Power Rankings-October 2011

Another month has gone by, and we’re now two issues in on all books of the New 52. I must admit that I didn’t read every 2nd issue of the New 52, a feat that nearly killed me in September. Instead I read nearly half the books, the ones that interested me the most from the first month. This of course leads to a decrease in the number of writers and artists I’m able to examine and critique. Because of this, and due to the fact that writer and artist quality changes little from month to month, I have decided to not do rankings for writers and artists every month. However, I still have my top 10 books of the month with rationale, commentaries, and mini-reviews for each. Check out my list after the jump.

Top 10 Books

Ranking

Title

Last Month

Months in Top 10

1

Swamp Thing

N/A

1

2

I, Vampire

2

2

3

Green Lantern

6

2

4

Wonder Woman

4

2

5

Justice League

N/A

1

6

Green Lantern: New Guardians

8

2

7

Action Comics

9

2

8

Batman

1

2

9

Animal Man

3

2

10

O.M.A.C.

N/A

1

This month saw 3 new books enter the top 10, and saw 2 high rated books take a bit of a dip. Starting from the bottom we have O.M.A.C. from Keith Giffen and Dan Didio. This is a great quirky little book that fits a niche spot in my monthly pull list. It’s not winning any prizes for innovative story telling, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun. As with the first issue, I love the Kirby-esque art. However, the best part of this issue is the last page reveal of (highlight for spoilers) Maxwell Lord. I’m really interested in seeing how this plays out, considering the character’s past history in the DCU.

Next up we have Animal Man. This issue was still really great, featuring some fantastically horrific images from artist Travel Foreman. There were also some great moments between Buddy and his family. My main disappointment with this issue is that it just doesn’t carry over the energy of the last issue. Most of the extreme tension of last issue dissipates into a general disease. However, with the birth of the Hunters and Buddy and Maxine discovering the Red, I’m expecting issue #3 to be a return to form.

Batman was another book that just wasn’t as good as the first issue in my opinion. There was a lot of great action and well choreographed fights from artist Greg Capullo, but that was about it. Much like the second issue of Animal Man, I feel this issue is laying the ground work for things to come, and I expect the events of this issue to pay off down the road.

Action Comics rose in the ranks a little this week, due to some great interactions between Superman and Lex Luthor. We saw a glimpse into Superman’s origins and a tease of the major villain for this arc. There were some really great moments (alien goat-unicorn?), but this still isn’t quite hitting the normal Morrison level of splendor that I’ve come to expect. Also, I’m cool with back up material, but I’m not a big fan of paying $3.99 for just 20 pages of story. I’d rather see a back up story instead of fluff like sketches.

Green Lantern: New Guardians is fan service at it’s finest. Fans, including myself, have wondered what would happen if one person were to wear all the rings of the various lantern corps, and this issue finally shows us with awesome results. I’ve said it before, but this book is a saturday morning cartoon on steroids and my inner 10-year-old is devouring it. My only gripe is that the fill in artist’s style clashes a lot with regular artist Tyler Kirkham. This is one book that I literally cannot wait to see what comes next.

After a somewhat disappoint and slow first issue Justice League, the flagship book of the New 52, has picked up steam. This issue sees integration of Superman and The Flash into the cast of characters and the result is fantastic. The interactions between the Flash and Green Lantern were great (cell phone construct?) and I love the team dynamics that are coming together. Johns has created a situation where our favorite characters are meeting for the first time (again) in a way that seems fresh to those of us who have seen this before. This is THE book of the DCnU, and it deserves to be big, loud, and fantastic. Also, I loved the back up “secret files” with Amanda Waller. They really flesh out this new universe and I would like to see more of them. There’s no reason not to follow this book.

Continuing to be one the biggest surprises of the New 52, the 2nd issue of Wonder Woman continues to explore ties to Greek mythology. This issue sees Diana return to her home of Themyscira and retells the origin of Wonder Woman, which is almost exactly what it was in the pre-Flashpoint DCU. That is until the end of the issue, which throws a major wrench into everything we’ve ever known about the character. Brian Azzarello is making me interested in a character I never though I would be interested in.

In an apparent trend with Geoff Johns’ books, Green Lantern sees a marked increase in quality in it’s second issue. The exchanges between Hal and Sinestro in this issue are perfect examples of why I love Johns’ run on GL. Hal get his ring back, but not in the way you might expect, and the possibilities of this development are really intriguing. Johns’ has been building and developing Sinestro for a while now and it’s all finally coming to a head. I really hope this story arc leads to some significant changes to the status quo of the GL universe, and I can’t wait to see where Hal and Sinestro end up.

The second issue of I, Vampire expands upon the events of the first issue, this time focusing more on the perspective of Mary. This book continues to be in the top-tier of the New 52, with an emotionally charged storyline and fantastic art from Andrea Sorrentino. I don’t have much to say that I didn’t say in my review for the first issue, but that’s not a bad thing. I can’t wait to see Andrew’s war against the vampires, and I look forward to seeing this book interact with the rest of the DCU.

Finally, jumping into the top 10, straight into the #1 spot is Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing. While the first issue didn’t pay off in the way I expected, this issue hits all the right notes. We see some major additions to the ST mythos and the introduction of a sinister new force in opposition to the Green. We also see some great horror moments and the return of an important Swamp Thing character. The best part of this issue is the outstanding art by Yanick Paquette who really steps up his game from the first issue, rising to J. H. Williams III levels of awesome. It seems that Snyder is building to a crossover between Swamp Thing and Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man, which would be fantastic in my opinion.

The Flash, Aquaman, and Demon Knights all fell out of the top 10 this month. Aquaman and Demon Knights were still really enjoyable, but neither book saw much in the way of plot progression and I would like to see their respective stories start moving a little faster. The Flash continues to wow in the art department, but the story is starting to become a little dull. If it doesn’t pick up soon I’m not sure how much longer I’ll want to keep up with it.

So that wraps up the rankings for October 2011, check back next month for the next round!

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