Thursday, September 8, 2011

DC Relaunch: Week Two (wave 1)

I'll probably be attempting to write up my brief impressions of the DC relaunch book-by-book over the next month. I bought all 13 #1's that came out this week but only made it through 7 issues before collapsing from shear exhaustion. Not so much from reading comics but from a long day in general. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Batgirl #1: I was a little underwhelmed by this title. Simone is one of DC's stronger writers and I've been enjoying her work for years but something was missing here. However, there was enough to keep my interest piqued and I thought the generic-but-fitting art was good enough to entice me to add it to my pulls. I just hope Simone can add whatever I felt the missing element was with this issue over the course of the first arc.
Also, am I the only one curious as to how they're going to make two ginger locked, bat-themed, female heroines running around the same town not an absurd idea. I mean wouldn't they constantly be mistook for the other? Does it matter? Am I just being a nerd?

Batwing #: The first comic I made the decision to drop this week was this title. It's not a bad comic by any stretch, but the art is too stiff (though that isn't to say it's not pretty) for my taste. Also, the Judd Winnick writing this book is the Winnick of Green Arrow rather than something like Generation Lost which I loved. There just isn't enough to keep me coming back and even after one issue I can tell this will probably read better in trade format.
Again, a minor complaint... shouldn't this have launched post-Batman Inc relaunch to explain why Batman is setting up a global network of Batmen? Y'know, for all those new readers that this whole relaunch is geared toward? Just a thought...

Detective Comics #1: I wasn't crazy about Daniel's run on Batman. I enjoyed his art but the book came across as a very juvenile take on the character. It was a book that reminded me of something I would have adored as a 13 year old, with all the Catgirls, Riddler-daughters and senseless stories serving as secondary to dull action sequences. As an adult I need a little something mor... OH MAN JOKER JUST HAD HIS FACE SKINNED AND HUNG ON A WALL! I'm in!
Also, Daniel has changed up his art style again. It's much less cross-hatched and Image-esque and far more cartoony. I dig it. A lot.

Swamp Thing #1: By far the most gorgeous book to come out of this relaunch so far. Even more than Jim Lee's beautiful Justice League work. Paquette has drawn an issue where costumed superheroes appear in close proximity to scenes of character building and graphic horror without anything seeming out of place. Snyder's work here is equally impressive, not in any hurry to blow our minds with insane action sequences. This is a creative team that has a story to tell and characters to build and I can't think of any one out there I'd rather have handling a Swamp Thing book. Great first issue.

Animal Man #1: I just don't care for the art in this book. It's ugly and there are seriously messed up proportions taking place here that I can't overlook. I'd have a hard time saying it's just my taste in art because I think my tastes are somewhat varied. Maybe that's the problem though.
Whatever the case may be the art is going to keep me from coming back. Despite my love for the character of Buddy Baker (developed over the course of 52) I'm not that interested in this story and the writing here wasn't enough to make me overlook the art. I'd be interested to hear what others thought of the book as a whole and especially the pencil work.

Action Comics #1: This is what it's all about for me. This book captured what I was hoping for from the relaunch. A fresh, new take on an existing character that captures key elements of them while creating something new, exciting and intriguing. I don't think of myself as a Morrison apologist (indeed, I've been as perplexed by some of his work as anyone else) but with this book he showed me yet again why he's my favorite writer working in comics today. This is much less big-idea Morrison and more straight ahead but it's still complex and interesting and action packed.
There's one sequence in particular involving an elevated train that really shows off just why Superman is the perfect character for massive action sequences. Thank God for Rags Morales too. This is his best work since Identity Crisis and I think even a step above that. His characters are always expressive but his storytelling seems to only be improving. And check out the panel progression on the elevated train sequence. It's like a giant summer blockbuster scene. Loved this book.

Stormwatch #1: I got very excited for this book in the last few days. I love Paul Cornell, and the characters he's working with here are some of the only Wildstorm characters I have any familiarity with. This issue didn't disappoint but it's not in any part due to the art. It looks rushed, and at times downright ugly. There are a few panels that looked fine and even a couple that looked great but for the most part it barely got the job done.
Thankfully Cornell is writing a ramped-up sci-fi story that reminds me very much of the early Authority stuff I've read. Only it's set in the DCU and Martian Manhunter is a key player. I'm onboard for sure, and I'd even go so far as to say this was probably the best-written of the relaunch books behind Action Comics. But seriously, the visuals need some serious work.

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