After a few work-intensive days, I finally finished reading all this week’s releases in The New 52. This week was very different from last week, with the best entries coming from unexpected sources and some of the books I thought would at least be strange and interesting falling short.
Again, I’ll do these in the order I read them, and likely break them up into multiple posts to make it easier to read.
Batman & Robin #1 comes only two years after the previous Batman & Robin #1, which was a blockbuster by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. This version is by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray, and features the same Robin (the Damian Wayne version) and a different Batman (back to Broce Wayne from Dick Grayson). The crux of the issue is the relationship between the two, with Bruce addressing various family issues and explaining himself to Damian. There is some action in here, but the overall tone focuses on the the relationship with the result being a fairly slow and not especially exciting first issue. The art is often dark and murky to the point where it’s a bit tough to follow and pages look like a sea of ink. Neither element makes this a particularly compelling debut and I can’t see this appealing much beyond the Batman completists.
Mister Terrific #1 is another reasonably solid comic book that I think could have been better. I think it’s admirable that DC has put out so many books with non-white lead characters (Static Shock and Batwing being the other two to date), even as they’ve gotten so much flak from fans about the dearth of female creators and characters. I’m not exactly familiar with this character, who I think previously appeared in the JSA. The script by Eric Wallace and the arty by Gianluca Gugliotta and Wayne Faucher is all solid but not spectacular. It’s all pretty standard first-issue superhero stuff, that I wish was in some way more memorable than it is.
Suicide Squad #1 has a terrific cover, though I had to read the interior of the book to figure out that it’s Harley Quinn front and center there. This issue sees the SS team assembled, sent on their first mission and enduring some torture. This is a book that really could have benefited from a more straight-forward approach to the storytelling. A title like Suicide Squad suggests a high-concept series with a heavy dose of crazy, and instead it’s a slow-moving, somewhat unpleasant story with lots of scenes of torture in it. It just doesn’t stand out.
Ah, Batwoman #1. At last. Much delayed, this one was definitely worth the wait. Yes, Greg Rucka has moved on, but J.H. Williams III is still drawing, and working on the stories with W. Haden Blackman. This looks absolutely amazing, with appealing and distinctive characters engaged in a clear, interesting story. Plus, it’s super sexy and realistic in a way that shames that the typical bubble-boobed heroines that normally pass for “sexy” in comics. There’s no reason to not pick this up. Excellent.
Legion Lost #1 was aptly named — I was lost. I have never had much luck at penetrating the continuity of Legion of Super-Heroes, though I do recognize a couple of the characters in this book. Apparently the premise is a group of Legionnaires are lost on present-day Earth. Not much else was easy to absorb from this issue. Introductions are important and, on the second- and third-tier books, there may not be a chance to draw an audience down the line the way you can with a high-profile first-issue.
I liked Grifter #1 a lot more than I expected to. It’s less of a superhero story and more of a straight action story. Writer Nathan Edmonson and artists Cafu and Jason Gorder capture some of that old-time Wildstorm energy for this globe-trotting tale. The art was really attractive, but the story wasn’t quite crazy and strange enough for me to be sure I’ll come back for a second issue.
Demon Knights #1 is overall a pretty good comic. For one, even though it’s got Jack Kirby’s Demon in it, it’s more of a fantasy comic with lots of action. Uniqueness of genre, some appealing depictions of the characters and pretty good art from Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert take this pretty far for me. Like a lot of these books, there are issues with characters not being terribly well introduced or there being enough interesting story, but in this case there’s enough charm to overcome the shortcomings.
Next: Red! Green! Superboy!