Mmmm! That's good Ultra Nerd!


Ok DC: I'm in.

The New 52 is here. Last Wednesday the Justice League began with Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman. Tomorrow, September 7th 2011 will mark the release of 13 new DC titles. Hot on their heels will be 38 more until we have a whole new DCU by the end of the month and forevermore. There are many pros and cons to this sort of thing.
While this company-wide restart coupled with some major continuity changes is unprecedented, it's been done in parts by DC before. Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986 had a continuity reboot that made all the heroes "the right age" and combined the disparate worlds of DC into one world (trust me, non-comic fans, it was HUGE). Then about five years ago there was the amazing 52/One Year Later event. This was brilliant, revolutionary, and awesome comic bookery. Every book in the DC Universe jumped ahead one year and as you can imagine a LOT happened to these characters in that year. Nightwing was replaced by a brutal vigilante who took the mantle, Catwoman was retired with a baby, Superman had no powers and was living as Clark Kent, Green Lantern Hal Jordan's jet was shot down over Eastern Europe and he was a POW. Craziness. Also, virtually every title got a new creative team. It was exciting! And the story of what happened in that year was told in the new series 52. 52 was told from the point of view of lesser characters in the DC Universe like Booster Gold, Steel, and Black Adam. The book came out weekly and each issue told the story of that week in the missing year. It was getting the whole story in "real time". Brilliant! And this too was an event where fans had no choice but to be onboard.
Now, just because I loved it didn't mean everyone did. There were great comics that "ended" because their creative teams had to leave to make room for the new regime that came with One Year Later.
The New 52 combines the pros and cons of both these events. Yes, there are downsides. There are notable things that I dislike about the New 52. Some major ones:

Jim Lee redesigning EVERY costume No one man should be the visual style of the DCU

Younger, Brasher, Edgier We'll see how it goes but this phrase usually goes hand-in-hand with slanted, pandering writing

Badass Superman Now, this is a new take on the character, but still. I await Action Comics and Grant Morrison's input

Renumbering Action Comics and Detective Comics I do not like renumbering as a general rule but this in particular strikes me as extremely short-sighted

I will say that it's exciting to be able to say to people who ask "I don't read comics but I want to. What Batman should I read?" to be able to say "Batman #1 or Detective Comics #1. They're on the shelf now". And DC is doing a great job of letting people know that if they want to get into comics now is the time to do it. But now never lasts.
Just ask the "new" (old) Flash. He died back in the old Crisis, but he's back now!
I like to consider myself an advocate for comics. I love them and think they don't get enough credit, attention, or respect as an art-form. I also support comics by buying them every month. In a time when virtually everything can be downloaded for free it is hard to make a case for paying for things but comics need your help. Unlike the music or movie industries who make millions and who have massive reserves of cash and theater ticket and concert sales to keep them buoyed comic piracy legitimately effects the medium. Every month for years comic numbers have been dropping. As people need to stop collecting due to harsh economic times and because they can download them comics have been selling less and less. It is a fierce market out there right now. The extraordinarily talented people working in comics need your $2.99 to keep making the books you love. And so though I could I do not download comics.
In furtherance of this stance and as a personal show of support for DC Comics I have added every one of the New 52 to my pull list. This dramatically ups the number of books I will be buying every month and I am going to have to cut from my toy budget to do it (that's right ladies, he collects comics AND toys).

This is a heck of a commitment but I feel it will be well worth it. First of all, I want to give every title a fair chance to make an impression on me. Sometimes the cover art or two sentence description when the book is solicited isn't enticing but it turns out to be a phenomenal read. Sometimes a book just surprises you. I want to give every title the chance to surprise me and I don't want to dismiss any based solely on cover art and a catch phrase.
Being a baseball enthusiast I have decided to give each book three strikes. If by the end of the third issue I don't like what I am reading then I'm going to drop it. Now, I do want to say that it will be possible for a book to get three strikes on a first issue if it is abysmally bad. There are some books I don't have high hopes for (Teen Titans better be pretty awesome or I will be sorely tempted).
How can you not love Dan Jurgens writing THIS crazy team?

MOST comic shops are offering some sort of bonus or perk for getting all 52 number ones. My comic shop is giving out gift cards, so it's like getting these books at a discount.
It IS cool that Joker is in Detective Comics #1

I want to show my support the best way I can. I like a LOT of what I've seen and heard about this event. I want DC to know that fans and new readers are on board and the best way I can do that as a consumer is to put my money where my opinions are. But that lightsaber cuts two ways. If I don't like a book what better way to register that complaint than to stop reading it; to take away the sales. I know that I am just one tiny consumer in a market where there are hundreds of thousands of customers but if we all thought this way then comics might be better than they are. I think one of the reasons that companies get away with what they do is because when something happens that fans don't like they tend to keep buying regardless.

And there are books that I want to try out and see how they are - OMAC might be awesome or terrible

I'll be in as good a position as anyone can be to talk and answer questions about the new 52. As I said, I consider myself an advocate for comics and when a company does something SO daring and unprecedented to get people reading comics how can I not support it as best I can?
Plus, it's not like everything is rebooted. Titles like Green Lantern and Batman will keep on as they were, picking up dangling stories like Sinestro wearing a Green Lantern ring instead of Hal!

So, once again I'd ask that you, as someone who likes to read this blog, go out and buy one of the New 52. I will try my best to let you know which ones are hits and which to avoid but I think DC deserves a chance to see how this shapes up. They are taking big steps and they are trying to keep this struggling medium alive and vibrant in the transitioning digital age.


Hordes of Apokolips?

So, DC has released a fair amount of promo art and teaser images to get people pumped for the New 52. A lot of it looks awesome, too. Something has caught my eye though.
In the art for Justice League #1 (DC's flagship New 52 title) the league seems to be fighting these mysterious creatures.
The first time we saw one was in the Justice League #1 5-page preview.
At first he looked like a kind of rag-clad bulky sewer type. Maybe even the new Killer Croc were it not for his glow-y goggles.
And the brute is obviously strong as he's giving Batman a run for his money. Batman's fed-up enough to shoot him through the leg (implying that they've been fighting for a while already).
But when Batman tackles him he explodes with energy and it's revealed that he's wearing some techno things under his rags. And he starts hammering Batman.
Fortunately Green Lantern shows up. With devastating results for the bad guy.
After reading it once and drooling over the awesome Batman and Green Lantern visuals I turned my attention to their foe. One thought leapt to mind - "he looks kinda Apokoliptan".
Look at the goggles and the teeth. The skin color.
The guy looks like a lot like a Parademon.
Parademons are the footsoldiers of Apokolips, DC's cosmic superhero Hades. A world of fire and darkness in the deep reaches of space that is a perpetual source of truly great and terrible antagonists for the heroes of the DCU. They have sharp teeth, they wear cool goggles and they are big and strong. The green and yellow color scheme matches too.
Even in his tatters he looks like a citizen of Armagetto (the worst slum on the hell-planet Apokolips). The classic tale of the Justice League's origin is that an alien invader threatens the planet and the world's greatest heroes get together to stop it. In the original it was the menace of Starro the Conqueror. New 52 Justice League #1 advertises the plot as "In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World’s Greatest Heroes!". So, what if this dark alien evil is Apokolips? As flippin' awesome and classic as Starro is he is no match for the threat of Apokolips. Evil alien gods from the darkest reaches of space come to secretly invade earth- Now THAT is a reason to gather a League of heroes. Seriously, Green Lantern, Superman, or Martian Manhunter could tackle Starro solo if push came to shove. But this was just speculative and very vague speculation because one Parademon does not constitute a Fourth World (if you will).
But then the cover of Justice League #3 got solicited. It shows the League (particularly Wonder Woman) tackling a horde of these monsters.
First off, Wonder Woman looks amazing. I don't really care but I'm glad she's wearing the shorts and not the pants, but that's not the point. The point is the League is fighting a BUNCH of the guys GL and Batman tackled in issue #1. I think this is strong evidence in favor of the Parademon theory.
Plus, we get another close-up of these dudes and I think they look even more like the classic Parademon design. And fighting as a horde is one of the Parademons motifs. There is a planet-wide army of them on Apokolips, and when you fight one it usually means you're going to be fighting a whole bunch of them pretty soon.
Anyway, this is just my interpretation of the few visuals we've got. Still, I truly hope that I am right about the Parademons. They represent my favorite corner of the DCU. After all, you know who my favorite villain of all time is, right?
"Let the universe howl in despair for I have returned!" - Darkseid
Bring it.


Frame to Frames: Dick Tracy

There have been some phenomenal comic book-to-film adaptations. Even in the earliest days of the age of superheroes there have been filmakers who understood how to take the characters from a few panels per page to 24 panels-per-second. There are some pretty kickass serial movies from the forties; Spy Smasher (1942) and Batman (1943) come to mind. Some of these adaptations are so good that original aspects from them are incorporated into the comics. The Fleischer cartoons still influence Superman (and the DCU at large to a lesser extent) to this day. There have been times were the number of adaptations waxed and waned but before the current post-Spider-Man renaissance of blockbusters there was an era that almost was. The early 1990s had entertaining, action-packed, and often-flawless adaptations of off-beat and non-superhero comics galore. Going down the list there's Rocketeer, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman Returns [DISPUTED], the Crow, the Mask, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just to name a few. As the opening salvo in this cavalcade of cinematic awesomeness we have:
Dick Tracy was originally by Chester Gould who was a genius for taking a pulp hardboiled noir detective and simply splashing him with scads of color. Gould understood all the strengths of the comic strip: the caricature, the silliness, the brightness and life and glorious color. He also keenly understood what made the dick characters of the era cool. Tough as nails, crime-stomping, kick in the door and beatdown the crooks cool.
"Calling Dick Tracy! Come in Tracy!"
There is also the unique and pulp-y two-way radio watch, a gadget worthy of James Bond but distinctly Tracy. Beyond the watch and the rogues Dick Tracy does not stray far from a straight crime-buster story. His heroics are human.
Pulp Detective + Comic Strip = AWESOME
Warren Beatty was not only a fan of the comic strip but a passionate fan. He successfully wrestled almost all control over the project to himself (he had a concept to do a Dick Tracy film in '75 and pursued it as it came up in various iterations for following 15 years).
"There was one Napoleon! One Washington! One me!!"
By 1988 he managed to become producer, director, and star of the project. He even agreed to deduct budget overages from his own salary just so he could do what he wanted. You've got to admire his gusto. You can see some of it in both principal characters of the film, in fact.
There are few men of such unparalleled ambition even in Hollywood and Beatty was really into Dick Tracy. Most men harbor a deep and abiding affection for some comic from their childhood. Even cool movie stars. I like that about him.
"Keep your dirty mitts off the stuff I like, you hacks!"
Fortunately for all of us Beatty isn't just a nerd but a great filmmaker. At the most basic element of design he did just what Gould did: he and art designer John Caglione took a 30's cops and robbers movie and splashed it in color. The whole thing is drenched in bright and vivid tones that perfectly reflect the glory of Gould's strips.
The buildings, the furniture, the clothing, and the people are all colorful
The entire world is a gaudy display and it immerses the viewer entirely and pulls you into the setting like Alice down the rabbit hole. With tones of art deco and strong lines in stark colors the characters are often framed in boxes and the viewer is looking at a comic panel without even knowing it.
Dick Tracy is sneaky that way.
That's just the beginning though. Beatty surrounded himself with people who took his vision and breathed wondrous new life into it. The script is by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr, one of two they wrote for John Landis to direct in the early 80's. Beatty had hoped to star and that is how he got involved in the production. He liked one of the scripts and when the production fell apart Beatty bought the film rights for himself. He took his style and the Cash and Epps script to Disney.
Beatty was nothing if not persistent
Cash and Epps weren't the only thing that Beatty thought the failed production got right. He also agreed with their choice of star: him!
Hell yeah, 'Tracy Triumphs'
And I happen to agree. Beatty has the hard-nosed detective aspect of Tracy down pat. He is unflapped by both bribes and the threat of explosion. He throws punches and will gun down a crook without blinking.
Another pulp image: the protagonist tied and in peril but cool as a yellow cucumber
That's not to say that the violence is the point of the character. Far from it. A lighter spirit tends to prevail. Tracy's awkward and shy relationship with Tess, his upright tutelage of the Kid, and unerring righteousness keep Tracy squarely in the comic book realm. As for who would oppose Tracy's quest for law and order there was only one choice in the director's mind.
Beatty said he always envisioned Pacino playing Big Boy Caprice since his initial concept in '75. The two of them had been in competition for arch-gangster Michael Corleone and Beatty saw Pacino as having the potential to be the greatest realistic, introspective gangster as well as the greatest over-the-top caricature of a gangster. He had no idea.
Pacino delivers the line "I AM THE LAW" with more gusto than Sly Stallone ever could
Al Pacino transformed Alphonse Caprice into a character worthy of the name Big Boy. Smarmy, violent, and arrogant Big Boy has long been overlooked for how phenomenal he is as a villain. Doug Drexler's makeup (especially the chin and the mole) transform Pacino into the face of a criminal Napoleon. Added to this is Pacino's hunched, manic, and fidgeting physicalities. Big Boy is unrepentantly greedy and crooked. He kills friend and foe alike - He blows up competitor gangster James Caan and has the corrupt DA Dick Van Dyke shot in an attempt to frame Tracy. And as for Paul Sorvino's character boss Lips Manless...
"The Bath" - An AMAZING pulp way to off someone
Big Boy's plan in the film is to orchestrate the unionization of the crime rackets (it's the 30's after all) and he even goes so far as tying Tess Trueheart (Tracy's sweetheart) to the moving gears of a drawbridge.
I guess there weren't any train tracks around...
The host of bizarre and outlandish rogues that are encountered throughout the film are another essential element of the Dick-verse that this film hits a home run with.
No Face is a character from the strip with a unique twist for the movie

One of the only mistakes this movie makes is not enough Little-Face
To add to this Beatty (a pianist himself) got the creme de la creme of the scene to do the music for Dick Tracy. Fresh off of Batman and Darkman Danny Elfman was a natural choice for the score. Beatty worked with him on the themes (though Elfman wasn't too happy about some of his input) and the result was a resounding success. Bold and unique, the melodies ring true in both tone and in accenting the era. In my humble opinion it stands out as brilliant accomplishment in a career of many fine successes for Mr. Elfman.
It even makes this blogpost cooler!
And as if that weren't enough Stephen Sondheim was brought on for four songs. They are catchy, unique, and with the unparalleled clever and emotive flare of Sondheim. One is sung by Mel Torme and plays on the radio for a montage of Dick, Tess, and the Kid. The other three songs are all sung by Madonna, including Sooner or Later, arguably the most famous number from Dick Tracy.
Madonna performed it at the Oscars that year
And the vocal performances of Madonna are the third element which gives Dick Tracy a sound that is almost unheard of in film.
Get it? UNHEARD of!
Madonna was dating Warren Beatty at the time which is fortunate for him because A- he got to sleep with Madonna at the height of her sexiness and B- she was Breathless Mahoney. Just like Big Boy is the quintessential gangster Breathless is unmatched in the category of moll.
Plus, like I said: the absolute height of her sexiness
The story is engrossing and compelling. It is rife with sentiment and suspense and the kind of violence that modern audiences expect. Make no mistake- this movie can go toe to toe with any gangster or action movie as far as action violence is concerned.
The final shootout is a bloodbath as all of Big Boy's henchmen as gunned down in a hail of tommy gun fire. The reason that all of this is rendered somehow less bloodcurdling is due to the fact that it's all so bright and colorful. Also, the movie holds the same taboos: killing is ok but showing blood isn't.
Now THAT'S some PG family entertainment
But it's effective nonetheless. It achieves onscreen what the Dick Tracy comic strip did - Making these violent adult adventures suitable for everyone. Though perfectly suitable for kids Dick Tracy can be viewed and enjoyed by adults just as well. The fact that's it's a quasi-musical also adds to the perception that it is somehow less violent than it is.
Beatty adds the 'Badass' subtype any time he is equipped with a Tommy Gun
Plus, there are great performances from the entire star-studded cast. Seymour Cassel, Charles Durning, Glenne Headley and so many more talented, big-name actors clutter the screen. All of them deliver and garbed in gaudy colors and bathed in bright lights they seem to belong to the world and never distract from the drama. If anything, their performances are so unique that the performers disappear into the over-the-top four-color characters. Remember Dustin Hoffman for example?
Oh yeah, and that's Kathy Bates in the background as the stenographer. Seriously.
Somehow, critics and audiences alike managed to miss all of this. Dick Tracy's profits were lackluster and the reviews mixed.
Pictured: Roger Ebert's Review
How the entire population and most of the critics can completely whiff on such an awesome film is beyond me. I guess Dick Tracy just used up all it's awesome on the movie itself.
Al Pacino undressing Madonna: What more did they want?!
Despite this the Oscars recognized the accomplishments of Dick Tracy and justly rewarded them. Dick Tracy got more nominations and more wins than any other comic book movie (eat it Dark Knight). Art Direction (John Caglione), Make Up (Doug Drexler), and the song "Sooner or Later" by Stephen Sondheim all took home Academy Awards. In addition, Tracy had four other nominations.
Including a well-deserved nomination for Al Pacino
Dick Tracy remains one of the greatest examples of how to adapt a comic book (or any source material for that matter) to the big screen. Passion and prestige need to be guiding elements. Staying true to the original subject is important but not as important as staying true to the spirit of the subject. Major aspects of the film should be informed by the source and the more that the world of the comic is embraced then the better the movie will be. And as Fred Greenburg used to say "they're just funnybooks" - so above all have fun!


52 Pick Up

On August 31st DC Comics is going to launch one of the most bold, innovative, and monumental changes in the history of comic books. They are going to be starting every one of their ongoing titles again with #1. That's fifty-two brand new #1s for all their books from Action Comics to Wonder Woman. This will be coupled with some rebooting so that DC can alter some of its 80 years of continuity and have a fresher, more diverse look for the new millennium.
Nothing like this has ever been done before. Marvel in the 90's restarted a couple of comics in a "different universe" with Heroes Reborn, but that was only some of its poor-selling flagship titles (Thor, Fantastic Four). DC has done reboots of their continuity as well, major ones like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Zero Hour. But while these led to some comic series restarting it was far from 52 new titles.
Promo Art from Justice League #1 for the New 52
But I don't want to get into a symposium on the history of comic book reboots. I am here to advise you on the future of comics. And as far as DC's New 52 is concerned I have but two words for you: Pick one!
The Free Promo Book for the New 52
These stories will be starting fresh meaning you don't need to have an ultra nerd-level of knowledge to read these books. You'll be starting fresh along with everyone else. But that's just a perk. I think the real strength of this reboot is how awesome these books look like they're going to be!
DC has brought out their top talent as well as the hottest young guns in both writing and art. It is far harder to find a comic in this new lineup that isn't awesome, inventive, or exciting than it is to find one that looks bad (Teen Titans *cough cough*). But with 52 books it is a daunting prospect to find the ones that are right for you. So, with that in mind, I've picked out five books that I think look particularly good and would be particularly well-suited to readers old and new!

Action Comics
Written by Grant Morrison, Art by Rags Morales
Interior Art from Action Comics #1
Action Comics #1 was the premiere of Superman way back in 1938. And for almost 75 years it has been ongoing until a few weeks from now when #904 will mark the final issue. Action Comics volume 2 #1 comes out on September 7th. Restarting this title has been the most controversial decision of the reboot. I am not crazy about the idea of restarting this icon and breaking a tradition that has persisted since the first Superman fans gave DC Comics its real start. But despite this concern Action Comics #1 may be able to match the greatness of the first Action.
Grant Morrison is one of the visionaries of the medium. He's been revolutionizing comics since the 1980's as one of the progenitors of Vertigo with his Animal Man series and now he will be the standard-bearer on DC's flagship title. Many are familiar with Morrison's Arkham Asylum and All Star Superman. The latter is one of the best Superman stories ever (coincidentally the former is one of the best Batman stories ever) and the prospect of Morrison continuing to write Superman is tantalizing. He understands the character and embraces the concepts of Superman and all that he represents. Coupled with Rags Morales this book will have an element of humanity and compassion that is seldom seen in mainstream comics. Rags Morales' pencil work is emotive, delicate, and dynamic. Morales' drawings tend to be energetic, with the world and the characters in constant motion. He can capture both pathos and action with sublime skill. If there is a single key to understanding what the New 52 is all about this is it and I guarantee it will be both a pleasurable and rewarding read.
If you liked All Star Superman then Action Comics is a no-brainer.

Writing and Art by J. H. Williams III, Co-Writer W Haden Blackman
Interior Art from Batwoman Elegy
DC Comics has been stressing diversity, edginess, and creativity in regards to the New 52. Few comics will embody these ideals more than Batwoman. As a character Batwoman was created to allay fears of homosexuality between the dynamic duo in the 50's. But this is not the good-girl of the Eisenhower administration anymore. The new Batwoman who premiered in the brilliant 52 (a weekly comic from 2006) is a lipstick lesbian with military training and a penchant for ass-kicking. She is interesting, intense, and stylistic. She was such a hit as a supporting character that she got a year of stories in Detective Comics. With the aid of J H Williams' breath-taking art and layouts Batwoman became a fan-favorite. Now J H Williams' is devoting himself full-time to Batwoman doubling up on writing and art. Williams art is beautiful, engaging, and complex. Using different colors and inks to show the different gothic, technicolor worlds of civilians and superheroes and villains. Batwoman's brooding black-white-and-red colors spill over the pages and set the tone as well as tell the story. A veteran Star Wars comic writer, W Haden Blackman, will be helping Williams with the story and plotting so that the overworked Williams can keep up the monthly schedule. Based solely on Williams' previous work on Batwoman I would wager this will be one of the best books on the market whether it was part of the New 52 or not.
For those of you who enjoyed Promethea, Batwoman would be a great choice.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
Written by Jeff Lemire, Art by Alberto Ponticelli
Frankenstein #1 Variant Cover
Jeff Lemire is one of the most talked about up-and-coming comic writers out there today. He made a splash with Essex County, a brooding, sardonic, and artistic work that exuded humor and heart. Then Lemire took Vertigo by storm with Sweet Tooth, a kind of Road Warrior/Bambi story (If you can't imagine what that is then pick it up - You'll see). Now Lemire is coming to the mainstream of DC and he's doing it with a character that is as off-beat and unique as the author himself: Frankenstein. DC's Frankenstein is a philosopher warrior with a penchant for ultra-violence, weapons that range from religious artifacts to James Bond gadgets, and an abiding hatred of evil. Frankenstein's weird, wild world is just waiting for Jeff Lemire. He is currently writing a Frankenstein miniseries in which the titular character kills Hitler in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII. Now Frankenstein will be working alongside his four-armed "Bride" with the secret supernatural spy organization S.H.A.D.E. (Super Human Advanced Defense Executive). I've only seen italian artist Alberto Ponticelli's art on the Vertigo Unknown Soldier series but his gritty, violent covers always conveyed far more than the bright colors and bold line work initially let on. If there was one under-appreciated Vertigo series from the last few years it is Unknown Soldier and I can only hope that Frankenstein brings Ponticelli the credit he deserves.
If you like Hellboy or the BPRD then Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. is an ideal way to get into the New 52.

All-Star Western
Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, Art by Moritat and Jordi Bernet
Cover of All-Star Western #1
Scary Monsters and Super Creeps aren't the only ones riding through the New 52. The adventures of the cowboys of the wild west have been a long-standing part of the DC Universe and now the classic title All-Star Western is back for the first time since 1972. However, this comic is also a case of "Not broke, don't fix it". The team from the popular and ever-cool Jonah Hex series (which will be ending) are picking right up with All-Star Western and paragon DC cowboy Jonah Hex. Hex's adventures will take him to 19th-century Gotham where he will be teaming up with Dr. Amadeus Arkham (founder of Arkham Asylum) to track down Gotham's first serial killer. This story sounds so badass I can barely contain myself. Gray and Palmiotti have been making Jonah Hex the coolest cowboy in media (not just comics, but across all spectrums of cowboy stories) for 70 issues now and there is no indication that they're doing anything but amping it up for the new series. Jordi Bernet is another Jonah Hex veteran having drawn almost 20 issues to wide acclaim by fans and creators alike. Moritat is a new one on me but his name (an allusion to medieval murder ballads) is cool and I really liked what I saw of his art in a few issues of the Spirit. Also, Jonah Hex is only the beginning as All-Star Western will be telling stories from across the DC West from vengeance tales, to shoot-outs, to the weird west, and beyond.
For anyone who is a fan of westerns, I would urge you to give All-Star Western a read; It won't disappoint.

Wonder Woman
Written by Brian Azzarello, Art by Cliff Chiang
Interior Art from Wonder Woman #1
Brian Azzarello never fails to let his readers down with the brutal, clever, and pulpy tales of both heroes and criminals. The most talked about Batman story of the year has been his three-issue Flashpoint Batman mini-series and this is just the latest in a long list of hardboiled comics. He's done war comics (Sgt Rock), westerns (Loveless), and more than a few superhero comics including Batman, Superman, Luke Cage and more. Every one of these titles have been edgy and intense and now he's turning his unique eye to Wonder Woman. The story seems to be a Gods vs Mortals kind of story (Clash of the Titans-style) with Wonder Woman as the Perseus out to defend humanity from the whims of cruel celestials. Coupled with the art of Cliff Chiang this may be one of the most interesting Wonder Woman comics ever. Chiang was brilliant on the Beware the Creeper miniseries from '03 (despite a less-than-compelling story). He also recently showed the diversity of his character designs when he teamed with Azzarello on the Dr. Thirteen mini-series which featured such a colorful cast as Nazi gorillas, vampires, cavemen, and flying pirate ships. Wonder Woman will be facing off with Gods and monsters and I am sure it will rise to heights of violence and epic conflict to rival the siege of Troy.
Have you read 100 Bullets and can't get enough? Then give Wonder Woman a try.

And in addition to these there are 47 other great new titles that will come out between August 31st and September 28th. If these don't sound like your cup of tea then take my advice: Pick one! This is an exciting time in comics and it's your chance to get in on the ground floor and to get your hands on comics that I bet you'll end up loving. Some other titles that look awesome:

Aquaman - You know, now find out just how awesome he is. Geoff Johns (Blackest Night, Flashpoint) is writing the adventures of the Sea King - This could to be the first popular Aquaman comic ever!

Demon Knights - Etrigan the Demon stars in a sword and sorcery medieval adventure that takes place after the fall of Camelot. Featuring such DC characters as Shining Knight, Mordru, and Madame Xanadu this book looks like epic fantasy at its best.

The Fury of Firestorm - Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch are the odd couple of the superhero world and only together can they become Firestorm the Nuclear Man! Written by Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Secret Six) and Ethan Van Sciver (Green Lantern Rebirth) this book looks awesome.

O.M.A.C. - The One Man Army Corps is being used as the pawn of Brother Eye against the world peace-keeping organization Checkmate. Dan Didio (DC Grand Poo-Bah) will be writing with the ever-talented Keith Giffen!

Static Shock - The young justice of the DCU is joined by the milestone Static Shock! Alas, poor creator Dwayne McDuffie because were it not for his untimely demise he would be writing this. Scott McDaniel is as good a replacement as I can imagine and I am psyched to have Static as part of the DCU.

Stormwatch - It's the Authority (basically) but with the added bonus of Martian Manhunter! Bad guys prepare to have your asses handed to you in the most vicious manner possible courtesy of Apollo, Midnighter, and the rest of the crew.

And that just scratches the surface of the New 52. There's something for everyone here, you just need to find it!