Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I read more of DC’s “New 52" issues.  Let’s see how many I can talk
about before I run out of steam.

Batwoman #1 [$2.99] had a nice spooky quality to it, but it got off
track with too much of Kate Kane’s family and social life right off
the...bat. It’s not that those elements won’t make for interesting
bits in the future, but, combined with sub-plots about Chase, the
DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations), and a proposition from
Batman, it made for an unfocused debut.  However, I did get a kick
out of co-writer/artist J.H. Williams III’s eye-catching layouts
and was intrigued enough by the story that, had I bought Batwoman,
I’d likely come back for the second issue.

Digression. I spotted the mysterious cowled purple woman in one of
the crowd scenes.  On the other hand, I’ve decided playing “Where’s
Waldo” with her bores me.  So, unless she actually does something
in a story, I won’t be tracking her appearances.

I didn’t like Batman and Robin #1 [$2.99].  From his first story -
a laughably wretched Mongul story many years ago - Peter Tomasi’s
writing has been more miss than hit for me.  His Batman strikes me
as bland and, while it’s not Tomasi’s fault, Damien Wayne is more
of a dick than Batman on his worst days.  Mike W. Barr, who would
be a better choice to write any of the Batman titles than whoever
is currently writing them, had the right idea when, in Batman: Son
of the Demon
, he had Talia planning to send the kid away from the
brutality of their lives.  The art - Patrick Gleason pencils, Mick
Grey inks - is good, but it can’t overcome the sheer unpleasantness
of the characters.

I’m intrigued by Swamp Thing #1 [$2.99], especially the mystery of
what’s the deal with Alec Holland and Swamp Thing.  Scott Synder’s
script is a reasonable blend of the spooky and the super-heroes.
Yanick Paquette’s art is excellent.  This title would make my “buy”
list if I actually had a “buy” list.

I wanted to like Stormwatch #1 [$2.99].  In the past, Paul Cornell
has written stuff I’ve enjoyed.  I thought the idea of putting the
Martian Manhunter on the team was interesting.  But, at the end of
the day, I didn’t like or care about these characters.  I thought
J’onn J’onzz came off like a duplicitous prick.  I remembered all
the secret teams in comics that were much more fun and interesting
than this one.  Maybe the title will improve, but, at the moment,
it’s just another secret super-team book that doesn’t fill any need
in the marketplace that I can fathom.

Deathstroke #1 {$2.99] was vile. The book’s overused protagonist is
vile.  Everyone who works on or reads this book does so at the risk
of their immortal souls.  Is Deathstroke still a pedophile in the
new DCU?  No matter, what’s really upsetting to me is that, vile as
this title is, it’s not the most vile title of “The New 52.”  That
would be Suicide Squad #1 [$2.99].  I shall not speak of these two
blights on humanity again.  

Remember two paragraphs back when I said Paul Cornell has written
stuff I’ve enjoyed.  Demon Knights #1 [$2.99] is one of the things
I was talking about. It’s sort of Justice League Medieval, which,
while not wholly accurate, was still fun to say.  The team members
- if you can call this a team - are intriguing in a darkly humorous
way.  This debut story flowed well with solid art by Diogenes Neves
(pencils) and Oclair Albert (inks). I’d buy this title.

The more I read of “The New 52,” the more I’m enjoying the oddball
titles.  Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 ($2.99) was stuffed
to the covers with goofy monster action.  Jeff Lemire wrote a very
entertaining script with lots of neat touches.  Father’s new body
was funny, the appearance of Ray Palmer was a nice touch, and I’m
liking the Creature Commandoes.  Alberto Ponticelli’s art was well
suited to the story.  I’d buy this title.

I liked Green Lantern #1 [$2.99] better than I’ve liked any of the
Green Lantern comics in years.  The emphasis on just two Lanterns -
Hal Jordan sans ring and Sinestro with a ring he doesn’t want - is,
to me, vastly preferable to reading about seven thousand Green
Lanterns and a few thousand more in other colors.  Hal was kind of
a jerk in Geoff Johns’ script, but, given that Hal is kind of lost
due to his change in station, that sort of worked for me.  I very
much like Sinestro reacting to situations he can’t control.  It’s
an interesting conflict.  With decent art by Doug Mahnke (pencils)
and Christian Alamy, this is another “New 52" book I would buy as
long as it maintained this level of quality.

Grifter #1 [$2.99] was a mess. The art was bland, the pacing less
than clear, and the story so poorly written that I never got a real
handle on the characters and situations.  This comic book bored me.
Not a good selling point.

I feel much the same about Legion Lost #1 [$2.99].  And if there’s
any logical reason for DC to be publishing Red Lanterns, it eludes
me completely.

Sadly - because I think the characters have potential - neither Blue
#1 [$2.99] or Captain Atom #1 [$2.99] clicked with me.  They
were just a couple more mediocre super-hero titles in an industry
that’s over saturated with mediocre super-hero titles. 

“The New 52" should be DC’s best chance to revitalized their super-
heroes.  But titles like the live I trashed in the above paragraphs
are just bad in different minuscule ways from the super-hero titles
they are replacing.  Maybe “The New 52" should have been “The New
20" with DC doing more quality control on the relaunches. Yeah, some
of these titles will stick to the wall, but that wall is going to look like
someone threw a plate of linguine at it.


I’ll be taking the next five or six days off to travel to, attend,
and recover from the New York Comic Con.  There will also be a wee
hiatus when I attend Mid-Ohio-Con.  After that, it should be blog
after daily blog for the next several months.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. Erring on the side of caution, I will disable the automatic publishing of comments until I get back from New York. This will happen shortly before I hit the road for said Big Apple.

    I'll approve your comments as soon as I return on Monday morning.

  2. For now, I am enjoying the #2's better than the #1's. When I read those, my overall feeling was they were all the same. I am a badass, I am really a badass, look how badassy I am, personal conflict, no, I am still a badass, oops, bigger badass comes along. The 'realistic' art is about as diverisfied as when a ship from the Phillipnes unloaded a boat full of interchangeable pages that were used all through the eighties.