My Favorite Crisis

With CW’s Arrowverse adaptation of the seminal DC crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” it felt like a good time to look at my favorite of DC’s Crisis stories. That is not Crisis on Infinite Earths. CoIE is, undeniably, DC’s most important crossover; it shaped the DC Universe for a quarter of a century afterward. However, it is a giant mess of a story. A few really great moments, some nice artwork and a whole lot of nonsense. No, my favorite Crisis story is 2008’s Final Crisis, from Grant Morrison, JG Jones, Jesus Merino, and Doug Mahnke.

Crisis on Infinite Earths was not the first (note the capital) Crisis. Building off the concept of Flash of Two Worlds, where The Flash (Barry Allen) met The Flash (Jay Garrick). From essentially 1963 on, the annual alternate reality crossover between the Justice League, on what was designated Earth-One, and Justice Society, on Earth-Two, met up to have adventures. After 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, Crises became more rare, being reserved for big event crossovers. There was Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis and finally Final Crisis. CoIE, Infinite Crisis, and Final Crisis operate as something of a trilogy involving the Monitors.

I’ve wanted to write about Final Crisis since I started this blog. Way back then, it was the most recent, big important DC story. Grant Morrison was in the middle of his all-time great Batman run. Comics bloggers were still a thing and I wanted to contribute to discourse around what I thought at the time was an unfairly treated triumph. But I found it hard to write about, and by the time I really focused on it, a few years had passed and DC had reset their comics universe with Flashpoint. It didn’t really seem worth going into when many of the characters in the story didn’t even exist in the comics anymore. Plus, I still couldn’t really find a solid angle to write about. As time went on, though, I liked the story more and more. Part of it was I read more crossovers, and realized just how bad most of them are. Final Crisis is different. There is more going on than just the immediate event storyline.

Final Crisis received a pretty tepid reaction when it first came out, and I think it is worth noting why that is. There was an unprecedented amount of build up to Final Crisis. DC did a weekly book, Countdown, that near the end became Countdown to Final Crisis. There were miniseries that sprung out of and from around that weekly book, like Death of the New Gods. These titles were supposed to set up Final Crisis. There were problems. Without blaming anybody, Countdown and its companions did not, in fact, set up Final Crisis. What they did was muddy the water and make things more confusing to anyone paying close attention. It is pretty well settled that Countdown was something of a disaster. It made it hard to transition into the full event of Final Crisis, with all this ultimately unnecessary build up. Reading it now, completely divorced from that history, Final Crisis is an achievement.

I have a hardcover collected edition of the story; one that contains the main series, Final Crisis 1-7, plus the spin-offs Superman Beyond and Final Crisis: Submit. It is not quite the complete story, but it has all the important bits.

It is still hard to get into what makes Final Crisis so great. What it does better than almost any other similar event is that it feels epic, it feels mythic. From almost the very start of Final Crisis you can feel that the fate of the universe is at stake and the book never really lets that go. There was a war in heaven, and evil won. The book opens with cavemen, specifically Anthro, the First Boy, receiving knowledge from the New God Metron. That knowledge includes fire. From there is moves to the modern day and “Terrible” Dan Turpin.

Dan Turpin is an interesting viewpoint character to start with. Dan Turpin is one of many characters created by Jack Kirby. Many of Kirby’s DC characters form the backbone of Final Crisis. Turpin arguably became most well known on the Superman Animated show from the 90’s, where he was modeled after Jack Kirby. Here he is investigating some missing kids when he finds the New God Orion dying in a dumpster. Red skies, the sign of a Crisis, are already here.

The dying Orion manages to say “. . . heaven cracked and broken … You! They did not die! He is in you all . . . fight.” before falling dead. While it isn’t clear at the time, it soon becomes obvious that the evil Gods of Apokalips, Darkseid and his minions, have possessed people on Earth and are trying to conquer it. The bad guys plans are already in motion, and the heroes don’t even know what is happening. The first issue moves to a meeting of the Secret Society of Supervillains, where the Martian Manhunter is killed so Libra can prove he can help the bad guys win. The Justice League, specifically the Green Lanterns, investigate the dead God. Dan Turpin tracks down the missing kids, and finds out that they have been brainwashed by Darkseid. Then the issue reveals the Monitors; now instead of one character, they are a group that monitors the 52 different universes of the Multiverse. One of them failed, and is cast down to live as a mortal. Finally, the issue ends with Kamandi, the last boy, meeting Anthro, the first boy, to get the weapon that Metron gave him to fight the bad guys.

I am not going to go through the series blow by blow, but this first issue show the breadth of the story. Obviously, it builds from there. Batman is taken off the board by a corrupted Green Lantern. Superman is sidelined when the Daily Planet is attacked. Barry Allen, dead since Crisis on Infinite Earths, appears chasing the bullet that killed Orion backwards through time. He and the other Flashes disappear chasing it. Dan Turpin is taken by the bad guys to be the new vessel for Darkseid. Events continues to outpace the heroes. Wonder Woman becomes the carrier for an evil disease. The Anti-Life Equation, the macguffin that Darkseid has been chasing since Jack Kirby started the Fourth World, is transmitted across the Earth over the internet.

This is when things get weird. Yeah, now. Superman Beyond is something else. Superman is taken on a universe spanning adventure by a Monitor with promise of something to save Lois Lane’s life. He joins a team of Superman analogues, including Captain Marvel–better known now as Shazam–as they try to avert a Multiverse wide catastrophe. They end up in Limbo, where Superman learns the history of the Monitors, as well as the legend of the evil Monitor Mandrakk. It has Superman yelling dialogue like: “There are 52 worlds in the Multiversal Superstructure. Take the Ultima Thule, Marvel! I’ll get the energy you need to return to the Multiverse. Warn everyone, like Paul Revere! Tell them Mandrakk is coming! I’ll do what I can to plug the hole in forever!” It has Superman turn into a giant Superman robot to fight Mandrakk, and cast him out of reality. Also, it shows Superman’s tombstone, which reads “To Be Continued . . .”

When you get into the back half of the series, the narrative starts to break down. Not out of a failure in the writing, but as a part of the story. Time and space are crumbling, and the story starts to break into jagged pieces. It gives you enough to grasp what is going on, but never enough to feel comfortable in the story. I can understand not liking it, but when the goal is to tell a story about all of reality breaking, the brief glimpses it gives the reader work wonderfully.

It basically goes from the heroes figuring out the bad guys are up to something to the bad guys victorious, with the last remaining heroes holed up in a few safe watchtowers, planning a last desperate stand. Wonder Woman has been corrupted, the rest of the big guns, Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, are all off the board. Instead, it focuses on lesser known heroes. Frankenstein. The Ray. Black Canary. Dan Turpin finally gives in to Darkseid, and it seems like humanity is on its last legs, just as they have mounted some kind of counterattack.

Then the last two issues happen. Issue 6 feels especially desperate. The Battle for Bludhaven, the heroes big plan happens and it is tense. Other than Supergirl, the heroes don’t exactly have their A-team. Batman finally reappears, having escaped. Breaking his rule against guns, he uses the bullet that killed Orion to shoot Darkseid, just as Darkseid blasts him with his Omega Beams. Superman reappears and turns the tide in the battle, setting up the final issue showdown with the wounded and dying Darkseid. All this is happening while reality itself continues to crumble. There is just so much going on. Of course the good guys win.

Final Crisis is the final in that trilogy of Crises. It is also a middle chapter of Grant Morrison’s own explorations of the DC Multiverse. It is in many ways a sequel to Seven Soldiers of Victory, another Morrison experiment I’ve really wanted to write about, and a prequel to Multiversity, which needs to be added to my list of comics to write about. For my money, and with respect to Spider-Verse and DC One Million, Final Crisis is the most enjoyable event crossover either DC or Marvel has ever put out. There are just so many moments and concepts. And considering that DC wiped that version of the world away a bare few years later, it feels kind of like the last gasp of the version of the DC universe I first learned to love. It is really worth tracking down and giving a read. I am sure the Arrowverse will never do an adaptation of it. Even more than Crisis on Infinite Earths, Final Crisis seems downright unfilmable as live action.

Joker Review

I don’t know that I’ve seen a better made bad movie. It is a movie wearing the darkness and grit of late 70s-early 80s Scorsese as cosplay, without attempting to understand what movies like King of Comedy or Taxi Driver were trying to say. Essentially, why is not a question Joker ever considers. It does things because those things seem dark and provoking, but there is nothing behind them. It is vacant posturing, a movie hoping its darkness will mask its emptiness.

Joker tells the story of Arthur Fleck. Fleck works as a clown, scraping out a life in what appears to the early 80s Gotham City for him and his invalid mother. Fleck suffers from mental illness, taking numerous medications and still being prone to bouts of irrational laughter. He dreams of being a stand up comic, like his idol Murray Franklin. In the opening minutes of the movie, Fleck is beaten by a handful of kids who were harassing him as he worked as a clown. From his already abject starting point things get worse for Fleck. The funding for the social services that helped him pay for his medications gets cut, so he goes off his meds. He gets a gun from a coworker after his beating, but having while working gets him fired from his clown job. After another beating on the subway, Fleck fights back, shooting three men who were accosting him. The lone bright spot in his life is his budding relationship with a single mother living a few apartments down from him and his mother.

As shit keeps being piled on Fleck, he begins losing his hold on rationality. Many people treat his subway killings as a call to action, since the three men were well off money men, working for Wayne Enterprises. Thomas Wayne, exploring a potential run for mayor, calls the poor people reacting that way clowns, inspiring clown make-up at the protests arising all over the city. Things finally come to a head when Fleck gets the chance to meet Murray Franklin.

Joker pulls scenes and shots straight out of movies like Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, and A Clockwork Orange. It seems desperate to appear to have something to say. But as the movie attempts to unravel Arthur Fleck goes on, it becomes more apparent that there is nothing there. That is despite some all caps ACTING from Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. Fleck starts delusion. The movie maybe wants to show why the character finally broke and became the Joker, but it doesn’t come to a better answer than that he was crazy. The movie can’t seem to help but show its contempt for the people protesting in the streets, but they are contrasted with the selfish and corrupt like Wayne or Franklin. Everyone is venal and self-serving.

The movie was numbing. Its desire to shock, to provoke radiates from every scene. But the movie doesn’t actually have anything provoking to say. It is utterly bleak, but that bleakness isn’t expressing anything. It isn’t a black comedy; there is nothing funny here. This is just two hours of ugly posturing that has nothing to say.


Justice League

I guess it is possible to watch Justice League and be entirely unaware of it tumultuous production, but the tales of the production have appeared regularly on the internet over the last few years. This movie started as Justice League Part 1, but then the Part 2 got removed from the schedule. Before starting scheduled reshoots, director Zack Snyder stepped down due to a family tragedy, so Warner Bros brought on Joss Whedon to finish the movie. There were numerous other reported smaller issues. I can’t say that the movie completely overcame those troubles, but Justice League ended up being a lot more fun and entertaining that it had any right to be.

In the end, the production matters less than the product and Justice League must be judged on what it is; which is adequate in a fun but empty sort of way. JL is not helped by the fact that this has been a phenomenal year for superhero movies. The five others released this year, from Logan to Thor Ragnarok, are all widely regarded as excellent. Justice League is a middling piece of fun, which is a tough sell this year, when Fox actually got things right and Sony took a back-seat with Spider-Man. But Justice League is not a disaster and it is not a work with an off-putting, peculiar vision like Batman v Superman; it is the product of several cooks working their hardest to turn in something blandly enjoyable, an effort which is largely successful. Blandly enjoyable is exactly the route taken by Marvel’s Avengers, which is the most successful superhero movie to date. That movie is pure pop entertainment, but it isn’t really about anything other than getting to see your favorite heroes team up. Justice League has the tiniest bit more heft, but it tries for the same pleasures and largely delivers them.

It is definitely a sequel to Batman v Superman, starting in a world without hope after the death of Superman. Batman is tracking the first scouts of what appears to be an alien invasion. After confirming this, he sets out to gather the powerful individuals Luthor had been monitoring. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is taking the first steps of truly returning to the world after 100 years. Together they gather Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg to stop the invaders from gathering the Mother Boxes, vastly powerful artifacts that will terraform the Earth to be more like the alien’s home. The invaders had been fought off once, thousands of years ago, by the combined forces of the Amazons, Atlanteans and humans, with the help of some others; this time it all falls on the Justice League.

It mostly works as a somewhat awkward combination of the Avengers and Lord of the Rings. This movie is a sea of contrasts, and one needs to look no further than the special effects, which run from being truly excellent to shockingly amateurish. For the second category, many people will point to [slight spoilers] Superman’s digitally erased moustache; I would point to the very awkward horses ridden by the Amazonians. In other places you can see Snyder’s ponderous, weighty take on superhero clashing with Whedon’s flighty entertainment.

There has certainly been a course correction in terms of how the heroes are portrayed. Not in Wonder Woman’s case, Gal Gadot is still as perfect for the role as any actor has been to play a superhero since Christopher Reeve was Superman. But Batman, mostly I think due to the different tone of this movie, is a much lighter character than he was before. The new heroes a solid mix, with Cyborg being kind of dry and mopey, Flash being wide-eyed and scattered, and Aquaman being brash and macho. It is a nice, more emotive group that the previously stone-faced Superman and Batman. The new characters mostly work. The Flash steals a lot of the slower moments One can almost see the seems where chunks of the movie have been removed. Other than the central story, there is almost no throughlines for the characters. It gives the viewer a start point a small amount of development, but only one character feels like he has an end to his arc, that being Superman.

The villain, a C-list jobber named Steppenwolf, is the weakest part of the movie. There is nothing to him. He shows a little personality in the moments he gets to do so, but the movie tells you little of his story or his motivations, other than to conquer. He is powerful and dangerous, but he is a black hole. He feels more like a lieutenant than the big boss, which is what he is, though the movie only once mentions Darkseid. Darkseid, who will be seen next year in his Marvel knock-off form as Thanos in Infinity War, should be the villain of this movie. He is the big gun, and WB/DC held him back for a potential sequel. Personally, I wish they had went full Kirby with this, bringing in all the cosmic weirdness they can muster (much like Thor Ragnarok) but I never really expected that. Still, the villain needed to be something more than an ill-defined simplistic conqueror.

To its credit, Justice League delivers a lot of great moments, like Aquaman holding back the tide. It translates the wonder of the comic books to the big screen in moments that don’t quite add up to a whole.

Justice League is middling. It is not a complete mess like X-Men Apocalypse or Fantastic Four or Amazing Spider-Man 2, but it also not the home run that just about every other superhero movie this year has been. There are a lot of warts, but also a lot of stuff that is a lot of fun.


Wonder Woman Review

I hoped Wonder Woman would be good, but I almost expected it wouldn’t be.  It is hard for a superhero movie to really surprise almost 20 years into them showing up regularly. Wonder Woman, though, was shockingly good. It wasn’t perfect, but it was such an earnest and sincere take on the genre that it was hard not to be swept away in its enthusiasm.  It was likely the most I’ve enjoyed seeing a movie this year.

The plot isn’t anything special; it is mostly a standard superhero origin story. Diana was raised on Themyscira, a Mediterranean Island created by the Greek Gods as a home for the mythological Amazons.  Diana is the only child among them, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta, who is reluctant to have her trained for combat. So Diana trains in secret with her aunt, Antiope.  Her training ends when WW1 pilot and spy Steve Trevor washes up on their shores.  Against her mother’s protests, Diana returns to the modern world with Steve to fulfill the Amazons’ duty to fight Ares, the God of War and end the war.

From there is combines scenes of Diana dealing with the modern world and even just parts of life with which she is unfamiliar, like children or snow, with war scenes.  It all works together, with Diana learning about the world without ever losing her optimism.

The movie works without Warner Bros merely copying what has worked for Marvel.  While it does bare some superficial similarities to the first Captain America and Thor movies, Wonder Woman maintains its own tone. The tone of the MCU movies, for better or worse, has been set by the sardonic voice of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Recent DC movies have set their tone to Zack Snyder’s operatic earnestness.  Wonder Woman doesn’t abandon that, but it manages to find some levity with the sincerity, resulting in something that is wholly enjoyable.  Its tone is more like that of the original Superman or Spider-Man movies.  It revels in the emotion of its story instead of undercutting them for a laugh.

The movie works in large part thanks to the performances of Chris Pine and Gal Gadot.  Gadot is radiant as the lead, able to play both the character’s naivety and strength with equal skill.  She is truly believable as all facets of the character, helping to make Diana a rounded character and her growth believable. This is a star making performance.  Chris Pine also carries a heavy load, playing both the second lead, the love interest, and the comic relief.  He shines without ever taking the focus off of the title character.  Their chemistry together is great.  The rest of the cast is great as well, especially Robin Wright as Antiope.

There are flaws, especially at the end when it falls into the same sort of trap that many superhero movies, like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, do. For most of its runtime it is fresh and enjoyable, but its final battle descends into incoherence and pointless CGI.  It really isn’t any worse than the ends of similar movies, but the fall is further.

It is frankly ridiculous that it took this long in the modern superhero era to get one starring a woman.  (Yes, I know Supergirl exists, but it is far from modern, while Catwoman and Elektra are far from heroes) It is not like there haven’t been opportunities, with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow being the glue that holds together a lot of the MCU but never getting her own starring role.  It has also been positioned as the savior of the critically floundering DCUE.  That put a lot of pressure on Wonder Woman to succeed and I am glad to say it did. It is a very good movie without any knowledge of outside factors, knowing those factors only makes its success all the sweeter. Wonder Woman is likely not the best movie I am going to see this year, but it was very good.


DC Rebirth Month 3

Three months in and DC is still rolling out Rebirth titles. I think returns are diminishing, if only because DC has gotten past their bread and butter titles and are now into some of their more niche stuff. Still, while I could have easily passed on most of this month’s books, it did feature what may be the most successful Rebirth issue to come out thus far. Hopefully next months, which look to be more to my taste, will be all be like that.


Deathstroke Rebirth – The big draw here is Christopher Priest returning to DC Comics, now writing the adventures of DC’s best mercenary most famous for his inability to stop a group of teenagers. This rebirth issue kind of goes all over the place; with flashbacks to Slade with his kids as well him meeting with a client and couple of targets. It sets up Deathstroke as a real bastard, but a bastard that does care about some things. The preponderance of flashbacks and quick transitions leaves this issue feeling a little muddled, as though the creative team is trying to do much in the space allotted. The art by Carlo Pagulayan is nice enough, clean and clear but not far off the DC house style. The idea of family permeates the book, with Slade and his two sons being prominent, and what read like a fake out to me at the end when Slade rescues someone. It is a perfectly fine comic that gives the series a lot of ground that it could possibly explore.

Priest, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Jeromy Cox



Red Hood & The Outlaws Rebirth – I don’t know how Scott Lobdell still has a Red Hood book to write, but here is his third crack at it. While they are in the title, there is not so much as a mention of The Outlaws, this is a retelling of Jason Todd’s origin and a set up for his ongoing. It shows his recruitment, some training and his death at the hands of the Joker. Interspersed with that is him doing something that gets him a lot of credit with the villains in Gotham, with the intent of going undercover with them. Not a terrible set up for a book, though the dialogue and captions only ever rise to the level of being serviceable. Dexter Soy’s art is dark and scratchy, perfect at times for a Batman book, but not really my thing overall. This book was better than I expected, but only because I expected to hate it. It isn’t bad enough to hate, it’s just there. It really hurts this book that Nightwing is doing a similar plot and doing it better.

Scott Lobdell, Dexter Soy, Veronica Gandini



Suicide Squad Rebirth – This one was a bit of a surprise. DC has really struggled to get the Suicide Squad right since they brought it back with the New 52. Here, other than the built in parts that I will never like, it manages to work really well. The book pares things down to just three squad members: Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn and Deadshot. They are ruthless and irreverent. They have a high stakes but fairly perfunctory mission that perfectly illustrates what the team is. Mixed with that is Amanda Waller’s attempts to keep the team going, by bringing in someone the government can trust to be the field leader, which means the return of Rick Flagg. Waller spends the issue both talking up Flagg, to let the reader know who he is, and trying to sell Task Force X to him. This one issue doesn’t give a lot of room to flesh out characters, but it does give a good idea of what the five central ones are all about. I expected to hate the art, but Philip Tan’s usual second rate Jim Lee impression here is a first rate Jim Lee impression. Lee will be doing the art of the main book, and Williams wrote this to that style’s strengths. It is quippy and violent and dark and funny, but it also seems like it might have some thought going on behind it. It is pretty much everything one would want the Suicide Squad to be.

Rob Williams, Philip Tan, Jonathan Glapion, Scott Hanna, Sandu Florea, Alex Sinclair



Supergirl Rebirth – This book was great. It starts with clean, expressive art from Emanuela Lupacchino. Her stuff has always looked good, like the Supergirl run that closed out the last volume of this title. It is just so great. The story kind of moves things for Supergirl to be closer to the TV show, but not exactly the same and in a way that makes sense in the comics. This Kara is only 16, so the DEO hooks her up with a new set of parents: The Danvers. Same set up as the show, though no sister was mentioned in this issue. The issue itself is has Supergirl take a rocket ride to the sun to regain her powers at the same time that a Kryptonian Werewolf attacks the DEO. The way that Supergirl deals with the threat is perfect. As far as taking a character and giving her a new status quo, Supergirl Rebirth is about perfect. The Danvers are great, it brings in Agent Chase as the head of the DEO and is just an all around good time. If the main book keeps this tone and expands on this set up it will be a treat.

Steve Orlando, Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, Michael Atiyeh


Those are the Rebirth books for the month, minus Blue Beetle which will be in my next month’s box. Outside of the actual Rebirth titles, though, there were some new books that didn’t start with a special but with an actual #1. I’ve got some quick reviews for them here.

  • All-Star Batman 1 – A lateral move for Scott Snyder, who follows up his well-loved Batman run with new project All-Star Batman. This book has been sold on the idea that it is going to be spending a lot of time with the classic rogues gallery, who aside from Joker were largely absent from Snyder’s Batman run. This first issue was a lot of fun.
  • Batgirl 1– Also kind of spinning out of the Birds of Prey Rebirth, Batgirl has the titular character leave the Burnside neighborhood of Gotham, where her recent status quo was centered, to do some globetrotting training. Hope Larson shows a strong understanding of the character here and Raphael Albuquerque is always good; this is an absolute delight.
  • Harley Quinn 1 – Did you like the previous Harley Quinn series? Then you are in luck, because this is a new #1 because that’s what comics do, not because there is anything new here. I don’t mean to be harsh, I actually quite like Palmiotti & Conner’s work with the character, though I prefer the stuff when Harley has to share the focus (I love Harley Quinn & Power Girl). This is just more of good stuff we were already getting.
  • Superwoman 1 – This spins out of the Superman stuff, obviously. It is a well-executed comic, Phil Jimenez’s is great and the writing is good, but it feels a little like a cruel trick thanks to how DC sold the book. I don’t know how I feel about this book yet.

Last and probably least, I thought I would include a list of the titles I am sticking with three months into this little endeavor. The price has got me really thinning my list, and for once I feel like DC is putting out more good books than I care to read, instead of me buying a few mediocre titles for the writer or artist. Right now my pull list has Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow and Detective Comics for the books shipping twice monthly, with Nightwing being the most recent unfortunate casualty. As for the once a month titles, I am sticking with Batgirl, Supergirl, New Superman and, for now, Batgirl and Birds of Prey. That last one is likely the next to be gone, especially once some of my Marvel books come back from Civil War 2. Come back next month as I take a look at Batman Beyond Rebirth, Cyborg Rebirth, Teen Titans Rebirth and catch up with Blue Beetle Rebirth, as well as a handful of other fresh starts.

Comic Reviews April ’12 Part 1

One might notice that I tend to rate comics rather highly. That is because I only buy stuff I like, so nearly every thing I review is from a series I like. If a series consistently is of a quality that I would rate a C or lower, the odds are good I will not be buying it for much longer. On with the reviews.

  • Action Comics 8:  Morrison and Morales first arc finally comes to an end. This has been a bumpy start to the new Superman, but it been mostly good. This issue is probably the best since the first. Superman stops Brainiac, of course, and there is plenty of great moments for nearly the entire supporting cast. Morales’s art is the best its been on this title in this issue too. All in all just a great comic. A-
  • Animal Man 8:Animal Man continues to be completely amazing. Jeff Lemire is amazing, and Pugh’s art is almost as good as Foreman’s was. Maxine shows more of her new powers and after an issue off the terror ratchets back up again. I still don’t quite understand how a family/horror comic works, but it definitely does. A
  • Batgirl 8: Gail Simone seems to be nearly done wallowing in the aftermath of Alan Moore’s thoroughly mediocre Killing Joke, finally done dealing with its ramifications on Babs and there are signs of moving on. For this series so far Simone has seemed determined to make Babs’ return from as painful for readers as it was for the character, but anytime the focus goes elsewhere Simone is at her usual high quality. There are some good scenes between Barbara and her mother, and the return of a great new villain. This issue is mostly good. B-
  • Batman and Robin 8:  This has been the secret best Batman book of the relaunch. Batman gets all the accolades, but B&R has been just as good. Here we get the aftermath of Damian killing Nobody at the end of last issue, and amazingly it is intelligent and reasoned rather than loud and melodramatic. This is a quiet, recovery issue where we see that the realtionship between Bruce and Damian may be strained, but it isn’t broken and neither is either of them. Plus, Pat Gleason continues to be awesome. B
  • Batwoman 8:  The second arc of this series has not been anywhere near as good as the previous one. Partially it is the loss of JH Williams III on art, part it the scattered nature of the story it is trying to tell. I applaud Williams and Blackman trying to push themselves, but so far I would classify this as a failure. Reeder recently left the book due to creative differences, and I can’t say I’m sad to see her go. Her art is normally great, but here it has been inconsistent and kind of bad at times. I’ve read some reviews that blame it on the inker, but whatever it is, the art just doesn’t look as good as it should. C
  • Frankenstein Agent of SHADE 8:  I really do not likes Wong’s inks over Ponticelli’s pencils. Instead of looking distinct and scratchy, it merely looks bad. The story here is much more personal than anything in this series so far. Frank and Lady Frank go on the hunt for their child, who they presumed dead but is actually missing. We get to see what drove the wedge between Frankenstein and his Bride, as well as see the manipulations of Father Time start to turn on him. Frankenstein is just a great character. This is a great book. A
  • Green Arrow 8:  Another issue that is interesting if not particularly good. The big problem here is the art, which occasionally looks really good but often fails to tell the story effectively. It took me several reads to parse some of the pages. There is a lot of weird going on here, with hive-mind triplicates and genetic experiment and a midget with a sniper rifle. I’m sticking around for at least a few more issue to see how this turns out, but I don’t think I could recommend this with any conviction. C
  • Green Lantern 8:  I enjoyed the first arc of the relaunched Green Lantern, but this issue feels like the first time Johns has been on track since before Blackest Night. We are finally getting some answers about the Indigo Tribe, plus Hal actually uses his ring to make some constructs. Mahnke’s is great as always. I thought Johns might be running out of steam on this title, but now I think he is back on track. B+
  • Justice League International 8:  I still really like Lopresti’s art. It has a simply a good, classic superhero look. Too bad the story here is just so painful. There are a few nice character moments here, like the little bit between Guy and Ice, but mostly it is stupidity on top of gruesome stupidity. It is lingering on the desperate, “look at how extreme we are” blowing up of the whole team while setting up a cliché new bad guy and adding in pointless new teammates. Other than the nice art, JLI is an insultingly bad book. D
  • Kirby Genesis 6:  The only flaw in this issue is that it has been too long since the previous one. This series gets better and better. At first the sheer number of heroes and monsters popping up can seem bewildering, but other than some clearly defined major players, the rest are just there to show that this is a world gone made with crazy awesome ideas. The tenous alliance of villains is showing cracks, but they may have already won. Which of course they haven’t, but those are the stakes we are playing at here. The fact that these are largely Kirby’s rejected ideas just shows how many awesome stories he had to tell. A
  • Mega Man 12:  I love this series so much. This issue manages to cover the entire Wily’s Castle section of Mega Man 2. It is non-stop action that can’t help but put a smile on the face of anyone who is familiar with the game. It manages to tell a story that anyone can understand while also tossing out some nods to old school Mega Man fans. I especially love Guts Man angrily taking down the Guts Tank and Mega Man learning how great Metal Blades are. This is pure fun. A
  • Men Of War 8:  If this is a preview of what Frankenstein is going to be like when Matt Kindt takes over for Lemire, then I think the book is in good hands. This issue is downright manic. For better or worse this feels like 2 or 3 issues worth of story crammed into one. Frankenstein and GI Robot have a fairly generic superhero team-up, they meet and fight then join forces to take down a larger threat, but it is set against the backdrop of WWII. The only problem is that it is jittery, trying to cram so much in that it just jumps from scene to scene. Still, it is a hoot. B
  • Saga 2:  I’m not quite as sold on this as the rest of the comics reading world seems to be. I like it, but I don’t love it. Some of it feels like it is trying too hard to be clever. Again, though, I do like it. There is good chemistry between the two lead characters and as goofy as the names for the bounty hunters are, they are interesting at first glance. Still, this issue feels far too brief. It is over almost as soon as it starts. I’m still on board, probably for the long haul if Saga gels into a consistent tone. B
  • The Shade 7 (of 12):  James Robinson has been at his best with this series and he continues to be. The Shade allows him to let is sometimes verbose writing go, as it fits with the character. This is probably the weakest issue of the series so far; it is a bit unclear as to how exactly things go down at the end. Or maybe its just been too long since I read the last issue and I do not quite remember what was going on. Either way, it is still enthralling, if a bit foggy. A-

Comic Reviews for Early March

I have some more comics this week. Most of DC’s best stuff hits early in the month, so I have a load of good stuff from that company.

Action Comics 7
Morrison moves back to his Brainiac/Superman introduction story and it is a strong as it has been since the first issue. This young Superman is brash and a bit reckless, but he is still the character readers have loved for 80 years. Morrison’s take on Brainiac is as brilliant as one would expect. After a few months of great back-ups, this one is completely pointless. This title still feels like the deleted scenes from All-Star Superman, but even a pale shadow of the greatest Superman story is still pretty good. A-

Animal Man 7
Lemire is working wonders on this title, and doing it in a way completely different from the previous well-loved take on this character. Animal Man is somehow a family horror comic. The horror is never far from the front of this comic, only ever a few pages away, but there is still tons of true family moments, this has some nice ones between Buddy and his son Cliff. This issue is still in cool down mode after the frightful first arc, but it is no less entertaining. A

Kirby Genesis: Captain Victory 4
After last issue’s surprise attack, this issue of Captain Victory follows his aquatic lieutenant Orca as he tries to raise their ship from the ocean it crashed into. It is also an origin story for the character. There really isn’t much surprising or original, except for a micro-troop attack, in this issue but it was well executed. Still, it is largely enjoyable. C+

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 7
What a difference an inker can make. Not a good one in this case. No offense meant to Walden Wong, but he smoothes Ponticelli’s scratchy lines, making for a comic less appealing looking than either Ponticelli’s usual look or something more traditional. The story is still the same outrageous fun that its been from the start. The only problem is that the threat doesn’t really feel threatening, not after what Frank and the gang have dealt with. A-

Green Arrow 7
The addition of Ann Nocenti to this comic immediately elevates it to being worth reading. While I don’t think this issue is especially good, but it is interesting and intelligently written. The art isn’t quite as good, but I don’t hate it. New villains Skylark could go either way, but at least they are something fairly new and original. This isn’t the best start, but it is good enough to get me back for the next issue. C

Huntress 6
This was a 5 issue mini that went on for an issue too long. There is nothing really wrong with this comic, but there is really nothing too it. Huntress’s mission was wrapped up last issue and there aren’t really any loose ends. This is mostly a twenty page prologue for the upcoming Worlds’ Finest comic. Fortunately, this comic looks good enough that is still is a largely pleasant read. C-

Justice League International 7
Eughh. After six issues of turgid team building, Jurgens decides to blow it all up. Even Lopresti’s art can’t save this mess. Though there are a few moments that are redeeming, like Guy’s worrying over the injured Ice, but mostly is it a lot of death and destruction for no reason effectively erasing all the character work over the last six issues. I tried, I really did, but I’m done with this. I just can’t. D

Didio and Giffen’s romp through the Kirby created portion of the DC Universe, this time with a loose take on the Kamandi mythos. It is pure comics magic, even if the overall story is barely anything. It is sad that next issue is the last of this. Giffen’s art is very Kirby like, though it is not just a pastiche. This is the kind of story that only happens in comics, with talking Zoo animals and evil underground factories. Good stuff. B+

Saga 1
There is a lot of buzz about this comic right now, and I don’t really have anything to add. It is good. Not quite great I don’t think, but its well written with nice art. A good start to this magical sci-fi story. B

The Shade 6
In some cases I would be annoyed with a comic where the main character even admits that the current story has little to do with the main story. But the current side story in The Shade is so good that I can’t feel bad about it. Shade and his vampire daughter are still trying to track down the Inquisitor, La Sangre’s arch nemesis, in Barcelona. Robinson introduces more foreign superheroes and quickly and effectively sets up La Sangre’s status quo. Plus great art by Javier Pulido. I love this comic. A+

Swamp Thing 7
This vegetarian counterpart to Animal Man is still almost as good as that title. After nearly 7 full issues, Swamp Thing finally appears. Paquette’s art is amazing, as always, and Snyder is working his usual magic. Underneath all the creepiness, there is something of a love story brewing. Another one of DC’s best titles. B

The DCnU after 6

It has now been six months since the DC relaunch, time enough for the shock and the new car smell to wear off, time to get enough issues out to really assess the quality of all of the books. At this point I am relatively satisfied with DC’s offerings. Some of the books have been disappointing, but those books have been offset by a similar number of positive surprises. Because I hate myself, I guess, I … acquired … and read the first six issues of every single one of the New 52. Then I rated them from best to worst. Actually, I’m going to go over them in the opposite order.

52) Hawk and Dove: This series is a mess. I don’t know what hold Leifeld has over DC that they keep giving him books not just to draw but to write, but they really need to put a stop to it. This is an incoherent, ugly comic with absolutely nothing to recommend about it. The original writer Sterling Gates ducked out early, and it only got worse from its miserable first issue.

51)Batman: The Dark Knight: There are two legitimately good Batman books in the relaunch and even the pedestrian Detective Comics is much better than this pile. It seems to be an artist showcase for David Finch, which is baffling because his art is aggressively terrible. He is also writing, or co-writing later, and the story is a muddle. Avoid.

50) The Savage Hawkman: I’ll give the Savage Hawkman credit for at least having interesting, if not especially good, art. But the story is a jumbled mess and Hawkman is still as big a mess as ever. Continue reading

Comic Reviews for late November.

The Flash 3. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato.

Manapul’s and Buccellato’s Flash is one of the best titles to come out of DC’s New 52 initiative. The third issue further solidifies it among the very best books being published by ant company.

This issue picks up right where the last one left off, with Keystone and Central City in a mysterious blackout while the Flash ad his friend/partner Patty Spivot by to get to the bottom of a mystery involving Barry’s old friend Manual Lago.

The creators are telling their tale at a relaxed pace. Not that the Flash seems at all relaxed, he is in constant motion as the fastest man alive should be. However, they allow the central plot about Mob Rule and the blackout to move somewhat slowly as Flash deals with a multitude of smaller problems. Which allows the creators to experiment with how they show superspeed on the page.

That is where this book really shines. It is the perfect synthesis of art and writing. Better than any other comic out now, the Flash’s art and writing blend together to tell a story, which is what comics are supposed to do.


Daredevil 6. Mark Waid and Marcos Martin.

Another great comic is Waid’s and Martin’s Daredevil. Like Flash, the art is superb. Marcos Martin is leaving after this issue (I believe) and he will be missed, even with the equally skilled Paolo Rivera is coming back on. It blends perfectly with Waid’s story. Daredevil again faces off with Bruiser. And again the way they show how Daredevil’s radar-like vision works is perfect comics. Bruiser’s powers are interesting, as is how Daredevil finally defeats him.

I do have some qualms about the story. It just seems too easy. I’m sure that this story will continue in a satisfactory manner, I have faith in Waid, but here the story seems to end just because the issue is ending. Also, there is little to no time for Matt Murdock in this issue. Still, it is a great read.


Quick Reviews:

  • Aquaman 3. Johns and Reis. Really good superhero stuff. [****]
  • Herc 10. Pak, Van Lente and Hahn. Marvel’s great Hercules saga ends with a dull thud. [**]
  • All-Star Western 3. Gray, Palmiotti, Moritat and Bernet. Not as good as previous issues, but still not bad. [***1/2]
  • Fury of Firestorm 3. Simone, Van Sciver and Cinar. The art is fine, the story should be better from this team. [**]
  • Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist 1. Trautman and Indro. Flash’s origin doesn’t really get to the good stuff. [***]
  • The Shade 2. Robinson and Hamner. Robinson’s return to Opal continues to shine. [****½]




Rating the Relaunch

Its now three-ish weeks into the DC Relaunch and I guess its time for my take on the books released so far. I have read them all, and so far I’d call the relaunch a success. I’m going to give my take on all 27 of the books released so far with a brief review and a score from 1-10, going in alphabetical order because why not?

Action Comics.  Grant Morrison and Rags Morales.

The best book of the relaunch so far. Morrison gives us a significantly younger, less powerful Superman, as well as one who is more proactive. This issue moves at a frantic, frenetic pace, never really stopping to let the reader catch their breath. It is heavy on action but still manages to seed tons and tons of Superman stories to come. Most amazing is the fact that nearly throughout it all Superman is smiling. He may have a touch of Batman in his methods, but he isn’t dark and brooding. Just a great, great issue.

Animal Man. Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman.

Another truly great book. Lemire lays the ground work for an excellent horror tinged superhero family comic. Foreman’s sparse artwork complements it perfectly, especially in the terrifying dream sequence near the end. The only flaw, if there is one, is that it is pretty dense. Lemire uses an excerpt from a fake magazine interview to explain who Animal Man is that is as clumsy as it is effective. This is shaping up to be something different than the usual superhero fare and an excellent read.

Batgirl. Gail Simone and Ardian Syaf.

Gail Simone writes Barbara Gordon’s return to Batgirl, and walking, and it is something of a disappointment. This is not a strictly bad comic, but it is somewhat overwrought, especially that last page, and too focused on what came before. There is a tepid new villain and a potentially interesting roommate and some generic superhero action. Ardian Syaf’s art is adequate, at times very good but not consistently. Simone does occasionally tend to miss with her stories (though for every bad one there are 4 good ones) and I expect this comic to improve as it goes.

Batman and Robin. Peter Tomasi and Pat Gleason.

Pat Gleason’s art is wonderful. It is detailed and elastic and a touch gruesome. I think he might be better suited for a book with monsters, like his previous work on Green Lantern Corps or something like Frankenstein or Demon Knights, but it is always very good. Tomasi lays it on a bit thick, perhaps, but subtly is not always a virtue. This is a book that new readers should be able to pick up and quickly grasp the relationships between the characters. It is little more than a simple Batman story, but it is a very executed one.

Batwing. Judd Winick and Ben Oliver.

This is a basically new character and this first issue gives the reader no reason to care about him. Winick actually tells the us very little about Batwing and introduces a ridiculous (in a bad way) villain named Massacre. The story is just unappealing and unexceptional. Oliver’s art has great figure work, but it is severely lacking in background detail. This is a problem and the books main selling point is that it is Batman in Africa, but there is little in the art to cue the reader in to the exotic locale. This is simply not a very good book.

Batwoman. J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman.

This is the best looking book of the reboot. Williams art is fantastic, with inventive page layouts and stunning attention to detail. He changes the look of the book completely depending on whether Kate is being Batwoman or not. The story is also very good. It might read a little too much like the continuing adventures of Batwoman for some new readers, but since there is really only one previous Batwoman story and it is excellent this is no big deal. It does establish who Kate Kane and her friends are. Just another great book.

Deathstroke. Kyle Higgins and Joe Bennet.

This sure is a Deathstroke comic. Higgins effectively, save for some over-the-top early captions, establishes who Deathstroke is and what problem he faces. Bennet’s art is clean and effective. It is a violent comic, but that is a feature, not a bug. It is not to everyone’s taste, it is not to my taste, but it works as what it is. A comic about hired killer trying to prove he isn’t over the hill could be decent, but it is not really something I want to read. It does fill its niche with quite well, though.

Demon Knights. Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves.

Another good book. Cornell is setting up a swords and sorcery magnificent seven and it is highly entertaining. The cast quickly shows themselves, though there is barely time to establish the scene. Neves’ art occasionally looks sloppy, but there are some great facial expressions and some awesome dino-dragons. This issue is not quite as slum dunk as the concept, but it has the story moving forward and promises great things to come.

Detective Comics. Tony Daniel.

This is a bog standard, grim and gritty Batman comic. Tony Daniel tries to write like Frank Miller, not a bad goal, but doesn’t pull it off. His art looks really good for the most part, though. The problem is that this is mostly just a Batman versus Joker story, something that even people who don’t read comics have seen a thousand times, and a not particularly good one. It ends with a gruesome surprise, but it doesn’t feel like something that will stick. This is a bad issue.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli

Here Lemire sets up a science action team made of monsters lead by Frankenstein. He throws idea after idea on the page in the perfect Kirby fashion. This is an efficient and effective introduction. We meet the team, same as the Flashpoint mini-series plus a mummy, and get right down to the monster killing. Ponticelli’s art is scratchy and wobbly and a perfect look for the book. Big on action and on craziness, this is exactly the kind of book I like to read.

Green Arrow. J.T. Krul and Dan Jurgens.

This is a dull issue. Green Arrow has been nearly entirely rebooted. He is now much younger and more James Bond than Robin Hood. To go with this new look Green Arrow, we have art that is decidedly old fashioned. Jurgens work is not bad, but it looks like a book from the early to mid 80’s. An odd fit for a new take on an old character. The story is not bad, it is a simple superhero story. It is nice to have some of those, but this is not particularly interesting. Though I doubt Green Arrow fans will be happy with this new take, maybe the emerald archer will find some new life with this not uninteresting set-up.

Green Lantern. Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke.

This might as well be Green Lantern issue 68, since nothing changes from before. Just like at the end of the War of the Green Lanterns crossover, Hal Jordan has lost his ring and Sinestro has returned to the Green Lantern Corps. Two thirds of the issue is inept mess Hal on Earth, realizing that without his ring he is a horrible screw up and the other third is Sinestro’s adventures in space. Mahnke’s art is amazing, as always. He makes the unreal aliens that make up much of the cast look as real as the people. This is not a fresh new take, but it is still really good. Johns’ Green Lantern work has faltered occasionally, but this is a return to from.

Grifter. Nathan Edmonson and Cafu.

Instead of writing a good mystery in this issue, Edmonson wrote a dull one confusingly. It is not a complex story, but it is told in a way to make it hard to understand, all disjointed and out of order. The art is simply adequate. There is just not a lot to recommend here. It could develop into something interesting, a man fighting monsters only he can see, but this first issue is a mess.

Hawk and Dove. Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld.

I don’t have the somewhat comical, hateful reaction that most of the internet seems to have to Rob Liefeld’s art, but neither do I like it that much. It is not so much stylized as sloppy. With him on it, I don’t think I was ever going to like this book. It doesn’t help that it was written to deliberately play to Liefeld’s strengths and not, it seems, to tell a good story. It is also odd that Hawk and Dove seem to have come through the relaunch completely unchanged, despite not being a particularly fresh concept. This is probably a treat for Liefeld fans, but it is mostly a mess.

Justice League. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.

The only problem with this comic is outrageous expectations, a problem DC brought on itself. Unlike nearly every other book, Justice League is an origin story. It is going show how the Justice League came to be. It might have been more effective to show the whole league in action, but I don’t see any reason to complain about the book being something it is not. Lee’s art is the same genre defining art it has been for 20 years, and Johns plays this issue a little more slowly than usual. Probably a bit too slowly. Batman and Green Lantern are the only members in most of the book, and their interactions ring true. GL is reckless and overconfident and Batman is more than a little dismissive, though he seems to see the advantage of the powers GL possess. This is not an outstanding issue, but it is a good one.

Justice League International. Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti.

Jurgens’ writing is a bit ham-fisted, with some clumsy team building pages and some nonsense about protesters outside the Hall of Justice, but the plotting is mostly tight. It sets up a varied cast for a U.N. controlled team that might not be under control for long. Lopresti is a terrific artist, and the book is bright, colorful and expressive. Maybe it is my attachment to these characters, but I am inclined to like this book.

Legion Lost. Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods.

Legion Lost indeed. The Legion of Superheroes, DC’s super teens from the future, has a reputation for being impenetrable. Whether that is generally true or not, it is true for this issue. It is hectic and poorly explained and downright confusing. Pete Woods are is nice, but looks unfinished on some pages. There is the seed of a good series here, with heroes from the future being stuck in the past, but it needs to slow down and breathe.

Men of War. Ivan Brandon and Tom Derenick. Jonathan Vankin and Paul Winslade.

This issue introduces the reader to the new Sgt. Rock, grandson of the old Sgt. Rock. The concept her is solid, soldiers dealing with the wake of superheroes. The execution is also solid if not particularly great. This book simply lack oomph. This first issue doesn’t really take advantage of either its war book setting or its superhero connection. It just sort of is.

Mr .Terrific. Eric Wallace and Gianluca Gugliotta.

This is an intriguing but sloppy first issue. I am fond of Gugliotta’s art, but some panels and figures just seem off. The plotting is good, with a nice balance of action and world building, but the dailogue is sloppy. I am going to give Wallace the benefit of the doubt that this was supposed to have a snarky tone, but that is not effectively communicated. Everyone in the book seems like an asshole. If it finds a consistent tone this could be a really good book. This issue was simply okay.

O.M.A.C. Dan Didio and Keith Giffen.

This is simply wall to wall action.  Office drone Kevin Kho is turned into a monster but the mysterious Brother Eye then tears his way through Cadmus Labs until he finds and destroys what he is looking for.  It is a Kirby homage that throws as many of the Kings DC ideas into the book as possible. Giffen’s art captures Kirby’s energy. It is pure fun for 20 pages. There isn’t much that isn’t fighting some kind of crazy science creation, but there doesn’t need to be.



Red Lanterns. Peter Milligan and Ed Benes.

If the whole issue was like the opening I would have rated this issue much higher. The absurd and gleeful violence in this book is entertaining. Milligan plays it so close to satire but doesn’t quite go over that line. It is definitely self aware, but not mocking the concept. Benes provides his usual trashy but competent art, which looks much better when there are blood vomiting cats on the page than absurdly sexualized aliens. If it didn’t end with overwrought Earth violence and a backstory explaining soliloquy from Atrocitus this could have been a really good issue.

Resurrection Man. Danny Abnet and Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino.

This book seems perfectly crafted to not appeal to me. The art isn’t necessarily bad, but it is dark and scratchy I just find it off-putting. The main characters power is interesting, that he dies and comes back to life with a new power, but we don’t learn much about him besides that. The fact that he is wanted by both the forces of Heaven and Hell is not a plus, that doesn’t interest me in the slightest. This whole issue is dull and faux edgy.

Static Shock. John Rozum and Scott McDaniel.

This is an effective attempt to horn in on Marvel’s Spider-Man market. Rozum and McDaniel do a good job of mixing superheroics and family time while still communicating who Static is.  The villain team isn’t anything that interesting, but whatever.  The art is stylized and fit’s the story and character. My only problem is that I don’t particularly care for Spider-Man, let alone knock-off electic Spider-Man.

Stormwatch. Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda.

I expected better from Cornell. Sepulveda’s art looks rushed and sloppy, but it al least has a nice style. The writing, though, does little but clumsily introduce the cast. It is a good concept, though it doesn’t seem to be the same as the Wildstorm version was, though they share many characters. I know by issue 3 they are going to be fighting the moon, but this first issue is just clumsy.

Suicide Squad. Adam Glass and Federico Dallocchio.

No book got a more negative pre-realease reaction than Suicide Squad. Between the ill-advised character redesigns to the interviews with the writer that suggest a complete misunderstanding of the characters and concept, it seemed like this book would be a stinker. And it is. The art is inconsistent at best and the story is ugly and nasty and poor. There is nothing to recommend here.

Superboy. Scott Lobdell and R.B. Silva.

Superboy is another character who got a complete reboot. He, however, seems to be coming back exactly as he was when he first arrived. This issue is dense. It may be only 20 pages, but it covers much more ground than most of the other titles. Superboy is a lab experiment, with no morals because he has had no experiences. It is as much about the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. lab that he was made in than Superboy himself. Silva’s art is clean and expressive; it looks really nice. The only problem I can see is that it seems to tie in to Teen Titans, which looks terrible.

Swamp Thing. Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette.

Scott Snyder’s first book of the relaunch is something of a disappointment. Not that it isn’t good, it is, but because I was expecting great, which it wasn’t. There just isn’t much here. Too much time is spent trying to reconcile and recap Swamp Things history and not enough time is spent on the actual story. The story that is started and teased is intriguing, but it is unfortunate that in a comic titled Swamp Thing, Swamp Thing doesn’t appear until the last page. Paquette’s art is really good, though. This is a good start, but not a great one.

There are my thoughts on the first half of DC’s New 52. Most of the books I was really looking forward to have already come out, but there are still several good looking ones on the horizon. Wonder Woman looks great, as do Batman and Aquaman. While I have no idea what the writing will be like, I can say for sure that The Flash will be a good looking book, possibly challenging Batwoman for the best art of the relaunch. See ya later, space cowboys.