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DC’s New 52 In Review

September 8, 2011

I’m reading comics again, because stupid DC Comics went and rebooted, with 52 new titles featuring hip young versions of their classic characters, many of them clearly modelled on their movie incarnations and stupid Smallville. Green Arrow needs a beard, people.

Here are some short thoughts on what I’ve read so far:

Action Comics #1: Finally, after 40 years of loving comics, I own Action Comics #1. Although it will be renumbered next year when DC undoes all this crap (under the Only Bucky Stays Dead Until He Is Alive And Then Dead Again rule), I can say I own Action Comics #1. That being said, this is the best of the bunch. Superman is reinvented here, or remembered, as a street-level ass-kicker with a bad temper who’s out to fight for the common man — much as he was in the original Action Comics #1. In jeans, work boots, a t-shirt and cape — strangely, the same thing I wore to my Grade 8 graduation — he’s a menace, a wanted man and the first superhero. As he should be.

Justice League #1: This is mostly the Batman-and-Green Lantern show, and kind of works, but is odd as the launch for a whole new line. It would have worked better to open big, then flash back. Enjoyable, but hard to tell that we’re dealing with new takes on the characters — because Batsy and Halsy are hardly altered.

Animal Man #1: I finally like Animal Man. This is a great little comic.

Hawk and Dove #1: Why do people keep asking Rob Liefeld to draw? Why? Why does Hawk have an extra bicep all of a sudden? What the fuck is this thing about? Lame characters + Bad art = “Why do you only have Hawk and Dove #1 and not the rest of the series?”

Batwing #1: Loved it. The new African Batman is a cop from the Congo, trained and equipped by Batman to fight a machete-slashing madman. Gorgeous art. Taut story. It’s about time comics mined the wealth of stories coming out of Africa.

Detective Comics #1: Pretty dull stuff, same old same old, until the last page, which will make you squirm and smile at the same time. Batman has undergone the least reinvention, but that’s okay — he was fine the way he was.

Justice League International #1: This is an attempt to recapture what Giffen and DeMatteis did so well 20 years ago. It doesn’t work.

Batgirl #1: Babs is back in the cape, and in a neat way. I see a lot of potential here, and the art is gorgeous. This isn’t an origin; this seems to be the old Barbara, from the old continuity, back in action. The only change is her father’s newly Gary Oldman-style brown hair and ‘stache.

Stormwatch #1: Terrible. There was an opportunity there to leave the WildStorm characters in their own continuity, but for some reason DC decided to tack them out of the bleed and into the main, so we have a new assoholic Apollo and lame characters who explain their powers as they use them, a Claremont holdover I’ve never liked. “Fine! I’ll use the alien power crystal embedded in my head to translate the linear matrix!” Or something. Once again, DC has proven it is impossible to write a good story with the Martian Manhunter in it without having him eat Oreos.

I didn’t read Men of War, with a new Sgt. Rock, or OMAC, because they looked terrible. And I dread the new Green Arrow, which is taken right from that TV series. Flash? I’ll get into Flash. Always have.

  • Lowlights: My biggest beef is that I can’t tell when these stories are occuring in relation to one another, something that was a problem after Crisis in the ’80s. But I’m not worried. I’ve weathered Crisis, Zero Hour, Hypertime, Infinite Crisis, Flashpoint, whatever. I’ll live.
  • Highlights: Apparently JSA is relaunching with an Earth-2 premise. Right on, kids. Adult Robin, Huntress as the daughter of Batman and Catwoman and some Sylvester Pemberton action … that, at least, makes me happy.

Note: In case you thought I was joking about the movie tie-in crap, look at this photo of Henry Cavill as Superman in the next film (cape added for effect; it appears it will be CGI for much of the movie):

“Did you remember to bring the package?
It had my little red shorts in it. In the package. “

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