The New DC Universe: Week 3 Reviews

This really has been the most fun I have had with comics in a very long time. I have absolutely loved talking to people on my blog and Twitter about their opinions. It is incredibly interesting to find out what works and what doesn’t. It has also been interesting trying to dissect my own feelings. Like did I like Red Lanterns so much because I had absolutely no experience with the book? Will Damien really be a character that ruins any book he is in? Originally I knew I was going to review all issue 1s but now I know I am going to do at least the 2s and possibly 3s. We’ll see how long my pocketbook can take it. In creator news John Rozum left as writer of Static Shock. He said it was for personal reasons and had nothing to do with DC. Made me wonder though, why even mention it? J. T. Krull also left Greean Arrow. He was given a new book and felt he had to drop one so he kept Captain Atom. I still think Static Shock will be one of the first books canceled (an opinion which actually got me nasty comments on my blog. They were so offensive I hit the delete button. Only the 2nd time I have done this. If you missed the first few weeks of reviews here are the links. Also, please note I changed the week headings to match DC. They are calling Justice League Week 0. I wanted to match up to how they are labeling the weeks (week 0, week 1 and week 2 reviews).

Batman #1

Written by SCOTT SNYDER; Art by GREG CAPULLO and JONATHAN GLAPION; Cover by GREG CAPULLO

I admit something about Detective #1 didn’t quite click for me. This is one of the reasons I was waiting for Batman #1 to hit the shelves. I am a big fan of Scott Snyder and was looking forward to his take on the Batman mythos. First of all, I have to compliment him on one of the best introductions of any of the New 52 books. If you have never read a Batman comic before he quickly sinks you into the universe with a lot of information delivered in an entertaining way. Second of all, this guy can flat-out write. I was glued to the pages. A really good batman story. It unfolded a little slowly but I was okay with that. I kind of like the slow burn. I loved the art and I didn’t think I would. It fit the mood set by the words perfectly. The best part of this experience is I really think it is actually going to get better. Being an intro comic he spent time on getting people acquainted to the world. With that out-of-the-way, I look forward to the book taking off next month. 9 out of 10.

Birds of Prey #1

Written by DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI; Art and cover by JESUS SAIZ

This book may end up being one of my biggest disappointments. It was really not that good. I admit to loving Oracle and sad to see her gone from the DC Universe but that has nothing to do with my judgment. The art did not float my boat and the story was a little ridiculous. By the time I finished it I completely understood why DC has already announced Batgirl would be in book 4 because this book needs help as it stands. Adding Batgirl back into the mix will not be enough though if they don’t actually write a story where I care what happens. It pains me to say this book could be in trouble. 6 out of 10.

Blue Beetle #1

Written by TONY BEDARD; Art by IG GUARA and RUY JOSE; Cover by TYLER KIRKHAM and SAL REGLA

I am really torn on this one. Another book which was really trying to go for the teen vibe. It practically screamed “look how hip we are trying to be”. For the most part that was a fail for me. Having said that I have some hope. I thought the end of the book was good. It was one of the few books in the new universe which let you experience the actual origin story. I liked the main character but a lot of the characters around him fell flat for me. Hard to judge though because the story really didn’t get going until the last few pages. I am taking a wait and see attitude on this. 6.5 out of 10.

Captain Atom #1

Written by J.T. KRUL; Art by FREDDIE WILLIAMS II; Cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU

If you can look past the extremely hokey volcano plot there was actually an interesting story hiding under here. Captain Atom is another one of those really hard to write characters because he is so extremely powerful what can stand up against him? You add in the fact that any new readers who don’t know the history of the Watchmen are going to be wondering why they are calling Dr. Manhattan something new and you have got a nasty tight rope to walk. I had a few problems with the story but I liked Captain Atom and was intrigued by where I thought the story might be going. It wasn’t a knock out punch but it caught my attention. 7.5 out of 10.

Catwoman #1

Written by JUDD WINICK; Art and cover by GUILLEM MARCH

I really shouldn’t like this comic. That was what I thought every page I read. I really shouldn’t, but I did. I guess we are going to have to call this one my guilty pleasure. I like the character of Catwoman. She is at her best when you don’t know what she is, good, bad, or indifferent. All of those are in this book and despite my, “does Batman have to be in every book” comments from before Batman’s appearance in this book really worked. In fact, it gave some character depth to Batman that his own comics didn’t give him. The story was good and I mostly liked the art (there were a few places it was a little rough for me). 7.5 out of 10, but just barely.

DC Universe Presents #1

Written by PAUL JENKINS; Art by BERNARD CHANG; Cover by RYAN SOOK

First of all, I must say I have always liked books like this. DC Universe Presents is going to rotate heroes through the pages. I would assume giving characters who don’t have their own book a tryout. They picked Deadman for the first story. I have always loved the character of Deadman. I was expecting a lot out of this book but it was all over the place. In some panels the art would be just brilliant and then the very next panel I would be asking, “did the same person draw this?” The story was way to preachy and spent a lot of time telling us about Deadman. Honestly, I have no clue where this book is going. Even worse I don’t really care. 6 out of 10.

Green Lantern Corps #1

Written by PETER J. TOMASI; Art by FERNANDO PASARIN and SCOTT HANNA; Cover by DOUG MAHNKE and CHRISTIAN ALAMY

I will admit my anti-Green Lantern bias really cropped up in this book. Part of what makes a good story is the ability to suspend disbelief. You have to suck me into your story without making me think too much about the details. The Green Lantern Corp has always been a problem for me. They are super powerful and yet somehow can’t take care of some basic functions, like security. For me this story was just a little too boring. I didn’t really care about anything that happened on earth. Some of the space scenes had me a little interested when I wasn’t thinking, “wait how did they let that happen?” I know people who really like the Green Lantern books will probably like this book a whole lot more than me but I don’t think it comes even close to the quality of Green Lantern and Red Lantern. 6.5 out of 10.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1

Written by PAUL LEVITZ; Art by FRANCIS PORTELA; Cover by KARL KERSCHL

Wow, this is going to be an interesting book to see how people react to! If the reboot was about giving new readers a chance to come in and not worry about knowing too much back story then this book failed a little. It was dense and I liked it but I have read Legion for a long time. Not sure how new readers are going to take to it. Not to mention Legion tends to be a “love it or hate it” type of book. I think long time Legion fans will be on board. We’ll see what everyone else will think. Also, DC I am begging you end Legion Lost and return those characters back to the main book. I think the main book would be even stronger with them. The story here started a little slow (I assume this was the concession to new readers) but I know this book will only get stronger Paul Levitz can write the hell out of the Legion. I hope the sales are good enough to give him a chance to do just that. 8 out of 10.

Nightwing #1

Written by KYLE HIGGINS; Art and cover by EDDY BARROWS and JP MAYER

I have to start off by saying I love Nightwing and have missed him terribly. A big part of my childhood love of comics was centered around Wolfman’s and Perez’s Teen Titans. When Nightwing eventually got his own book I jumped on board and collected it all the way to the end. It is good to have him back and I really wanted to love this book, but I didn’t. It wasn’t terrible. It falls firmly in the average category. I wasn’t thrilled with the art and the story was not super. It was a good introduction issue for new fans but left me wanting a whole lot more. I am hoping the story picks up considerably in the next issue. I don’t think this style of art is ever going to win me over so the story has got to get better. 7 out of 10.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

Written by SCOTT LOBDELL; Art and cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT

Why does this book exist? I mean you can start with the really crappy title and work your way down. It tries to be amusing and sometimes it sort of is. It has pretty good art if you can ignore the fact that Starfire’s costume is awful and kind of offensive (not to mention she must have superpowers to not expose her breasts to the world. I hope they explain that one at a future date). They have completely ruined the character of Starfire who used to be one of my favorite Teen Titans. Yes, I know this is a reboot so I should not be comparing it to what has gone on before. But really it doesn’t matter because Starfire’s character sucked even if I didn’t know what had gone on before. Then of course there is Jason Todd who is one of the many former Robins who make me question how they could all exist in this time line. For me this book was a hot mess. If not for the few chuckles I might have really not liked it. 5 out of 10.

Supergirl #1

Written by MICHAEL GREEN and MIKE JOHNSON; Art and cover by MAHMUD ASRAR

This was a pleasant surprise. I have tried Supergirl a few times in the past and it never really connected with me. I really liked the story. The whole book is shrouded in the mystery of who is Supergirl? It was well written and a great example of what I thought the reboot was about. You don’t need to know anything about her because the story is clearly going to give it to you. The art was enjoyable and frankly I appreciated a costume which seemed like it could actually work on a woman. I am excited to see where this story goes. This makes the Superman family books three for three so far. Color me surprised. 8 out of 10.

Wonder Woman #1

Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO; Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG

I was really worried about this book. I saw the cover last month and the art made me nervous. Then there is the fact Wonder Woman has been all over the place recently. DC can’t seem to make up their mind what they want to do with her (Wonder Woman really needed a clean slate. Her history has been completely muddled up over the last decade). Finish that off with the fact it is the comic book my wife is looking forward to reading the most and you get a good case of the worries. I should have trusted one of my favorite writers Brian Azzarello would come through. Wonder Woman kicks all kinds of ass. What a great start. A nice introduction for new readers. A good dose of mythology and did I mention Wonder Woman kicks all kinds of ass. This might be one of my favorite Wonder Woman stories. Part of what goes wrong with Wonder Woman is not knowing how to handle the mythology but Brian handles it like a glove. The set up for the future books is brilliant. I promise you’re going to be dying to find out what happens next. As for the art. It did take a little getting used to but by the end of the book it really felt like it fit. I think I am so used to Wonder Woman being overdrawn that actually showing some restraint threw me. 10 out of 10.

DC Power Rankings

1) Animal Man – I was hoping this book would be great in Lemire’s hands and it was. The art was creepy and gave power to the excellent story.

2) Wonder Woman – A complete winner for me. Took my love of mythology and mixed it right in perfectly. Plus, it really handled the story well for any new readers.

3) Action Comics – A complete shock to me. Even with Morrison on board I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did.

4) Batman – I really enjoyed this book. The art was fantastic and Snyder can flat-out write. I think this book is going to only get better.

5) Stormwatch – Exciting story and everything I had hoped the first Justice League would be. Left me wishing I had the second book.

6) Red Lanterns – Seriously, even if you don’t buy this book find a way to read the first few pages. I dare you not to laugh.

7) Batwoman – The art was gorgeous. I am hoping this book won’t be plagued with lateness though. I am going to assume they have quite a few issues ready to go since it was supposed to come out last year.

8 ) Grifter – Not quite up to the start of Stormwatch but close. I was hooked pretty quickly into the story.

9) Resurrection Man – I was really hoping to like this book. I love the premise and can see a lot of potential. They delivered a very good first book.

10) Deathstroke – I refuse to say anything on the grounds I will ruin the story for you. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.

11) Supergirl – The super books keep up their great opening run. Not quite as good as Action for me but the long-term prospects of keeping me interested are good.

12) Swamp Thing – A great start to a character I once really loved. It reads well for new readers and I like how they poked the old readers who thought they knew what was happening.

13) Batgirl – An above average bat book. Didn’t blow me away but a solid superhero comic.

14) Green Lantern – Had a lot of elements I really liked. Nothing new or crazy for a comic but I look forward to seeing where the first story goes.

15) Men of War – I hope the second story picks up a little because I have a feeling the Sergeant Rock storyline is going to only get better.

16) Superboy – I liked the other world quality Superboy gives off. It has a solid science fiction story behind it too. This book has a lot of potential.

17) Legion of Super-Heroes – This book benefited by my long love and knowledge of Legion. Not at all sure how new readers will take to it.

18) Justice League – It wasn’t what I was hoping for right out of the gate but I think it will get better.

19) Captain Atom – Better than I thought it would be but still not quite there. The potential to be more than a run of the mill hero book is there.

20) Demon Knights – This was a good solid almost for me but I have hope I am going to like it a lot more in future issues.

21) Catwoman – Easily my biggest guilty pleasure of the first round. I wonder if it will hold up though. Sometimes guilty pleasures lose their luster.

22) Detective Comics – I was underwhelmed with the story. It wasn’t terrible but it read like every other standard Joker-Batman book.

23) Frankenstien, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. – The art is going to put a lot of people off. I have faith in Jeff Lemire though, and expect this book to get steadily better.

24) Nightwing – Left me wanting more. Not a fan of the art style and the story was not there. A slow start but I am rooting for it.

25) Green Arrow – Not a blazing shot out of the cannon but there is hope. I like Green Arrow so I want this book to succeed.

26) Batwing – You could flip-flop this one with Green Arrow. They are about the same for me.

27) Justice League International – First thing this book needs to do is get rid of Batman. Then jump out of the box and try something new.

28) Mister Terrific – A very predictable book. The dialog saved it from being a total wash for me.

29) Suicide Squad – I actually saw some potential in this book but the story is going to have to get going in the next issue.

30) O.M.A.C. – I liked the art but I have always been a fan of Giffen. The book barely held together on the story front.

31) Green Lantern Corps – This book was a miss for me. Didn’t care about the story or the characters. I won’t give up hope on it because I liked the other two Lantern books so maybe the future will be better.

32) Blue Beetle – The book felt like it was trying too hard and it made the dialog come off sounding a little hollow. Didn’t feel like it really got started until the end.

33) Legion Lost– I might have been tempted to give it a higher rating if the story hadn’t felt so clichéd. I guess there is hope it will pick up but just a glimmer.

34) Batman & Robin – They won’t cancel this book but for me it is going to have to get a whole lot better. I am a Batman fan and I just didn’t dig it.

35) DC Universe Presents – There were a few moments of brilliance surrounded by a whole lot of whatever.

36) Birds of Prey – Easily my biggest disappointment. I love the concept of an all female super group. It just didn’t cut it for me. Here’s hoping they figure it out.

37) Hawk & Dove – Right now I see this book as an early possibility of getting voted off my DC island.

38) Static Shock – The art was okay but nothing else about this book caught my imagination. Could also easily be voted off my DC island.

39) Red Hood and the Outlaws – I mostly liked the art and I did get a few chuckles but this book has issues. Not sure why they went with this and not something like the Outsiders.

About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

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