Batman #1 and other DC Comics’ The New 52 week 4 reviews, plus New Teen Titans: Games
The fourth week of “The New 52″ was fairly Bat-centric for most of the titles. “Batman” and “Nightwing” both re-established their core characters. There was also more sexual content in this week’s books, leading to lots of discussion online and in comic shops about gender relations and the portrayal of women in the DC Universe. Click past the cut for reviews of Week 4 of The New 52.
* BATMAN #1
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo create an issue that feels like the beginning of a potential new epic, like a “Hush” or “Long Halloween.” Though that’s stiff company, perhaps the most appropriate art comparison is “Year Two,” which featured Todd McFarlane’s take on the character back in the 1980s. Story-wise, Snyder re-introduces the Bat-family as Bruce Wayne promises to help build a better Gotham with his wealth and connections. Batman’s dropped into the middle of a mystery, where I think the character is at his best. While this isn’t the absolute best relaunch book – I’m still giving the nod so far to “Action Comics” 1 – “Batman” makes it a close race.
* BIRDS OF PREY #1
A good start here for a book that’s historically pretty linked with Gail Simone (though Chuck Dixon actually started the concept). Black Canary and her new partner Starling are the new Birds of Prey. Investigative reporter Charlie Keen is following Black Canary, who is facing a murder rap. The story builds in a non-chronological fashion, and seems like it’s going to take several issues to untangle the layers. Artist Jesus Saiz is fantastic, and should be, along with Jamal Igle, the go-to artist for non-exploitative female comics.
* BLUE BEETLE #1
I like writer Tony Bedard, but I think my problem with this was, it wasn’t that long ago that I read the original introduction of Jaime Reyes, and liked that one better. But that’s not fair to Bedard and artist Ig Guara’s clean and accessible first issue. Bedard does a good job setting up the teenager’s world, and hinting at dire, cosmic threats to come.
* CAPTAIN ATOM #1
I liked the “man out of time” elements from the 1980s “Captain Atom,” but what we seem to get here is maybe something more Doctor Manhattan-like. Captain Atom seems to be losing touch with his powers, and possibly with humanity. JT Krul and Freddie Williams II are the creative team. This first issue didn’t grab me overmuch; I found it hard to relate to what was going on. The art is definitely different, though, with a lot of digital effects.
* CATWOMAN #1
Catwoman probably had her best sales success when Jim Balent played up her sexy attributes back in the 1990s, and Judd Winick and Guillem March go to that from page 1 of this new series. In places, I liked it well enough, though the hookup at issue’s end is what’s gotten most of the discussion. (DC’s insistence that this relaunch is aimed at teens makes me think this is pretty racy for the younger end of that age group, but then, it’s probably tame compared to TV.)
* DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #1
With “Deadman” possibly coming to TV, this series looks to explain the character to a new audience. Former circus performer Boston Brand can’t cross over after his death, and instead goes around attempting to help others by inhabiting their bodies, Quantum Leap-style. This title will change stars, and I assume creative teams, each arc, but Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang put together a strong start for it.
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