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Scott Reviews The New 52: Week 4

After last week’s lackluster offerings, I was surprised and delighted that there was some really high-quality stuff this time.  Especially because it was stuff I was really looking forward to.

Superman #1

OK, first we’ll go with this, even though it’s a pretty big letdown for me.  I am just not digging the Jim Lee costume redesign, I’m not digging the redefined Clark and Lois relationship.  And Clark looks like Harry Potter now.  George Perez’ script is really talky, especially with the heavy-handed “print media is not dying” message imparted by the parallel Clark Kent news story recapping the action.  Yeah, print isn’t dying, that’s why I buy most of these on Comixology and read them on my computer.  I’m sticking with Action Comics for my Superman fix, I think.

Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1

Yeah!  Now this is what I’m wanting out of a reboot.  It takes elements that fans know and love (like the names, basic concept and costume design) and creates a whole new world in the sandbox so that new fans can jump on at the start.  Admittedly I’ve been reading since literally day one of the character and have more than a little affection for it, so I’m predisposed to enjoy this anyway.  But this was really good.  Ronnie Raymond gets de-aged back to a teenager again for a feud with brainy Jason Rusch, and that’s a dynamic that’s always gonna work.  Plus the story has some legitimate gravitas to it thanks to an intense beginning, and the setup leaves you wanting to know what happens next.  Best of all, both Jason and Ronnie fans (who have been at odds since the changeover) get their guy as Firestorm.  This one definitely stays on the pull list.

Teen Titans #1

Given that the initial cover concept made this look retarded, this was a pleasant surprise to say the least.  Tim Drake (who still was Robin in the reboot) assembles his team to fight the forces of NOWHERE (last seen in Superboy #1), and it’s all breezy and tremendously entertaining.  Kid Flash is back to being an impulsive dick again (although he’s drawn more like Wally than Bart…hmmm…) and Cassie is much more interesting on her own as Wonder Girl than as a sidekick from the previous universe.  I really like the costume redesign on Red Robin, and this now feels like a bi-weekly book when paired with Superboy.  I wasn’t even planning on picking this one up, but I’m sticking with it now.  Great fun, and I’m not sure how Lobdell could write crap like Red Hood and then something great like this.  Maybe they should just merge the two books?

Flash #1

This was fine, but I just don’t care about Barry Allen.  If the world can survive with two Firestorms, why not two Flashes?  Or make Wally into the new Quicksilver or Johnny Quick or something?  Anyway, this feels very Silver Agey, with Barry having to get out of social situations to change into the Flash (with new cool expanding costume effect) and much like Superman, he’s now single and not even dating Iris.  The previous series left me cold and I’m not really into this yet.  I’ll wait for the trade.

All Star Western #1

I love me some Jonah Hex, although I was disappointed that they’re abandoning the standalone format of the previous Hex series and going with the now-traditional serialized storytelling.  That being said, Hex working in 1880 Gotham City and teaming up with Dr. Arkham to hunt serial killers is a pretty brilliant conceit.  This was a really fun contrasting personality book, with Hex at his snarling worst while Arkham tries to psychoanalyze him and tame him for presentation to “proper” society.  I’d prefer Hex by himself again dispensing six gun justice, but this was pretty fun and will continue to be read by me.

Aquaman #1

I breezed through this one, which was nice given that the character has been getting a dense backstory in recent years.  Geoff Johns, who is the guy who is going make this work no matter what anyone says so you might as well accept it, actually does make it work.  Things get meta with criminals and seafood restaurant patrons riffing on him, but Arthur beats the hell out of would-be bank robbers and damn if he isn’t pretty cool here.  He does NOT talk to fish or need a glass of water to survive on land, thankyouverymuch.  Thumbs up, and I will stick with the Aquaman rescue project for a while longer. 

Batman: The Dark Knight #1

Hey, it’s yet another Bat-book.  By this point in the month I’m feeling a bit inundated with Batman, and this one is just kind of settled blandly in between the greatness of Batman #1 and the weirdly offputting Detective #1.  Bruce Wayne meets a powerful Bollywood actress at a party and gets into legal arguments, and then goes off to deal with another riot at Arkham (or maybe the same one as earlier this month, who knows).  I wasn’t really feeling the cliffhanger, but the whole thing seemed kind of aimless to begin with anyway.  We’ll call this a backup in case either of the important Batbooks get injured or called to another comics company or something.  The artwork is very nice, though, and I could follow everything going on easily, so that’s always appreciated, but it’s still a distant #3 behind Batman and Batman & Robin for me. 

And finally…

Green Lantern:  The New Guardians #1

Pretty slow start here.  We get crabface’s original recounted again (which made me fear he was getting rebooted), and various rings from around the galaxy get drawn to Kyle in the present day, along with the rainbow Corps members who want them back.  And that’s basically it.  As noted before, I’m kinda over the multi-colored Lantern thing right now, but I like Kyle, so I gave it a shot.  But there’s nothing here that makes me want to rush out and buy issue #2, so I’ll wait for a trade. 

So to summarize, here’s what I’ll be reading on an ongoing basis, using these #1s as my criteria:  Action Comics, Batman, Batwoman, Birds of Prey, Blue Beetle, Justice League, Justice League International, Superboy, Teen Titans, Firestorm, Aquaman, All Star Western, Men of War and Batman & Robin. 

Now if only DC can stick to their shipping schedule, we’ll be good to go.