The DC reboot came at a good time for me. I was just getting back into comics after a long time away, and a little daunted at jumping into the often oppressive past-continuity of the comics worlds. In a sense, I think I’m the target for DC’s reboot. I’ve never been a big fan of Superman or Batman comics or any of DC’s regulars (other than a few Vertigo titles) and have always found the incessant crossovers etc to be offputting. I want comics that exist in their own world, not comics where every time someone goes to the shops they run into Superman or some supervillain from 1979 that I’m supposed to remember.
So I decided to sample the #1 issues of all of the New 52, as they’ve been dubbed, to see if there are any I might think are worth following.
I suspect I’ll give all but the worst a couple of issues, to see how they go, so my assessments will err toward the generous to start with, and become progressively harsh as I weed contenders out.
Anyway, the new releases for week 1
I’ve never been a big fan of Superman. He’s always struck me as both too powerful and too perfect. What’s the point of that sort of character? Where is the conflict? Grant Morrison’s rebooted Superman seems designed just for someone like me; he’s a bit rough around the edges, he’s a rebel concerned about social justice, and perhaps most importantly of all, we see that there are limits to his powers. Add to that some good writing and interesting characters, and I’m really interested to see where this one goes.
Another character I’ve never really been into in the past (not that I’ve read much of her). This is a really nicely written first issue, giving us just enough depth to make Batgirl a real character, and just enough darkness to create suspense. The villain is good too.
I’d heard good things about writer Jeff Lemire, and this is a strong first issue. Again, it is the depth of characterisation that makes this work; the central character and his family are believably portrayed. The main story works as a good introduction to his ideals, and there is a kick at the end to keep you coming back next week. Probably my favourite from week 1
Two things make this comic stand out from the pack; its African setting and the realistic art. Together, they create both a sense of power and a sense of originality that is often missing from the imaginary settings of Metropolis orGotham. I’m really interested to see where they take this one.
Detective Comics – not a great issue but a pretty good one. Nice mood and some good art.
Hawk and Dove – again, didn’t grip me but enough to bring me back for another issue. Dove in particular seems like an interesting character. If only the art didn’t show so much teeth-gritting!!!!
Justice League International – This seems like it could be a “fun” comic. There’s nothing hugely powerful about this first issue but it seemed quirky and I enjoyed it, especially the goofy leader who seems so out of his depth.
Swamp Thing – This is a very beginning kind of issue, more so than most of the above. Not a lot happens, but the writing is good and I will come back for more.
Justice League of America– This seemed to do almost the opposite of what I thought the DC relaunch was all about. It offers pretty much nothing for new readers who don’t know Batman or Green Lantern. Not much happens and the dialogue is lacklustre. I’ll give it one more issue.
Men of War – The premise of ordinary soldiers fighting supervillains is interesting. If it is done with intelligence rather than patriotic jingoism, it could be good. Too early to tell. I’ll give it another issue. This one didn’t do much.
OMAC – No real idea what this one is about at this point. The first issue was pretty odd. There’s not a lot to hang your hat on here; some weird dude doing odd things at someone else’s behest. One more issue, just because it’s odd.
Static Shock – This is a pretty good first issue, really, with a likeable central character. There’s not much to set it above the pack, and I suspect it will probably be one of the comics I let go of, when I whittle down. But this was okay.
Stormwatch – Yeah, I don’t know anything about the history of any of these characters and it didn’t really work for me as a new reader. Gets another issue because I like Cornell as a writer, but not interested at all by this first issue.
Green Arrow – I thought the dialogue was really clumsy. Were his quips intentionally bad? This felt very by-the-numbers, and just didn’t interest me at all. The only one I struggled to get through at all. The most obvious candidate for ditching. Sorry, Green Arrow!
Now, on to week two!!!