DC Comics New 52 Reboot: A Nerds-Eye View - Week 3

Batman

This issue – There is a giant breakout at Arkham, with all of the villains running through the halls. Just another day. Batman is there, trying to get info on a guard that is getting bribed. When he gets there, he fights alongside the most unlikely person imaginable: The Joker. Not everything is as it seems, however, and we see what is really going on. Later, when Bruce is trying to get funding for the “New Gotham”, Alfred calls about a murder. When Batman arrives, he finds a note. “Bruce Wayne Will Die Tomorrow”

How it differs – Bruce is back to being the one and only Bruce now. Bruce and Damian are now Batman and Robin, although not in this issue. Gordon looks way younger for whatever reason, although that may be because of how the artist draws him, and he’s not actually younger.

Will I read issue #2? - I like Bruce being Batman again, and also Bruce being a businessman at the same time. The last page teaser for next week is intriguing, although I know it can’t possibly be true (OR CAN IT!?!?! Nah, probably not, like The Joker thing). I said after that absolutely epic run on Detective Comics Scott Snyder wrote (check it my reviews here and here), and the art by Greg Capullo made it way easier to come back. He was fantastic. Absolute must next week.

Birds of Prey

This issue – Mr. Keen is following leads to write a story about the Birds of Prey, when his contact tells him to meet him at a church. We then see a sniper scope trained on the back of his head. Before the shot can be fired, Birds of Prey member Starling rams her car through the wall of the church (I’m not sure how many Hail Mary’s she will have to say for that one...). Starling and Black Canary fight quasi-invisible assassins, and escape with Mr. Keen safe.

How it differs – This series has Starling and Black Canary in the group so far, and Barbara (Oracle/Batgirl) is not involved. Before, she was, as was Black Canary, Huntress, lady Blackhawk, Manhunter, and Phantom Lady. Maybe some of them will be in it again (the cover shows four girls in BoP, none being Barbara), but not in this issue.

Will I read issue #2? - This is a maybe for me. Jesus Saiz is a really good artist, but this isn’t as interesting to me as it should be. I’m not familiar with the characters, but I might pick it up next month, just to see who else will be on the team.

Blue Beetle

This issue – Scarabs are taking over the universe, one planet at a time. When a Green Lantern protects his sector from one of the Scarabs, it falls harmlessly to Earth, in an ancient Mayan village. Flash to current day, and we see Jaime Reyes going through his normal life. When him and his brother are driving around, they come across a robbery, and Jaime has possession of the Scarab. A shot hits the Scarab, and rams itself into Jaime’s back, fusing the two together. Now, Jaime is the Blue Beetle.

How it differs – Not a whole lot has been changed. It is still Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle. However, I don’t know if the Scarab backstory is the same, or if he started out as being that aggressive, and out of control. That’s how he was in Smallville, that’s the only reference I have.

Will I read issue #2? - I might. The art was just meh by Ig Guara, passable but not noteworthy. I’ve never read anything with Blue Beetle in it, so I might pick the next one up. This one is on the fence, but more on the No side rather than Yes.

Captain Atom

This issue – Captain Atom has the ability to absorb energy, and to change his body “at the molecular level”. He goes into a fight, and finds out that he is able to change other things at the molecular level (which, if I’m not mistaken, is Firestorm’s ability?). When he changes the bad guy’s robotic suit to dust, however, he starts breaking down himself. He is able to concentrate and stop it, but he goes to Dr. Megala for help. They talk about the pros and many cons of this newfound power, before Captain Atom is alerted of a spontaneous volcano popping up in New York City. When he is stopping the volcano, he seems to be broken down completely.

How it differs – This is another character where I don’t want to fall down the rabbit hole which is Wikipedia. I don’t think he could change other things at the molecular level, I am pretty sure that was Firestorm.

Will I read issue #2? - No, not really. This didn’t really grab me all that much. The heroes that can do basically anything, like he can, are sort of boring after awhile, even though he might be dead. At the very least, I will flip through it next month, to see if he is actually dead. Which he won’t be.

Catwoman

This issue – This book opens with Catwoman putting on her costume, just as three dudes break into her house. She jumps out of the window to escape, still getting dressed, when her apartment explodes in a ball of fire. Her friend Lola (who was a showgirl...no really, it said that, and also made the same joke I am making...) gives her a tip as to where she can lay low for awhile, to figure everything out. Selina goes out on a job, since she needs money fast, but when she sees someone from her past, she goes nuts, and attacks him. She escapes back to her hideout, where she is visited by Batman. They still have their costumes completely on, but I am pretty sure they are just straight-up having sex on the last page. There is no need for subtlety in comic books, apparently.

How it differs – Not a whole lot. I am not sure this Renald guy was in the book before (the guy from her past she attacked). Also, Lola is new, but that is sort of minor, also. Other than that, Selina kyle is still Catwoman, and she still loves Batman.

Will I read issue #2? - On one hand, this issue is the perfect example of what everyone thinks comic book fans want: Gratuitous T&A. On the other hand....alright, I enjoyed it. I will say the art was the best part of this book. Not because of the T&A, per se, but Guillem March is a fantastic artist, even though he draws women almost comically curvy. I have always liked Batman and Catwoman’s relationship, so I am in. And so is Batman. Too far? That’s what she said.

DC Universe Presents: Deadman

This issue - Boston Brand is Dead, Man. Stupid rogue comma... He is Deadman. Boston was a trapeze artist, who was killed while performing by an assassin. Instead of a peaceful afterlife (or a horrifyingly terrible one, if you believe in that sort of thing), he is pulled into a purgatory-like place. There he meets Hurley and Kate, and they find the Smoke Monst....wrong purgatory. Rama tells him he will need to go back as a spirit of sorts, and help people, in order to restore balance to himself.

How it differs - They used the origin from the new Flashpoint story for Boston Brand, instead of the original. In this one, he was a trapeze artist, but he was also very arrogant. He was the main draw of the circus, so maybe I understand why he would feel that way. The rest seems the same, at least from what I’ve read of him in Blackest Night & Brightest Day.

Will I read issue #2? - I have really liked Deadman in the last two crossovers, so I will read this arc. The story by Jenkins was compelling, and Bernard Chang’s art was very good. The only bummer is that after that amazing cover by Ryan Sook, it was a little bit of a let down. Chang’s art is still good, but Sook is incredible. Definite read next month

Green Lantern Corps

This issue - This is just a very big set-up issue. Guy Gardner and John Stewart are on Earth, trying to have a civilian life. Guy is interviewing to become a high school football coach, and John is showing plans for a new building he has designed. Everyone knows that these two are Green Lanterns, so they have a hard time in each of their stories. Meanwhile, two other Lanterns are guarding a prisoner, when an unseen enemy kills the prisoner. The Lanters try to fight back, but are both killed in the process. Guy and John are called back to Lantern HQ, Oa, to look into the situation.

How it differs - As with the rest of the Lantern books, this book is the same than before Flashpoint. Guy and John were taking a break after all that happened in War of the Green Lanterns (here and here), when they were called back to look into the deaths of the Lanterns. Like I said, I guess Flashpoint was an Earth-based event, and didn’t effect the entire universe.

Will I read issue #2? - Peter J Tomasi has been a very solid writer on Green Lantern Corps for years now, and it is as good as ever. Fernando Pasarin was the artist on Green Lantern - Emerald Warrior for the past year, and he has been fantastic. Couple these two on a book that I have been reading (and enjoying) consistenly since before Blackest Night, and of course I will be back next month.

Legion of Super-Heroes


This issue - Once again, another Legion book. Once again, I have no idea what is going on. I recognized some of the characters in this book, however, such as Mon-El, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, etc. This book tells me the only Legion book I will ever enjoy was Geoff Johns’s Action Comics story, a few years ago.. Seriously, I don’t know if anything happened in this issue at all.



How it differs - Again, not digging into that horrible backstory.



Will I read issue #2? - Never

Nightwing

This issue - Grayson has given back the mantle of Batman to Bruce, and returned to his former persona, Nightwing. He is living in an apartment in the city, instead of Wayne Manor, to be “closer to the action”. While he is on patrol, he sees that Haly’s Circus has came back to town, the circus he used to travel with. Apparently, they haven’t been back since Mr. & Mrs. Grayson were killed, and Dick hasn’t been back to see his old friends since. He reminisces for awhile, and even tries his hand back on the ropes. He purposefully falls into the net, since no one knows he is Batman/Nightwing, and is exponentially better than any of them. On the way home, Grayson is attacked by an unknown person, and Nightwing jumps in to fight.

How it differs - Grayson is no longer Batman, and is back to Nightwing. Now that I’ve been reading this books, I am not sure whether these changes were because of Flashpoint, or just the evolution of the story. Bruce was gradually moving back into the role of Batman, but to my knowledge, there was never an actual transition issue, with Dick saying he’s going back to Nightwing. Maybe there was, and I just missed it.

Will I read issue #2? - Man, it does feel good to get some old-fashioned Dick again... GRAYSON!! I did it again! Eddy Barrows draws action and fluidity very well, especially when Nightwing and the other guy are fighting at the end. Every once in awhie, one of the faces looks a little weird, but other than that, very well drawn. I have read 2 issues Kyle Higgins has written ever, this and Deathstroke from last week. This issue was much better than Deathstroke, and I will absolutely be picking this up next month.

Red Hood and the Outlaws

This issue - Roy Harper is being held prisoner in Qurac (a.k.a. “Fake-DC-Country-Istan”) for war crimes. A preacher comes to talk to him, but it turns out it is the Red Hood in disguise. Red Hood (Jason Todd) and Arsenal (Harper) break out of the prison, and are escaping, when they run across three tanks in the way. Flying in as the “heavy” (I wouldn’t say that to her face, though) is Starfire, to take out the tanks. Jump three weeks ahead, and the trio is resting on a beach, “laying low”. And by that, I mean Starfire is in the ocean, wearing I would say a total of ten postage stamps worth of cloth? Anyway, Essence shows up, and tells Jason there is a situation that demands his attention. While Arsenal and Starfire are “pre-occupied”, Red Hood goes out on his mission.

How it differs - Jason Todd has been back, despite the overwhelming apathy towards the character. Back in 80’s, they had a contest to see if Jason should be killed or not, and they voted him to die. But now he’s back, as a villain. Starfire doesn’t remember anything about her past, which is not explained, and might be another ret-con. Roy and Jason remember their past, so we know that stuff still happened, but she just doesn’t remember. Also, what happened to Scarlet? She was one of the creepiest new characters in Morrison’s Batman run, but I liked her.

Will I read issue #2? - Scott Lobdell has got a bad rap in the past, but I really enjoyed this issue. It was fast-paced, and funny, and really well done. Kenneth Rocafort...wow. He was fantastic. I especially liked the difference between the art from Qurac, which was dark and gritty, and the beach looks a lot smoother. I really enjoyed the dynamic of the team, and will be checking out this book in the foreseeable future.

That decision is totally not based on how Starfire looks, at all...

Supergirl

This issue - A meteorite from an alien planet crash lands in Kansas. Sound familiar? Well, this meteor keeps going when it hits, and actually comes out on the other side of the world: Siberia. Turns out, this is not Superman, but Supergirl, and she is not a baby, but a teenager. She comes to, and thinks she’s dreaming. When she gets attacked, and it hurts, she knows this is real. Now that she is under the yellow Sun, she has powers, just like Kal-El, and she is able to fight back. So she doesn’t speak English, wakes up on a foreign planet, and is immediately attacked by guys in mech suits. Not a way to start your morning, I would imagine.

How it differs - Kara Zor-El is very different than before. First, she was here on Earth, and can speak English, so this is a complete reboot. Before, she was sent by her parents to be raised by Kal-El on Earth as a teenager. This version, she doesn’t remember what happened, or how she got there, doesn’t even speak the language. Superman flies in at the end of the issue to save her, and speak to her in her native Kryptonian, which he wouldn’t have known back then. He was just a baby in the former continuity.

Will I read issue #2? - Now this is how you do a reboot! This issue was epic. I love the way she starts out by thinking how awesome of a dream this is, to being terrified that it is real, to ripping mech suits apart with her new-found powers. I don’t think I have ever read anything my either Michael Green and Mike Johnson, but this was awesome. Mahmud Asrar has been around for awhile, drawing Supergirl, and he is as good as ever. This is one of my favorites of the New 52. Can’t wait for issue 2

Wonder Woman

This issue - A woman named Zola is being hunted down by centaurs, and Hermes has to help her. Let it sink in. The centaur was created, by a hooded woman, who cut the head off of a horse, and the human half grew out of the neck. Still there? Hermes tosses her ea key, that transports her into Diana’s bedroom, where she immediately gets dressed, and goes back to fight. Now I’m starting to get dizzy. She knocks out one centaur, and throws a sword at the other trying to escape, cutting it’s arm off....Sorry, I passed out from sheer awesomeness. Turns out, Zola is pregnant, with Zues’s baby, which isn’t even close to being the craziest thing in this book. We then flash to another man (apparently another one of Zeus’s kids), who possesses three women, and has them tell him the future.

How it differs - Recently, Wonder Woman was written by J. Michael Straczyksi, so no one knows what she has been doing, nor cares. They just had a reimagining, and I didn’t understand it then. I think the biggest thing they changed the last time is that she got pants. Now, it seems to get back to the pre-JMS days, but I’m not sure.

Will I read issue #2? - I’m going to call this book best of the week, possibly of the entire reboot. Brian Azzarello wrote the best Flashpoint tie-in, with his Batman story (review here). This book was absolutely nuts, and I loved it. But the story pales in comparison to Cliff Chiang. He is one of the best artists working right now, and I don’t care how long I have to wait for his issues to come out, I will. I can’t believe I am actually going to read a Wonder Woman book (I never have before) but I am so in for next issue.

Three down, one to go! I am really looking forward to next week, because after that, I can go back to reviewing three or four books a week... But I really have enjoyed it.


See you next week!

Running List Of Choices

Yes
Maybe
No
Action Comics
Justice League International
Green Arrow
Animal Man
O.M.A.C.
Hawk & Dove
Batgirl
Static Shock
Men of War
Batwing
Deathstroke
Legion Lost
Detective Comics
Frankenstein
Mister Terrific
Stormwatch
Birds of Prey
Captain Atom
Swamp Thing
Blue Beetle
Legion of Super-Heroes
Batman & Robin
 
 
Batwoman
 
 
Demon Knights
 
 
Green Lantern
 
 
Grifter
 
 
Red Lanterns
 
 
Resurrection Man
 
 
Suicide Squad
 
 
Batman
 
 
Catwoman
 
 
Deadman
 
 
Green Lantern Corps
 
 
Nightwing
 
 
Red Hood
 
 
Supergirl
 
 
Wonder Woman
 
 

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1 comment

Lew Newmark 5 years ago

Well, I decided to read only a few of the new DC reboot titles and I'm glad that you covered the releases of last week. Nice writing a pretty digestible text. I'm awaiting Superman #1 and Hawkman and that's all I'm going to be covering. Already unsure about this whole reboot, and certainly was not thrilled with Supernman as he is in Action Comics #1.

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