DC: What the 52? Week 1

To my shame, I’ve had to neglect my ramblings on Earth 53 for a few weeks. To rectify that, I’ll be spending the month of April looking at DC’s “WTF” gate fold covers. Originally announced back in January, all New 52 books published in the month of April will feature gatefold covers that, when opened, reveal a surprising moment that the publisher hopes will elicit a “WTF” response. While the publisher has thankfully dropped the “WTF” moniker (very poor taste IMO), there’s still the promise that these covers will be surprising and enticing.

Well, let’s just see about that.

In my mind, a good “WTF” cover should feature something completely unexpected, a good bait and switch, or something genuinely exciting. Using that criteria, I’ll be ranking each cover on the following scale:

What??? (Bad)
Meh (Average)
o_O (Good)
What!!! (Awesome)

With all that out of the way, let’s take a look at the covers themselves.

Action Comics

Action Comics #19

What at first looks like a typical Superman vs. Lex Luthor scenario is actually revealed to be a throwback to the Silver Age with Superman battling against Jimmy Olsen. A nice bait and switch made all the more satisfying by Tony Daniel’s fantastic artwork.

Verdict: o_O

Animal Man

Animal Man #19

Taking the events of “Animal Man” #18 into consideration, this is a cover packed with emotion. However, as the surprise was already revealed in issue #18, the purpose of the gatefold cover is negated. Also, I may be mistaken, but this doesn’t quite look like the work of Jae Lee, the solicited cover artist.

Verdict: Meh

Batwing

Batwing #19

While the new Batwing was spoiled a while back, this is still a striking a well composed cover. Now we just have to wait and see if there’s a reason he looks so much like Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond.

Verdict: o_O

Detective Comics

Detective Comics #19 2

While I get that DC is paying homage to this being the unofficial “900th issue” of “Detective Comics,” how are a bunch of Man-Bats supposed to get readers excited. We’ve seen that in Morrison’s “Batman” for years.

Verdict: What???

Dial H

Dial H #19 Cover

This issue takes a great jab at the whole “WTF” nonsense, and shows a major turn of events for the “Dial H” mythos.

Verdict: What!!!

Earth 2

Earth 2 #19

Mr. Miracle is back. ‘Nuff said.

Verdict: What!!!

Green Arrow

Green Arrow #19 Cover

A beautiful cover by Andrea Sorrentino, but the reveal is not only not surprising, but it’s getting a little to close into Arrow territory, which might not be the best thing for Jeff Lemire’s burgeoning run.

Final Verdict: Meh

Green Lantern

Green Lantern #19

As Geoff Johns’ “Green Lantern” run races to its finish, all signs were pointing to a Black Lantern Hal Jordan appearing on this cover. Much like the “Action Comics” cover, a decent bait and switch helps elevate this cover. Plus, the composition is fantastic.

Verdict: o_O

Phantom Stranger

Phantom Stranger #19

The Question. ‘Nuff said.

Verdict: o_O

Stormwatch

Stormwatch #19

This is worst sort of “WTF” moment. After 18 issues (plus the #0) since the New 52 relaunch, it looks like DC has so royally screwed “Stormwatch” up that they’re rebooting it again. This new Stormwatch apes the appearance of the Warren Ellis team, but with the aesthetic of everything that came before his fantastic run. So much wrong here.

Verdict: What???

Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing #19

Arbitrarily adding Superman to a story is neither surprising or enticing.

Verdict: Meh

Worlds’ Finest

Worlds Finest #19

The reveal that this Mr. Terrific isn’t who he appears to be is fantastic, but the fact that the imposter appears to Desaad, servant of Darkseid, makes this cover a real winner.

Verdict: o_O

The first week’s batch of gatefold covers had slightly more good than bad, with the best being “Earth 2,” “Dial H,” and “Worlds’ Finest.” Check back next week for the next set of covers!

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