20
Sep
2011
The Watchtower
New 52 Week 2 Review Electric Boogaloo
Chris
Hey guys, sorry the reviews are a bit late this week. Keeping up with work/the full slate of each week's reviews has been more daunting than I anticipated. Like I said last week, I'm really forcing myself to be very decisive and judgmental with these books as I just can't afford (income wise) to give a lot of second chances with so many new and exciting books launching all at once, so sorry if I come off as excessively negative towards your favorite character or creator. That being said, I found week 2 to be much, much weaker than Week 1 and found myself only adding two books to my buy list. Alright, let's dive in.

Batman and Robin #1
-Peter Tomasi
-Patrick Gleason
While Peter Tomasi once again proves he is one of the most dependable writers in DC's arsenal of talent, this issue, like his previous work on the title before the relaunch, fell just short of grabbing me. While the characterization of the dual protagonists is rock solid and watching them play off each other is amusing, the dynamic of Bruce and Damian is not nearly as fun as that of Dick and Damien when they were the headliners of this title. The art also doesn't have nearly the same flair as it did during Gleason's first three issues in the previous volume of the title, however I think that might come down to the departure of colorist Alex Sinclair who really made Gleason's pencils pop off the page. If you are a bat fan, definitely pick this one up. If you were only on board because of how much fun the previous volume was, give it a flip through but you'll probably end up passing on it.
Grade: B
Status: Quality book, just nothing that really grabs me, won't be picking it up again.

Batwoman #1
-J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
-J.H. Williams III
The often announced and resolicited Batwoman makes its debut as part of the new 52 and I have to say, unless you are a diehard fan of the character, I don't think it was worth the wait. J.H. Williams' art is gorgeous as always, but was not nearly as breathtaking, or inventive as was his work on Detective Comics. As for the story, Williams makes a pretty seamless transition to writer in terms of dialogue, but the story itself seemed a little dense for a new reader friendly first issue. More than anything else I think this book suffers from two things: an inability to distinguish itself from the glut of other new 52 bat books on the stands, and a lot of backstory that is only just kind of touched upon leaving this reader more confused than intrigued.
Grade: B- (only because of the art)
Status: Yeah, I'm out.

Deathstroke #1
-Kyle Higgins
-Joe Bennet
This was a solid action book with a neat twist at the end and a Pulp Fiction esque mystery to hook readers into coming back for more. Honestly I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. Kyle Higgins again shows great potential as a writer and proves that Deathstroke can carry an ongoing title without being tempered or redeemed. The one great flaw from this issue is that Higgins doesn't really lay the groundwork for the mission statement established by the end of the issue (Deathstroke vowing to regain his reputation). While it is hinted that "˜Stroke's not getting the work he used to, we never see him at a low point or get any idea of why other players might think that Slade is past his prime. From the get go Higgins shows and tells us that Deathstroke his a badass, which doesn't really jive with the last couple pages where his handler tells him that the general perception of Slade is that he can't hack it anymore. On the art side of things, I'm really not crazy about the new character design for Deathstroke, as it looks very silly especially when he is interacting with non costumed players which is basically this whole issue.
Grade: B
Status: I'll be interested to hear if this book improves but I think I'm out.

Demon Knights #1
-Paul Cornell
-Diogenes Neves
A middle ages/seven samurai/superhero mashup written by Paul Cornell? Yes please! I went into this book expecting a lot of fun and that's exactly what I found. I already like the way Cornell writes Etrigan and I think his dark sense of humor will serve this character well. I also enjoyed the love triangle established between Blood/Xanadu/Etrigan that leaves you wondering just who is Madame Xanadu really playing here. While the introductions of the other heroes that will fill out the main cast felt a little bit forced, you have to admire Cornell for giving you a handle on who each of the main players is and allowing them a brief scene to shine while still having time for a major action scene toward the issue's conclusion. Diogenes Neves was a great choice for this title and I look forward to seeing more of his work as this series progresses. Bottom line, any comic that ends with the line: "We find the source of the problem and we throw dragons at it." Is worth reading in my opinion.
Grade: B+
Status: Buy this book because I will be forced to take up a crusade against DC if it cancelled for low sales reasons.

Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1
-Jeff Lemire
-Alberto Ponticelli
The ridiculously high bar set by Animal Man #1 may have hurt my overall enjoyment of this otherwise decent first issue. Lemire has a great handle on the character of Frankenstein but the Creature Commandos come off as way too generic and expositiony. I would call Alberto Ponticelli's art a bit uneven, especially during the action scenes, but with so much to fit on the page who can blame him. This book is a fun concept but the execution doesn't live up to the potential in this first issue. Also I found this book to epitomize another problem I'm noticing in the new 52 in that I don't know how this team/title distinguishes itself from teams/titles such as Justice League Dark and Stormwatch. Also the number of secret organizations popping up in the DCnU this week alone between Frankenstein, Batwoman, Suicide Squad, and Superboy to name a few leads me to believe that the DC universe is plagued by jurisdictional toe stepping that would make the Department of Homeland Security look like a calm, orderly bunch of groups whose favorite pastime is sharing.
Grade: B-
Status: I'll pass, or better yet, read old Hellboy and B.P.R.D.

Green Lantern #1
-Geoff Johns
-Doug Mahnke
Not the most accessible first issue, but fans of this creative team's phenomenal work on the prior volume will not be disappointed with this new #1. Both Johns and Mahnke bring a sense of renewed energy to this title and it really shows. This issue picks up shortly after the conclusion of the War of the Green Lanterns storyline with Sinestro wearing a GL ring and no one really sure what to do about it. Johns has turned Sinestro into one of the most fascinating villains in comics (he's sorta becoming the Magneto of DC) and his choice to throw the character out of his comfort zone and as a result, everyone else as well, only furthers his exploration of the character and my excitement for this title. While Sinestro may posses the ring (and the cover to the book) this is still a story about Hal Jordan. I won't reveal too much but let's just say Hal's current status quo makes a lot of sense and provides some very different challenges for the character to overcome. Doug Manhke is brilliant as always whether he is drawing the more normal scenes on earth or close quarters combat in outer space. This title still ranks as one of DC's best books but really, was there any doubt?
Grade: A-
Status: I will buy this book as long as Johns writes it.

Grifter #1
-Nathan Edmondson
-Cafu
I really like the art by Cafu but the premise and story really missed the mark for me. The plot goes something like this: Cole Cash is a grifter who is abducted, wakes up missing time from his life, hears voices in his head, sees aliens that look like regular people to everyone else, and starts killing them. Edmondson plays all of these elements very, very straight. I honestly think this title could be a smash hit if it were played as a Crank-esque over the top dark comedy action thriller that leaves the audience wondering if the protagonist might actually just be crazy. As it stands this book is just too serious for it's own good.
Grade: C-
Status: Missed opportunities make me sad.


Legion Lost #1
-Fabian Nicieza
-Pete Woods
Being a fan of these creators and these characters, I had very high hopes for this book, but unfortunately ended up being very disappointed. Nicieza's script really hits the ground running but fails to allow time for a connection to these characters or an understanding of their mission and current circumstances. Everyone involved seems far too unconcerned with the crisis at hand, and the tragedy at the issue's end happens so fast and with so little build up that it fails to have the emotional punch that Nicieza was aiming for. Pete Woods turns in a great looking comic and I really like his costume redesigns for these characters as well as his figure work.. I'm sad to say this issue really doesn't offer any kind of hook to draw me or anyone but hardcore Legion fans back next month.
Grade: C
Status: Well at least I can save a bit of cash here.

Mister Terrific #1
-Eric Wallace
-Gian Luca
I really don't know who green lit this issue. From the really odd story device used to retell Holt's origin, to the constant references to Mr. Terrific being the world's third smartest man, to Wallace's relentless mission to force issues of race into this book irrelevance to the plot be damned, there's just a lot to dislike here. Mr. Terrific's narration makes the character come off as extremely arrogant and while arrogance is fine and can be interesting, it has to be presented in a way that still makes the character compelling if not likable (see Fraction's Tony Stark). The art is average, the dialogue is often cringe-worthy, and the action sequences are kind of boring. Save your money and expect a cancellation or creative team shift coming shortly.
Grade: D
Status: This was the third least interesting book of the new 52.

Red Lanterns #1
-Peter Milligan
-Ed Benes
A decent first issue, very accessible and character driven, I just don't think the Red Lanterns have what it takes to carry on their own series. I enjoyed Milligan's narration for Atrocitus and his musings on the nature of rage, and I (unlike many) always enjoy seeing Ed Benes on art. Aside from the splash page of Dex-Star though, there's really not much here to get too excited about.
Grade: B-
Status: No thanks.

Resurrection Man #1
-Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
-Fernando Dagnino
For me, this was the book that almost got a pass to the monthly buy list but fell just short of making it. The character's power provides an interesting hook and DnA seed some interesting plot lines that are sure to dominate the first arc of the book if not the first year, however the issue felt a little scattered and while I closed the cover feeling a bit intrigued and pleased with what I had read, I have no great desire to run out and buy the second issue.
Grade: B
Status: As I've said before I really need to be judicious in choosing what books I buy so this one probably gets a pass from me, but I definitely think you should check it out and decide for yourself.


Suicide Squad #1
-Adam Glass
-Marco Rudy
This issue kinda reads like Saw or Hostel the comic. If that's your thing than by all means, go grab it.
Grade: C
Status: Please tell me no one thought this was a worthy successor to Secret Six.
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