comics galore! what I’ve read from the DC relaunch so far

So in addition to pictures of my cat, I know the other thing you guys really missed during my internet hiatus was my spot-on insight into comics. Never fear! I am back with an update on the big comics shebang of the month, DC’s 52 new #1 comics. Now, no way am I reading 52 comics in one month, that’s just crazy talk. But I picked out a few of interest and am here to report.

Unfortunately for DC, the best comic I’ve read so far this month has been Marvel’s ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1. Considering my count is DC: 8 and Marvel: 1, that’s not a great sign for the relaunch.

Let’s do this in order, though.

August 31 books

FLASHPOINT #5 Okay. Not exactly  unsatisfying but, like the rest of Flashpoint, just kind of eh. Read this only two weeks ago and can’t think of a thing to say about it so… take that for what you will.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 DC’s big wow, their big chance to make a big splash. Instead we get “Batman & Green Lantern: The Buddy Cop Movie.”

Ughhhhhh. What a clunky beginning to the big relaunch. Batman and GL are the only two Justice League members we see for the majority of the book, and their repartee is not nearly as witty as they think it is. And the book’s just… clunky. NOT the big wow DC promised or needed.

Unimpressed Grace is unimpressed. But I’m giving them one more issue to see if they can pull their shit together. Next week better knock my socks off, though, or I’m out. Buh-bye, flagship.

September 7 books

ACTION COMICS #1 This is the book DC should have started with. Cranky hipster Superman throws people off buildings and tries to save the day without getting shot by the police. Written by Grant Morrison. Not a perfect book, but very good. I love Lex Luthor. Definitely one of the most promising so far.

BATGIRL #1 The big news with Batgirl is of course that DC is taking Barbara Gordon out of her Oracle wheelchair and somehow making her walk again. And it’s written by Gail Simone, perhaps the only person fandom would trust with such a story.

So far we have no real answers but the story’s pretty good. Barbara has a very distinct character and very distinct issues, and her former disability looms large instead of being brushed under the rug. I’ll be sticking with this one for the forseeable future.

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1 This is one of those “I recognize this isn’t great but I liked it anyway” things. It’s not the highest-quality comic I’ve ever read, but it was fun. In comparison to a lot of the new comics, JLI is upbeat and a light, easy read. And I mean really Booster Gold is in charge, we can’t take this too seriously. I also liked that, as opposed to JL, we have the entire league here at the beginning. It’s kind of an origin story, but at least it’s an origin story that takes 5 pages and not… however many issues Justice League is going to take.

STATIC SHOCK #1 I’m kind of excited about this one. Virgil Hawkins aka Static Shock is trying to figure out his way as a superhero and is not necessarily very good at the job yet. It’s fun to see a superhero save the day and piss people off because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. And it’s quite pretty, I especially love the last page. Keeper for now.

September 14 books

BATWOMAN #1 Batwoman is absolutely one of the most beautiful comics out right now. I would continue to buy it for that reason alone. Luckily, the story is picking up right where it left off and is just as intense and engaging as ever.

I’m glad I recently read the Batwoman trade paperback (it’s good you should get it), but I don’t think it’s necessary to enjoy the new series. Somehow, this is (one of?) the only DC #1s that seems to have escaped a total overhaul—maybe because it never technically existed in the first place—so this is one where missing backstory could be an actual problem, but they seem to do a pretty good job of recapping the essentials.

While I wasn’t blown away, it’s a good first issue in that it leaves you wanting more, which is more than I can say for some of these other books. It’s fantasy and it’s tough and the one panel with Batman is more beautiful than any of his other appearances so far this month.

I’m going to go ahead and actively recommend this one. Only took three weeks of comics!

Aside: on the right is the variant cover for BATWOMAN #4, by Amy Reeder, that DC decided not to print for some reason. Which is a crying shame. Look at it (click to enlarge). Gorgeous.

MR. TERRIFIC #1 Bumpy. The first few pages were snappy and exciting and I was really into it (Doctor Who reference!), then I was like “huh?” and then I was like “well okay this isn’t the worst thing I’ve read this month” and then it ended just… blah. I will give it one more issue to see if the bumps smooth out, but it’s going to have to get markedly better to keep my money flowing.

Also, Power Girl. If anyone’s wondering where she went in the reboot, it was to Mr. Terrificland.

So overall the relaunch has been OK with some sidesteps into ugly. There are a few titles that seem promising but only one that was actuallygood in the first issue.

And now on to the one comic I’ve read this month that I loved. I was more excited at the end of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1 than any of the DC books—even though it was short and even though it was like $15. (OK, so $4. Close enough.)

But it’s getting close to America’s Next Top Model time so I’m getting lazy and this review from Comics Alliance is a good one that pretty much sums up what I thought. So go read that if you like (there are no spoilers) but, basically, sharp writing, pretty art, and an exciting intro to a new character. So much more than a “Spider-Man is black now!” story.

In Conclusion

I realize having now written all this out that I actually sound pretty positive about the relaunch books. I mean, I haven’t canceled any yet, and overall I’m looking ahead to the next issues. But Spider-Man is still better than any of them, and if DC is averaging “pretty OK” then I think they have a major problem.

One final note: Apparently DC’s ANIMAL MAN #1 is killer. I wasn’t smart enough to put a copy on hold, and it’s now getting rave reviews and is sold out like…. everywhere in the United States. So if you happen to find a copy (I think they’re doing a second printing) you might want to grab it to see what all the fuss is about.

So what have you read of the new 52? What’d you think? Have you read ANIMAL MAN??