W: Geoff Johns
A: Ivan Reis
Yup, I’m in. I kind of figured I would be but reading through issue one put it over the top for me. This is good, really good. I’ve always felt that there was a great Aquaman book out there and Johns shows a ton of promise here. He writes this issue from the standpoint of a long-suffering fan. He references the pop culture joke that Aquaman has become and throws it right back into those critics faces. Aquaman is badass and it pours out of him here. The artwork by Ivan Reis is great as usual. He really captures the power of Aquaman and the don’t fuck with me attitude a king needs. Mera is drawn tastefully and written well and should be a nice costar to this book. The villains make only a brief appearance and show just enough menace to be a threat. This book should be one of the best of the relaunch. Go get it.
So, the plan is to review all 52 of the New DC Universe titles that are launching the last week of August and throughout September. This week sees the release of Flashpoint 05, technically the final issue of the original DCU, and Justice League 01, the first issue of the new continuity. Let’s take a look at
Flashpoint 05 first.
The Flashpoint series has been relatively uneven at best so far. For a five issue series, it really seemed that nothing was happening up until issue 04. And even the events of that issue, Captain Marvel and the battle between Wonder Woman and Aquaman, were apparently handled in limited series. The main book deals with none of these conflicts and therefore makes them completely irrelevant to the overall story. I honestly felt after reading Flashpoint 05 that Dc simply could have published this issue and everyone would have been fine with that. it does tie up everything nicely and has a somewhat plausible resolution to the time travel story. The main issue I have with it is the change made to Batman’s status quo at the end. Spoilers ahead so skip by if you haven’t read the issue.
*The Flash gives Batman, Bruce, a note from his father, Thomas, who was Batman in the alternate reality. Bruce reads the note and breaks down in tears thanking Flash for delivering the message. While we do not get to see the entire note, it can be assumed that Thomas absolves Bruce of responsibility. Thereby Batman no longer has a reason to be. Any other conclusion that could be drawn from the note doesn’t make sense. It would be silly to think that Thomas wrote his alternate reality son a note saying that he was glad he was murdered in an alley so that his boy could grow up to be a great crime fighter.*
That complaint aside, Flashpoint 05 accomplishes what it needs to and sets up the new DCU. 7 out of 10.
The other title released this week is Justice League 01. This book is the official first entry in the New 52. It takes place 5 years in the past and showcases Batman and Green Lantern. Superman and Cyborg make brief appearances.
Two things struck me about this issue. One, Jim Lee, is still an unbelievable artist. His work here is spectacular and arguably, the best of his career. The new costumes look as good as they possibly can with his pencils and the inking and coloring is on point as well. The writing on the other hand left me feeling confused. Apparently, in the New DCU, I am going to hate Green Lantern. I understand that this is an Early look at these heroes and their first interactions with each other but he comes off as a complete prick. Not cocky like GL has always been under Johns, but as an utter asshole. I know that I cannot compare this GL to the old GL really, but, DC has already said that all of the Geoff Johns GL work would still be in continuity. Therefore, I know what Hal is going to be like, and I know what he was like before. And it just wasn’t this. Overall, this issue has my curiosity piqued and I will definitely be following this book closely. There is work to be done however and I expect more from Geoff Johns. 6.5 out of 10.
Overall Dc has quite a bit of work to do explaining where all of the previous continuity fits in with the New DCU. I am still excited by the prospect, particularly what is done with Superman, but will remain skeptical. I will continue to review all of the new titles as they are released and will have a wrap-up post at the end of September with recommendations on books to continue on with or ignore all together. It should be fun!
For those of you not following any current DC or comics news, they are currently running a summer event called Flashpoint. Issue 2 is slated to hit tomorrow, 6/1/11, so you still have time to catch up. The gist of the story is this, something strange is happening in the world of the Flash. Nothing is as it should be. Characters are different. People long dead are suddenly back and running around in tights. And NOTHING will ever be the same. At least, that is what DC is promising. And for once it looks like they may be telling the truth. In a bold move, DC will be relaunching their entire lineup with new number one’s starting in September. All new creative teams, all new continuity. The only number one nit shipping in September will be Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee! The new Justice League book ships the last Wednesday of August along with Flashpoint #6. The lineup for the book will be the big guns, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Aquaman. The characters will be getting redesigned costumes to go along with the new continuity.
The final piece of the post Flashpoint DC is the publisher’s commitment to day and date digital distribution. And it’s about time.
Look, all of this sounds great to me. It honestly does. I have always been a Marvel guy, ever since I was a wee tot. I love the DC characters a ton, but have never been able to get into their books on a regular basis. I applaud this strategy. To me, this is what is needed for characters over 60 years old that have been through Crisis after Crisis. I hope it sticks and we get new relationships and new angles on old themes. It has potential. It can be great. I hope it is.