9.21.11 Reviews (New Coke Edition)

Wonder Woman #1 (DC): Aside from Batwoman (which I don’t really count on a technicality), Wonder Woman is probably the best of the New 52 I’ve sampled so far. It sort of stays true to the essence of the character, while succeeding in being a fresh take on the character simultaneously. I expected this to be one of the few books I actually could be interested in since they showed skill at reinventing a tired property before (Dr. Thirteen), and Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang didn’t really disappoint. They deliver a sort of mythological horror/crime thriller which seems just different enough to hook some people. Chiang’s usually drop-dead gorgeous pencils feel a bit looser and not as tight here, but for the most part this is a good lesson in how to create a swift plot that forces seemingly disparate elements to converge in a way that holds the audience’s interest without resorting to blind exposition. Still not blown away by any means, but very well done. Grade B+.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (DC): Paul Levitz and Francis Portela absolutely deliver the better of the two Legion books that have debuted. Legion Lost felt a bit like amateur hour, and this is basically it’s more successful and better looking older sibling. The first page is total en media res, as we literally are dropped right into 31st Century action. The characters are clearly introduced, and it seems like the type of thing a basic Legion fan would want. It’s got a very paramilitary vibe which I enjoy, and Portela’s art is a great blend of like Frank Quitely, George Perez, and Nick Pitarra for about 70% of the book. At some point, around the time “Glorith” comes on page, it goes all sloppy and rushed, but hopefully he can work the bugs out of the monthly deadline. Someone references the “Flashpoint Effect,” which is an eye-roller, but it’s interesting to note this prohibits time travel so they can’t seek out Superman for help. However, if time travel is impossible, why did the Legionnaires in Legion Lost get lost in time? Continuity be damned, I guess. What is it with DC books this week? Dream Girl also points her ass at the audience. Again, the plot feels fairly generic, but as your basic intro issue, it seems to work. Grade B.

Nightwing #1 (DC): Kyle Higgins. Eddy Barrows. I’m unfamiliar with the work of both of these creators, and the results of their team-up are competent, if a little boring. For a second, I felt like we were off to a good start. It was nice to see Marv Wolfman and George Perez get a “created by” nod, and for a page or two, I was enjoying the Dick Grayson voice over. But. It quickly became apparent that the voice over narration was going to run the ENTIRE issue, which is a lazy writer’s tool as far as I’m concerned. It’s all telling and no showing. And what the “telling” tells us is that his parents were circus performers gunned down by the mob, Dick was Robin, then he filled in as Batman, and he likes redheads, so what’s new? Well, he lets two cops get killed so he can change outfits, and the whole book he tells us how “flawless” his skills are, only then to get his ass handed to him by a guy with… wait for it… some knives. As a jumping on point for a newbie, I guess it’s serviceable, but for me it has absolutely nothing to offer except rehashed regurgitation of the character. The best thing I can say about this book is that it was uhh… better than Grifter last week(?). Disappointing treatment of my favorite character as a kid. Nothing fresh, nothing new, no reason to return. Grade C+.

Red Hood & The Outlaws #1 (DC): Scott Lobdell. Kenneth Rocafort. Starfire. Red Hood/Jason Todd. Arsenal/Red Arrow/Speedy/Roy Harper/Checkmate Agent/What’s His Name Now? Hey, Image Comics called from the 1990’s! They want their art back! Ba-dump-bump! It’s true though; it’s so incredibly busy, with big pouches and big guns and cross-hatching and boobs and asses and stuff. I think I saw Deathblow with SEAL Team Six in one panel, amid all the stereotypical Generic Middle Eastern Terrorists. I can’t really tell you about the plot, because there doesn’t appear to be one. Something about Jason breaking Roy out of prison? And Starfire helps? And also? SHE IS SEXY. That appears to be a major plot point from what I can gather. Don’t get me started on continuity. Roy and Jason make jokes about Dick Grayson being an ex-boyfriend of Starfire’s, yet she has no recollection of anyone from the Teen Titans. Umm, ok. Oh, also? SHE IS PROMISCUOUS AND LIKES TO FUCK. At times, there is some effort and intent behind Rocafort’s panel designs, I actually liked the bamboo panels when they’re on the island, they set the mood, but most of the time the layouts are just wacky and skewed for no apparent reason. I remember some awkward 38 joke about Starfire. It seems like they’re trying to portray Red Hood as like the insane assassin, the Deadpool of the DCU, but it fell fairly flat. Starfire’s hair is also apparently on fire, as long as her body, and sort of prehensile, like she can control where it goes or something? Her boobs are bigger than her head. Miraculously I was kind of enjoying this as a train wreck, up until Starfire just stuck her ass out at the audience for no reason. Really, this is like one of those Image Comics Swimsuit Specials they used to do back in the day. Jason gets to the Himalayas in 12 hours… how exactly? There’s some other generic plot involving (new character?) Essence, The Untitled, and the “All Caste.” Really, this sounds like a rejected piece of fanfic intended for Alyssa Milano on Charmed. It’s almost so bad it’s good, like that Justice League: Cry for Justice mini-series a while back. I could grow to love to hate it. This is total garbage, but I can’t honestly say I’m not thinking about buying more just to admire the scope of the unmitigated disaster. Grade C.


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