Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Comic Books, Part 2

This week ended the reboot of the DC universe.  Throughout the month, they released 52 new #1 issues.  It will be interesting to see how many of these 52 comic books find an audience and actually keep going.  I checked out the digital previews for all 52 issues, but in the end I only tried eight of them.  The big question is which ones will I stick with.  What follows are my thoughts about each of the different issues, and what the likely hood of continuing to read the series will be:

 As I stated at the beginning of the month I was going to check this one out because I really liked the cover.  I am glad I did, because this was easily my favorite one.  The story telling was great, and I really liked how they portrayed batgirl as a character with depth.  She has enough confidence to dress up and fight crime, but at the same time she deals with a good deal of insecurity.  The issue also introduced an intriguing villain.   For the foreseeable future, I plan to stick with Batgirl.

Detective Comics/Batman
PhotobucketI am lumping these two together because they are both Batman comics.  I am fairly sure that I am going to follow one of them, but I am not sure which one.  I liked the artwork of Detective comics more.   However, I liked the story telling and pacing of Batman more.  Back to Detective comics, I think the  first story arc sounds more intriguing and if Detective comics stays true to the name, I like the idea of having more mystery oriented stories. I think in the end, I will plan on following both of them for the first story arc, and then based on which story arc I liked the best stick with that one.
Green Arrow
I am a little torn on Green Arrow.  As I mentioned previously, he is one of my favorite characters.  For the reboot, they basically made the Green Arrow as Steve Jobs, the superhero.  This works in some ways, and it gives him a supporting cast that is good.   I like the set up for the first story arc (people using super powers to feed narcissism and gain fame).   However, I found some of the scripting and dialogue to be not the greatest.   I will stick with Green Arrow for the first few story arcs, but if I find this reading monthly comic books is costing more than I want, this might be the first one that I drop.   

All Star Western
PhotobucketI think it is kind of neat that for this reboot, DC reached way back into the history for this title.  In practice, this is a continuation of the Jonah Hex series, but eventually they will have some side stories in the back after the main story starring Hex.  The first issue was outstanding, as it takes place in a Victorian Era Gotham City.  Everything about the story worked really well, and at the end I was really looking forward to the next issue.  I suppose that means they got me on this one for sure.  

Blue Beetle 
I had read that Blue Beetle was going to be a 100% re-boot.  With a lot of these, especially Batman the re-boot picked up in the middle.  They cut out a lot of the surrounding stuff, but it is clear that Batman has been doing his thing for a few years already.  However, I was interested in getting in on the ground floor of  a super hero.  The Blue Beetle who is a teenage kid who, through a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, merges with an alien artifact that crafts him into the Blue Beetle.  The artifact's original design is to completely re-program the main character and use him as a weapon to destroy earth.   However, since the artifact was damage the Blue Beetle can resist the artifact and attempt to use the powers for good.  The whole thing is very "comic bookey" and that is ok.  I am not sure if  I want to continue this because. . . .
I also really liked Grifter.  From now on, I will be buying these on month behind when they drop in price a dollar, so I do not want to follow more than five books because that will still be $10 a month.  This means that I  can only go with Blue Beetle or Grifter.   I loved the set up of Grifter.  The main character, wakes up preventing some sort of invasion of the body snatchers style take over of his body by an alien.  However, since the process had started he  can now hear these aliens telepathic communications.  This leads him to killing these aliens, who other see as normal people.  The whole first issue had a real TV pilot feel to it, and it got me interested.   However, Batgirl, Batman, Green Arrow, and Jonah Hex are all non-super powered characters like Grifter.  Granted Grifter uses guns and is more of the reluctant hero/ amoral hero, but for variety sake I might want the more super powered Blue Beetle, but at the same time I want to know what happens in Grifter.  I am leaning to Blue Beetle, but still undecided.  

Demon Knights
The way they try to sell Demon Knights is like the Magnificent Seven in the Dark Ages, with magic.  That is a decent description.  I thought the art of this comic was good, but for me the story left a bit to be desired.  It is a cliche in fantasy RPGs that adventures start with all of the character happening to all be in the same tavern at the right time that some sort of event happens that propels them on their quest.  This also describes the first issue of Demon Knights.  I thought it was ok, but it was not compelling enough for me to stick with it. 

I know that in January or some time near the beginning of next year, they are going to release two more new titles, Justice Society of America and Batman, Inc.  I plan on checking out both of those as well.  I enjoyed re-exploring comics this month.  It was fun to be part of the excitement of this relaunch, and I hope the same good feelings continue over the months as I read the first few story arcs of my chosen series. 


Blogger vandarth said...

Good stuff.

I very much enjoyed the three issues I have read so far. Batgirl was a surprise, it's miles ahead of the Stephanie Brown batgirl series. Maybe I like it more with Barabra Gordon because it seems like this book is better tied to the main series rather than being a distant spinoff. Justice League #1 was a big surprise. This issue will be worth more simply because it is drawn by Jim Lee. Detective Comics had a good start. I'm hoping Tony Daniels keeps it up, because he always starts his story arcs with a lot of potential but so far, he's fumbled the ending every time.

I am most looking forward to Batman #1 because Scott Snyder has taken over as the writer. I think he's made it into my "favorite writers" category along with Jeph Loeb and Doug Moench. I can't believe I haven't read Batman # 1 yet, but the comic shop near my place in Austin isn't there anymore so I decided to wait until my mail-order subscription comes in. I will be camped out by my mailbox because my mailbox isn't wide enough for a comic book which means they will inevitably fold my Batman #1 collector comic in half... those fiends... although they do that to torture me just for fun even when I did have a giant mailbox.

Other comics I plan to pick up are Nightwing #1, Batman & Robin and I might even give Superman a look.

I am most disappointed that they did away with a Tim Drake series (currently Red Robin). He's arguably the best Robin of all-time, and his detective skills may even surpass Batman's. Red Robin was one of the most solid Bat-family books over the last two years. I know he's in the new Teen Titans book but it's just not the same. I also can't believe they started a Red Hood and the Outlaws series instead of a Tim Drake book. Even Damian is more central to the series than the Red Hood at this point. I was blown away by the Batman animated film Under The Red Hood (based on Judd Winnick's Batman story arc) but almost every story about the Red Hood since then hasn't been that interesting. The only reason I'm curious about the new book Red Hood And The Outlaws is because all of the other reboots in the Batman series have been very solid. So mayyyybe I'll give that one a look...

1:38 PM  

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