As I said over in my more in-depth reviews of DC’s relaunch titles Huntress, Batwing, Hawk & Dove and Deathstroke #1s, I came upon a stack of books from the relaunch and read them in the order they were piled in. I was going to spread these reviews out a bit longer, but first I got a little behind in posting and then I got my hands on even more comics I want to talk about, so let’s get these out of the way, shall we. Overall, I’m still not sure how successful the issues I read were at either roping in new readers with familiar stories or giving existing fans interesting things to sink their teeth into. I found myself really enjoying the weirder books, things like Deathstroke or Frankenstein or Justice League Dark, basically books that could be taken out of DC, tweaked here and there and feel like new, original creator owned concepts. There are a few revisions of existing franchises that I liked and one particular one that failed. If you’re curious to see what I thought in a few sentences for each issue, read on!Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 (Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort) – This was actually one of the most intriguing books in the bunch because I like these characters and am very curious to see what the heck is going on. The controversy was ridiculous. Rocafort’s art makes me very happy.
Black Hawks #1 (Mike Costa, Graham Nolan/Ken Lashley) – Pretty cool espionage story with superhero overtones. Not a big fan of the art, but the story was interesting enough to get me to come back for a trade.
Justice League Dark #1 (Peter Milligan, Mikel Janin) – Falls a bit into the “setting up the team” trap, but it was fun seeing how characters like Shade the Changing Man and Xanadu are different. Definitely interested in reading more of this odd little book.
Fury Of The Firestorms: The Nuclear Men #1 (Ethan Van Sciver/Gail Simone, Yildiray Cinar) – I dig the concept of different Firestorms and this combining thing they’re going towards. Characters feel kind of flat, but it’s still the first issue. I’d read more of this one.
I, Vampire #1 (Joshua Hale Fialkov, Andrea Sorrentino) – Gotta say, this one confused me a bit with all the time-jumping. It put me out of the story, but I’d be interested to see where it went.
Voodoo #1 (Ron Marz, Sami Basri) – It’s hard to go wrong with the shapeshifting alien stripper concept, plus I’m a Wildstorm fan, so I’m predisposed to be curious about this one.
The Savage Hawkman #1 (Tony S. Daniel, Philip Tan) – Hawkman is one of my favorite underutilized characters, so seeing him get the spotlight is nice. The art is a bit muddy for my tastes, but I’m intrigued overall to find out more about this version of the character.
Mister Terrific #1 (Eric Wallace, Gianluca Gugliotta) – I have an affinity for science-based superheroes so this was a fun book. Dug the art, Wallace has an interesting style, but the story was mostly a rehash of a history I mostly already know. Overall, a good, solid first issue for new readers and intriguing enough to bring me back.
Frankenstein Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. #1 (Jeff Lemire, Alberto Ponticelli) – The art seems to have a lot of extra little lines, but I really, really enjoyed this comic. Books that just have fun with what they’re doing and get weird with it always tickle my fancy and that is this book to a T. Definitely interested in reading more.
Captain Atom #1 (J.T. Krul, Freddie Williams II) – I’ve personally read plenty of “my powers are killing me” comics and they never do, so there’s not a lot of interest. I’m also not sure what’s up with the art, I love FW2 normally, but it looks like some parts are colored normally while others are done with colored pencils on the same page which is distracting.
Action Comics #1 (Grant Morrison, Rags Morales) – I like seeing a cockier Superman running around, but it would have been nice if there was an explanation as to when this story is taking place. Comic fans are built to accept things like that, but new readers were probably confused. Still, Morrison on superheroes is always a fun experiment.
Birds Of Prey #1 (Duane Swierczynski, Jesus Saiz) – An action packed story with art by one of the more under rated artists around makes for a fun adventure with enough intrigue and mystery to keep me curious.
Blue Beetle #1 (Tony Bedard, Ig Guara) – I’m a big fan of the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle character, but this new version is way too close to the original. The original is still pretty fresh in my mind, so this just feels like a bit of a pointless retread with just a few things changed. While the first issue wasn’t my bag, I could see coming back eventually to see how it developed over time.
Catwoman #1 (Judd Winick, Guillem March) – Another solid first issue that gives you a bit of info about the main character while also offering up a good deal of action. Sure, she bangs Batman at the end, but it doesn’t bother me. Adults do that.
Demon Knights #1 (Paul Cornell, Diogenes Neves) – I don’t usually like fantasy, but this is right in my wheelhouse. Action and monsters written by Cornell? Yes, that is a good thing.
Green Lantern Corps #1 (Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin) – One of the more problematic franchises in the relaunch is the seemingly untouched GL. And yet, this issue felt like a lot of things I’ve seen before: Earth GLs moving to Oa, rookies getting attacked at a Sector House, etc. I also thought it was ridiculous that Guy Gardner would think he could get a teaching job. How would that work? I think this would be another check-out-the-trade books because I’m already so invested in Green Lantern, but this issue itself didn’t sell me.
Legion Lost #1 (Fabian Nicieza, Pete Woods) – This was probably the most confusing, hard to read books in the pile. None of the characters–including the supposedly terrifying villain–are well set up, it jumps all over the place and I could never grasp on to anything that I cared about. Telling me somethings dangerous is not nearly as interesting as showing and convincing me.
Green Arrow #1 (J.T. Krull, Dan Jurgens/George Perez) – The new Green Arrow has a support team and trick arrows, a concept I could get into. This particular story didn’t do a lot for me, nor did the combined artwork of two guys I love, but it has potential. Is this the way the TV show is set up?
Teen Titans #1 (Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth) – This is a very 90s seeming book, but it was one of the ones I liked the best actually. Robin (Tim Drake) is running around trying to contact a bunch of young heroes who are being tracked down by Agents of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Even though it’s a “putting the team together” story, I still liked it. Also, Booth’s art sure is buttery. Reminds me of Ian Churchill in all the best ways. I will definitely check out this trade.
Nightwing #1 (Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows) – Batman is the other troublesome franchse. How does it fit with Morrison’s stuff? How are there so many former Robins if Batman hasn’t been around that long? The first page does kind of a “Welcome Back Frank” thing with Dick explaining that he was Batman but isn’t anymore and then we see him revisiting his circus pals and fighting a bad guy. That’s a good start as far as I’m concerned.
Legion Of Super-Heroes #1 (Paul Levitz, Francis Portela) – There’s an okay mix of tossing the reader into the action and explaining who people are, but Legion is one of the most confusing franchises in the history of comics and this issue doesn’t help.
Swamp Thing #1 (Scott Snyder, Yanick Paquette) – I think my enjoyment of this book suffered from all the buzz and hype I heard about it. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the actual issue was not that. I still dug it and am curious about where this book went, so I’ll be back Arnold style.