Here are brief reviews for the final week of #1 issues from DC’s “The New 52.” The final week was strong, with several titles that are worth adding to your pull list.
ALL-STAR WESTERN #1
Continuing the high quality of “Jonah Hex,” writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray team up Hex with Amadeus Arkham in the tracking of a serial killer in Wild West Gotham. Art by Moritat. Podcast review.
The “Blackest Night” team of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis launch the King of the Sea into an ongoing series, which attacks the perception of Aquaman head-on. This team could deliver Aquaman to the top of the charts, and this well-written and well-drawn first issue is a good start. Podcast review.
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1
David Finch writes and draws his second “Dark Knight” #1 of the recent past. Paul Jenkins comes on as co-writer, and while he provides some punch, this isn’t the strongest of the Batman books, though it’s perfectly acceptable.
Mike Costa writes and Graham Nolan and Ken Lashley draw the military-style adventure of DC’s Blackhawks. The Blackhawks here are a UN-sponsored covert action team that’s sure to draw comparisons to “GI Joe.” Unfortunately, it’s not extremely memorable from issue 1 alone.
THE FLASH #1
Though I’ll miss Wally West, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato impressed me with a fresh, intriguing, fast-paced issue. Barry Allen is a forensic detective who is secretly the fastest man alive. He believes a former friend of his has been killed while committing a crime, but that leads Barry into a far stranger mystery. Podcast review.
THE FURY OF FIRESTORM: THE NUCLEAR MEN #1
Jason Rusch is a brain; Ronnie Raymond is a jock. They don’t like each other, but are put together as Firestorm. Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver write the story, Yildiray Cinar provides the dynamic art. The story starts brutally, which made the tonal shift to teen debate to superhero adventure all a bit much to take.
GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1
Kyle Rayner’s origin gets recapped and slightly updated as the multi-color rings and Lanterns are explained more or less in one issue by Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham and Batt. It’s a little clunky but one hopes it will develop.
I, VAMPIRE #1
A creepy vampire war threatens the DC Universe in a new comic series perhaps designed to appeal to Twi-hards. With moody, macabre art by Andrea Sorrentin, and an epic story of lovers at war across the centuries, this is one of the stronger releases from The New 52. Podcast review.
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1
Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin cover the mystic arm of the Justice League in this introductory issue that’s readable and relatively well-done. The odd mix of characters adds to the charm.
THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1
Tony Daniel writes and draws, and while it exceeded my expectations, this version of Carter Hall didn’t particularly grab me.
George Perez and Jesus Merino provide a look at the Man of Steel’s “present” as the Daily Planet is bought by a conglomerate and Lois Lane has a boyfriend that isn’t Clark. Superman, meanwhile, fights a fire monster that threatens Metropolis. A dense first issue that’s a perfectly good introduction to the hero, though it doesn’t match the quality of “Action.” Podcast review.
TEEN TITANS #1
Tim Drake is putting together a team of youngster heroes, who are all being targeted by N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Fast-paced and very kinetic, especially with the art of Brett Booth, who I like a lot. I miss the old Tim Drake, and that may be tempering my enthusiasm for the new one. I’m willing to see how it goes.
Well, that was… stripperific? Voodoo is near-naked a lot in this issue. Given Ron Marz’s success with “Witchblade,” maybe he can turn the preconceptions around after this issue. Sami Basri is a competent artist, as well. Something like this makes me wonder if the all-”teen” rated New 52 can work as well as they would like — given the sex and violence in this book, wouldn’t it creatively work better as a mature title? I guess we’ll have to see, but it seems that commerce is driving the ratings rather than art, which is one of the arguments that was made against the arbitrary rating of comics back in the day.
- Matt Price
Comics read in 2011: 1,535. Still to go: 476.