Well, the first round of reviews was interesting and a bit of a mixed bag. Let’s delve in the rest of this week’s New 52 from DC! Don’t forget to vote for your favorite!
Justice League International #1 – Written by Dan Jurgens, Penciled by Aaron Lopresti and Inked by Matt Ryan. There are people disappearing, there’s a line-up of super heroes being selected, Batman lurks, people are mad about the Justice League moving in the Hall of Justice. There you have the issue in a nutshell. Now keep in mind, it isn’t a bad nutshell, but just a nutshell. The things I liked was Guy Gardner’s flat out refusal to join and Booster being back to his roots as a guy nobody else is willing to put much trust into. Booster is forced into the lead role, Rocket Red is fun, and Godiva really seems to dig Booster. Its hard to do much character development in this one, but I have a feeling we’ll see some as we go. I really thought the art was very solid and fit in well with the team presented. I wanted to like this issue a lot more as I was a big fan of JLI and Justice League Europe back in the day. Dan just doesn’t have quite the biting wit of Giffen and company. But this is a pretty good first issue, chock full of superheroes and issues that need to be resolved, so worth picking up, but don’t expect anything sensational.
Static Shock #1 – Written by Scott McDaniel and John Rozum, Penciled by Scott McDaniel and Inked by Jonathan Glapion and Le Beau Underwood. This one was a bit confusing. I felt that most of this was a bit hard to say what exactly was happening. I agree that they need to have a Dakota-verse character still and this was the best character of the bunch. However, the story just didn’t grab me and I was never really sure what was going on. It just didn’t have a great flow to it. Some guy puts on a suit he shouldn’t in STAR Labs and flies around and Static chases him, the guy ends up getting killed by mysterious bad guys who sniper him from miles away somehow. We get a whole lot of Static flying around, a very brief look at his home life, and then more flying about. While some of his background is revealed, it is still a tad confusing how he’s hooked up with Hardware in the first place. I really liked the artwork and the vibrant colors in this issue. However, if you’re going to target this character to a younger audience, you really need to make it a bit more accessible to kids. They rated it for Teen for some unknown reason. Nothing to see here folks. Move along! Move along.
Animal Man #1 – Written by Jeff Lemire, Penciled by Travel Foreman and Inked by Travel Foreman and Dan Green. This comic has that old Vertigo feel where things are a bit “off” and the art is a bit more sketchy and a bit darker. I do like the old goggles and orange A. Why they had to change it to white, I have no idea, but I would prefer the orange. Then again, I’m weird. Speaking of things that are strange, welcome to Animal Man. And what a fantastic voyage it is. It opened with an “interview” of Buddy (Animal Man) Baker from a “magazine” which was about the only thing that annoyed me. It read like a really boring and bland interview that celebrities give ALL the time. It really just annoyed the crap out of me. Other than that, the issue then gets off to an interesting start as Buddy has been spending much time doing things heroes should. When he finally gets off his loafing butt and intervenes, he finds there’s much more about himself than meets the eye when he ends up bleeding from said eyes. We soon learn about the Red. I guess we have the Green for plants and the Red for animals and it is hinted that these two things will eventually give Swamp Thing and Animal Man a common bond. I’m all for that! The color here is very muted and the artwork isn’t for everyone. I’m not a fan of artwork like what Travel Foreman does usually, but given the tone of the issue and overall feel, it works. This is a really good issue that you should pick up if you like more adult themes in comics!
Swamp Thing #1 – Written by Scott Snyder and Art by Yanick Paquette. Swamp Thing returns in grand glory. Ignore the fact that the return of the Swamp Thing from Brightest Day ever happened, because technically it didn’t anyway. We see mass outbreaks of birds and animals dropping dead (ah, true to life!) in groups. We then meet Alec Holland as it were and Superman drops in on him for help. There’s some other mysterious stuff going on and the Green is apparently not very pleased with Alec trying to live his life. We get explained some of Alec, but there’s still a bit of mystery as to whether he’s even Swamp Thing or if he can control Swamp Thing or what. I’m pretty interested in finding out though! Scott Snyder puts a lot of thought into this character and makes a very interesting first issue. Yanick Paquette’s artwork is fantastic and creates atmosphere in it. So altogether we have a tremendous debut of a character that has had his fair share of changes. If future issues are anything like this one, it will be one hell of a series. Pick this one up!
Men of War #1 – Written by Ivan Brandon and Art by Tom Derenick. Has anyone been hankering for some new adventures of Sgt. Rock? Ok, well here’s how he became a Sergeant in the first place! Modernized for today’s type of wars, this one just didn’t hit home for me. I didn’t really feel like he was the Sgt. Rock kind of character in the first place, so that didn’t help him. There’s too much yelling back and forth early on and it came off super lame. There are some scenes where you just can’t tell what exactly is going on either and I think I blame that on the art not making it clear who is who in the scenes. Not that we had much time to set up any characters, but still it didn’t seem very clear. Then we have super heroes fighting? Ok, could we just leave the super heroes out of the war series? Please! Ugh! The art was ok, but there were just times were I couldn’t tell what was going on clearly. The second story is Written by Jonathan Vankin and Art by Phil Winslade. This story gives me a bit of feeling like I used to get from The ‘Nam back in the day. The characters grow a bit as the story develops and we get a good surprise at the end. This homage to our modern day heroes overseas hits a bit more spot-on and saves this issue from being a waste. I liked the story laid out about the Navy Seals and I hope there’s plenty more of them in the future. Overall, an average issue that should have been better, but reinventing Sgt. Rock just didn’t work for me and made this one somewhat forgettable.
Batgirl #1 – Written by Gail Simone, Penciled by Ardian Syaf and Inked by Vicente Cifuentes. We get introduced to Barbara Gordon and for some reason, the happenings in “the Killing Joke” actually happened, but she was only paralyzed for a few years. So we have continuity that isn’t continuity? Anyway, she is actually a pretty interesting character and I really like how her costume was done. She isn’t infallible and she has to move forward past some things. So in the first issue we see some growth of character. We also get a decent amount of action and a mysterious villain that I thought was well done. There was a lot to like in this issue and is definitely a solid #1 and it looks like this could be a great series. Excellent art, great writer, it just works, worth picking up!
Batwing #1 – Written by Judd Winick and Art by Ben Oliver. This is one of those titles that I didn’t have any expectations for. It looked like it might even be rather awful. I stand corrected. First off, the artwork in this book is magnificent and the coloring by Brian Reber is fantastic as well. It all came together into a perfect conglomeration. The story told here is about Batwing and mainly his background working with the local law enforcement and his juggling the two things. But there’s a lot more than that going on. There’s an interesting mystery mixed in with everything. Keep in mind, this issue is a tad gruesome in spots, so it isn’t for kids. For the rest of you, this is a grand introduction to a character I really had no interest in at first and is a title worth checking out!
Green Arrow #1 - Written by J.T. Krul, Penciled by Dan Jurgens and Inked by George Perez. First off, let me admit one thing. I’m a huge fan of Dan Jurgens’ art. He does a simply fantastic job with this issue and does a great job of storytelling with his pencils. But teaming him with George Perez to ink those beautiful pencils produces and even better result. I was really liking the art in this one. The Arrow himself feels a tad more like Batman than Green Arrow. Maybe even a tad Tony Stark-ish. But what really made me annoyed was the “Oracle”-like team he had running things. I didn’t feel they really added much to the story and detracted from what could have been a stronger character. But in this issue, Green Arrow fights a bunch of bad guys who do bad things, yadda yadda. His own company complains about him ad nauseam. You get the picture. A decent enough issue, but not much of a hook. Despite the great artwork, my overall feel from this issue was that it was simply ok, nothing great, just kind of average and that’s not what you want to do in your number 1 issues.