I predict that the next big fad in parenting will be naming your kids after ancient Egyptians. Don’t be surprised when little Khemut and Montuherkhopshef knock on your door in 10 years, selling Christmas wreathes for their scout troops.
I, Vampire #1
Let’s just say the word we’re all thinking right now: Twilight. There it is.
Legion of Superheroes #1
There’s not much I can say about this that I didn’t already say in my Legion Lost review. Rather than being a reboot like many of the other books in the New 52, this is a direct continuation of the LoS series, with all of its long and convoluted history seemingly intact.
Like the new Men of War series, this seems to be taking an old, outdated concept and reworking it to be relevant to today’s audiences. I wish I could tell you more.
Teen Titans #1
Like all the other New 52 team-up books, this one focuses on assembling the team. Leading the team is Red Robin (formerly Robin #3), and he sets out to recruit other young people with superpowers, some of whom seem to be accidentally causing trouble (like Kid Flash).
What the hell is this? I honestly have no idea. Is she good or bad (or neither)? Is she even a she? Is this a pre-existing character?
This whole book takes place in a strip club, which gives the inkers an opportunity to show off their ability to draw curves. All joking aside, I really love the artwork in this. The line work is top notch, the imagery is very clean, and there’s some great use of gradients for depth.
There’s not much else I can say about this. The story so far is intriguing, and I’ll probably keep reading this series – at least, until I can figure out what’s going on. It’s not that it’s hard to follow, it’s just that it’s completely unexpected, and I don’t know where it’s going.
Verdict: I have no idea…
I’ve never had any desire to read Supergirl comics. I just haven’t been interested. I’ve never even been all that interested in Superman comics either, nor Superboy. Well, add yet another item to the list of pleasant surprises in the New 52, because I really enjoyed this book.
The Flash #1
Well, so much for the Flash’s expansive back-story. Seems that most of it has been cleared away and everything reset, except that Barry Allen is already The Flash. (There’s no re-telling of the splashed-with-chemicals-while-simultaneously-being-hit-by-lightning origin story here, thankfully.)
Justice League Dark #1
JLD has a ton of potential, but I can tell it’s going to take a little while for it to kick into high gear.
The Fury of Firestorm #1
Yet another superhero I know very little about. I know him from Blackest Night and Brightest Day, and it seems to be a pretty clever idea: two people fuse to become Firestorm, one temporarily becoming a disembodied mind that can only communicate with the other, and they have the power to transmute elements – though it’s dependent on them actually knowing how to do it. In other words, at least one of the two minds needs to be a scientific genius. So, awesome, a science-based hero.
The Savage Hawkman #1
It’s hard to say how much of this is “reboot”, and how much is a continuation. Hawkman certainly retains the broad strokes of his past – he’s still an archaeologist with a bird costume. But in this book, he’s fed up with being Hawkman and sets out to rid himself of his superhero alter-ego.
All-Star Western #1
I think a lot of people will overlook this book, which is unfortunate. I know it seems like a holdover from a bygone era, and it is. But DC has made it relevant again, with a very cool story with one of their most underappreciated characters: Jonah Hex.
Batman: The Dark Knight #1
Gads, do I really need to review another Batman book? What hasn’t already been said?
Wonder Woman #1
Normally, I don’t really care about Wonder Woman. I enjoy her as a member of the Justice League, but I’ve never had any interest in her solo stuff. So this was yet another pleasant surprise.
I’m going to blow through the rest of these as quickly as I can.
I haven’t had much exposure to Nightwing beyond his occasional appearances in Batman comics, but I’ve had plenty of exposure to the man behind the mask, Dick Grayson. He’s the original Robin. He filled in as Batman for a while. So, I didn’t know what to expect from a solo Nightwing book, besides Batmanesque crimefighting and daring-do. And that’s exactly what we got. No complaints here.
This book also does a great job of filling in new readers about Grayson’s past and present, when his old circus returns to town. And the new villain is pretty cool – sort of a Special Forces version of Wolverine.
My only complaint is that they changed the color of the symbol on Nightwing’s chest. I liked it better in blue.
Verdict: Cool. Looking forward to more.
Blue Beetle #1
This re-introduces Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle, which seems entirely unnecessary to me. He was introduced in his own series just five years ago, and those books were great. I know a lot of people don’t care for this new version of the 72-year-old superhero, but I was surprised by how much I wound up liking him.
Captain Atom #1
Captain Atom is one of those characters who’s not familiar to mainstream audiences. In fact, he sounds like a stereotypical Cold War superhero. And…that’s true in a lot of ways. But I’ve come to like the character, first through his appearances on the Justice League animated series, and recently through the Justice League International: Generation Lost series. I thought he was great as part of the JLI, so I’m sorry to see that he’s no longer with the team.
I can’t talk about Captain Atom without bringing up his connection to Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen. Atom and several other Charlton Comics characters were going to be the main characters in Watchmen, but new characters were created instead, closely based on the originals. Atom has never reached the godlike power of Manhattan, but he can fly, absorb energy, and blast people with energy.
However, this comic seems to be taking the character in some interesting new directions. His powers are growing and changing, and he finds himself able to manipulate matter itself at the atomic level. And he has commented in the past about feeling more and more disconnected from humanity, which makes me wonder if DC is gradually making him into Doctor Manhattan (not literally, of course). That’s one of the big mysteries that this series seems poised to address.
Anyway, he’s a surprisingly likable character, and I do want to see where this goes.
Verdict: Sure, why not?
I’m skipping ahead a little here, which shouldn’t be a problem, since I’m already so far behind.
It surprises even myself to admit that I’ve read very few Superman comics in my life. I watched his most recent animated series, I watched the Justice League series, and I’ve read numerous cross-over comics with him in them, but the only time I’ve ever read a Superman comic was the “Superman: Sacrifice” TPB (which is excellent, by the way).
Birds of Prey #1
I’ve heard some good things about previous Birds of Prey books, but I’ve never read one. I’m familiar with most of the previous members of the team, but in this book, they seem to be down to just two: Black Canary and Starling. I’m assuming they’ll add more members eventually, because two of them are on the cover (though they’re not actually in this book).
Like all the other New 52 books, this one is setting up a new story. In fact, I’m getting a little tired of reading the beginning of dozens of new stories without being able to continue on yet. But I can’t complain too much.
The story here is pretty simple, but interesting: Canary and Starling rescue a journalist, who seems to be part of a mystery. And what started as a small mystery soon becomes a large mystery.
Verdict: Sure, I’ll pick it up again
Green Lantern: New Guardians #1
In the past few years, the world of the Green Lantern comics has become far more complex, thanks to the addition of SEVEN more Lantern Corps (with Green and Yellow, it’s now up to nine).
Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1
I know what you’re thinking, because it’s the same thing I was thinking: Frankenstein? In a comic? What the hell?
I feel like I’ve already written this review. After all, there are ELEVEN Batman-related comics in the New 52 relaunch, and he shows up in a few others too.
This is basically Batman getting back to Batmaning. Bruce Wayne returns as Gotham’s full-time Batman after Dick Grayson had been filling in for him during the last year or so. The book opens with Batman kicking ass in the middle of Arkham, fighting his way through his rogues gallery. Then the Joker shows up, and the unexpected happens. That was really cool, and I don’t want to spoil that part, but the payoff was a little disappointing.
I can’t really say anything about this book that wasn’t better said in the book jacket, so I’ll just share some of my own thoughts.
I really grew to like Vladek (the author’s father) over the course of the book. It was interesting that the author used his speech patterns and mannerisms more or less verbatum, because they’re a little difficult to follow at times, like “these things we learned only much later”. But once you get used to reading them in the voice of a stereotypical New York Jew, they become much easier to follow.