Saturday, September 8, 2012

DC Zero Issues Part 2: 9/8/12

Swamp Thing #0
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Kano
Company: DC Comics
The art. Dear god...The art! It's so beautiful. Kano has the "touch". And yes, I mean that in the 80's, Transformers kind of way. Guitar riffs and all. All kidding aside, he's a perfect fit for this horror title. He brings the creep factor so well. There are several scenes in here, displays of normalcy but skewed to such a degree that you feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand out. It's vivid and wonderful. Snyder's story, which sees the same version of Swamp Thing that we saw in the Animal Man Annual, go head to head with the Big Enchilada of the Rot. Arcane is a nasty fellow and takes much
glee from killing avatars of the Red and the Green. We also get to see the origin of the Alec Holland Swamp Thing. Nothing too weird or surprising about it, but it's nice to have it. I'm still unsure of the pace of this book, but it reads amazingly in large chunks, and Snyder has laid a lot of groundwork. It does seem as though he's about the unleash Hell, so I'd take this opportunity to catch up, make sure your seats and tray tables are in their correct position, and brace for impact. I imagine it's going to be a bumpy, creepy, and completely enjoyable ride.

Stormwatch #0
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Will Conrad
Company: DC Comics
I'll be completely, brutally, honest with you: I gave up on this title quite some time ago. I've heard good things about the trade, so there's a chance that I'll pick it up at some point. That said, this issue that sees the notion of the Century Babies explored in glorious detail that make them seem like the Slayers from Buffy, was pretty cool. Seeing a certain one was probably the highlight of the issue for me. And the inter-connectivity between Stormwatch and Demon Knights is a nice little tie-in that I wish was more prominent in this New 52. The story however, despite these pros, is a little lackluster. There's an ominous portent given to Jenny Quantum about the superheroes and not being able to trust them...And not much else. Conrad's work here is good. The framing device for the panels, the shimmering outline that I can only guess is the Bleed, gets a bit old, but he finds a nice balance between detail and storytelling that I appreciated. I'm still on the outs with this book, but this issue will no doubt get me to pick up the next issue to see where Milligan will take things.

Earth 2 #0
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Tomas Giorello
Company: DC Comics
The entire notion for this flashback issue to a time when Apokolips was just invading the land of Earth 2, is about giving readers a better grasp on the character of Terry Sloan, this world's Mister Terrific. It's a dark story, one filled with backstabbing, sacrifice, and Alien beating on Amazonian. We also learn just why the Earth's surface looks like it spent to much time in the sun. The story itself is hard to talk about without giving away too much, something I don't tend to like to do, but suffice it to say it's a decent tale. One worth checking out, especially if you've already been digging what Robinson has been doing so far. The one downside of this book is the omission of Nicola Scott's artwork. Her work has acted as the exclamation point, and while Giorello's art isn't bad by any means, it doesn't stack up to what's come before. It definitely has a more painted quality to it, which muddies the details a bit, making things a bit scattered. All in all, this is probably the least of the Earth 2 issues so far. I'm hoping it gets back on track next go around.

Batwing #0
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Marcus To
Company: DC Comics
Well, it seems that Judd Winick will be taking some time off from all of his DC Comics work. Not sure if this is his final issue on Batwing, but if it is, it's not necessarily the best outing. Much of what is covered is what you would expect from an origin story, as we see David Zavimbe as a young kid to his time as a vigilante against the crime in Africa to being selected by Batman to be Batwing. I really do wish that there was something more exciting about the issue, but it's fairly straightforward and never zig-zags to anywhere special. Marcus To, who's work on Red Robin, and more recently the Huntress mini, turns in some decent work. It feels a little rushed and not as lush as he usually turns in, but none of the panels feel overly busy or to frenetic to be able to understand. It's clear and concise. All told, Batwing is one of the more disappointing of the New 52 titles. There was so much potential in the idea, so much room for fun, but it seems like the need for realism drove the story. Sometimes a comic book should just be a comic book.

Animal Man #0
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Steve Pugh
Company: DC Comics
A perfect example of the way that story and art can work so well together. This issue is locked and loaded with both of those things, and puts forth an origin story but doesn't neglect to throw out something more for people to chew on. I love how instep and entangled Animal Man and Swamp Thing are with one another. The stories are gelling. The origin for the Buddy Baker Animal Man is not very dissimilar to the one that Grant Morrison showed in the previous Animal Man series. Sure, there are a few changes to be found, making it work within the confines of the Red, but Lemire knows what he's doing and is the perfect Captain for this violent and bloody and creepy affair. Steve Pugh's work is, like I said, drop dead gorgeous. I'll even go so far as to say that I think he's better on Animal Man that Travel Foreman was. And I say this having loved what Foreman brought to the table. Pugh has a great knack for horror and has such a nice pace to his storytelling. A great issue, one with everything that you'd expect with a splash of superhero camp.

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