That’s right, I’m back and in time for the New 52! I figured if DC could start over again, I could as well. Take the poll on the left hand side and vote on the best of the New 52 this week! So now, let’s cover what I thought of some of the initial issues to hit the stores!
Action Comics #1 – Written by Grant Morrison, Penciled by Rags Morales, Inked by Rick Bryant. I was not a fan of most of Grant Morrison’s latest stuff, however, in the rebirth of Superman, we are treated to an amazingly fun and surprisingly non-convoluted (for Morrison anyway) story! We’re given a look at a young Superman learning how to use his powers for good. The “powers-that-be” in Metropolis are not very pleased with this vigilante leaping about, sticking his nose into things that they don’t want him in. We get to see him test his powers and actually LEAP. So there’s some tribute to the original version of Superman. Plus his powers haven’t quite peaked yet, so this makes it even more interesting. Morrison is able to get you wrapped up in Superman and make him fun again. You might even be able to call this run “Superman: Year One.” My only problem was the artwork. Usually I really like the work of Rags Morales, but I’m not sure if it’s his fault or the inker’s. However, there are times where I have no idea if I’m looking at a young Superman or an OLD Superman. The shadowed scenes early on really make you think he’s older than he is. That would be my main nitpick with it. But a great introductory issue! This is a definite MUST buy if you ever wanted to get into a potential extremely enjoyable Superman story!
Detective Comics #1 – Written and Penciled by Tony Daniels and Inked by Ryan Winn. Tony Daniels tackles a classic character and takes on a huge workload by pulling double duty with this one. The results are surprisingly good. The idea here seems to be to introduce the Joker as one of the more disturbing villains in the Batman world and really does a fine job of it. We aren’t given an origin story, but we’re given a dark look at Batman’s main bad guy. Daniel’s artwork gives me flashback to Frank Miller’s version of Batman with the short ears. He is able to capture a dark mood and does a good job of storytelling. We get the gist of Batman being the outlaw who is trust by Commissioner Gordon, but nobody else in the police force it seems. You get the usual gadgets, doo-dads, Batcave and Alfred in here. Nothing truly groundbreaking, but with an overall tone and forboding sense in the issue. A tad gruesome in spots, it has a certain Frank Miller (back when he wasn’t a hack) tone to it that works well and makes for an entertaining first issue. The last page is a bit of a shocker as well. This one is worth picking up if you like good Batman stories.
Stormwatch #1 – Written by Paul Cornell and Art by Miguel Sepulveda. Wow, Stormwatch was one of the best comics ever written by Wildstorm. I fear that may be just a sad distant memoir now if this first issue is any indication. Talk about trying to introduce too many characters and giving us nothing more than a confusing mess. I would try to explain the story, however I’m not really sure what it is. Mix in a mediocre job by Miguel Sepulveda who just doesn’t draw a “gritty” enough style to bring this comic to life. In fact, Jack Hawksmoor looks just plain awful in this. He’s an awkward enough character, but this just didn’t do it. Overall, the worst of the bunch I’ve read by far. I’m hoping that this is an aberration, but until it improves, just avoid buying it. I’m predicting (praying for?) a quick cancellation here!
O.M.A.C. #1 – Written by Dan Didio and Keith Giffen. Most people remember the OMACs from Infinite Crisis and the havoc they caused. This one is more closely related to the Buddy Blank OMAC that was created by Jack Kirby. Think of this as a tribute or homage to Jack Kirby. A lot of people will automatically hate this issue just because they hate anything that Dan Didio does. What he and Giffen do here isn’t groundbreaking, but it is FUN. And really, this is a throwback comic to the kind of comics I used to read when I was a kid. For that, I’m thankful for this comic. Giffen’s artwork is pretty spot on as any Kirby tribute can be. To me it has the wonderfully weird feel that you used to get out of those comics. The best thing here is delved into right at the end. You can feel like you’ve taken the bait and here’s the hook. At the end you wonder what was going on exactly and what’s going to happen to the main character next. The only quibbles I have is that we only get about 20 pages of story, which makes character development really hard for writers. An extra 2 pages could have made a fun story even better. I really liked this issue and think it is worth picking up if you aren’t too nitpicky about every comic being deeply intellectual and just being plain fun.
Hawk & Dove #1 – Written by Sterling Gates and Art by Rob Liefeld. Oh, how I used to love the old Hawk & Dove series that Liefeld worked on. Oh, how I wanted this to be anything like that. Sadly, this issue just felt forced. Liefeld’s artwork was probably the brightest spot of all. Of course, his version of Deadman was actually quite awful I felt. Oh, and there are people with pouches! Go figure. And then he drew a scene of people overreacting to a video that would have induced most to laughter. A lot of grimacing faces that Rob loves to draw show up here almost ad nauseam as well. So we end up getting some nonsensical villain out there who we really forget is a threat immediately thereafter and, most likely, don’t give a rat’s ass about. Then we get background on Hawk to explain who he is and how he got his powers. That just seems to go on a tad too long and the conversation just reads painfully. By the end of the issue I didn’t care about any of the characters and couldn’t care less if they all blew up. Heck, they could have made this issue taste like bacon and it still would have been blech. Good return for Liefeld to DC, sadly it was wasted on this stinker. Skip it, you certainly won’t miss anything, nor will you likely ever care unless they get a better writer for it.
I’ll be back soon with more titles from this weeks super slate of issues!