Saturday, November 5, 2011


Today’s bloggy thing concludes my reading and reviewing of “The New
52" debut issues.  I enjoyed more of them than I was anticipating.
I thought some of them were so substandard that they constitute an
embarrassment to DC and an insult to their readers.  Before I get
to these last debut issues, some general comments:

From a creative/quality view, I question whether it was necessary
for DC to have launched 52 new titles in one month.  However, there
is no denying this launch month was financially successful for DC,
nor that their success seems to be continuing.

Two factors are at play in the month-to-month production of these
new titles.  The first is understandable and laudable.  DC Comics
wants these books to ship on time.  I have no problem with that at
all, as long as editors don’t start thinking they can get monthly
issues out of artists who have never been able to draw a comic each
and every month in the past...or greater production out of writers
who are forced to rewrite scripts over and over again.

That’s the second factor and one with which I think is hurting the
overall quality of the books.  Editors with very little discernible
writing talent themselves are micro-managing writers trying to make
unforgiving deadlines.  It’s a terrible combination.

The smart editors in this business - and, sadly, there are less of
them every year - know their best policy is to hire the very best
writers they can and then get out of their way.  If editors want to
write, they should write.  They shouldn’t make their writers write
the editors’ stories. 

Yes, of course, editors working in a enormous shared universe like
DC’s have to exercise control over what happens to the characters
in these titles.  Then again, the better writers already know not
to break the toys with which they’ve been allowed to play and know
this better than the editors in many cases.

Being a good comics editor is like being a carpenter.  Carpenters
are told to measure twice and cut once.  Editors should be taught
to hire well and then, with an eye on the deadlines, facilitate the
writer doing the best work of which he or she is capable.

Here comes the reviews...

Justice League Dark #1 [$2.99] lives up to the “dark” part of its
title.  I’m sure many readers will enjoy writer Peter Milligan’s
take on this Justice League spinoff and the characters featured in
it.  I don’t think I’m one of them, mostly because this first issue
struck me as somewhat mean-spirited in its darkening of some of the
characters.  I especially don’t care for this version of Zatanna,
though I recognize my adolescent lust for the original cute-and-cuddly
Zatanna may be a factor there.  But the debut is interesting with
appropriately disturbing Mikel Janin art.  Assuming the friend who
is loaning me his comics buys the second issue, I’ll probably stick
around for a while.

In The Savage Hawkman #1 [$2.99], Carter Hall is a sullen loner who
looks like last week’s dirty laundry and who has buried his Hawkman
gear.  In short, he has none of the qualities that made Carter Hall
an interesting and likeable character in his previous incarnations.
But, hey, his Hawkman armor/gear/wings bonds with him and emerges
from his body when necessary.  Because that’s blindingly original
unless you’ve seen all the other characters with that gimmick.  I
have.  I’ve also written Hawkman and, though I don’t usually play
this card, I did it much better.  If there was a reason to return
for The Savage Hawkman #2, I certainly didn’t find it anywhere in
The Savage Hawkman #1.

Superman #1 [$2.99} was a terrific comic book.  George Perez, who
did the script and breakdowns, packed a lot of story into this one.
So much that I found a second reading rewarding.  Some characters
seemed a little off to me, but, overall, I liked how Perez handled
them.  Artist Jesus Merino did such a good bringing the breakdowns
to completion I thought Perez had drawn the book himself before I
went back to check the credits.  I do hope to see something more of
the authority-defying Superman of Grant Morrison’s Action Comics in
this title, but I’m definitely on board with this title as long as
Perez is writing it.

Teen Titans #1 [$2.99] is another “blah” book for me.  Every one of
the young heroes came off like a jerk.  We got another one of those
boring trite evil secret organizations...though I sort of recall
that this particular boring trite evil secret organization showed
up on another “New 52" book.  The bottom line...nothing to see here
and I won’t be back for the next issue.

My jury of one is still out on Voodoo #1 [$2.99].  I liked the Sami
Basri art and the Ron Marz script.  I thought the stripper dressing
room scene was believable if sanitized, based on my friendship with
several dancers when I owned and operated a comics shop in downtown
Cleveland.  But what threw me was the final scenes of this debut.
Unless Voodoo saw something real bad in the agent’s thoughts, her
actions make her an unsympathetic character.  That’s not wrong per
se, but it lessens my interest in reading her further adventures.
I’ll keep an open mind until I see where the second issue takes her
and us.  Mark me “undecided” on Voodoo.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2011 Tony Isabella


  1. I agree with you on "the Savage Hawkman" Tony. It felt like the character was really lacking and the story seemed thin. "Teen Titans" was very blah, but might give it a couple issues to see how the new characters evolve. "Justice League Dark" was another I didn't bother to pick up.
    "Superman" and "Action" were both great reads, although I'm curious to see how the character from "Action" evolves to "Superman" but I was really taken with this revamp of Supes. He has...a personality. My vote for new 52 that must go is "Redhood and the Outlaws". Why star a character in a book that you readers voted to die? Additionally their version of "Starfire" is trite, sexist, and offensive.

  2. I agree on Savage Hawkman, I've read #2 also and the story is confused, the plot opaque. If we don't know what is going on after two issues, why should we care. Same can be said of Mr. Terrific and several other of the New 52 that feature secret cabals.

    Redhood I read as out and out satire of many current trends in comics. As such it was readable despite having no sympathetic characters.

    Superman and Action are still stars with good storytelling art and a fresh take on the characters.

  3. I have seen the previews and I can truly say I can't relate to any of the new books anymore. I still read my ccomics from the 1970's (the era I grew up in) and cherish those more than any other time. The comics today are too influenced by movies and the internet. Most of the characters are all in their twenties and I am way past that age.

    From time to time I'll see something that strikes me as original but for the most part if I do see a book I like I wait for the paperback to read all the issues.