Wednesday, September 5, 2012

DC Zero Issues Part 1: 9/5/12

Action Comics #0
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Ben Oliver
Company: DC Comics
The greatest story about someone stealing Superman's cape there ever was and Superman's first foray into the camera lens of the world, that's the nature and innate Zero-Ness of this issue. Really though, these are the simple stories that Grant Morrison excels at. He injects great character moments, specifically during a fun conversation about dating and video games between Clark and Jimmy, right along the traditional superhero moments that you expect. There's heart in this story, which seems so very right for Superman. Oliver, who uses a loose and slightly painted style, turns in some nice looking work. It doesn't bristle with the same energy that Rags Morales is able to inject in our caped hero, but there's a bit more of a...Shiny-ness is the best way to describe it. This is probably brought about by the digital colors, which don't quite gel. Really though, this is an issue dedicated to showing you what Superman is and what he stands for. Both of these things are accomplished, if you ask me.

Detective Comics #0
Writer: Greg Hurwitz
Artist: Tony Daniel
Company: DC Comics
I'll say this first: Tony Daniel has improved so much over the years. As I flipped through this, I was reminded of this. The action is well thought out, the anatomy is nice, and the general flow of the story and the backgrounds all have a nice synchronicity. I wish that I could say the same about the story. The notion of delving into the period of time where Bruce was still training to be Batman is fine. Adding more pain and suffering, essentially creating another Mother and Father figure, is something that doesn't feel right. There are some clever moments with Bruce flirting with a woman, but even that story beat takes a clunky and somewhat easily seen turn. It's all a bit paint-by-numbers when this could have been the perfect opportunity to add something new and clever. I'll give it a weak Meh and a vote to check it out for the art. The backup story, featuring Scruffy Bruce, however, I liked quite a bit more.

Green Lantern #0
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Company: DC Comics
I'm going to say something about Geoff Johns penned Green Lantern books. Bare with me for a second and if it sounds strange, I'm sorry. His stories are a lot like Legos. It's like he's building the biggest, most awesome-est Lego diorama that the world's ever seen, but he never seems to be able to finish it. There's always another piece that needs to be added. He's been on the series for coming up on 8 years, I think, and every story feeds into the next. That doesn't mean the stories aren't good. This #0 issue, which sees the introduction to our newest Green Lantern, Baz, chronicles his story as a car thief (and suspected terrorist), and strums the story chords of the "Rise of the 3rd Army" story is the perfect example. It's a decent story that blends realism and the superhero. It also accomplishes a lot, but critical mass has been reached and my interest in Green Lantern related products has quickly waned. I wish Johns would stop with the addition of so much realism in his comics, but what are you going to do? On the other hand, the art by Doug Mahnke is brilliant. Everything has a crispness to it and a real sense of energy that you can't help but enjoy. If you're enjoying Green Lantern and want to know what's up with the new story line, this is a must buy. If you're not, it's a mixture of hits and misses on the writing side of things and nothing but gold on the art side.

Phantom Stranger #0
Writer: Dan Didio
Artist: Brent Anderson
Company: DC Comics
So, you find out pretty quickly in this one that Phantom Stranger is Judas Iscariot. They don't ever say the name but they do everything but. Strange but not the weirdest idea for Judas. I remember that movie Dracula 2000 that had him being the first vampire and was being hunted down by Christopher Plummer. And he was played by Gerard Butler. Okay...I've gotten off topic. All joking aside, this book feels a little like it's stuck in the 80's. Didio's script is all through narrative captions that feel a little on the blah side of the tracks. There are some neat ideas at work, things involving the more mystical themed people of the DCU, which I rather liked. Anderson, who's work on X-Men God Loves Man Kills I loved, turns in some decent stuff. It reminds me a bit of Perez, but his lines are a little on the sparse side and don't feel as vivid nor as dynamic as they could be. Still, the story is easy on the eyes and there's something to be said for that. Overall, I'm not quite sure how far Didio can take Stranger's story. In the past he's been more of a supporting cast guy instead of lead, but it's obvious the tale will deal with Pandora and probably be a jumping off point for some notable tales within the New 52 Universe. Like the Stranger himself, we shall wait and we shall see.

World's Finest #0
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artist: Kevin Maguire
Company: DC Comics
A perfect example of the yin and yang of lightness and dark. Paul Levitz, a writer who I largely associated with only Legion comic books, has really brought a nice vibe to this title. This #0 issue focuses on the time that was in Earth 2, the days before Apokolips and Darkseid. There is writing here, as we see the inner workings of the familial relationships for both of our heroines. There's also heartache to be found too, and it doesn't feel overdone or done too much simply for shock. It feels very real and when you have someone like Kevin Maguire, the Emotion Man of the art world, bringing those scenes to life, you get something really special. In all honestly, I probably would have approached Maguire to retool the costumes for the New DCU. His versions of Robin and Supergirl have an iconic flavor but also feel new and different. It's like having cake and then ice cream too. So much awesomeness is afoot! This, so far, is my favorite of the Zero issues. It does everything it needs to do, gives us origins and the like, and does it so well to boot.

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