Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DC Relaunch: Week 2 (wave 2)

And now for round two of last weeks New 52 reviews. I probably won't get around to writing up my thoughts on this (9/14) week's books until later this week or possibly next. Till then...

Green Arrow #1: JT Krul seems like a nice guy. I've had some interaction with him on Twitter and he seems to have a genuine love for the characters he's writing and the universe they inhabit. Unfortunately, here he has written the worst comic I've read out of this relaunch. Green Arrow (the book not the character) has seemingly stepped out of the early 90's. The dialogue is solely expository or cheesy one-liners.
This vibe is only helped along by the dated art of Dan Jurgens (inked by George Perez who, though one of my favorites, only helps to cement the 90's thing) who does his best with the material but sadly can't overcome the cliched writing. Nothing here is interesting enough to sway me to buy a second issue and this book has the distinction of being the only one where I made up my mind I'd be dropping it by the time I reached the third page. It's that bad.

Hawk and Dove #1: Consistent with Green Arrow, Hawk and Dove also seems to be a title steeped in a time when Rob Liefeld was selling jeans on tv. Unlike Green Arrow, this book is actually fun. Your enjoyment of it, however, will probably boil down to your opinion of Liefeld's art. I neither hate nor love his work. For me, he's just another superhero artist who happens to love cross hatching and have an aversion to drawing feet. His work here is strong as far as I'm concerned.
Gates is definitely writing to Liefeld's strengths as an artist. The story never slows down and what few character building scenes there are still seem to take place on the run. And that's just fine by me. This is a book for people who loved 90's Image or Liefeld's older work with these characters. Since one of the purposes of this whole relaunch was to recapture "lapsed" readers I'd imagine there are quite a few of those types who will find this book perfectly suited to them. I enjoyed it too. Heck, much to my surprise I'll even be picking up issue 2.

OMAC #1: insane. I don't really know what was happening in this book. There was a lot of punching and exclamation points and things exploding and weird creatures. Oh and a hero who is apparently a cyborg with a mohawk made of wires... or something? It was all a bit of a mess. An entertaining one, but still a mess. Serviceable art, and writing that suited the rushed, throw-back nature of the story still didn't do enough to make me want to come back for issue two.

I will admit that I came into this book with a lot of trepidation. My only prior experience with Dan Didio as a writer was when he came onto Outsiders and wrote some of the worst, over-the-top, clunky, horrendous dialogue I've ever read in a comic. His work here, as already stated was just fine.That's all there is to say about that.

Men of War #1: This was a big surprise. Aside from my love for GI Joe I'm not much of a war comic fan. I just can't seem to get into it. But the first story in this book grabbed me. There's explosions and shooting, and a mysterious, powered figure flying around causing havoc. Our protagonist is a little thin in terms of characterization but then again it's a war story. The main purpose is action, right?

Ivan Brandon did a decent job on the writing, and Tom Derenick (didn't he handle some 52 issues or something?) really impressed me with his pencil work. The same can't be said for the back-up story which seemed to whole-sale rip off a scene from Hurt Locker and call it a day. I haven't decided if I'll stick with it but this was good overall.

Justice League International #1: Up front, I'll say I was disappointed by this book before I'd ever cracked it open. I adored Judd Winick's handling of these characters in Generation Lost and replacing him with Jurgens seemed immediately questionable. Sure enough, my suspicions were correct. Jurgens writes a decent enough opening issue here with a couple funny lines and a typical setting-up-the-team story. But it's just "okay". Winick's work with these characters was funny, sentimental, and action packed. This book has action, and some funny bits but, like Green Arrow, feels like a throw back.

They were wise enough to bring Lopresti back to handle the art and he does a typically wonderful job here. I will always have a spot in my heart reserved for his artwork. Sadly I won't be seeing it till either they bring Winick on to write the book or he moves to another project. This one issue was enough for me.

Static Shock #1: Another surprise win. This book, more than anything, reminded me of Geoff Johns' early work on the Flash. That might be due as much to McDaniel's kinetic artwork (reminiscent of Scott Kollins work on Flash) as it is to the classic superhero trappings and down-on-his-luck hero. My only complaint with this title was the complete lack of character introduction. I've had literally no prior experience with this character and I'm guessing I'm not alone in that. It seems some set-up for the protagonist and an explanation of his power set would have been helpful.

Despite this complaint I'll be picking up the second issue. McDaniel is a fun artist who I've followed since his Nightwing days. I'm thrilled to see him on a book this good.

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