Wednesday, September 21, 2011
More Of DC's New 52
Last week DC introduced several more #1 issues, re-introducing us to more of their properties in hopes of grabbing new readers and reminding existing fans why they love DC Comics. As you might expect, the effort produced mixed results, at least as far as I'm concerned. Here are the titles I picked up:
Hawk And Dove
Although I'm not a longtime fan of these characters, I like the contrast between the pacifist Dove and the enraged warrior Hawk, and I enjoyed their inclusion in Gail Simone's "Birds Of Prey". And while the art in this first issue was great, the characters were fairly well-defined and I'm curious about where things will go, I'm not sure that all adds up to a purchase next month, especially since DC has launched a number of other books that I enjoyed more than this one. If they had showed more of their hand regarding the future direction of this book, they might have sold me, but at this point there just wasn't quite enough to hold on to me as a reader.
I've never followed Superboy's comic before, though that may change now. Although they are retracing Superboy's origins as a clone of Superman, they are doing so independent of the "Death Of Superman" story, and with more attention to Superboy's internal thoughts and feelings. As a result, this is an intriguing, serious, character driven story that seems to lead into the new Teen Titans book, setting up Superboy as a potential tool for deception, if not outright evil. Can't wait to see where it goes next!
For years I've wanted to read a sword and sorcery comic book that was dark in tone, character driven and has great art. As I've flipped through fantasy comic books on shelves over the years I've been met by disappointment again and again. When I saw the solicitations for "Demon Knights" I didn't even want to get my hopes up. But then I read in an interview with the creators that they were aiming to capture the same readers who dig "Dragon Age". I figured if this comic read or looked even remotely like those games, I should at least give the first issue a try. I'm so glad I did. The story centers on Jason of Norwich, who for reasons unknown is cursed to host the demon Etrigan in the final moments of the age of Camelot. The main story picks up hundreds of years later in the Dark Ages. Jason has apparently been made immortal through his bonding to Etrigan, and now travels with fellow immortal Madame Xanadu, who serves as his companion and love interest but with hidden motivations. The first issue has dark sorcery (and I mean REALLY dark sorcery!), brutal action and the blood, grit and grime you'd expect if you were playing Dragon Age: Origins. Fans of dark, brutal fantasy shouldn't miss this one and the last page, which I'd LOVE to spoil but won't, left me with a crazy kind of itch to read the next issue. And the fact that all this fantasy goodness just happens to take place in my favorite comic book universe (albeit hundreds of years in the past) is just icing on the cake. If they can keep this quality up, Demon Knights will be one of the books I look forward to most every month.
Since there is no longer a Secret Six book being written by Gail Simone, and I've developed a taste for "villain books", I decided I should give the new Suicide Squad book a try. The premise is that super criminals who want to reduce their sentences can enroll in black ops government missions from which they will likely not return in exchange for reductions in their sentences. Honestly, I have no idea why they didn't just keep the cast of Secret Six and bring them over to this book. Apart from Deadshot and Harley Quinn, I barely recognize any of these characters. And when you've read a villain book by Gail Simone, it's hard to read another one by anyone less gifted to write dialogue. This issue does little more than establish the basic premise of the book, though there are enough questions raised that I want answers for that I will be giving the second issue a fair shot.
This book is my second attempt to fill the "villain void" left behind by The Secret Six. Deathstroke is supposed to be the baddest of the bad when it comes to mercenary villains. And this issue establishes why. Only in "Identity Crisis" have I seen him pull off cooler moves. But in the midst of all the butt-kicking I think they dropped the ball just a little regarding character. All of their character work seemed bent on portraying him as the most vicious and efficient killer out there, when I think they should have spent some of that time reminding us who Deathstroke is, where he acquired his abilities and why he does what he does. The only possible character plot is obscured, left as a hook for future issues. But if they don't reveal more character bits in #2, it's a hook I won't bite for #3.
I'm a big Green Lantern nerd, so there was no way I'd miss this issue. DC must think I'm not the Only one, because this is one of the few titles that, while renumbered to #1, doesn't seem to provide the same jumping on point seen in other books. Hal Jordan isn't a Green Lantern and instead Sinestro, long time enemy of the GL Corps, is chosen to wear a ring for reasons no one, including Sinestro or the Guardians, understands. It's an interesting plot hook, and reads just as great as we've come to expect from Geoff Johns. But it's an odd choice of storyline in a month when they are looking to bring in new readers. The concept of a Green Lantern is presented well for those new to the book, but I can't imagine Sinestro will be the long-term "hero" of this book.