DC One-Shots

Whether true or not, it has been rumored that DC will be launching a series of one-shots to address those pieces of DC history that have thusfar been unaddressed. These may take the form of the one previewed on the source ( a backup which features a different lens of viewing for the first arc of Detective Comics, from the perspective of the Penguin) or they may be full one-shot issues that act as a "History of the New 52 Universe" supplemental element. This got me to thinking about what I'd enjoy seeing as a backstory, a re-telling or a reinterpretation in the new universe... these were some of my brainstormed ideas. These could directly address some of those pesky questions we keep asking, while nostalgically touching on those pieces of story we have in the past held dear.

Batman: R.I.P, Battle for the Cowl

-A story detailing Bruce’s death in light of the removal of Final Crisis, as well as an explanation for the introduction of Damien (further back, but refined during this period) and the role of Dick Grayson as Batman.

Superman: Death and Return of Superman

-Also explaining whether the death and resurrection trend has in fact occurred in the new universe. Might also touch upon the alterations to reign of the supermen.

Wonder Woman: Man’s World

-Depicting her first encounters with Steve Trevor and her initial trip away from Paradise Island

Green Lantern: Blackest Night

-Highlighting the alterations of the story in the new universe, particularly the absence of certain characters and the altered finale with the white lanterns

Flash: Whatever Happened to Wally West?

-Directly addressing why he never became Kid Flash and culminating with a tease to his return in the near future.

Aquaman: The Legend of Aquaman

-Explaining his history, including the pertinent details of his family struggles, the loss of his hand (or not) and the death of his child (or not).

Teen Titans: The Lost Titans

-Detailing the friendship between those we previously knew as Titans and why they were never bonded together officially as a group.

Amazons Attack

Including an expanded sequence of Batman in combat against a deadly amazon bee weapon. Bees. My god.

Origins

-Exploring those characters we have at this point understood to be dead, including those whose deaths are no longer in story, due to the removal of crisis events. Re-introduces characters like Ted Kord, the Dibnys and the Questions.

Those are my one-shot ideas... what one-shot titles would you like to see? What questions do you think could be answered with a single issue?

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Meanwhile, Back at the Vertigo Ranch

So there is so much focus on the DC New 52 and Marvel's response to it that I thought I'd turn an eye to the untouched part of the DC line, that being the Vertigo imprint... untouched might actually be the wrong word even, as some thought the integration of characters like Swamp Thing, Constantine and Xanadu, former Vertigo mainstays would be the death knell of Vertigo's line. Now that we have the October sales info, I thought I'd sum up where things stand at Vertigo, looking only at those issues that are current ongoing series and their sales figures. Here is the most recent sales number for each of their current ongoing titles:

Fables - 18,109 Units

American Vampire - 15,288 Units

The Unwritten - 10,481 Units

Hellblazer - 9,608 Units

Izombie - 9,237

Sweet Tooth - 7,963

Here is some more information. Since the last year, Hellblazer has 'lost' only 37 readers, a mere 0.384% of the book's readership. American Vampire has lost around 4,562 readers, and Izombie has lost 27.84% of last year's readership. Sweet Tooth comes in as the lowest non-cancelled book at 7,963 readers. The Unwritten will also begin shipping twice a month, with variable perspective issues. All in all, these figures aren't all that bad. Low sales tolerance has long been a Vertigo feature, and these titles are holding far above the levels that Vertigo titles may often get the axe... even more importantly, most of the titles have endured much longer than other typical Vertigo series. A vast majority of the imprint's titles don't make it past 30 issues... half of these already have and the odds aren't looking bad for the others to make that mark. Jeff Lemire has already stated that the current estimated conclusion of Sweet Tooth will be around issue #50, which leaves us without about 2 years of issues to go. At the current level and attrition rate, Sweet Tooth should end in the comfortable cancellation zone without any real worry.

Upcoming new titles for Vertigo include the following:

Dominque Laveua: Voodoo Child, debuting in February, most likely with Vertigo's traditional $1 first issue.

Vertigo will also be publishing the adaptation of the acclaimed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, most likely in mini-series format, along with the accompanying installments.

Be on the look out for Fairest, a new Fables spin-off sometime in Early 2012. Additionally, Willingham's Fables novel (also published under the imprint) Werewolves of the Heartland is to come this following year.

So what are your thoughts on DC's adult imprint? What effect has the new 52 had on the line? Are you now or have you ever been a Vertigo reader? What are you buying? Should Vertigo add new titles or hold steady with their current product line? What would you do with Vertigo?

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October, Week 2

Sadly, this was the first week since the release of the new 52 that I wasn't able to wait at the comic shop on Wednesday for my pull list to prepared. I instead had to settle for hanging back until Thursday. The difficulty of avoiding the internet for fear of spoilers aside, this was another fabulous week. Several books hit high marks on my list, others blossomed and jumped to new spots in my overall analysis chart.

Batgirl: I thought this one was amazing. Expectations having been high from the first issue, I know that some were disappointed. Nevertheless, this is a sharply written and drawn book. Admittedly an element or two confounded me, and a prediction I made in the middle of the issue turned out to be wildly off the mark, but seeing as we're still in the earlier part of the story arc, there is still much development left to come.

Batman and Robin: Greatest part about this title? Ace the Bat Hound. Granted, he doesn't do anything, and there are still plenty of other wonderful developments in the title, I just like that Ace is back in the family. This depiction of Damian is a little unsettling to me, and pushes in the opposite direction of what I was initially hoping for, most pointedly in his handling of a batcave resident. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it greatly, and trust Tomasi's vision for the new dynamic duo. Gleason continues to rock it on art duties, particularly in costumed scenes.

Batwoman: Favorite of the Week. Like Swamp Thing the week before, this one is a repeat title earner for my favorite. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to find a way to exclude these titles to offer some glory to other books. First of all, the layouts are mindblowingly cool. The vibrancy of every visual element of this book is absolutely stunning. The story is intriguing, the dialogue is witty and enlightening. I'm so ridiculously pleased at the quality of this long-awaited book. The best part is that even when we switch artists, we have Amy Reeder waiting in the wings not long from now to take over.

Deathstroke: For this one, I had to adjust what I was looking for ever so slightly. While normally death and development are the dramatic parts of a book, it seems utterly clear that those pieces are to play no part in this book. Basically the concept is turning out quite solidly to be 'Deathstroke kills everybody who shows up'... which is fine, I suppose. Ridiculous, yes, but that seems to be the book's middle name. From one perspective it reads a little to easy for Slade, with no challenge, physical or mental, beyond his mastery. But again, that sort of need is usually present in the more traditional book, the likes of which this is not. I'm mildly intrigued by this briefcase mystery, but aside from that I expect that the next 10 issues will be 'uber-foe shows up, Slade kills, super-saiyan form uber-foe shows up, Slade kills...' And as long as those deaths are new Mary Sue characters, I'm chill with that.

Demon Knights: Hells to the yeah, this is what I'm talking about. First of all, this whole cast is quickly blowing up the charts of my favorite characters lists, purely because they're so crazy cool. This book is funny, action packed, beautifully drawn and full of energy. While we're still a little light on Horsewoman (who I've been looking forward to) the team of characters are all really interesting. This basically reads like the greatest D&D campaign I could ever imagine. This one stays comfortably in my top tier.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E: Another title of action, excitement and intrigue. The greatest part about this book is that Jeff Lemire made me love the creation, build and resolution of these characters in his Flashpoint mini, and is now wiping all of that away to do the exact same thing again, without repeating any of those powerful elements. The moment I knew I loved this book to crazyland was the simplistic statement of Frankenstein's vengeance not being discriminatory by age. While in a sense this is a throwaway line, for me it defined every important element of Frankenstein. The script and art are perfectly matched to each other, and it is my fervent hope that this title will be rocking for a long run.

Green Lantern: I always wonder when my loyalty to Geoff Johns might be betrayed, simply because every writer must have a bad story now and then. And every time this kernel of doubt creeps into my mind, Geoff uses his latest tale to smack me in the face, remind me that he is fantastic at what he does and to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Particularly with Sinestro as the central focus of this issue, Johns really makes some great strides with re-defining the character in a new light. Whether it be his superior attitude or the subtle genuine hero woven so far beneath, Johns creates a take on the legendary baddie so on the mark that this will likely be the definitive depiction of the character in the comic annals.

Grifter: This book didn't blow me away exactly the first month, and again didn't blow me away, but it certainly made for an enjoyable read. There are certainly some good action sequences, good snippets of dialogue and good plot developments... but that theme of 'good' dominates the book. It just didn't quite hit the great spot yet. It will probably jump up one on my ratings chart, but my biggest worry for the title is how long it will use this storyline of the daemonites, and whether or not Grifter can fit into a wider world without it. Everything of who the character is and what the story is seems completely tied to that facet that I can't really see him easily transitioning out of this story. I liked the ending though, the last few pages got me pumped for the next issue.

Legion Lost: This might be the most improved book of month 2, we'll see in the next few weeks if this improvement can be topped. While I'm still a touch in the "roll my eyes, sour" camp on the meaningless death of two characters, ignoring that element allowed for this to be a pretty decent book. The plot seems to have a touch more purpose, the Wildfire narration frames it well and the art reminds me of why Pete Woods is on my general favorites list. This is another one that I question what will happen in the future, as I can't see it diverging from this plot all that well, but whatever.

Mister Terrific: If I had one problem with the first issue it was that I was jarred out of loving it by certain elements of the story flow. Luckily, this time there was no bump in the road to stop me from loving it. Michael seems like a ridiculously cool guy, with confidence, inner strength and cleverness beyond his stated mental acuity. Every once in a while, characters get crowning moments of glory, so over the top unbelievable, except for you buy into it because somehow it fits the character... Holt gets this moment with this issue as he reboots his brain. So cool. The only other time Mr. Terrific has been this cool to me was his other similar crowning moment of glory in the recent JSA, when he had to relearn the alphabet. I underestimated the potential of this title and I'm so glad that it surprised me so solidly.

Resurrection Man: Another one that bumped up my opinions, however temporarily, and another one that I see as perhaps too inextricable from the present storyline. I don't know how this one will evolve out of being purely focused on the hunt for Mitch, but at least while I was reading it that wasn't an important element for me. The strongest moments in the book came with quiet exchanges and the weave of clues laced throughout the title, although I also found the body doubles to be rather charming, although they are likely to contribute as fodder in the new war of female representation in the book. The conclusion also left me intrigued, in that fashion that I have no idea how the character will escape his current predicament. Sometimes it is nice to not be able to anticipate what will happen next.

Suicide Squad: This one surprised me in week one and it continued that pattern this week. What I was most surprised about was the fact that I really felt like I could love all these characters, even those reveling in their D-list glory. Deadshot and Harley are certainly the stars for me though, which is rather relieving to be able to continue to adore two of my previous favorites. In fact, Harley's written depiction fits my understanding of the character nearly perfectly. The twists keep coming throughout the story and the art is really something to watch. I also found that this was a book I could laugh out loud with, a feature truly desirable. This book could really have the potential to make its way up the ranks.

Superboy: Aside from the tie in elements to Teen Titans, I'm not really sure I understand where this book is going. The complimentary part of that statement though is that I don't much care. The artistic depiction, especially of the two principal female characters, is wonderful. While slightly manufactured, the story is readable and engaging. The real test will be the moment of integration between the two titles, and where they both go from there. For now, this one can stay right where it was in my framing of expectations.

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Sales Analysis, Detail To Come

Okay, so sales figures have been released and I think even with some high expectations, we can say that the numbers released are rather stellar. I'm going to be referring to 'slots' a concept I introduced in an earlier blog post. In short, regardless of the title or sales number that filled it, slot 1 is the top selling DC comi of that month, where slot 52 is the 52nd best selling book of a given month. I've managed to gather data for the past year, finding the average sales per slot and the top sales in any given slot. In this month, every single slot beat the previous top slot. While not surprising, consider this:

If you took the best sales for every slot across the whole year and stacked them into a single month... the month of September would still beat it by over a million units. If you took the average sales per slot for the top 52 DC titles over the course of the past year... September would beat the average by over 1.5 million units. (1,060,199 for the first and 1,563,793 for the second, in case you're interested)

I'd say for now we can mark September a solid win. And that is without the adjusted up figures. More in-depth to come.

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October, Week 1

The second issues of the DC new 52 are certainly going to be highly examined as an indication of the staying power of the line of titles. The stops were all pulled out for the first issues, so the second will really give a look at what these books are really going to be like in the long term. And with this first batch, I have to say that it looks like we're heading to quite the wonderful world of comic books. There were a lot of books this way that really hit the mark, with a few of them even raising my opinions of them with the second installment. If the following weeks at all manage to mimic the success of this round of releases, quite a few titles should fall into a zone of safety.

Action Comics: This was a very exciting issue for me, giving some wonderful teases and insight into this new character of Superman that is being forged. The reintroduction of familiar characters, the deeper look at the foundational levels of character identity and a neat expansion of existing mythology all charge this issue with a tremendous amount of power. While regrettable that the page count of story doesn't match the price tag expectation, I found the extras in the back to be more than worth it. While it seems that the main story will be maintaing this page count in months to come, my growing affection for (soon to be Action's back-up writer) Josh Fialkov will be fun, though the real question is how including it against the front story of Grant's writing will pan out.

Animal Man: I wanted this title to sit in my top tier in month one, in no small part to my growing sense of fanboy devotion to writer Jeff Lemire. It still resonated with me, just not to a level of perfection. This issue rectified that completely. Making the jump up to my category of top favorites, Animal Man is certainly one to watch. While I hold to my statement that the first issue held an indie comic feel (which apparently made a reviewer or two upset) this issue took the indie vibe and slimmed it into an accessible concept that really highlighted the potential of Animal Man as a hybrid title, both independent and mainstream, both edgy and classically superheroic. Both the characters of Buddy and Maxine are very enjoyable, and I'm now highly anticipating the next issue.

Batwing: While this book carried a little bit of second issue drop, it was to a very comfortable and enjoyable place. I'm really liking the development of personality for the title hero, and although he was inactive for much of the story, the finale page again leaves me rabid for more, hopefully charged with dynamic action to match the intensity of story that we've been seeing thus far. Again the greatest strength of this title so far is the unexplained mythology of it all, the indication that there is so much more to this picture of African superheroics than we're able to see with our current lens.

Detective Comics: Last issue really defied all expectations that were held for the book, as such this issue appears to be slightly a tad of a letdown. Given those parameters, it may have been, but considering the initial expectations, I'd say this chapter of the story still holds steady at the line of expectation. Falling more into the line of good than great is not really intended to be an insult, especially if the book can maintain at this level. As the months pass, we'll need some middle ground titles, or we'll be bashing every book that doesn't blow our minds to kingdom come. I'm on board and can hold out, so long as this storyline stays above the ratings of the earlier chapters that Tony contributed to the life of Batman.

Green Arrow: In the positive, this one maintained my expectations. In the negative, that expectation wasn't all that stellar. Creative shifts are already affecting my reading of the book, although that might end up giving this title a second wind. I am by no means bashing, this was a very enjoyable read, I like the heroics, I like the villainy, it is all nice. The only problem is that looking a decade past, Green Arrow was the top of my stack, top of my list book and hero. Knowing that he has that potential to run with the A-listers makes seeing a pleasant jog through D-list territory not so thrilling.

Hawk and Dove: I'm beginning to realize that I might need to be ashamed to like this book as much as I do. It'll certainly never reach my top tier at this rate, but I admit I get a little giggle of anticipation opening it up. Maybe it is a bizarre instance of quasi-nostalgia, but the incredibly 90s feel of this book makes it very fun for me. It feels a little bit silly, I'm thinking perhaps not entirely intentionally, but for me it just means enjoyment. It isn't one I'd go out of my way to recommend, but I still plan on following it for as long as it putters on.

Justice League International: So when I wrote the first paragraph up there, this was the one I was thinking of. In terms of improvement, this one made a leap tenfold up the ranks. This was what I was expecting in the first place, so to see it rise from the slight disappointment of the first issue. The characters were much better managed, the humor hit the mark once more and the story was a little more... story. And the neat thing is that in some senses, this reaction I was feeling continued the metatextual value of the comic, in the sense that the characters had to pull themselves out of a bit of a hot mess and show that they could match the expectations set by those around them.

Men of War: Again, I'm not a war comics guy. The last issue pretty much blew me away, but I didn't really expect the title to keep running with the same high level of quality. Sinking into a little more of the routine of such books divorced me a little bit from it, as this one worked from slightly inaccessible angles. It felt much harder to read this time around, although when I figured out (eventually) what was going on, I checked it over again and it seemed to match the previous issue's level. But again, that took a lot of work on my part as a reader. I'm willing to give it a go for a little while longer, but putting effort into an out of comfort zone read can only really work if the payoff is maintained. And if I do have to drop it (eventually) then that won't be an indictment of poor quality, but rather simply a reiteration of that first statement: I'm not a war comics guy.

O.M.A.C: Given the first issue, the insults flung toward the creative team, the lowest spot on anticipation and sales lists, I really want to root for this title. I wanted this issue to be really great. And you know what? It actually sorta was! Maybe it is that underdog thing again, maybe it is the slack that the book is given... but if the first four issues all get this level of enjoyment out of me, I'm going to have to say that this title could probably stand among the rest without that slack of benefit of doubt. I really like it, I really do. If you had told me the last page reveal before the release of the new 52, I might've been worried that the creative team would be stepping into territory not quite fit for them; but with the positive signs thusfar, I'm all on board for it! So far I'd say this book is sticking the first landing.

Red Lanterns: What makes me nervous about this book is that this installment felt exactly like the first. It carried a one-shot feel to it, with little to indicate an overall development of direction. That isn't a problem at all, but it does contribute to the problems of a few other factors. First, it won't rise to levels of greatness until it can start to string that wider storyline. Other books are already rolling in that momentum, this one still seems like it is finding out where to go. The real problem comes with the expectation of the series as indicated by sales. A lot of copies of this sold, so the stakes are sitting a little higher. If this was one of the bottom level books, it would be okay to steady the vehicle before blasting off into the major storyline. But as a higher flier with the association of Blackest Night and the Green Lantern mythology, I have a feeling that it may jettison a number of readers before it really gets underway. However, if readers can stick around for another issue, it looks like the real work is just about to begin.

Static Shock: As reactions to issues go, mine for this title could be described as a wild roller coaster. I was digging it. Then I was confused by it. Then I was piecing myself together and finding enjoyable pieces. Then I was wondering what was even happening on the pages. Then it was done, and I still had no idea what my actual reaction to the comic book was. Given that there is a creative shift coming, I'm not sure how much my response to it matters at this point... but I'd say that for the moment I would be characterized as somewhat nervous about this comic. It might need to have some work done in finding the proper niche and giving it some moving feet. For now I'll tentatively settle on calling it good.

Stormwatch: Yay! Another one, like Animal Man, that I really wanted to mark in my top tier with the first issue, but just couldn't at that point. With a little more underway, I can comfortably get a picture of where we are going with all of this, and have to say that it now more closely resembles my expectations. The pace wasn't great for a first issue, but it sure might be for a whole arc. I'm really intrigued by each of the characters, their histories and powers and can't wait to see what happens next. While I'm still not absolutely filled to the top of my cup, this was still a marked improvement and I'm hopeful that the next issue will clinch it, seal the deal and pop this title up to the ratings level of brilliant.

Swamp Thing: Favorite of the Week. For the second time in a row. And I'm thinking that it just might make a habit out of it. That might not be fair to the other titles, but at this point Swamp Thing is one to beat. Just as sales are expected to make a slight drop with second issues, I prepped my expectations as such, but to my great surprise this one was even better than the first issue. High-brow literature fused with accessible beauty, this book is one hell of a gem. For anyone who isn't reading at this point, get on board now, you won't regret it one bit.

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Month 1: Ranking the New 52

So at this point I'll share my rankings for the new 52... I'll be putting them into categories of brilliant, great, good, okay and enh, which you might as just well read as bad. I just don't like calling things bad. At the conclusion I might add some thoughts, including what might qualify particular titles to elevate themselves in this new month... where my excitement level is for the additional new titles... and perhaps a light rationale for a few of my choices.

Brilliant: Justice League, Swamp Thing, Action Comics, Batwoman, Frankenstein, Demon Knights, Batman, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, All-Star Western, Supergirl, Batgirl

Great: Justice League Dark, Animal Man, I, Vampire, Detective Comics, New Guardians, Stormwatch, Batwing, Nightwing, Teen Titans, Catwoman, Superboy, Voodoo, OMAC, Men of War, Superman

Good: DCU Presents, Red Lanterns, Suicide Squad, Red Hood, Firestorm, Hawk & Dove, Dark Knight, Hawkman, Birds of Prey, Mr. Terrific, Deathstroke

Okay: Justice League International, Static Shock, Green Arrow, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Blackhawks, Resurrection Man, Grifter

Enh: Legion Lost, Legion of Super-Heroes

First of all, I love the legion. I want it to be great. This month, it just wasn't. And it wasn't for a lack of good talent. Pete Woods is on my list of super-artists... Nicieza has written some of my favorite stories... the best work Levitz has done was on the Legion... it just didn't come together this month. If the problem persists in the months following, then we'll be reconsidering things, but I'm still fine with them for now.

A lot of the okay stuff is having some shifts in creative teams... some of them are just getting their first moments of footing... I foresee that at least half of them will easily make a jump up my rating list next month.

The good category this month was almost better labeled uncertain. Each one has some really solid moments... each one has a solid misstep or two. Mr. Terrific was actually one of my favorites... until there was a really strange shift in the story and I had to backpeddle and scream "huhwhatnow" and try to figure out what the heck I missed.

A few of the greats may actually have been brilliant... I just need to read them again to make sure of that assessment. My copies are all sealed for now... luckily there are 2nd printings on the way. Those that might've been brilliant were: Justice League Dark, Animal Man, Batwing and I, Vampire. If I get the same positive vibe from my rereading, they'll be retroactively upgraded. Stormwatch I expected to be brilliant... for a first issue though, it didn't quite do it. I'm thinking it'll stay in the great column for the first few issues, then will make a jump upwards once all of the pieces have been explained, revealed and settled. Voodoo, another surprise that I was expecting (yes, I know, doesn't make sense) might also make the jump up, I just need to know if the next issue will hold up as well as this one did.

My brilliant list really surprised me, for some of the inclusions and the quantity of them that there were. I expected maybe two a week and look at what I got! Whoo! Supergirl was a last minute jump up from great... I'll be 2nd reading that again, to make sure, but thinking back on it I found it pretty darned stellar.

My Favorites of the Week were as follows: Swamp Thing, Batwoman, Batman and Aquaman. At this point...

I've yet to decide my favorite of the month. Sue me, my brilliant pile was really good! I'm going to re-read them all, regardless of whether they were favorites of the week and hopefully have a favorite of the month up... by next month. Or something. Gosh knows.

In the new books for next month, the mini-series debuts: Huntress I expect to be brilliant... she isn't one of my top characters... but Marcus To is one of my top favorite artists. Penguin should be great, if only because the character wouldn't get a mini unless the story was really going to be that compelling. My Greatest Adventure could be good... the hard thing is that the final decision will be based on each of the separate stories... so they've all got to hold a similar level. Weird Worlds was surprisingly entertaining, we'll see if it can hold against the price tag. The Shade has high expectations and should be great or brilliant... anything less though and it might as well sink to the bottom... James can pull it together, but the quality of this maxi will really set the stage for pre-decided fan opinion on his new JSA book. Batman: Odyssey might be okay. The first volume didn't work for me, at all. But maybe it just needed a fresh start without the stigma of the suffering delays. Legion: Secret Origin... has been done. And this month wasn't the Legion's finest hour. So there are a lot of preemptive strikes against it... but if it can surprise against those expectations, it'll be all the more significant. I have no idea if my shop will be putting Online Legends back on my list.

Anyways, let month 2 begin!

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Week 4

And so September comes to a close, and with it the last round of reviews of the New 52. I picked up every title... and shall be doing so again the following month. For now, my reviews in brief... I'll soon be getting around to more in depth reviews of those that really stood out during this little period of time.

All-Star Western: This one was so nearly my favorite of the week. It was certainly the biggest surprise of the week, even though my excitement level was pretty darned high. I read some, but not all, of Jonah Hex, so I knew the quality the writing team would bring to this, and Moritat has been on my watch list for a little bit now. But this was really sharp stuff from every angle. This was the kind of book I'd recommend across the spectrum, for people looking for simple badassery to others looking for a psychologically developed and intellectually concept pushing drama. This, in part comes from the well handled need for accessibility, generating such a beautiful tool in the partnership of Hex and Arkham. This duality, city and country, id and superego, brute and brains, is a facet of the title that really brings it to the next level. While edged out by a single point (that being only prior loyalty) I can easily see this title being in the running for next month's favorite of the week, particularly if the back-up element can hold its own against the main.

Aquaman: Favorite of the Week. It was a hard pick, but the zest I got from recommending this to a new reader made the case that it should take the top spot. Accessible? Check. Enjoyable? Check. Metatextual? Check. Beautiful? Checkity check check. Johns and Reis are basically one of my top partnerships, and Aquaman has always been a favorite of mine. I'm so psyched to see where they bring this character and concept... among all of my favorites, this is also the easiest for me to recommend to new readers.

Batman: The Dark Knight: Okay, so, it was pretty. Which was basically the only thing I was really requiring of this title going into it. We've already got 3 other Bruce Wayne based running titles, which all blew me away to the next level. In some sense, I needed something to fill the light gap, one that maybe wasn't quite as heart pounding. But Finch manages to forge a story that isn't quite as heavy or powerful while still making it appealing to read. I've no idea the extent that Jenkins was involved in this first issue, but regardless of who the main writer was, it was still a good comic, and I have to say, despite little reason for it at this point, I like the new female character introduced. I guess in some ways that sums up most of this title for me... I'm not quite sure why I liked it... I did... and it was pretty. If it stays as fancy as it felt this issue, it'll fill that need that I have, regardless of any other component.

Blackhawks: Okay. There were a lot of little pieces flying all around in this book. I thought it was okay, I'm not sure if I understood enough to say any more than that. They played the elements of rapid pace and secrecy to the point that I wasn't quite sure what every character's deal was. There were enough cool moments to mark them as memorable... but I'm not sure where the whole picture of the group really ends up. The ending was also one of my first gentle eye rolls, but I think once I understand more from a presentation of additional information, this one has plenty of opportunity to grow on me.

The Flash: This might've been an instance where foreknowledge on the basis of solicitations, previews and hints dulled the effect of a book on me, but at the end of the day it was still a pretty great read. I mean, I hold it in my top category... so there was plenty to love in this book. It certainly reads as a solid one and the art is on par or above Manapul's standard, which is already a well raised bar. My one concern is that I'm not sure it packs the punch necessary to raise Flash back up to his full shining A-list status, given his prominence in the wider scheme of things. Still five stars, still great, still going to love it, this is a big thumbs up Flash story... I'm just marking in invisible ink my hope that the next arc will raise Flash to an epic level.

The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men: A book with a lot of great and a lot of meh. The handling of the villains read to me as classic Simone, the type that I love to cringe at, and I'm already on board with their casual sinister attitude. The book was also very pretty, was mostly understandable... I do have to echo the sentiments of other readers that felt that too much happened at the end. For me there was a very slow and deliberate pace set at the beginning... and then the firestorm actually hit, and we went from haywire to chaos to a level a singular word cannot describe. And I was left with an "uhh..." in my throat. The biggest confusion was that there was a new status quo formed, instantly dissolved and a new status quo formed after that, the likes of which I have no understanding of, nor do I know what is implied by the eventualities of the conclusion. Where do we go from here? Clearly the writers know, but at this point, I'm not sure, which is only a problem for those who are using this jump on point to answer whether they want to stay on board. If readers don't know where they might be going... some might abandon ship just to avoid the possibility that the next chapter might not be for them. I'll stick around, of course, I just hope I know what we're doing next issue.

Green Lantern: New Guardians: The epitome of an introduction issue, it was nevertheless a good one. As with any time any form of origin is retold, the real key is lining up the right limited beats, while teasing at the purpose to why that origin is being reintroduced. And in that manner there is no doubt in my mind that this book was a success. We're given a rationale for the unorthodox formation of an unorthodox group with a little tease of potential fireworks... and the intrigue for me comes in the specific choices made in the included elements of backstory and the provided sequence of events against a backdrop of those left unsaid. Next issue is unlikely to be another retelling of past events, so the real story will begin there I suppose. Right now this series sits between brilliant and good at a comfortable 'great'... the next issue will decide where it goes from there.

I, Vampire: Okay, how I said that All-Star Western was the surprise of the week? I lied. This one was actually more of a surprise. Because in almost every single poll I watched before the new month, this one was the one sitting at the bottom of every list, and thus I got excited for it. I like the underdog, and I started getting passionate about it. This was probably one of the biggest ones for me where I wanted it to continue against all odds. I want this one to make it to double digit issues, I want it to stick the landing... and hell, if this start is any indication it just might. The brilliant writing challenged all of the doubts of the haters without reason, those who condemned this series before it debuted. The art takes it to the next level and smacks the viewer into a transcendent level of high culture art. This, ladies and gentlemen, is one to watch. For all of the readers out there looking for a smart book, for those who believe that a comic book can be something more... try this out. As much as possible I want to promote this book, because it is in fact worth it. To my great and genuine surprise I say... let us keep this book alive.

Justice League Dark: Heh. Okay, so, I was hoping that the team would be all formed and done and all that and that everyone would be introduced and that we'd be moving into figuring out how to defeat our omega level threat... but whatever, the book didn't do that and I don't mind a bit. This was a real thrill, with fun characters, horror and suspense, shock and awe... the interaction between Shade and his creation was enough to sell this book for me... Xanadu and the other characters that are peppered throughout my favorite characters list were enough to give me little fan giggles. If the story can keep up this kind of mental pushing and the art can match this issue's level of complexity, this'll be a top tier book in my list.

The Savage Hawkman: I don't know why I've never loved Hawkman as much as I love his similarly tiered peers. I hoped that this issue would illustrate why he should be ranked around my Aquaman and Green Lantern level... or even at my Booster and Beetle level... or my really bizarre but affectionate Gypsy and Cyclone level... it didn't end up doing that. But it did show me why the character could be enjoyable. One might call that a disappointment, one might call it a success. I'm not overly enthused about the book, but I'm also not considering dropping it. My biggest complaint is the over the top inclusion of the hooded woman... really? A full page splash, right behind the central focus was the only place we could include it? Really? My biggest compliment is that I believe in Hawkman as an action hero, one who understands raw power in a way that makes him more than just another Hulk smash. Check with me at the end of the year to see if my feelings on Hawkman have improved. I can tell you already that my thoughts on Tony Daniel as a writer certainly have.

Superman: I feel like this issue was a whole arc. Especially because this might be the only issue where the final page doesn't seem to be a lead-in into next issue... it was cram packed with stuff, which was pretty nice on the whole. I haven't connected the dots between the horn, the figure that blew it, the events in Stormwatch or the villain-du-jour... hopefully we'll get a better feeling on that soon. I had hoped this issue would be brilliant... it was great, but not quite there yet. Now, if the entire 6 issue Perez arc manages to be this tightly packed, it could end up being brilliant... or a mess of confusion. I just hope that the plan in place is as rewarding as the investment in it...

Teen Titans: Another great one, that will decide its fate in coming issues. I felt completely satisfied with this issue as a whole... but the problem is that we haven't quite seen the whole picture, so even if this part was solid, it is only one piece to the puzzle. There were plenty of good teases... each of the limited number of appearing characters were fun to view... but we've got so far to go before we hit our series status quo. I just can't call it on this one yet. If I was to recommend this series to a new reader, I'd wait to do so until the completion of, say, the first three issues, so that they could have some momentum under their belt as they read it. At this point, the singular issue feels too much of an appetizer to stand alone, it'll be better with the full meal.

Voodoo: Call me a boy, but I didn't mind that this issue was so strip club centric. What I found fun was that I wrote a story not long ago that mirrored the thematic elements of this story very closely, so I felt a kinship with the issue on the basis of the underlying elements that could be missed with a superficial read. If you read this as a cheesecake piece for horndogs, you may've missed the real fun... which oddly enough is the message of the real fun. An analysis of what lies beneath all of the cheesecake imagery of the comic book world is the real undertaking of the book... the fact that it challenges the tradition through embracing it... anyways, this is one I look forward to in the coming weeks. Well done.

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Week 3

There were some really pleasant surprises this week, all things considered. Plenty of titles beat my expectations, although now that the universe is starting to settle I'm having a bit more of a solid feeling of which titles will be taking up the bottom of the stack. Hopefully a few of those will find their stride soon, we are still really in the first day after all. In addition, I spent a lot of time flipping on which title would take my favorite of the week spot... initially I went with Frankenstein... switched it to Demon Knights... considered Green Lantern... and then settled on Batwoman. It looks like week 2 is having the most solid across the board presentation for me thusfar. Week 3, while still amazing, was easier to settle on the top tier title...

Batman: Favorite of the Week. Zero doubt. This thing was phenomenal, which is about the best thing you could ask for given the number of eggs placed in this particular basket. What made this book so solid was the brilliantly defined characters, the simple accessibility without compromising the higher level potential of the book. The script was the place where my expectations were the highest, and Snyder reaffirmed for the second time this month that he is a power to be reckoned with in the DC universe. He has me on board and I'll follow him high or low. The art was my place of hesitation, but I'm glad to see that my doubts were easily subverted, as it works perfectly with the tone of the book and manages to elevate the book to a new level of greatness.

Birds of Prey: Certainly a good book. It wasn't mindblowing or limit pushing, but it was definitely worthy of the first issue expectations. I'm already digging Starling, which would probably be the hardest sell of the book, given the exclusion of the classic team in exchange for new faces. I don't feel like we're yet into the status quo of the series, which may be the source of my slight hesitancy, and given that fact I'm more than willing to ride on board for a while longer. For now it sits in my middle ground, although there are enough fragments of greatness that I think this will be one of the ones to make the jump upwards in the following months.

Blue Beetle: This was probably a great first issue series for anyone unfamiliar character. However, that isn't me, and for once that seemed like a major drawback. Bedard is certainly a strong writer, but I think no matter how strong the effort, I would've been tired by this book. It isn't that I'm not going to like it. I just feel like we haven't started yet. How will this Beetle be different? What corner of the universe will we be filling? Is this going to be a retelling or a rewriting? I'm just very unsure right now. Again, this is one that should improve in months to come. What has me completely on board however is the art. Ig Guara is one hell of an artist and is jumping up my list with every new page I'm exposed to. Especially once we get into the more sci-fi elements of this book, that art is going to shine like crazy. I look forward to more.

Captain Atom: I was confounded when I saw another review give this a rating of 9 out of 10. I thought maybe I had missed something. And it seems I might have. This is, perhaps, a very highbrow story. Most of my qualms with it are reminiscent of those days where I became frustrated with literature that was 'above' me, or in comic book terms, when Morrison decides to play with my brain. Initially that meant I wasn't in love with this book, which is a shame because Krul and Williams are a team I like. The character has never ranked highly for me, so maybe that is another piece of it. But thinking back, there were a lot of elements that I may have misperceived and perhaps a rereading will enhance my opinion. Call me cautiously optimistic, just give me some time to roll with this one.

Catwoman: Oh yay. This is perhaps my most dreaded commentary, the reason I delayed so long in writing up this week's titles. Really no matter which way you go on this one you're bound to stir up trouble and I'm going to have to plant myself firmly in the place of the undefendable minority. Why? Because I liked it. I actually liked it alot. Yeah, you might say that the sexuality is over the top. There might be a lot of cheescake fanservice. To me, this is Selina. She doesn't care one lousy little bit, has no social boundaries and isn't going to consider whether or not jumping her window with her bra exposed is acceptable. She jumped out a window, with a crate of cats, while getting dressed. Clearly this is not a woman who has decency or reason at the top of her to do list. And we need women like that, just as much as we need strong positive role models. In her encounter with Bruce, she performs a perfect role reversal, dominating and initiating as feminist advocates have long aspired to do, although for some reason that now appears to be a bad thing. None of this really matters to me, because at the end of the day it informs the one important thing about Selina that rings throughout this comic: she doesn't care, she is reckless and irresponsible, and it is going to get her into trouble. Speaking in meta-textual terms, we're all actually fulfilling that little prophecy, aren't we? Anyways, I thought it was a well-drawn, well-scripted push the limits title, and I'll be back for more.

DC Universe Presents: I've wanted this title for a long time. Not for Deadman himself or for the story that is within it, but for the option of a rotating title character, so they've already got me hooked before page 1. The beauty of this is that the first set of stories could be rubbish with an easy rebound to an amazing arc. Luckily, this was a solid one with which to begin. A bit of origin, a bit of character and an interesting lead in to the arc, I'll mark myself as rather intrigued by this story. As the final page did with her worship, this one got my attention. Now let us see what happens next.

Green Lantern Corps: I'm a huge GL fan, but even as the story has unfolded in a pleasing fashion recently, I've found myself a tad more disconnected with Guy and John as characters. This issue does away with all of that disconnection and has strongly affirmed that these are two of my favorite characters. Yes, we're just getting started on the actual plot, but the moment to revisit who these people, rather than ringbearers, are in the world is poignant and illustrative concept. We're not smack in the middle of event territory, we're not flooded with the doom and gloom that has become rather a hallmark of Lantern titles of late, but regardless of these facts I'm already there on the last page, thirsty for more story. They're back and in rather strong form.

Legion of Super-Heroes: A big shift in tone now, away from hesitancy or positive consideration. This one... disappointed me. Gosh, to even say it kinda hurts. I'm sorry creative team! I don't like being a negative reviewer. It sucks to be negative. But I also promised myself I'd be honest, so when I gush over the top with fanboyishness there is some validity in my positive. Okay, so, with that said: what went wrong? As others have said, this isn't really a first issue. I've run with the Legion for a long time now, including the most recent arcs of LOSH and Adventure, and even with that said I have to admit I was slightly lost in this issue. I don't know what direction we're heading, I can't firmly recall what happened in this issue and I spent most of my time wondering who the cast of this book actually was. A positive spin, since I can't just be negative either, if this had been a midseason Legion title I would've shrugged it off as not being a big deal. At this point, I'm going to stay on board out of loyalty, I just hope to find some clarity and purpose in the coming issues.

Nightwing: I spent most of this issue swooning over how cool Dick Grayson is, so I guess the creative team got the work done. It follows a little bit of traditional formula, but with enough spice and in the appropriate manner so it isn't at all tedious. It seems a little bit easier to see where this one is going, and thus is a little bit less of a mystery, but the writing is on par with the upper tier, the artistic element is well facilitated and the hook of the book (heh) has me reeled in for more. I'm particularly excited to see where Higgins can take us in the future, because he exhibits a comfort with the tools of the trade and seems on the precipice of breaking into his next creative level. If you're looking for a creative team about to raise the bar to the next level, I couldn't ask for a more symbolically appropriate title than Nightwing.

Red Hood and the Outlaws: I like Jason Todd because he is divisive. He makes people uncomfortable, he challenges norms and problems follow him wherever he goes, in universe or out. So I walked into this title expecting crude jokes, behavior easily misinterpretable as sexist and a couple of boys who are lost little souls pretending to be more macho than they are in order to cover the fact that they are in fact damaged goods, failed products of a society that misshaped them through an excess of the masculine imagery and the depletion of emotional expression. So that is basically what I have. Starfire, I get it, it looks like she is the polar opposite of what we want a modern feminist woman to be, because she is basically naked and discusses casual sex. But first: she is an alien. Yes, I know she has a published history and all that: reboot, remember? Star has a new status quo. Also, she is a grown woman. The excessive criticism of her choices also reads as: this woman is an incapable amoral role model and makes bad choices and should be deprived of her rights to do so to conform to societal expectations. That right there is sexism in a bottle to me. Anyways, if you'd rather not indulge in that, I'd offer that instead of being offended by her existence, just don't read it. There are plenty of people in the world who behave just like this, like all 3 of the team members. You don't spend your time publicly berating them, you just avoid the sleazy nightclub and 'that part of town' and let it go. I guess the biggest problem with this title is that all of this debate was so distracting that I feel like we didn't get a comic book, but rather a new platform for social debate, which for me is not for what I had hoped.

Supergirl: This was a book with low expectations for me. Slowly but surely, her title had drifted down the charts for me, which is a disappointment considering how valued this character was at the beginning of her Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle run. Issue #34 was their first issue, and the fact that the number is so well engrained in my head is for me quite indicative of how high my hype and love used to be for this character. What has happened to her hasn't been bad, it has just been drifting, in a steady downward direction. Cue this issue, where I expected the plummet down to begin. And boy was I wrong. This might have actually been one of my favorites of the week. In action I love the new look (didn't do it for me when it was revealed) and the character is already super enjoyable. The perspective elements, her discovery of powers... it is all handled in a perfect realistic cacophony that leaves the maiden of might disoriented and confused. There is something incredibly believable about this title. Hopefully the story can develop with the same quality that this initial encounter was presented with. This might end up being a top tier for me once more.

Wonder Woman: Undeniably the biggest surprise of the week. Like Supergirl, I wanted this to be good but expected it to be bad. Like Supergirl, I've invested a lot in the character over the years, and despite high talent and excellent storylines is still managed to migrate towards the bottom of my excitement charts. This was not the Wonder Woman I was expecting; in point of fact it isn't really the Wonder Woman I want. These new iterations of the Gods are not how I see her world, her place in this world is not the one I would write. Normally that would be the end of my review of it all. But this was still so amazing, despite all of that. It may not be the one I wanted, but I am still on board with absolute conviction. We needed something new with this character and we got it in diamonds, with a well scripted, well depicted powerful epic. Despite the fact that I still hold a reserve image of 'my Diana' in my brain, along with 'my stories' I would tell with that character... I'm now hoping that this creative team will be at the reins for as long as possible and that this is just the first stepping stone in, oh, lets say a five year plan. Please keep up this amazing work. If it wasn't for the perfection of Batman, this would've been top spot of the week, no doubts.

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A Different Look At Sales

Week 3 analysis and review will be up shortly, but before that I wanted to take a look at sales. Forewarning this is going to be a very data centered analysis. Because the relaunch is going to throw off standard sales expectations, I thought I'd do a little research to find a different way at looking at the results of the relaunch. To do this, I isolated all of the sales information for DC comics of the past year, from September of 2010 to August of 2011. With that information, I organized sales in direct order, thus creating a slotted system (i.e. slot 1 is the top selling title of the month, etc.) With these slots in place and data for each slot over the course of the 12 months, I evaluated 2 collective data points: the average sales of each slot and the maximum sales of each slot. By doing this, we can see how, internally, DC comics sales compare to their average for that particular slot, as past data for titles like Frankenstein, I Vampire and OMAC do not exist and thus have no comparison. Instead we can compare these ranked slots. If a title exceeds the slot maximum, this is an even clearer indication of success, illustrating a relative elevation of an entire year's worth of sales.

Some interesting notes to share: I excluded all Wildstorm, Vertigo and other data, working only from the DC universe. With that in mind, for many months in the past year, DC has only had around 51 to 59 charted titles. In the months of May, April, February, January, November and September, the company had less than 52 titles breaching 10k units, with May providing only 39 titles above 10k. So what does that mean? If the 52 new slots all manage to stay above that 10k rate (which, with the addition of mini-series, later additions and one shots seems to be rather likely) it will indicate a rather significant increase in the sales of bottom tier DC titles, to the tune of half a year.

With news that at least 7 titles have made it over 100k, that also means that just those 7 titles manages to reach more than half the sales of the months of May, April, February and January. Not too shabby.

My hopes for doing this are to illustrate whether or not the subsequent months of the relaunch are a success. Yes, there are going to be dramatic drops from the #1 issues. Duh. Using that a point of the relaunch's failure is absurd. Comparing it to prior data is also not a fair idea, as it gives little in the way of active comparison. By looking at these slots where they fall, we can figure out what titles are really sitting where. We can see to what exactly we can compare titles like Demon Knights and Justice League Dark, and as we begin to speculate on potential cancellations, we can see which titles are still beating history despite their lower placements on the charts. After all, somebody has to be #52, but if that bottom title is still selling well beyond previously cancelled titles, scrapping the bottom slot might not be needed so swiftly. Without further adieu, the data:

Averages

Slot #Average Slot SalesMaximum Slot Sales
Slot 191,071171,344
Slot 277,71995,587
Slot 371,94686,216
Slot 467,94982,894
Slot 564,88380,173
Slot 660,46078,452
Slot 758,43176,173
Slot 855,54670,600
Slot 951,63265,212
Slot 1048,22958,594
Slot 1145,25557,448
Slot 1242,97950,887
Slot 1339,74446,319
Slot 1438,61046,261
Slot 1536,70843,891
Slot 1635,10239,701
Slot 1734,04739,575
Slot 1832,65435,941
Slot 1931,86235,674
Slot 2031,09435,504
Slot 2130,56335,483
Slot 2230,18635,328
Slot 2329,50535,307
Slot 2428,66834,752
Slot 2528,16334,612
Slot 2627,37533,176
Slot 2726,60633,053
Slot 2825,98231,741
Slot 2925,05830,246
Slot 3024,61130,121
Slot 3124,07728,992
Slot 3223,69028,443
Slot 3323,10328,367
Slot 3422,61828,358
Slot 3522,97927,777
Slot 3621,32627,581
Slot 3720,84519,931
Slot 3819,93127,195
Slot 3919,29826,348
Slot 4018,88126,137
Slot 4117,66425,496
Slot 4217,30624,890
Slot 4316,47024,811
Slot 4415,96124,524
Slot 4515,49923,037
Slot 4615,08323,849
Slot 4714,46123,323
Slot 4813,65022,948
Slot 4912,75422,600
Slot 5012,03821,288
Slot 5111,62821,211
Slot 5211,62820,985

So there we go. I'll be writing up a data analysis for at least the first 4 months of the new 52 in comparison to this chart to give a feeling on the results, sales-wise. Hope you enjoy! If you have any questions or requests, please comment, I'll be happy to respond.

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Week 2

Just as I had to do away with my plan to limit my numbers of stars awarded... so too must I do away with my plan to actually review all 52 titles right away. I'd love to do so, but time, as it seems, is not my friend. At the very least I'll offer my thoughts on each title as I did last week, will do a more in depth review on my favorite of the week, mark any other high fliers and one special surprise that caught me off guard that I might have something to say about. As for my favorite this week... I gotta say, this was much harder than last week, because there were four very high contenders. Batwoman, Green Lantern, Frankenstein and Demon Knights were all absolutely A+ material... I eventually made a choice, but I'm still not certain. They were all just that good.

This week was amazing. Absolutely amazing. Last week seemed like a high set bar, until I read the first four titles of my stack this week. I was floored. These were thrilling, engaging, well crafted comics. I loved them. Here we go.

Batman and Robin: Solid work, made most powerful by Bruce's new resolution with regards to his parents. There was a lot of dynamic building between Damian and Bruce, with a careful landscaping of action and plot development, but the real core to this title for me was that emotional alteration. This has paved the way for something new, and with their enticing twisted tease at the end, the creative team locked me in for a solid go with this title.

Batwoman: Lived up to all of the hype and love I had for it, which should be considered near highest in the ranking of compliments I can award. Of course I first must spring to the art, which is the following list of adjectives, which should then be altered into superlative form: beautiful, glamorous (there is a difference), mysterious, intoxicating, sexy, emotional, intense and downright jaw dropping. And then to have an A grade story behind it, to empower the characters with such pace, personality and interest? Consider me a Batwoman fan for life.

Deathstroke: A change of pace, which was a perfect move to surprise in a month of so much of the brand new. This one was different because it didn't follow formula, didn't lay out too much in plotting for the future and was basically a one-shot deal that can then serve as the prologue to future development. Considering it lays out the violence with candor in the opening of the book, it does make it hard to find the escalation all that, well, escalating, but it was still enjoyable. I liked the Alpha Dawgs, but thankfully not too much. This could be the fun, body count Punisher book... while I've always struggled to find Punisher or similar forms enjoyable, if they can capture good missions for the character, I'll keep trying it out.

Demon Knights: This. This. And more of this. This is what I want. This was the fourth title I read this week, and at that point I was sure that things couldn't hold the high standard or find ways to shine above my expectations. Thank you so much to the creative team. This was a gem of awesome. Something about this assembly of characters, their well defined personalities (usually managed succinctly with, oh, a singular panel) charmed me to the very core. Throw in the stunning artwork and a nice throwdown cliffhanger and you have me hooked for what could be an endless story of wonders. So cool.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E: Favorite of the Week. Oh my gosh. Oh my goodness. How frigging freaking frakking cool was this comic book? I laughed, I felt the pull of intrigue, attachment to character, the thrill of of action, the horror of the grotesque... this is one packed book! Frankenstein is really the absolute tip-top of cool right now. The supporting cast is great, the art is well matched and the simplicity of content matched with the sophistication with which it is executed make this comic a high flier to be sure.

Green Lantern: I'll be honest, I expected this to be a rough start, almost due to the fact that I'm such an avid fan of the title and concept. There just didn't seem to be any way to meet expectations and live up to the potential offered by the number one. Haha. Oh, how can I be so wrong? And I'm a huge supporter of the relaunch! And I'm still having my expectations blown away. Anyways, this was completely spot on in every respect. I'm glad to see Sinestro in this role, pleased with Hal despite depowered status, and his date was a really great, unexpected scene. Art is as on the mark as you could hope for and the story should bring almost every reader right into the next issue. I know I can't wait for it.

Grifter: Okay. This was different. I'm not as locked and loaded with this one as I was with others, but I'm seeing pieces in play. This is still sort of sitting at that point where you're not sure whether the movie you're watching is good or not. In fact, what you're watching could be phenomenal or awful, you just don't have enough data yet. And for now that is all this title needs to get me into the next one. There are enough pieces in play to intrigue me... we'll leave it there for now. Almost don't know for sure what I'd rate this one.

Legion Lost: So clearly not all of these were written for complete accessibility. Not really the book I'd run to for hooking new readers, which is a shame because of the quality of the art, particularly the kind that might appeal to those new readers. Furthermore, solicits spoiled the demised players... and I'm sad that it played out as such. Seeing as one didn't even get to use powers... I'm calling red herring. If I'm right, this could still hold a lot of potential, particularly because I'm highly interested in the perished. And Tellus. Color me uncertain, although if I were to remove both my fan-disappointment and my newcomer critique, it'd still be a pretty and well written book, I think. Trying not to let fandom cloud the judgment too much.

Mister Terrific: Might be my surprise of the week. It really had me going there, building into something that I could buy into. But did I miss a page in the middle? Because there was a jarring transition that broke the flow and had me a little more confused that intrigued. But still, was one of the least likely to pull my appeal, but I can see after all that there might be something to this little story. I'll think on it for the night and get back on it.

Red Lanterns: Much in the vein of the Deathstroke one-shot approach. At this point there isn't much in the way of development, aside from a prologue-like tease and a question or two raised. But as that one-shot it works, to the best that such a thing might be executed. The art is rather well suited to this, and shines brightly in this issue. Hopefully we'll get some more hints as to what might come in the future (the prophecy did little in that service, which confused me a tad). I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the art showcase some of those other Lanterns a little more fully.

Resurrection Man: Not one I'd normally pick up, and like Grifter it really took advantage of that fact. It didn't go out of the way to slam dunk me into placing it into a slot of favoritism... it simply gave some rationale as to why it might be something with potential. There aren't really any heavy flaws, but at the same time I can't isolate too many qualities of overwhelming strength. I guess it should be a positive that I'm left wondering what all this nefarious plotting is all about, and that I'd stick around at least to get the answer to that question (which will probably be a ways away).

Suicide Squad: Another little surprise. I was expecting a little bit more of the traditional mission beginning, action sequence blow-em up story, but this threw my expectations off by once again starting with an unusual format. There are a lot of backstory elements that are introduced, by in such an enjoyable fashion that I could hardly notice that I was just fed a series of short story tales, rather than a singular narrative. Each one managed to pique my interest in their interpretation of the character, and the assembled batch are defined enough that I want to see more. El Diablo was particularly surprising, and I have to say, Harley was as well. I really want a whole bunch more. Now, I have no idea how they're going to handle that cliffhanger tease... I'm not at all sure what to make of it. But it definitely is a chips all in move.

Superboy: Interesting... not at all the story I was expecting. Really the most interesting elements were those of the supporting ladies, with whom I am at least slightly acquainted... I guess my biggest question is what might happen in the long run? It serves the tie-in function to the Titans title, but I'm not really sure where all this is going. For now I see no reason not to pursue more... but hopefully the tie effect will not be perpetual. The art is perfectly suited to really channel the ladies of this title... I kinda just want them to go off and have their own little adventures. Not actually a great sign now that I think of it. But in the positive, I thought the moral test situation was intriguing, as was the "is it, or isn't it" question of the DNA source. I'll be back for more next month.

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