Overall I felt like this was a very good week. No strikes, which I am both surprised and pleased with. Now, I didn't feel like there were as many standout GREAT books as there were last week but the quality in general was very high and all of these books are well worth reading. This may be reader fatigue, mind you. While reading every title is no problem for the Ultra Nerd, novices shouldn't overdo it with their reading lists. I expect some of the titles that I was n0t as thrilled with will be really exciting because it's the one of three or four instead of one out of thirteen.
Batman and Robin
Pretty good stuff. There is an AWESOME new Bat villain introduced by taking the fight to Batman Inc. I am excited to see more of Nobody (that's his name, not an invitation to Abbott and Costello me). I was a little disappointed that the Dynamic Duo were fighting some pretty generic bad-guys but it is for a good reason and the end of the reactor scene beautifully mirrors Killing Joke but with Damian in the Batman role. Well done, Mr. Tomasi. I'm a Patrick Gleason fan and he maintains his very reliable quality in this book's art.
I don't know why I seem to be unduly down on the Bat books but so far none have really excited me the way some other New 52 titles have. Batman and Robin is no different: quite good but just not one of my top choices for the week.
This book is beautiful. Batwoman is such a great modern-age character and now she gets the title she's deserved since busting on the scene in 52. J H Williams is taking on dual writing/art duties which is always something that I like and am amazed by. It gives a story a degree of continuity and synchronicity of style that is hard to put into words. Williams worked with Greg Rucka to do an amazing Detective Comics stint that featured Batwoman and he obviously understands her very deeply. The gothic style and brilliant, beautiful, engaging layouts with stark, gorgeous colors make this book the art pick of the week. This book feels like a new chapter rather than the beginning but that's just fine. If someone likes Batwoman and wants to read her backstory it's easy enough to read Elegy (from Detective).
For me this book was the surprise of the week: AWESOME! Deathstroke is "a major damn badass". I had some trepidation about this book but with one issue I am completely sold. I want to see Deathstroke go toe to toe with any idiot dumb enough to get in his way. Joe Bennett's art is bold and, well, badass. It's a perfect fit. I hadn't liked his costume redesign but after this issue it's growing on me. The team of "young up-and-comers" that he is paired with is hilarious too. Plus, there's a mysterious black suitcase that's got Deathstroke good and pissed off. Wonder what's in it?
I had very high expectations for this book and I have to say that it delivered. It was a really fun, crazy fantasy story. The cast of characters is pretty eclectic, incorporating a lot of DC immortals and mystics into one awesome medieval fracas that has no shortage of devilish dragons and fantasy fisticuffs. Etrigan and Jason Blood have a tweaked origin and both are lovers with Madame Xanadu. Mordru and the Questing Queen provide a suitable scourge and Mordru performs some pretty wicked black arts on a baby. Also, does it seem to anyone else as though Vandal Savage will be the Minsk of this cadre? Shining Knight joins the adventuring party as well (the first of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers to appear in the New 52). The only problem I really had was an overload of characters right away but that's a staple of fantasy and I'm sure I'll soon get to know all the Demon Knights.
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
A very cool, weird kind of monster book. I will get the obvious comparison to Hellboy and the BPRD out of the way and say that the similarities really stop at the surface there. The style feels more like the old DC Creature Commandos mixed with the overtones of crazy mad science (as opposed to Hellboy's occult world). Jeff Lemire envisioned S.H.A.D.E. like S.H.I.E.L.D. but if it were run by mad scientists and the result is pretty awesome and distinct. Add to this the pages of monster on monster violence and it's a recipe for awesome! Also this makes Frankenstein the first of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers to be a titular character in the New 52. Shining Knight is in Demon Knights and Zatanna will be coming in Justice League Dark (so that's 3 down, 4 to go).
If you haven't been reading Green Lantern then for the love of the Guardians get this book NOW! It's been one of DC's best superhero titles since Geoff Johns (architect of the New 52) took over and now is a perfect time to get into it. The quality is still here in spades. If you've been reading Green Lantern then you're still in luck! While Blackest Night, Brightest Day, and War of the Green Lanterns were all awesome it was dealing with all this epic space stuff and starred a cast of thousands. This is just Hal Jordan and Sinestro and Johns has no trouble reminding us that these two are the only reasons you need to read GL. Sinestro is one of the coolest badguys in the DC Universe and if you question that or have to ask why then pick up this book. Also, it's interesting to see Hal having to be Hal without being Green Lantern. I can't say it enough times: Buy this book!
If I had to pick a dud for the week then this is it. Let me say off the bat that I don't really like superheroes with guns (there are some, but as a general rule they're not my taste) and I don't like a lot of the stereotypical early 90's characters. All that being said Grifter wasn't bad. I mean, I didn't cringe and it held my attention but overall I don't really care about Grifter. The mystery of the 17 hours is cool and I bet if you like aliens that you'd like this book as it seems to deal with abduction scenarios (time loss, memory loss) from a superhero perspective. It's an origin story so new readers who think they'd like Grifter can feel at ease picking this book up. This isn't a strike but if it doesn't find a way to keep me hooked I probably won't make it past the first storyarc on this one.
This is another one that didn't really wow me but I have high hopes for. I always thought that being lost in time would be a great scenario for a Legion Lost book in the style of the most recent (now sadly canceled) Booster Gold series. A crew of off-beat Legionnaires going through DC's past, present and future as they try to get back to the 31st century. I don't know where this story is going but I hope that's what they're doing. It would be a great way to see a lot of the newly rebooted continuity without having to delve too deeply into it. Anyway, the team is interesting. There are a few characters who I've never read before (Tellus, Gates, Tyroc) as well as some classic 70's legionnaires (Dawnstar, Wildfire, and Lone Wolf) plus Chameleon Girl who was from the 80's. I would have liked a wackier, more eclectic team but this one seems interesting and I look forward to learning about them.
I like the character so I am going to give this a chance. Mister Terrific gets an upgrade to Tony Stark-level intellect (he's always been smart, but he's definitely smarter in this book than he's been in the past). He has a cool new base (the T Sanctuary) in the Ninth Dimension that he's invented a gateway to. Mister Terrific has an easy time with tech-suited villains but against some unknown foe that can increase a victim's intellect to levels at which they perceive others as lesser beings and begin killing sprees? Well, Mr. Terrific has a real challenge on his hands. This book didn't gel for me the way that a lot of other ones did. It just wasn't firing on all cylinders in my opinion. Visually I'm still not sold on his costume. I feel like Michael Holt (Mr Terrific) has always had cool aspects of his costume but never quite got it just right. As important as a costume is for a hero I think this is worth noting. Still, not strike-worthy and I will see what comes with issue #2.
Well, I liked it more than I thought I would. At this point the Tygers origin of the Five Inversions is totally gone and we as readers should just forget any connection that this character has with the original story but as a new, stand-alone character Atorcitus is explored and has an interesting new angle. The action with Dex-Starr and the unnamed evil aliens is very cool. Same with the brewing Red Lantern insurrection led by the awesome-looking Bleez and the new direction that Atrocitus has chosen for the ruby ragers. I would rather have had a Sinestro Corp title but Red Lanterns is a good book and if you liked Blackest Night and the blood-spewing baddies then you should definitely add RL to your list.
This story was cool. I have never read any Resurrection Man but I always thought the idea of a superhero who dies and comes back with a new power each time is awesome. Like Dial H for Hero but extreme and more metaphysical. The angle of Angels vs demons and the angels are just as bad has been done and done again (Preacher, Spawn, even JLA) but whatever. It's a trope at this point. Also, blowing up a plane this week of all weeks? Pr-etty ballsy, DC. I like your moxie. Of all the DC Dark titles so far this has been the least scary but it's still a good story.
I've said it before and I bet DC will make me say it again: I was on the fence until I read it. Now I'm sold. Suicide Squad was really cool. The issue had a great twist. King Shark is hilarious to have back and he fills in the role of big dumb guy with a hunger for meat that makes him a lot of fun. Harley Quinn is kinda twisted but she's still Harley Quinn and for the costume nay-sayers I can only retort that while it wasn't my favorite thing it really didn't bother me. It's comics! Girls are scantily clad sometimes. Even Invisible Woman was dressed like a skank for a while. Either you'll learn to like it or she'll get over it. Deadshot did not look like the Floyd Lawton I know and love from Secret Six but then again this isn't Secret Six. He was still a cool guy and seemed pretty true to character. The other goons I don't really care about yet but I'm sure they'll step up or get killed off. And really, that's what the Suicide Squad is all about: killing off lots and lots of D-List villains for our amusement. Let the games begin!
I liked it. It's a new origin story with echoes of the "classic" 90's origin of the Boy of Steel but very clearly new and pretty cool. The idea that his human/kryptonian brain is biologically unique and it makes him immune to mindprobes and brainscans is cool. I also like the Virtual Reality parts of the story. That's an interesting way of bringing in some of the classic Superman mythos. I also like that Rose Wilson and a very familiar looking redhead are part of the story. I am interested to see where this goes and how it ties in with the new Teen Titans. If you like Superboy then definitely give it a try.
And with that we've finished Week #2 and we've rounded the bend with 27 titles on the shelves and only 25 left to come out. Just over half of the new DCU has seen the light of day and from where I'm standing the future is pretty bright. Come back next week for Batman, Legion of Superheroes, Wonder Woman, and many more!