, in these The New 52 Articles, I'll give you a quick rundown of what was good, what was not so good, and what are the books to seek out.  So without further ado, TO THE BOOKS!

Grifter #1
Writer: Nathan Edmondson
Artist: Cafu
Company: DC Comics
The second title that sees Wildstorm characters enter the DCU proper, and while Stormwatch fared well, Grifter is a much rockier beginning.  In short, there's nothing really sexy about this opening issue.  Edmondson's story does do what it needs to, it sets up the character and just why and how he can hear "demons" that are masquerading as humans. It's done with precision too. It also puts a new spin on the character, taking the literal meaning of the word grifter to heart, as Cole Cash fleeces money out from under people.  On the art side of things, Cafu does a fine job.  It's a little on the stiff side at times, but the style and inks remind me more of the Vertigo feel than it does anything else. The colors are a little flat, and heavy on the blues, which gives everything a sheen of blandness though. It seems like it has all of the right ingredients, but there isn't anything that's bringing it together.  I'm in for a second issue, as I do think there are some interesting notions at play, but it's not the best first issue.

Legion Lost #1
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Pete Woods
Company: DC Comics
When it was first announced that a Legion Lost book was in the works, I had hoped that Abnett and Lanning would have been involved.  Still, Nicieza is a quite competent writer in his own right.  He proved that with things like X-Men and more recently with Red Robin.  This first issue of Legion Lost isn't an out of the box winner, but it is entertaining and has many things going for it.  The main notion of the book sees seven members of the Legion who are stranded in current times when their manhunt for a villain from their own timeline leads to some problems.  Nicieza has a good handle on the team dynamic (that familial notion that most any Legion book tries to get across), which is important, but he also is using their powers in more inventive ways.  That says something about the characters and allows them to be more than just avatars or 2 dimensional characters that simply blast stuff.  Pete Woods' art is a major appeal for me.  It's poppy and while traditional, it has a slickness that really allows him to tell very effective action and character moments.  Like I said, it isn't an instant hit, but it is solid.  If you're a Legion fan, new or old, I think it's safe to say that you'll find something about it that you'll like.

Mister Terrific #1
Writer: Eric Wallace
Artist: Gianluca Gugliotta
Company: DC Comics
This is everything that I hoped a Mister Terrific book to be.  And I know what you're thinking...Did you ever really think there would be a Mister Terrific book?  The answer probably would have been no, but man am I glad that it exists now.  Eric Wallace, a name that I don't really know, knows how to bring the fun with this book.  His take on the character is a great mixture of new and old, but the way that he puts it to page is what makes it so different and enjoyable.  Seeing our hero fight a crazed Frenchman in a robot suit is standard superhero fun, but that the character uses his head to get out of the situation and the way that Science is explored in general opens up a lot of possibilities for this book.  The villain, or threat, of the book is clever too. Gugliotta's style is definitely Euro influenced, but its so different and brings a much more fluid, effective, and heightened sense of adventure that makes watching Michael fly on his T-Spheres or stand around talking about his latest invention to a Presidential candidate a blast, as it all grabs your attention by the collar and dazzles.  All in all, the approach to this character and the story that's being told is just about flawless.  It's fun, smart and reminds me of what comics can do.

Red Lanterns #1
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Ed Benes
Company: DC Comics
This issue had me for about six pages.  Milligan seemed to channel his inner Metal Music Man as we see Atrocitus and Dex-Star take on a race of evil alien bad asses.  After that though, and I hate to say this, it turns into a fairly bland story that weirdly seems a bit introspective and talky as Atrocitus searches for meaning to his life and the Red Lanterns in general.  It's mired in some of the least interesting trappings of the Green Lantern mythos, things that I had hoped to see put on the back burner, but will no doubt play much larger roles.  We do find out some back history about the character that we haven't before, which was nice though.  Ed Benes' art was actually a bit surprising.  Lately he's been a very flat guy, one who's style is scratchy with an element of cheesecake to it.  Those things have been toned down considerably, leading to a much more concise and infinitely more entertaining affair.  His Dex-Star is a bit odd looking, for a household cat turned rage spewing menace, but oh well.  Really, Milligan needs to pick a focus for the book.  The back and forth between talky and the exploration of Rage and what it means and METAL is a little odd.  Here's hoping that can be rectified.

Resurrection Man #1
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Fernando Dagnino
Company: DC Comics
The other book that tied for best showing this week.  Honestly, I knew nothing about the character that stars in this book beyond the idea that when he died he was instantly resurrected with a new super power.  It's a good hook though, and with writers like DnA, who've worked on things like Heroes for Hire and Annhilation, you have my full attention.  The result is an opening issue that works on several levels.  For old fans of the character, it feels as though they're continuing with some threads that were left dangling.  That said, DnA don't make it easy for new readers to jump in and instantly know everything they need to, while at the same time providing a power struggle from up on high and down low who want poor Mitch's soul for their own tasty treat.  Dagnino's work is very nice.  It has an Deodato style to it, what with its skewed panel structure, but he seems to have a knack for drawing compelling human elements along with intense action sequences that never once feel confusing. Resurrection Man has great characters, high concept action, heroic tendencies, and a feel that there is more at work here than you can guess.  In a sense, fun boils off of it.  Enjoy the ride.


Suicide Squad #1
Writer: Adam Glass
Artist: Federico Dallocchio
Company: DC Comics
This was the one book that I was the most worried about.  Mainly due to the fact that I love the Suicide Squad brand, ever since one of my friends made me read Ostrander's original run of the series.  What also made me worried was the fact that the Glass' Flashpoint: Legion of Doom series was not a favorite of mine.  It felt choppy and didn't register with me, as it skewed quite dark.  With Suicide Squad however, Glass kicks you in the teeth and brings the kind of feel you want with the book.  It's dark, no doubt about it, but here it feels right and it's not taken to the point where you're turned off by it. The basic idea of the title hasn't changed, as villains who have landed themselves in prison get to work their time off by doing the suicide missions, but the makeup of the squad itself has.  Deadshot feels more classic than I had figured, but Harley is a bit different.  The other members were a surprise, one that I won't spoil, but it's pretty cool how they are explored and shown to have "join" the team.  Dallocchio's art provided good visual eye candy.  There were times where I thought things could have been a little clearer, but he's solid.  Really, this feels like Suicide Squad through and through...And the teaser for the next issue certainly has my ears perked.

Superboy #1
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: R.B. Silva
Company: DC Comics
The first test of just how Scott (Generation X) Lobdell handles comics these days.  And really, though there were a few instances in this one that felt like I was hitting walls of text, it was a fairly satisfying and interesting ride.  The story itself looks at the creation of a human hybrid clone of Superman.  How Superman's DNA was obtained is unknown, but it doesn't seem that Superboy's character is all that different from what we're used to.  Still, the science and the evolution of the character and how he views the world lead to ideas that felt new and unique.  There's also some cues to characters that I wasn't expecting to see around so soon, which I think is cool.  The artwork by Silva edges out the slightly wordy script though and makes the outing much more enjoyable.  I like the vibrancy of the colors and the clean, very approachable look of his style.  His characters are lean and expressive, which allows the inner monologues that we sometimes get here to make a much bigger impact.  Overall, not the best of the bunch, but one that certainly will bring me back for a second issue.

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