New 52 Week 3 is Done - Here's My Take...


Last Wednesday (September 21st) brought the third full wave of DC's New 52 #1's.  Even though I’ve posted reviews for each, I'll summarize what I thought of this week's books like this: 

TOP OF THE PILE: 
BATMAN #1 : Ok, can Scott Snyder write a bad book? I have my doubts. This was fantastic storytelling feels fresh and new. It touched on almost every element that makes a great Bat book and did so almost perfectly. Brilliant. 

NIGHTWING#1: It was so much fun seeing Nightwing back at it. What made it even better was the solid story by Kyle Higgins. Touches on the past and moves forward to the future. Add some great art and a cool new villain and you have a book that's going to stay in my buy pal. 

SUPERGIRL #1: A very simple approach to an introduction issue but also a very effective one. Some fantastic art and colors and an ending which heightens the interesting. It's hard to gauge the direction of the story but so far it's a lot of fun. 

WONDER WOMAN#1: This is the jump start this character needed. A great mix of strong art and fun storytelling. I haven't been the biggest Wonder Woman fan but this issue has me genuinely interested. 

GOOD SOLID ISSUES:

BLUE BEETLE #1: I know I'm in the minority but I enjoyed this book. It had more than it's share of stereotypes and the "villains" weren't all that attractive, but I thought is was visually strong and I loved the ending action sequence. I don't see me sticking with this long term but for now, it's fun. 

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1: Fun almost classic feeling Green Lantern book. Decent story but the books strongest point is Paserin's amazing art. I was immediately drawn in by the visuals which more than made up for what the story may have lacked. Ends well so I'm on board. 

BIRDS OF PREY #1: It's a fun new direction for Black Canary and her femme fatale butt kickers. The few pacing issues aside, it's a fun and action-packed first issue with some really strong art. Not the greatest but a solid issue. 

ON SHAKEY GROUND:

CATWOMAN#1: Controversy aside, Catwoman #1 has tons of structural problems. Clunky storytelling and a forced contrived ending. Add to that Winick and March's ridiculous idea of "sexy" and you have a disappointing issue for Catwoman fans. Cheap, trashy, and not a character I'm interested in following. But I have an affection for her so she may get one more issue. 

DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS: DEADMAN #1: It's not that it's a terrible issue, it's just not the type of book that I can see myself investing in. It has some good moments but it also gets a tad repetitious. With so many new books vying for my dollar, this one may be left out in the cold. 

NO THANKS, I'M DONE
CAPTAIN ATOM#1: This thing was a total mess and a huge disappointment. The story lacked any life or emotion. At times it felt like a college lecture instead of comic book entertainment. Williams' art was hard to look at and impossible for me to enjoy. This book never resonated with me on any level. 

RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #1 : There's almost nothing in this issue that could bring me back for a second dose. The characters are simplistic and almost annoying and at times the dialogue feels like it's between two air-headed frat guys. Ludicrous "let's sex the issue up" approach from Lobdell doesn't help matters. Silly, boring, and a waste of time. 

Week 3 was a rather wild ride. Bring on week 4!!!!

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Winick's Catwoman isn't my Catwoman!

I remember when Judd Winick was on DC's New 52 Panel at San Diego Comic-Con. When addressing the new Catwoman ongoing series Winick went to great lengths to say that Catwoman would be violent and sexy. I was immediately intrigued and liked the sound of what Winick had in mind. Then came "Catwoman" #1 and I quickly realized that Winick's idea of what's sexy is a far cry from mine.

Catwoman is a sexy character but instead of focusing on what makes her sexy, Winick goes the cheap route and makes her a spectacle. Pink and purple bras, close-up cleavage shots, weird seductive poses, and a wild out of nowhere sex scene that is as forced and contrived as anything you will see. A lot of people are making the sensuality of this book a hot topic of conversation. But I never felt the book was offensive. It was a disappointment.

There were some things I liked about "Catwoman" #1. But Winick ended up putting together a disjointed issue that failed to be exactly what it advertised - sexy!

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New 52 Week 2 is Done - Here's My Take...

Last Wednesday (September 14th) brought the second full wave of DC's New 52 #1's. Even though I’ve posted reviews for each, I'll summarize what I thought of this week's books like this:

TOP OF THE PILE:

DEMON KNIGHTS #1 : One of the biggest surprises of the New 52. A new and fresh concept with some fantastic characters and a great mystical fantasy setting. I loved this book.

BATMAN & ROBIN #1: Tomasi and Gleason are a great creative team and they nail this issue. Bruce is back and I for one am thrilled. Great moments with Damian and some cool Batman-styled action.

GREEN LANTERN #1: Sinestro as a Green Lantern and Hal Jordan ringless on Earth. Johns sets the table for what looks to be a very entertaining angle made even better by some great art by Mahnke. I had tons of fun with this issue.

GOOD SOLID ISSUES:

RED LANTERNS#1: I wasn't expecting much but I found this to be a lot of fun. Gorgeous art and a cool new sense of direction for the Red Lanterns equals tons of potential. Oh and Dex-Starr! Nuff' Said.

GRIFTER #1: A true origin story that's brought to life by some great art. It's not the type of issue the misleading cover leads you to believe but it's still a lot of fun.

DEATHSTROKE #1: This issue gets Deathstroke back to his roots. After softening up a bit recently, Higgins gives me the Deathstroke that I grew up thinking was one of DC's best villains.

RESURRECTION MAN #1: I knew nothing about this character but this issue pulled me in. The art is a little inconsistent but the story is creative and fresh.

SUICIDE SQUAD #1: While it suffers from multiple artists, this is a dark book featuring a cool team. It's not a perfect issue but I'm anxious to see where it's going.

ON SHAKY GROUND:

FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF SHADE #1: Lemire's story is actually decent but the art falls terribly short. A rather bland ending and some of the most unimaginative monsters you'll find. This thing really needs to pick up.

SUPERBOY #1: It's not that it's a terrible issue, it just doesn't offer very much. The art is too simple and cartoony and the ending comes out of nowhere (and not in a good way). I liked a lot about this book, but it needs to step it up to stay on my pull list.

NO THANKS, I'M DONE:

MISTER TERRIFIC #1: Without a doubt this is the worst New 52 title I've read so far. Wallace takes a great character and kills him with a poorly constructed book and some of the worst written dialogue I've seen. Contrived and artificial conversations on race and politics and some of the most inconsistent art you'll see. No thanks, I'm done.

Week 2 threw some really good books at us. Bring on week 3!!!!

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DC, The New 52, and Selective Accessibility


One of DC's big reasons for relaunching their line of books in this month's New 52 was to provide accessibility for new readers. Regardless of how overstated the whole accessibility issue is, you would think if DC wanted accessibility they would offer it in these new #1 titles. One thing I've noticed is that their books still aren't created with everyone in mind. 

One of the things I was hoping for out of the relaunch were titles that were a little more open to young readers. Obviously making comics accessible to this group still isn't important to the publishers. I still don't understand why comics, and in this instance DC, has completely turned their backs on young readers. Throughout the history of comics, creators have shown that you can make comics that are open to young readers to but not dumbed down. But several years ago publishers made a conscious effort to shut them out with the exception of a few watered down superhero books and things like Spongebob and Mickey Mouse. I have a nine year old son who would love to get involved in a cool superhero ongoing like his dad but there simply is nothing available. It's a sad but also perplexing business decision. 

So DC relaunches their titles and it doesn't take long to see nothing has changed in these regards. For example, I've bought most of the New 52 books and I've noticed that every single book has some level of profanity in it. Many could have been appropriate for a young reader by simply leaving out those few words. For an industry hurting for new readers, I'm amazed that they have no interest in customers like my son. Young readers often times become old readers and I get tired of saying no when my son simply wants to get involved. 

So DC's idea of accessibility still has it's limitations. The accessibility problem isn't in a hard to understand, complex continuity. It's in an industry's decision to shun an entire demographic.

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DC's New 52 - Some thoughts on week 2...


Last week was a lot of fun as DC launched it's first wave of new #1 titles. For the most part, the first wave featured mostly fun and satisfying titles. Now we get to week 2. Here's some thoughts on a few of this week's title: 

DEATHSTROKE #1: Kyle Higgins really impressed me with "Gates of Gotham" so I'm hoping that translates to an equally good Deathstroke book. I absolutely love this character and there is certainly a lot of good stories that could be told with him. 

GRIFTER #1: This is one of my most anticipated books in the entire New 52 lineup. Grifter is such a cool character and in the right hands this could be a surprise hits. Grifter has came a long way since Jim Lee first created him but he's yet to really be given a chance to shine. Is this that chance? 

MISTER TERRIFIC #1: Mr. Terrific is a....well....terrific character but does he have enough to sustain an ongoing series? Personally, I hope so but time will tell. Eric Wallace writes what I hope is one of the bigger surprises of the New 52. 

RED LANTERNS #1: Ok, sure, the Red Lanterns are cool and it's been fun watching them develop into major players in the Green Lantern universe. But I can't help but question whether Atrocitus and company keep maintain a full ongoing series past the first couple of story arcs. Hopefully they'll prove me wrong. 

RESURRECTION MAN #1: I'm jumping in blind on this one but I'm pretty excited in doing so. I know little about Resurrection Man about the entire concept sounds like a lot of fun. But can the title garner enough excitement and will the character be compelling enough to really produce a good run? 

Those are just five of the books I'll be grabbing Wednesday. Hopefully this will be another fun week from DC.

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New 52 Week 1 is Done - Here's My Take:


Last Wednesday (September 7th) brought the first full wave of DC's New 52 #1's.  Even though I’ve posted reviews for each, I'll summarize what I thought of this week's books like this: 

TOP OF THE PILE: 

SWAMP THING #1 : Scott Snyder's resume is strengthened by what I thought was the best book of the week. Intelligently crafted, well written, and beautifully drawn. This is something special.

ACTION COMICS #1: This was the Superman story I've been wanting for a while. After months and months of Superman mediocrity, Morrison and Morales finally do the Man of Steel justice again.

BATGIRL #1: Gail Simone answers the many questions about Barbara Gordon and does so in a thoughtful and engaging way. It's a different Barbara, but one that I can easily invest in! 

GOOD SOLID ISSUES

BATWING#1: Strong story with tons of potential. Pretty solid art but needs a little more polish. If Winick keeps this thing under control it could be really good.

DETECTIVE COMICS #1: Features so many things that make a good Batman book. And how can you go wrong with giving us our first look at the New 52 Joker?

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1: A cool introduction issue featuring  classic old school storytelling and art. Still iffy on the team's roster but we will see.

O.M.A.C. #1: Surprisingly good especially during the action sequences. Needs stronger character development but this was still a lot of fun. 

ON SHAKEY GROUND:

ANIMAL MAN #1: There's just enough intrigue to help me give it another chance. But the horribly inconsistent art style and the unraveling of the story in the end leaves me wondering.

MEN OF WAR #1: Some really good things about this book but the next issue needs to give us more. It looks promising and I loved the nostalgia of the issue. But there are still questions. 

NO THANKS, I'M DONE:

HAWK AND DOVE #1: A really simple and sometimes contrived first issue that never sparked any interest. Liefeld's art only hurts the already drab story. Had high hopes but after this issue, I'm out.

Week 1 was a lot of fun. Bring on week 2!!!!

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First Full Week of The New 52 - Here We Go!!!!


Last week served as an introduction to DC's New 52 relaunch. This Wednesday is the official first wave of new #1 DC titles and here are a few observations plus some books I'm looking forward to: 

"Men of War" #1 : This is a title that's getting little to no buzz but that I really want to be good and sell good. I'm an old-school fan of Sgt. Rock and Easy Company. This is certainly a different take but one with unlimited possibilities. Not only does it feed my nostalgic appetite but it also gives us something more than just another superhero book. I'm surprised by the $3.99 price tag but I'm still all over this one. 

"Action Comics" #1 : First, it's a big deal just to see Action Comics renumbered. But the biggest question is which Grant Morrison are we going to get? Will it be the great Grant as seen in works like his X-Men run? Or will it be the self-indulgent Grant who gave us the convoluted mess that was Batman R.I.P.? My guess...I think this is going to be really good. 

"Batgirl" #1: Who isn't interested in seeing how Barbara Gordon is out of the wheelchair and swinging from rooftop to rooftop? I love Babs and I love this creative team. I'm only hoping that this is explained in a way that not only sets up some great stories but respects her great work as Oracle. 

"Hawk and Dove" #1 :It's pretty gutsy to push a new Hawk and Dove series but I'm certainly interested. Considering the number of characters that weren't included in the New 52, this could be seen as a surprise. But I like Sterling Gates so I'm giving it a try. The only big question is with the Twitterifically volatile Rob Liefeld and how his style works with these characters. 

"Animal Man" #1: I'm not the biggest Jeff Lemire fan but this book has gotten tons of buzz by reputable people who say this is the sleeper hit of the New 52. I was surprised to see it on the release list and was on the fence about it. But with so many good comments how can I pass it up. 

This week brings us a crop of good books. This is just a sample of what I'll be getting. I know there will be some surprises and some letdowns. But after looking at what DC is doing, how can I not be excited?

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Is writing for trades hurting comic sales?


As I continue to read comics it seems as though many creators are writing their books specifically with the trade paperback in mind. Obviously there's nothing wrong with trades. Many people like them and reading something as a collection is often times a better experience. I often times buy hardcover collections of stories, runs, or events that I really like. But judging by more and more of the single issues that are hitting comic shops each week, some creators seem to write their single issues with the trade paperback already in mind. 
 
Why is this a big deal? I think that sometimes single issues suffer because a writer is focused more on a collected release than the single issue. I think that's one reason we get some issues that are flat, unbalanced, or just fail to progress the story. There are many things different about comics today. They are filled with bigger panels and less dialogue. They stretch stories out for three issues that could be told in one. These things don't always equal interesting single books but read better in trade form. It used to feel as though you got more out of a single monthly issue. Now prices have increased while content has decreased unless you buy them in a collection.  
 
Is this hurting the quality of some single issues? I tend to think so. Publishers and retailers are looking for answers to dropping sales figures. Could it be that releasing single issues that aren't written as single issues is hurting the quality of the books? And if the quality suffers does it follow that sales may suffer also. I don't really know, but it sounds plausible.
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Dear new readers, continuity isn't a bad thing!

DC's New 52 relaunch has ushered in a lot of conversation. One of the things I've heard mentioned is that DC Comics wanted and needed to be "more accessible" to new readers. Whether the person is new to comics or just new DC, continuity is often said to hurt accessibility. I'll be honest, that drives me nuts! First off, if I want to read a comic I'll pick it up and read it. I have never felt I needed a comprehensive understanding of the history of the series. Just because a comic has #684 on it doesn't mean it lacks accessibility. 
 
We live in an age where plenty of information is available from numerous places. Continuity should never hinder anyone from reading a comic book when so much information is out there. Comic readers aren't stupid. We can figure things out. When I started reading comics years ago, there wasn't constant renumbering. Therefore most of the comics I started with were well past their #1 issues. It was also well before the Internet. Yet I was able to get involved with several books and thoroughly enjoy them. It's not that hard. 
 
So to me, the entire idea that continuity is intimidating to new readers is a farce. I love continuity. In fact, continuity is one of the things that drives me back issues and to reading great older issues that fill in moments in history that I've missed. Continuity isn't a bad thing and the argument that it hurts accessibility is simply silly.

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How has DC done selling "The New 52"?


I was one of those who immediately questioned DC's bold and gutsy move to relaunch their entire line. I had plenty of questions and even more concerns. So the question is, how did DC do in selling their move since it was first announced? Were they able to ease the minds of long time readers? Did they do a good enough job to encourage potential new readers to jump on board? 
 
Once the news was announced, details began coming in droves. We learned that it would be called "The New 52" based on the new line of 52 comics. We started to hear what titles would be included in the relaunch. Soon we started hearing more details about the creative teams and some really interesting combinations. So the titles, writers, and artists became the topics of considerable chatter on all of the comic web sources. 

Then the DC people began engaging the fans through their Facebook and Twitter accounts. We were able to feel their excitement and enthusiasm and even ask questions about concerns we may have. I remember a couple of creators really putting my mind at ease about some genuine worries I had concerning some of my favorite characters. It was a great idea and many of the creators utilized it well. 

Fast forward to San Diego Comic Con. DC made it their primary goal to convince fans that what they were doing was the right thing and something the fans would love. They held "New 52" panels every day that featured the creators of the books along with the DC higher-ups and talked about the titles as well as answer audience questions. The panels were fantastic and were key in sealing my excitement for the project.

Now DC is hitting the news circuits doing interviews and promotions. As I type, Jim Lee and Geoff Johns are doing 4 hours worth of interviews in the Northeast. They have been on TV, radio, and the web as well as scheduling midnight appearances for next Wednesday's launch.  

Sure there are some things they could do better. They released two trailers for "The New 52" but I've only seen them on this site. Why not stick those on TV or in movie theaters? More importantly, why not have those out earlier so they could have gotten some actual buzz? 

But when it comes down to it, DC has sold me. The interaction with the creators, the interesting assortment of titles, the sneak peeks at the art, and the general enthusiasm have all contributed to my excitement. Of course it all comes down to the product. None of us have read the books yet and that's what determines it's success. But in terms of easing my mind and answering my concerns, DC has done a wonderful job.

Bring on September!

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