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.
W: Peter J. Tomasi
A: Fernando Pasarin
I’ve been very curious to see how the recent events in the Green Lantern family of titles would play in the new DCU. And while there have been brief mentions, new readers don’t necessarily need to know all of what has happened to enjoy the new stories. For this volume of the Green Lantern Corps, we get a nice intro to Guy and Jon trying to figure out their place on Earth. I’ve always thought that four Green Lanterns for one sector was a bit much and Tomasi appears to agree. Guy and Jon try to get jobs, fail, and contemplate a move off world. While this is going on a green covered baddie brutally kills some throwaway GL’s. This new DCU is definitely edgier than its previous incarnation. So we then get the setup to this books opening arc, who is killing these lanterns and why. The writing is done well especially with Jon. He has always been a tragic sort of character and his reasoning is played nicely here. Guy is written a tad less brash than usual which is a welcome change. The art by Pasarin is very nice and fits the tone of the story well. His characters are balanced and his world is very much alive. I liked this book a good deal and while it wasn’t the best GLC issue I have ever read, it is certainly a worthwhile addition to the run.
W: Judd Winnick
A: Guillem March
Catwoman #01 has, so far, been the most challenging book for me to review. On the one hand I really like it. On the other, it upsets me, a lot. On the plus side, the book is very well done. Winnick has crafted a story that immediately draws the reader into Catwoman’s world. We are shown the dangers and excitement in her particular line of work. We meet an interesting new character, Catwoman’s fence, who seems like she will almost play the Alfred role in this title. There is a decent little mystery
to the plot that is good enough to stick around for at least the opening arc. The artwork is very nice if rather inconsistent. I’m not sure if there is some facial “tracing” going on but there are a few panels where Catwoman looks entirely different, especially around the lips. That small quirk aside, the art really is nice. It flows well; the action makes sense on the page, and the storytelling from panel to panel is nice. However, the ending of this book left me at something of a crossroads. Without completely spoiling the last few panels, Batman shows up and the last 20 or so years of fan fiction takes place right on
the page. Now, there is nothing gratuitous, nothing that needs to be censored. But, this issue clearly illustrates that comics are no longer for kids. And that is somewhat sad to me. I know the booked is rated T so little kids should not be reading it but I wonder what books are left for them. I know there are a few out there, like Tiny Titans for example, but mainstream proper comics, not really. I’m not sure if that is good or not. I appreciate that stories are being written for me and my age group. It concerns
me about the long term growth and health of the industry. Overall, this book was very good and worth a peek.
W: Jt Krul
A: Dan Jurgens
Green Arrow #01 is a mixed bag of sorts. I was really looking forward to this book mainly because of Dan Jurgens handling the pencils. Ever since the Death of Superman arc I have been a huge fan of his. His work is classic and simple with no wasted lines. His storytelling is spot on and he does not disappoint here. I love the redesign on Green Arrows costume as well. Of all the redesigns, his seems to be the most natural and sensical of the bunch. My concern with this title came from Krul continuing
to handle the writing. His Green Arrow run before the relaunch was good. There weren’t any must read moments in the series but I liked it and looked forward to it. However, with the relaunch I wanted someone new, someone to take the character in a different direction with a different voice. And to his credit, Krul does a decent job of giving us a new Ollie. It’s not one I love yet but only for the choice in dialogue. I have always pictured Ollie as an incredibly smart, well spoken individual. While he is
smart here, he is not well spoken and that took me out of the story a bit. The rest of the issue was solid and gives readers a decent intro to the new adventures of Oliver Queen. The cliffhanger is nice and hopefully sets up some exciting stories for the future.
W: Kyle Higgins
A: Eddy Barrows
The first issue of Nightwing does a nice job of getting readers up to speed on what has been going on in Dick Grayson’s life. His time as Batman is mentioned, his parents death is discussed and plays an important role in the plot, and his prowess as an acrobat is shown quite nicely by Barrows. I’ve always loved when the movement of a character, the flips and jumps etc, were shown by the artist. It’s been done in tons of books and I believe it really adds to the action. Barrows has a very clean style that lends itself well to this type of book. While it is a “Batman” book, it’s not nearly as dark as the core Batman titles. What struck me as average was the writing. I’m usually a writing first kind of guy but the script here by Higgins didn’t do much for me. The mystery villain is pretty obvious and his motivations seem directly on the surface. And the fact that he calls Dick the “fiercest killer in all of Gotham” yet doesn’t recognize him because of a silly little eye mask seems really stupid to me. Villains are smart. Especially ones with a personal connection to the hero. This guy leaves a lot to be desired. That said, I’ll give this book a shot since I love Nightwing. The art is really good and the story doesn’t suck. Good enough for me.
W: Scott Snyder
A: Greg Capullo
Wow. What an awesome debut for the team of Snyder and Capullo. I had a feeling, like everyone else I’m sure, that this was going to be really good. And dammit was it ever! Capullo is so good for Batman. He should have left McFarlane years ago. He is an insanely talented artist and a perfect match for the dark and gritty atmosphere Scott Snyder creates here. There has been some concern around the internet that Capullo would be too “Spawn” for Batman; that the cape would be ridiculous. Well, I can safely say that he puts any doubt to rest. His pencils are so good that even though Jim Gordon looks like a beefed up Twitch, it doesn’t matter. His Batman is badass. The opening fight scene is done very well with the villains getting some nice looks during the action. I really like his Clayface and Killer Croc. Hopefully we get to see them star in some solo villain arcs down the road. As for Snyder, he knocks it out of the park. The pacing, dialogue, setting, and overall characterization are right where they should be. It feels as if this is Batman, not just some guy’s take on him. I am really looking forward to this book next month. The mystery is solid, the cliffhanger tremendous, and plot just damn good. Get this now!
W: Scott Lobdell
A: Eric Canete
Full disclosure, I love Scott Lobdell. I’ve always been a really big fan of his writing and thought that he got the shaft for things that were beyond his control. Needless to say, I was super stoked to hear he would be writing Superboy for the relaunch. And it does not disappoint. Superboy has always been an interesting character in the DCU. The clone of Superman and Lex with the honest on the farm upbringing was a really good take. This version looks to continue the clone idea. We know that this new Superboy is partially cloned from Superman and an unknown donor. Is it Lex or is that too obvious? Either way it’s played very well here. The dialogue is right on, from the lab techs to the VR program central to the plot of this opening arc. I’m excited to see where Lobdell takes this story. The art by Canete is really nice as well. Very solid work that borders on being great. Pick this up. 8/10
W: Jeff Lemire
A: Alberto Ponticelli
I went in to this book thinking I was going to hate it. There really seemed to be nothing here that would make me want to read past issue one. And I was wrong. Not really, REALLY wrong mind you, just a bit wrong. I’ve seen this concept before in toys and comics by Todd McFarlane. And it fits in here simply because this is a new universe that has no rules. The concept is silly, Frankenstein as a badass agent, but no sillier than any other comic book. The writing is okay. I honestly expected better from Lemire as he is highly respected. Here he is just average. The characters feel off to me, like he isn’t sure who they are yet. This needs to change soon or else this title will be lost in the shuffle. The art on the other hand is downright bad. I do not know Ponticelli’s work other than this and I can safely say I will not be searching out any more. This type of book needs a very solid artist to make it work. Ponticelli is not that artist. Overall, quite surprising that I enjoyed this as much as I did.
W: Nathan Edmunson
I had really high hopes for the solo Grifter book. I always really liked the character and felt that he could have a decent solo title. Unfortunately, I don’t know if this is the right direction to take his character in. Like many of the Dc books during the relaunch, the plot is paint-by-numbers in its simplicity. You can see where the book is going from the opening panels. The twist is just that in name only. That’s not to say it’s bad, just not all that I wanted. There is a mystery here that is relatively interesting and will keep me around for at least the opening arc. The art is done by the always good Cafu. The pencils are tight and convey a good range of emotions. I’m not sure this book will last very long but it should make for at least one decent story.
W: Peter Milligan
A: Ed Benes
Well, that was a surprise. Going in to this book I was hopeful. I wanted very much to love it. But I was worried. Milligan has been somewhat hit or miss lately and handling a team book about a bunch of pissed off characters seemed a bit dodgy to me. However, any doubt I may have had has been erased. This book was great! Milligan introduces a sea-change to the Red Lanterns that makes perfect sense in my opinion. Atrocitus has become altogether interesting now. No longer is he a one-dimensional angry guy. I cannot wait to see where this goes. The art is very nicely done by Benes. He is always consistent and everything here just looks right. Do yourself a favor and grab this book.