September 28 2011

Resurrection Man #1

Once again, this is a character I have no experience with. I’ve heard of him, and the premise is intriguing: each time Resurrection Man dies, he returns to life with a different superpower.

This is a good introduction to the character, and shows that he has a lot of history, without relying on it in any way. We find out that he has died many times in the past, and now there are people after him – for some reason – because he won’t stay dead.

This issue did a lot to pique my interest, so I’ll definitely be sticking with it for now. Many of DC’s comics intended for “mature audiences” (if comic book fans can be called that) have been pretty good, so hopefully this will live up to its potential.

Verdict: I shall return! (Get it?)

September 28 2011

Superboy #1

As you should be expecting by now, this issue sets up Superboy’s backstory. His powers, who he is, where he comes from. This version, like the most recent previous version of the character, is a hybrid clone of Superman and a human – probably Lex Luthor again.

Overall, this was kinda…meh. Maybe it’ll turn into something good, but there wasn’t really anything here that stuck out as particularly interesting. It wasn’t bad either though. Besides Superboy, there aren’t any other characters here that I recognize, except for Lois Lane’s brief (and bizarre) appearance.

I wish I had more to say about this, but I don’t. At least the art is nice and clean.

Verdict: Meh. Maybe the next one will be better.

September 28 2011

Deathstroke #1

So apparently, some people really like Deathstroke. I’ve never really known why; there are plenty of other martial-arts killing machines out there. Sure, he’s a formidable opponent for the “good guys”, but what makes the character interesting?

Well, this comic does a great job of explaining that to new readers. He’s one of those nigh-unkillable, tough-as-nails, gruff on the inside and outside types, who inspires fear and respect from everyone he encounters. He also seems to be about 50-60 years old, which means he’s got tons of experience and knowledge. And I also like his matter-of-fact, don’t-get-in-my-way attitude.

It’s really hard to say what interested me the most in this issue. I liked how Deathstroke was forced to work with a small group of smartass teenagers, so it’s too bad that idea won’t be expanded further. It’s too early for me to even begin to guess where this story is heading, but this issue has me interested enough to check out the next issue.

The art is quite nice too, and the artists definitely know how to keep their foreground art from being drowned out by their background art, and using color and silhouettes to accentuate their characters.

Verdict: Strangely interesting.

September 26 2011

Green Lantern Corps #1

Oh no, there’s some sort of powerful, evil force terrorizing the galaxy! Again! And rather than confront it with all the power that we have, let’s instead send an eclectic, ragtag team of second-stringers to investigate!

I’m really not trying to rip on this book. It’s fun, and I’m sure I’ll continue to enjoy it each month. But I can’t ignore how well-worn the premise is so far. It’s a great premise though, and I usually enjoy it when I see it, whether it’s Star Wars or Firefly or whatever. It’s basically Seven Samurai in space. The building blocks are in place for a good story, and I’m sure we’ll get one.

I’m not really sure what the writers were going for, having Gardner and Stewart trying to fit into the world of the 9-to-5ers on Earth, but fortunately it doesn’t last long. Also, why are there characters on the front cover who aren’t even in the book, like Kilowog and Sten?

Verdict: Guaranteed fun.

September 26 2011

Suicide Squad #1

I’ve heard a lot of really good things about the Suicide Squad comics. The guys over at the Geekbox have raved about it on their podcasts for years. But personally, I’ve never read it before now.

The premise is pretty clever: the Squad is made up of several supervillains who are being forced to work for the government on secret, extremely dangerous and bloody missions. This iteration features Deadshot, a very slutted-up Harley Quinn, a shark guy, and a few others I’ve never heard of before.

The comic does a good job of introducing the many characters, though there’s obviously not a lot of room to convey very much information yet. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more character development in future issues.

I don’t really care for the new “Harlot Quinn” design, though I do agree that the old costume, designed for the Batman Animated Series, needed an update. This look seems much closer to how Harley looks in the Arkham Asylum/Arkham City games, but I didn’t care for that either. They’ve made her too brutal and mercenary, although if there were more of an explanation for that, it’d be ok.

Also, I don’t like how they’ve sexified Amanda Waller, the government agent who gives the Suicide Squad their orders. She used to be short and fat, but now she’s tall and thin. Bah.

Anyway, this issue was pretty intriguing, and I think I’m going to go back and read the old SS series…right after I finish the rest of the New 52, and Fables, and Sandman, and Blue Beetle, and several other comics I’ve got on my stack right now.

Verdict: Shows a lot of promise.

September 26 2011

Batwoman #1

I didn’t even know there was a “Batwoman” until about half a year ago.  Since then, I’ve read a few stories with her as a secondary character, such as 52 and the new Batman & Robin stuff (if I remember correctly), but never anything where she was the star of the show, until now.

So far, I don’t really know what to think about this. The comic does a good job of introducing some of the major players of the Batwoman world (which, shockingly enough, overlaps significantly with the Batman world). She seems like an interesting character, but I really can’t tell if I’ll keep up with this book or not. I don’t yet know if it’s “my thing”.

The artwork is brilliant, and may be the best I’ve seen in the New 52 so far. There’s very chaotic, clever paneling, and some very surreal imagery.

Verdict: Hard to say, but I’ll give it another try.

September 22 2011

Examining DC’s New 52

When DC announced that they were effectively “rebooting” their entire comics lineup, I admit I was a little disappointed. I finally started getting familiar with the DC universe’s considerable backstory, and now they were going to toss much of it away? Argh.

But I can see why they do it, and if they can do it well, I’m more than happy to play along. Having a major jumping-on point can be quite useful to a lot of people, especially me.

Anyway, I decided to check out every single new Issue #1 that DC is publishing – all 52 of them – and offer my thoughts on each one. Many of these characters are unfamiliar to me, or they’ve changed, or whatever. But some I’m very familiar with (hello, Batman) and I could be pretty irritated if they change too much. Let’s take a look.

Continue Reading

September 22 2011

Mister Terrific #1

Mr. Terrific is one of those characters that few people know about, but has been around for a long time (in one form or another). He also has a lot of very interesting character traits that appeal to me.

He’s black, he’s a genius, and he’s a scientist. And if you ask me, there aren’t nearly enough role models, especially black ones, showing kids that science is cool and being smart is ok. There’s Neil deGrasse Tyson, and…I can’t think of anyone else.

Another thing I like is that he’s an atheist. He doesn’t hide it, the writers don’t hide it, and they don’t make a big deal about it. Granted, his reasoning for being an atheist sounds like something a theist would come up with (and probably is), but I can let that slide.

The comic also isn’t afraid to address social issues, like race relations, class relations, and politics. That could give the series some unique opportunities, if the writers don’t shy away from them.

This may be the only case where DC took a realistic costume and made it into a spandex suit, rather than the other way around. It works fine, but I really miss the jacket.

Verdict: Surprisingly good. Looking forward to more.

September 22 2011

Green Lantern #1

This kicks off immediately where the War of the Green Lanterns storyline ended. Hal Jordan has been kicked out of the Corps, Mogo is dead, and Sinestro is now a Green Lantern again.

I was really looking forward to seeing what Sinestro would do, now that he’s sorta back in the Corps again, and this book doesn’t disappoint. The uneasy truce between him and the Guardians is quite interesting, and in a way he even works for them again by protecting his sector of space (which he does anyway). He also learns how volatile his own Corps is without him there to guide it, so it seems likely that he’ll eventually have to fight its new leaders to regain power, which probably means he’ll team up with Hal eventually.

I don’t know what else to say about this book. It’s fun, and it has everything I love about the Green Lantern comics. The only downside is that the scenes with Hal are mostly forgettable – possibly on purpose.

Verdict: Great fun. What else can I say?

September 22 2011

Red Lanterns #1

The Red Lantern Corps is a pretty new group of characters, and we don’t actually know very much about them. As the Green Lantern Corps gets its power from the emotion of Will, the Red Lanterns get their power from the emotion of Rage.

It’s easy to look at them as another group of “bad guys”, and I was afraid that DC would treat them as such, but fortunately that’s not the case (so far). The writers seem to recognize that rage isn’t necessarily evil – though it can certainly be used for evil – just as will isn’t purely good.

The book opens with a great two-page spread of my favorite Red Lantern, Dex-Starr (a very pissed-off housecat from Earth), attacking a group of alien sadists. And that begins to show you what the ethics of the Red Lantern Corps is shaping up to be. They don’t inflict unnecessary pain, but they willingly kill those who are “evil”.

The book also seems to show that Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lanterns, is going to try to shape the corps into a more disciplined, goal-oriented bunch. The other lanterns, however, seem content to mindlessly fight against each other in their downtime.

This is one I’m definitely going to follow, because it seems like such a cool concept, and I really like the (few) established characters.

Verdict: Love it. Keep it coming.

September 16 2011

Green Arrow #1

I’ve never really gotten into the Green Arrow comics, but I’m not sure why. I really liked him on the Justice League animated series, and on Smallville, and in the animated short that was released with Superman/Shazam, and even various crossover books, especially Identity Crisis. But I’ve never read an actual Green Arrow comic, before now.

It’s easy for people to overlook him too. He’s a billionaire playboy who wears a mask, has no superpowers, fights crime with well-honed martial arts skills, and uses a wide assortment of gadgets to take down his opponents. If that sounds appealing to you, you’re probably already reading Batman.

But what I like about Green Arrow are the things that make him different from Batman. For starters, he’s “ranged DPS”, not “melee DPS”. He also has more of a sense of humor, and he’s a liberal, which can lead to some pretty interesting philosophical discussions (and differences) between him and other characters.

The New 52 reboot seems to have altered him very slightly. His company, Queen Industries, seems to be more like Apple, with a focus on consumer electronics (Q-Pad, Q-Phone, etc.), which makes Oliver Queen a crime-fighting Steve Jobs in a way. He also doesn’t have his awesome goatee anymore, and I hope they add it back soon.

He has also been moved to Seattle, which is something I’ve noticed DC has done with a lot of other characters. They seem to be trying to ground these comics in the real world, in real cities, rather than having them take place in fictional places like “Star City”. (Obviously, they couldn’t get rid of Metropolis and Gotham.)

This comic is introductory, as are all the other New 52 comics, but gives new readers a good idea of what Green Arrow’s abilities and style are, and introduces the audience to some other characters – allies and enemies. I have no idea if any of them are new or returning characters, so it’s quite likely that I’m missing something.

Verdict: Could be pretty fun.

September 16 2011

Men of War #1

I don’t know what this is. I don’t know if this is an old comic series making a return, or a brand new one. I don’t know if these characters have ever been seen before. Unlike all the other New 52 comics I’ve read so far, I’m completely unfamiliar with everything about Men of War.

That said, what’s here is pretty compelling, if you like military-based comics. You get a little backstory on a couple soldiers, lots of military talk, and a pretty cool night-time airdrop operation. Unfortunately, this isn’t really my “thing”. I don’t want to discourage others from checking it out if it sounds interesting to them, because it really is well-done.

The one thing that might keep me interested is the very limited “superhero” element to the story so far. The team encounters some sort of superbeing that flies extremely fast in a big red blur, and can smash stuff apart without injury. Sounds like Superman to me, although I don’t think it would make sense for him to be in this. Maybe it’s Captain Atom? Or somebody new, or someone I haven’t thought of yet. That mystery is basically the only thing that makes me want to read the next one.

Verdict: Seems great, but it’s not for me.

September 15 2011

Batgirl #1

There’s a rather long history behind the Batgirl mantle.

Betty Kane was the first, who was created to fight accusations that Batman and Robin were gay lovers. She eventually became Flamebird. Then there was Barbara Gordon, daughter of Commissioner Gordon, who was Batgirl until the Joker shot and paralized her, and then she became Oracle, the tech girl hacker information guru for the whole Batman “family”, and leader of the Birds of Prey. Then there was Helena Bertinelli (normally Huntress) and Cassandra Cain (now Blackbat), and the most recent was Stephanie Brown, formerly the 4th Robin, formerly and occasionally Spoiler. Holy crap, that was convoluted.

This Batgirl is Barbara Gordon once again, her paralysis cured. She goes back to crimefighting – of course – and has apparently abandoned her duties as Oracle, which makes me wonder who’s filling her place.

Barbara is a fan favorite, and for most people she’s the de facto Batgirl. After all, she’s been a Batman ally for a long time, she’s the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, she was Batgirl on the Batman Animated Series, and is the police commissioner in Batman Beyond (I sure hope that comic series comes back). And because of all her history, she should have a lot of back-story support for future stories. It would be great to see her trying to get revenge on the Joker for shooting her, like how Damian Wayne almost beating Joker to death as revenge for Jason Todd.

The villain of this piece seems interesting, and I like that they’ve shown that although Barbara’s physical wounds have been healed, her mental ones still persist. That said, so far I’m not really hooked. I’ll keep reading it for a while, but it’s not something I can see myself sticking with long-term.

Verdict: Shows promise, but didn’t quite grab me yet.

September 15 2011

Animal Man #1

The only familiarity I have with Animal Man is his appearance in 52, and he was mostly out of his element (off-planet) so I probably didn’t see what he’s all about. Whatever he was before the New 52, this new Animal Man series is very weird, very dark, and very creepy. In fact, it may be even creepier than the new Swamp Thing series (at least so far).

We get a reintroduction to the character here, of course. In this case, it’s actually a whole page of text, a faux interview with Animal Man himself. It’s an interesting way to get a lot of characterization out of the way. We get introduced to his family, who are all very idyllic, and seem like they exist solely to be mutilated and killed in horrible ways one day. We also get a limited introduction to Animal Man’s powers, and how they work.

The art style is very different from other DC art, and I’m still not sure if I like it or not. It almost looks like the artwork drawn on top of photos, which were posterized and/or gone over with an edge-finding filter in Photoshop. I dunno…there’s something very artificial about the art. The pastel color scheme doesn’t help either. However, there are a few “dream sequence” pages in the middle that are in grayscale, with dark red accents, and they look fantastic.

Verdict: Definitely worth following.

September 13 2011

O.M.A.C. #1

It seems that much of what I thought I knew about the New 52 was wrong.

The “OMAC” concept has a long and varied history. Jack Kirby created the OMAC character as a version of Captain America, back in the 70’s. Back then, it stood for “One Man Army Corps”, but the definition changed when DC completely changed what OMAC was. In about 2005, the modern-day version of “The OMAC Project” was introduced as some sort of virus that could infect humans all over the world and, when activated, would transform its hosts into super-powerful robot drones, being controlled by a satellite called “Brother Eye”. In other words, definitely not Captain America anymore.

When I first saw the cover of this book, and saw that the new OMAC was just a single big blue guy, I thought that DC was trying to bring back the old Kirby character, and toss out the OMAC Project/Brother Eye stuff entirely. In fact, it seems that DC kept many of their previous storylines intact.

Anyway, what the hell is this book about? The short version: a big blue guy smashes his way through a Cadmus research lab. That may sound lame, but it was actually pretty awesome. There are lots of freaky-weird looking characters here, and an early-90’s aura of bombasticity. It does a good job of introducing some new mysteries to solve, such as what’s up with this new, semi-sentient OMAC cyborg, and what is Brother Eye planning?

Overall, this book is mostly about spectacle and showing readers a good time. Which comes as a big surprise to me, because I thought it would suck.

Verdict: Surprisingly awesome.

September 12 2011

Stormwatch #1

Unlike other books in the relaunch, this book jams several characters together, almost all of whom I’ve never heard of, and hopes we can follow along. And they seem like cool characters, too. Reminds me a lot of the Paradigm from Irredeemable.

This apparently combines a few different series, such as an original Stormwatch series, and also The Authority and Planetary. That’s just what I’m getting from the Wikipedia page. And those books have, for the most part, been separate from the regular DC universe (since they were published by other companies or divisions). But now they’re a part of it, which makes me wonder why there are so many supergroups; we’ve got the Justice League, Justice League International, Justice League Dark, Justice Society, Green Lantern Corps, Outsiders, Teen Titans, Legion of Superheroes, Birds of Prey, Stormwatch, and I’m probably missing several others.

The one character in Stormwatch that I am familiar with is Martian Manhunter, who seems like he’s going to play a much larger role now, which I like. I was surprised when he mentioned that he used to be on the Justice League; I thought the JL was completely remade in the relaunch, and expected that his past with them would be expunged from continuity. This is all quite confusing.

It’s also quite odd that this series is part of DC’s continuity, since two of the characters are designed to be analogs of Superman and Batman (with one quite notable difference). Maybe they’ve changed them in other ways.

Verdict: Seems very cool. I have no idea what’s going on.

September 12 2011

Detective Comics #1

I’ve got the same questions about Detective Comics’ place in the DC continuity as I do about Action Comics, so I’ll save us all some time and not repeat myself. The length of Batman’s ears and the color in Gordon’s mustache suggest that this happens in Batman’s earlier days.

Apparently, none of Batman’s backstory or history has changed, which I’m very glad about, since there’s so much great stuff out there. But that doesn’t mean that this book can’t act as an introduction to the character for new readers. It’s a simple story and pretty much only focuses on two characters, Batman and the Joker, both of whom are very familiar even to people who’ve never read a previous issue.

What’s here is quite compelling, and the final page is extremely creepy, and may actually up the ante of Joker’s craziness. The art is great, especially the two-page spread.

Verdict: Like it. Love it. Gotta have it.

September 12 2011

Action Comics #1

I’m not really sure what this is supposed to be. I’ve heard some people say that Action Comics is an alternate-universe version of Superman, or the stories are told in Superman’s past, or it’s an alternate universe that takes place in the past. I don’t know yet. I’m sure it’ll become clearer eventually.

But what I do know is that this is about how Superman began. In fact, coincidentally, it starts at about the same point in Superman’s life where he was when Smallville ended. But it’s definitely not connected in any way. This book takes place about 5-10 years before Justice League #1 (which takes place 5 years before the rest of the New 52). So, pre-Y2K? Is it even in the same continuity? I’m not going to think too hard about it yet.

As you can see from the cover, Superman is not yet established as the hero of Metropolis. In fact, the police don’t even know who he is, or if he’s a good guy. His costume is just a t-shirt and jeans, work boots, and a short red cape. This is a powered-down version of Superman, because he can’t actually fly (yet). He’s still faster than a speeding bullet (or in this case, a bullet train), more powerful than a locomotive (again, bullet train), and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. And he has his X-Ray vision and is bulletproof. He didn’t use his heat vision, but for some reason his eyes were often glowing red, which made him look evil.

Other changes are weirder. Superman and Lois both seem to be in their early 20’s, as is Jimmy Olsen. And Clark Kent works at the Daily Star, while Lois and Jimmy (and presumably Perry White) work at the Daily Planet. Huh? If I remember correctly, the Golden Age (Earth 2) Superman worked at the Star, but so did Lois and Jimmy.

All bizarrities aside, it was a pretty interesting read. Seeing Superman as an unknown, imperfect, not-quite-indestructable hero-in-training is fun. But one thing did stick out as odd: Superman seems pretty cocky, and even threatens a criminal by dropping him from a building to get him to confess to a crime. That’s a Batman tactic, not a Superman tactic.

Verdict: Need more. Now.

September 11 2011

Static Shock #1

This was a bit of a surprise. Static comes from an animated series than ran for a few years in the early 2000’s, and for whatever reason had frequent crossovers with Batman, Superman, and the Justice League on their respective animated series. I never watched the show, but I thought he was pretty cool in the episode of JL he appears in, although that took place in the future, so that version of him was about half a century older.

Unfortunately, since I don’t know much else about the character, it was hard to tell what was new and what was returning from the cartoon. I can tell that the setting has changed to New York rather than wherever it was, and Static looks a bit older now. I don’t know what’s up with his weird Iron Man-style mentor, or if he has any history with the villains (a bunch of teenagers riding Tron light-cycles).

I can definitely tell that this is meant for teens and adults rather than kids, since there’s some mild swearing and some killing.

Verdict: Eh, we’ll see.

September 11 2011

Batwing #1

As far as I know, Batwing is a character who has only appeared in a single issue of Batman Inc., so he’s basically brand new. No back story, nothing to know yet, and no baggage.

It would be easy to dismiss this as “Black Batman”, and I’m sure a lot of people will. It’s easy to say “oh, here’s Batwing’s versions of Commissioner Gordon and Alfred”. Which is true, I suppose. But what makes Batwing such an intriguing concept is that he’s basically doing the Batman shtick, but without Bruce Wayne’s unlimited resources and extensive web of allies.

The comic takes place in Africa, specifically the Congo, so we trade Gotham’s dark, gothic skyscrapers for smaller, more desperate places that seem to always be recovering from one civil war or another. Since he can’t swing and glide from tall buildings like Batman can, Batwing is actually capable of flight, his costume looking very much like a prototype Batman Beyond flight suit.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Verdict: Very promising.

September 11 2011

Swamp Thing #1

I didn’t give a damn about Swamp Thing until about a year ago, when I read Alan Moore’s “Saga of the Swamp Thing” series on the recommendation of Kevin Smith. I was astonished by how good those books are, and how nuanced and complex the character is. It was one of the first genuinely creepy comics I’ve ever read, and I often recommend it to other people, even though I know most people probably have the same “don’t care” attitude about the character that I had.

Besides Saga, the only other ST books I’ve read were the ones in the recent Brightest Day series, and the Aftermath books. Those re-introduced me to the character, while at the same time making some very interesting changes to him. I wasn’t sure how Swamp Thing would be handled in the reboot, but fortunately it’s basically a direct continuation, following the Brightest Day events to the letter.

When we first see Alec Holland (who became Swamp Thing…more or less) he’s working as a construction worker building a house. At first I thought “oh great, they changed his origin and dumbed him down”, but it quickly became clear that wasn’t true; this is the same Alec Holland who was resurrected at the end of Brightest Day.

Like the other #1 issues, this is mostly reintroduction to the characters, but is clear that the creepiness and horror of Alan Moore’s run will be present here as well.

I also really like the artwork in the book, and I especially like the inker’s strong line work. One minor quibble is that Superman looks kinda fat-faced.

Verdict: it’s being done right. Can’t wait for more.

September 11 2011

Justice League International #1

I became a big fan of the JLI after reading the JLI: Generation Lost story arc recently (part of the Brightest Day storyline…kinda). I was already a fan of Booster Gold, and the rest of the characters really grew on me – especially the new Rocket Red. So in a way, it’s a shame to have to start over.

Anyway, let’s see what we’ve got here. This shows us the formation of the new JLI (surprise, surprise) as an international crimefighting group for the United Nations. I don’t know how the original JLI formed, or who they answered to originally, but it’s an interesting concept.

Most of the characters from Generation Lost are here. Booster Gold is officially the leader now, and he’s back to being less-than-respected in the superhero community (and perhaps still a bit of a sell-out).

The latest version of Rocket Red is also back (Gavril Ivanovich) although he doesn’t seem to be as much of a communist anymore (no more “CCCP” on his helmet), which was always an amusing aspect of his personality. He also doesn’t get along very well with the Chinese member of the team, which will probably lead to some awkward and funny situations until the two become inseparable friends. I also don’t like that his armor is much more compact now; I preferred seeing him as a hulking battlebot.

Speaking of the Chinese member, a new addition to the team is August General In Iron (yes, that’s his name) who I know almost nothing about. I guess he’s armored and strong…other than that, I have no idea. So far he seems pretty stuck-up and humorless, but we’ll see how that goes.

Then we’ve got Fire and Ice, who are both cool characters. Then there’s Vixen, who can take on animal aspects (this is probably where Blizzard got that idea for Hunters in WoW) and Lady Godiva who…I don’t know…has some sort of hair-based powers? Then there’s Guy Gardner, providing some much-needed jackassery to the team, and finally Batman…for some reason. I’m not sure why they included Batman except to sell more issues, and I could easily see him leaving the team on its own once it gets settled. After all, there are now TWELVE Batman-related ongoing comic series.

Oh, I almost forgot, Captain Atom is not a part of the team. He (and many other superheroes) appears in the first few pages, but there’s no other mention of him. I really liked him in Generation Lost, so it’s a shame to see him gone. I’m sure I’ll find out where he’s been moved eventually.

Verdict: Will probably become something really fun.

September 11 2011

Hawk & Dove #1

Hawk & Dove are a lesser-known crimefighting duo, the “avatars” of war and peace. I expected a lot of the backstory of the characters to be effectively “wiped out” in this reboot, but this issue shows that a lot of it is staying. The early history of the duo is laid out in summary, with the death of Don Hall in a great “crisis” being touched on. I don’t know if this means that the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths is still part of the canon, but I doubt it.

I’m also glad that the romance between Dove and Deadman that popped up in Brightest Day is still going strong. Again, I don’t know if Brightest Day is still part of the canon or not, but I’m assuming no. Also, I wonder why Dove can actually see and talk to Deadman. Has the character been changed so he’s not invisible anymore? I’m fine with that, because that means he can actually interact with other characters, which means we’ll get to see him more.

The last page of this issue shows a gold-colored version of Hawk. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be Hawk, or if that’s an old archenemy, or a new one. I guess we’ll see.

Also, it seems that this book may be more willing to tackle political issues than most other DC comics. The villain has some pretty damning political opinions (which are persuasive, I must say), and it looks like this book will take place primarily in Washington DC. Also, they’re called Hawk & Dove.

Verdict: Cautiously optimistic enthusiasm.

September 11 2011

Justice League #1

This book takes place 5 years before the “current” storyline. No, that doesn’t mean it takes place in the aftermath of Infinite Crisis. Just think of the New 52 as existing in an alternate timeline. And in this timeline, none of the heroes we’re familiar with have ever met each other. So this issue primarily features the first meeting of Batman and Green Lantern, and finishes with the two meeting Superman.

Overall, it’s a pretty good start. I never read about how the JL got its start in the comics, although I did get a version of it in the JL animated series, so it’s nice to witness it for the “first time”.

I’m not one of those people who dislike how the new costumes look. In fact, for the most part, I think they look great. No more spandex underwear on the outside of the costume (for the most part), and the slightly-more-armored look works great in most cases. It works great on Batman, makes sense on Green Lantern, and although it doesn’t make sense for Superman to wear armor, neither does spandex; Superman could fly around naked and he’d be just as protected as he always is.

Also, what happened to Wonder Woman’s pants? Early versions of this cover had WW wearing long pants instead of running around in her underwear like she always has, which I thought was a good change (and also makes the character more immune to being called a sexist character).

Finally, I’m a bit disappointed that Martian Manhunter isn’t part of the team anymore (he got moved to Stormfront) but Cyborg seems like a good replacement. It’s obvious that part of DC’s decision to go with Cyborg instead was to add some racial diversity to the JL, but that doesn’t mean he’s just the token black character. We get to see some of his backstory as a football player, and he hasn’t even become Cyborg yet in this issue, so we’ll probably be seeing how and why he got his armor.

Verdict: Hell yes.