5.02.12 Reviews (NuDCnU Edition)

Worlds’ Finest #1 (DC): Yeah, I’ll start by going off topic and say that I don’t understand how the term for “THE NEW 52!” became “DCnU.” I guess it was a play on the old DCU (DC Universe) because the DCU was now NEW? So it’s like DC NEW Universe = “DCnU”? Or something? Well, this here is one of the second wave of new “THE NEW 52!” books from the “DCnU” so I’m calling it the “NuDCnU” because that makes about as much sense as all their other naming conventions. DC Entertainment Editorial (that’s “DCEe,” for anyone keeping score) just calls it “The Awesome Getting Awesomer” in their little text piece. Uhh, yeah. That’s… imaginative. Maybe if I tried hard enough I could be like Grant Morrison and form a palindrome with it like “Oroboro.” But, I’d have to care more than I do and have an ounce of energy left to muster after this NuDebacle to attempt that. Oh, the issue itself, you ask? Well, there’s a lot I like about this and a lot I don’t. Let’s get the negatives out of the way first, yes? The cover logo is atrocious. It makes you think the title is actually “Huntress Worlds’ Finest Power Girl.” And I guess they moved the apostrophe over one space? From “World’s” to “Worlds’”? Ugh. Because it’s not just one world, you see, it’s now multiple worlds they are the Worlds’ Finest of. So clever! I’m unclear on how the multiverse (is that what we’re still calling it?) works in the wake of THE NEW 52. Is there one? Do you still need it? Why? Why does the old Power Girl look like Supergirl? Was that her original Earth 2 look, but now it’s changed? God, these are dumb questions to be forced to come up with. Also? I hate her new costume. The eye of  the “p” has to be over her areola? Really? Why is her new (Nu?) costume different, but Huntress’ is the same as we’ve seen before? Shit, I haven’t even opened this book yet and I’m already annoyed. One day I will stop buying books like this. That’s a clue. Anywho, I like the way writer Paul Levitz dives right into the charming friendship of these two women, grabbing some of the playful fun of a writer like Amanda Conner (I’m thinking of her Supergirl in Wednesday Comics), and given enough time their quest to figure out what happened to their Earth 2 beginnings starts to materialize. It’s maybe a little convoluted to refer to Michael Holt (aka: Mister Terrific) and Earth 2 in the same sentence if they exist in separate universes, but I guess if the girls are aware they’re from a different universe you get a pass on that? My head hurts. George Perez could illustrate just about anything and I’d buy it, which answers the “why am I here?” question. It’s just so affable and aesthetically pleasing, with a nice emotional nostalgia to it. I was also pleasantly reminded of Kevin Maguire’s fine work as well, which I honestly haven’t paid much attention to since some of his old JLA/JLE work back in the day. There seems to be a little Adam Hughes or Amanda Conner artistry sneaking in there, which omits the cheesecake elements of the former, and infuses the emotive expressiveness of the latter. Most importantly, this book looks like it will be a lot of fun and look very sharp in the process. I’ll try to stick as long as this creative team does. Grade A-.

Dial H #1 (DC): There’s some awkward phrasing up front, to the point that I started to suspect omitted words, which you wouldn’t really expect from a novelist like China Mieville and that crack DC Editorial team, but otherwise the characters speak with natural voices and the dialogue doesn’t feel staged. I really enjoyed Mateus Santolouco’s thick inky lines. They bring an emotional heft to everything occurring, and make the book feel like it has this weird old Vertigo flair, like this is something out of Starman. I was half expecting Kid Eternity to show up, or for the weird hero “Boy Chimney” to mention the Shade or something. Santolouco turns up the disorientation in the panel layouts to match the transformative experience of the onset of powers. Mieville did a nice job capturing both entities being present. If you’re going to bother truncating the title back to “Dial H” from "Dial H For Hero,” I probably would have taken a bolder step and just called this “4376” to capture the numerical values for H-E-R-O, but maybe that’s why I’m not an editor. It leads to one of my quibbles though. Are we to believe that rotary phones still exist? Are we then to believe that the guy would have accidentally randomly misdialed just 4 numbers for some reason? And after that they magically happened to be the necessary 4, 3, 7, and 6? Wouldn’t he have dialed 911 given the situation? It’s also off that this set up is limiting the HERO DIAL to just one static location. It used to be a device that could be taken, moved, transported, lost, found, etc. It’s all a really hard stretch, but if you can jump over all that, this seems to be just fun and weird enough that I’d like to see a little more. I think it taps into some of the primal elements that the entire genre is known for. There’s some sort of dark fairy tale aspect to this, insinuating that the idea of a “superhero” can lift these guys out of poverty or crime or whatever ails them, in the hopeful escapist tradition that spawned it. Grade A-.


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