Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dc Comics The New 52 - Quick Shots 10/29/11

Well, everyone take a quick sigh of relief. Catch your breath while you can, as the first month of DC's relaunch is finally over. 52 new books with new creative teams and new things to love or hate. Okay, break's over and the books keep on coming. Overall, I have to say that I'm pretty happy with the quality that we've seen. Sure, there have been a few books that have disappointed, but we expected that to some degree. There was no way that all 52 of them would hit the bulls-eye. What this article will try to do is provide a quick three or four sentence review of how each of the subsequent issues of the title fare. I wish that I could provide a more in depth look at each of them, but time is a harsh mistress and it seems to always run out. Anyways, to the books!

All-Star Western #2
Writers: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Moritat and Jordi Bernet
Company: DC Comics
While it may not have had the surprise factor that the first issue had, this second issue of the Jonah Hex starring book was fairly awesome. The meat and potatoes of the issue is Hex knocking fist and bullet against the many bodies that our Gotham Secret Society has sent in his general direction, but it's nice that the Amadeus Arkham viewpoint hasn't been completely thrust to the side. Moritat utilizes his expert skills as an artist to beautifully render the violence. There's a great splash especially, one that is broken down into much smaller panels that what is typical, to show the brutalization of a fight scene in an almost second by second sort of way. So yes, this still qualifies as one hell of a Western comic and the fact that there's a backup El Diablo story drawn by the amazing Jordi Bernet makes it even better.

Aquaman #2
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Company: DC Comics
While not as good as the first issue, many of the, "Aquaman is lame, so let's make him cool jokes," have been thrown back out to sea and replaced with some good old monster attacks. The action is a bit intense in places, skewing to some of the gore that Johns has been well known for, but it doesn't feel out of place somehow. It's obvious that The Trench is the new big bad and I think the expansion of Aquaman's rogues gallery is a great thing. The other stuff things that are touched on in this issue is how Aquaman and Mera are fitting into every day society. It's kind of schlocky, but I like what's going on and even more surprising is that I think Johns is making Mera a much more interesting character than she's ever been. Reis, as always, provides excellent visuals. The man is an awesome machine.

Batman: The Dark Knight #2
Writers: David Finch & Paul Jenkins
Artists: David Finch & Richard Friend
Company: DC Comics
Well that Silver Age remark that I made in the first issue review needs to be revamped, as this issue through out the funny corniness and supplied a deeply messed up and creepy vibe in its place. What do I speak of? Well, let's just say that it involves The Ventriloquist acquiring a new dummy. In all honesty, while I do think that Finch is a decent artist that knows how to set a scene and sell it, he's not the world's greatest writer. His storytelling just isn't up to snuff and even with Jenkins' help, The Dark Knight seems to be limping along without supplying much in the way of fun or entertainment.

Flash #2
Writers: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellatto
Artist: Francis Manapul
Company: DC Comics
Standard superhero fare. I say that and I know most people immediately interpret that as somehow being boring, but that isn't the case. In fact, it's a major compliment, as getting traditional super-heroics isn't as easy as you would think it is. Manapul, as a writer, is showing a great knack for ingenuity. He and Buccellatto think outside the box and allows his characters to feel Super. With this issue we see how Barry figures out how to allow his brain to access the Speed Force in order to out-think his problems. It's a cool idea, but you can already see that it's one that is a bit of a double edged sword. As an artist, Manapul is killing it. The experimental nature of his panels and the sheer approach-ability of the world that's creating is great. It's a great time to be a Flash Fan.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #2
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Tyler Kirkham
Company: DC Comics
Lobotomy. You just brought Lobotomy into a Green Lantern comic? I mean, I know this relaunch is meant to stray a bit into the realistic and the darker avenues of the world, but when you literally lobotomize a character, some imaginary moral code has been crossed, right? Beyond that, things in this issue are fairly bland. Why Kyle has become a lantern for all of the other rings is addressed, but not answered. Bedard skates to the more extreme side of things while making Kyle a bit of a dope, sort of in the same vein that he was when he first showed up on the scene back in the 90's and was made fun of by most of the other heroes. Kirkham's art on the other hand is fine. Not perfect, but decent enough.

I, Vampire #2
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Company: DC Comics
Are you a vampire? Do you happen to feel persecuted by the pesky human race? Feel like joining a team that wants to wipe said annoyance off the face of the Earth? Then come on, join Team Queen of Blood! Yup, that's pretty much what this issue goes into. It's odd to see things take a dip into the political and social stuff of vampires, but it's a welcomed distraction from the poorly executed love/hate relationship between the two main characters. The conflict doesn't jibe and feels so cookie cutter that it's distracting. Sorrentino's artwork, still channeling Jae Lee, again feels stagnant and stiff, especially during the action scenes. Sadly, this book goes into the meh pile.

Justice League Dark #2
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Mikel Janin
Company: DC Comics
A bit of a dip in the wrong direction this issue. The quote on the cover promises a good burning of witches, and there is a bit of that, but the longer this story goes on (and I know this is only the second issue), the more you realize just how played out The Enchantress as a big bad and story element is. The other, lower key, elements revealed here were fine, though the soap opera of Deadman and Dove may have served better if it had been trimmed and substituted with some more burning of witches. Or you know, action of any sort. On the flip side, Janin continues to provide strong visuals. His anatomy and storytelling and overall attention to detail trends to the impressive to downright badass status.

Superman #2
Writer: George Perez
Artist: George Perez & Jesus Merino
Company: DC Comics
There's one thing that a Superman comic should never do. It should never bore you to tears, which is what this book has been doing. The pacing is so off and the ideas aren't interesting. I love George Perez and will always be thankful for his work on Wonder Woman and other DC books, but the pacing that he employed with those 80's works shouldn't be used nowadays. It just doesn't gel. The fight between an invisible, possible Kryptonian monster and the back and forth between never together but oddly sound like divorcees, Lois Lane and Clark Kent both feel very cold. Merino, who's a bit locked in by Perez's breakdowns is solid enough. I still think there should be more inherent movement to his characters, much in the same way that Morales and Co. put into Action Comics. A disappointing title to say the least.

Teen Titans #2
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Brett Booth
Company: DC Comics
An instance where, while I recognize the many Lobdell-isms that are prevalent in the title, the story being told in the pages of Teen Titans is one that has a lot going for it. The characters seem more balanced than many others in the relaunch, and I like the melding of new characters (i.e. Wildstorm Universe) with the DCU. There are a few lines of dialogue that are snicker worthy, but Red Robin's go get em attitude and the action reads well. The art on the other hand is distracting. Booth has certainly come a long way in his career, but there are times where I can't help but feel that this title would have been boosted even more with the likes of someone like Mike Norton. Booth's messy line can sometimes obscure details and can be very distracting. I'm still on board for story, but I would kill for a better artist.

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