This week saw a lot more books in the middle of the road quality. In a launch of 52 books, at $2.99 a pop, it takes a lot to make a book worth purchasing. There were some really bright spots, but this week definitely saw a drop off in overall quality from last week. Let’s get into reviewing the rest.
Red Lanterns #1 by Peter Milligan and Ed Benes
I’m a sucker for everything related to Green Lantern, so of course I was going to pick this book up. I was a little worried about how much story could be derived from a group of characters that could easily come off as one dimensional (they’re all really angry), but Milligan manages to make Atrocitus a really well rounded character, building on ideas that Johns has been sowing over in Green Lantern. I just hope that Atrocitus doesn’t become another 90’s EXTREME anti-hero. I really like the idea that his lack of pure rage is causing his Red Lantern Corps to rally against him. I’ll be following this one. Oh, and Dex-Star is one of the greatest new characters of the last decade.
Batman and Robin #1 by Pete Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
I wanted to love this book more than anything. I’ve loved Tomasi and Gleason as a creative team ever since their stellar run on Green Lantern Corps, and Damian Wayne is another of my favorite new characters. However, in an ocean of Batbooks this one really didn’t grab me in a way that makes me want to stick around. I am interested in the father and son relationship between Bruce and Damian, but nothing compares to the Dick and Damian relationship seen in Morrison’s run on Batman and Robin prior to the relaunch. Too me, Damian will always be Robin to Dick Grayson’s Batman. It was a bit of a sore spot with me that Dick was losing Batman status due to the relaunch, and this is kind of salt on the wound. Putting all that aside, Gleason’s art is spectacular as always, an interesting new hero is introduced, and we even meet a new member of Batman Inc. (though he doesn’t last long). Unless I hear really great things about this book, I probably won’t be following it.
Resurrection Man #1 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Fernando Dagnino
I’ve always thought the concept of Resurrection Man was really cool. The concept is this: Mitch Shelley is a man who gains super powers from dying. Every time he dies, he is resurrected with a new super power while losing the one he had before his death. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning created the character back in the 90’s, and while I’ve heard good things about the run I’ve never read it personally. This book carries the Vertigo feel of all the other “Dark” titles. While I found the concept and character to be really cool, the book never drew me in like some of the other “Dark” books I’ve read so far. The story and art were really solid and I really recommend everyone to give it a try. I just don’t think I’ll be following it.
Legion Lost #1 by Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods
I love the Legion of Super Heroes. It’s like X-Men in the future. I recently read Final Night, and I thought the idea of having some of the Legion trapped in the present was a really cool idea. When I heard that DC was bringing back this status quo for the relaunch I was excited by the possibilities. This book has a lot of potential, but this wasn’t the best first issue. We get dropped into the story in media res, and it just isn’t the best fit for this book. There just isn’t a lot of reason to care about what is happening or why it’s happening. Also, I feel like this is one of the must unfriendly books for new readers, with almost no explanations of characters or powers. On a positive note, Pete Woods did a great job on art. This book has potential but it isn’t hitting the mark here.
Grifter #1 by Nathan Edmondson and CAFU
The relaunch is not being very kind to Wildstorm characters. In week 1 we saw a rather disappointed debut of ex-Authority characters in Stormwatch. This week we have the reintroduction of Wildcats member Grifter. The result? A resounding meh. This book just isn’t clicking. I’ve heard great things e about Nathan Edmondson, but the plot here doesn’t get me excited. I’ve heard rave reviews for CAFU’s work on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, but here his art seems dull and muted. The only intriguing aspect, in my opinion, is the mystery of how long Grifter was in the possession of the alien creatures (Daemonites?). Was it 17 days, 17 hours, or 17 minutes? While this is an interesting, some of even called it “Lost-esque”, it’s not enough to get me into this book.
Suicide Squad #1 by Adam Glass and Frederico Dallocchio
Having just come off of Adam Glass’s terrible Legion of Doom Flashpoint tie-in, I fully expected to hate this book. Right off the back, we have a ridiculously over-sexualized Harley Quinn and a premise that allows for Legion of Doom style blood, gore, and dismemberment. Also, while I have only read a couple issues of Gail Simone’s Secret Six, it seemed silly to me that such a well received book was getting replaced by a sure fire miss. However, I’ve come away from this book feeling positively about it. The plot is a little bare, most of the issue is used for fleshing out character backgrounds, but the book isn’t the mindless gore-fest I expected it to be. The end of the issue cliffhanger actually has me interested in finding out what happens next. I won’t be following this one, but I will be keeping an eye on it.
Mister Terrific #1 by Eric Wallace and Gianluca Gugliotta
Before the relaunch, I made up a spreadsheet ranking my interest in each of the 52 new books (I have too much time on my hands). After seeing the results I found this to be the book I was the least interested in out of the entire relaunch. While I did end up finding some things to like about this book (the reason Michael Holt decided to become Mister Terrific for example), this is still one of my least favorite books of the relaunch. If you’re interested in really science heavy books then give this one a look, but there really are better books out there.
Deathstroke #1 by Kyle Higgins, Joe Bennett and Art Thibert
I literally have nothing good to say about this book, other than that the art is actually good. The plot is essentially this: Deathstroke (Slade Wilson) is an old washed up assassin and he wants to get respect back. He does this by spouting awful dialogue and killing teenagers. Even the narration is painful, there is no need to use the word badass three times in as many pages when describing one character. This one is a definite pass.
Batwoman #1 by J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
This book is beautiful. J.H. Williams III’s art is the best of the new 52, and among the best in all of comics today. This book has THE most dynamic and innovative panel usage I’ve ever seen. I could honestly recommend this book on just art alone. The plot is actually pretty good too with an interesting supernatural tinge, but the book does a poor job in catching new readers up on past Batwoman continuity. But seriously, even if you don’t buy this book, find some way to at least look at it. This is comic book art at its finest.