Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Comic Quickies: Welcome to the DCnU part 1

With DC comics spitting out 52 new titles this month, there's a lot to talk about in the comics world.  The problem with all these "new" titles, is figuring out which ones are worth reading.  For the most part, I had no problem saying "no fucking way" to the majority of "the new 52" but nostalgia, curiosity, and some great creative teams have peaked my interest enough to get me to add seven titles to my pull list, along with a handful of other titles that'll be getting the ol' flip check in store.

So without further ado, I give you part 1 of my DCnU Comic Quickies...

Action Comics #1: If you're a long-time reader of the blog, you'll know that I loved Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All Star Superman enough to name it one of my top 5 graphic novels of the year last year.  If you aren't long time reader, well, that's ok too.

Anyway, when I saw that Grant Morrison would once again be writing Superman, my inner nerd went wild.  Now, I'm not in any way a Superman fan.  I never even liked the guy that much as a kid.  He always struck me as far too over powered, and boring.  However, Morrison has this crazy knack for making Superman interesting.  Interesting to the point that he made me love a comic about Superman.  Believe me, that takes some skill.

So, how was Action Comics #1?  I was not let down.  The comic starts with Supes literally sniffing out corruption and dealing out some steel justice in a rather Batman-like way.  From there we learn that this is a story about Superman's early days in Metropolis, before all his powers come to full fruition.  The Man of Steel is more Man of Suspicious Interest as he's pursued by police, and plotted against by the government who enlist the help of Lex Luthor.

I got the feeling that Morrison is trying to take a back-to-basics approach to Superman, where he is truly a man of the people, fighting for those who can't fight for themselves.  That concept came across well here, and it is a concept I can definitely get behind.

Yeah, Superman's "costume" looks a little bit off with the patched jeans, and shoes he borrowed from Goofy, but I liked that he's a bit powered down.  I actually found myself caring about his safety and health a couple times, which is a new thing for me.

The art, which is handled by Rags Morales, was a bit hit or miss for me.  I think I read somewhere that Superman is supposed to be about 5 years younger than the JLA Superman here, but there were a few panels where he looked downright old.  Like, in his 50's.  Aside from that, I can't really complain, Morales' art is competent, but not astounding.

Aside from writing Superman in such a way that made me care about the guy and take interest, Action Comics #1 was also just a great fucking comic.  From start to finish it was a spellbinding read, and was easily my favorite, and least flawed, title I've read so far from the new 52.

Animal Man #1:  I was initially interested in Animal Man because it's written by Jeff Lemire, a guy who is right up there as one of my very favorite comic writers.    That initial interest skyrocketed when I got a good look at Travel Foreman's cover and some of the interior art.

That interest and excitement waned considerably once I got the actual comic in my hands and flipped open to the first page of art to see flat, texture-less, unattractive art.  This style prevailed for about two thirds of the issue while Animal Man, A.K.A. Buddy Baker is going about his usual family man/costumed hero day.  However, after an intense hostage situation at a children's hospital, where we get a glimpse at Buddy's powers, Buddy returns home, goes to bed, and proceeds to have one hell of a nightmare.

The dream sequence, is quite easily, some of the coolest art I've seen in comics.  It's got everything from rivers of blood, to fleshy disembodiment, to strange talking beasts.  This dream sequence leads to an intense real-world moment for Buddy and his family, and finishes off the first issue with a solid shocker of an ending.

After this first issue, I'm firmly on the fence with Animal Man.  If Foreman had been able to bring the thunder all issue long, and deliver 20 pages of great art, rather than 4 pages of great art, I'd be heaping praise on what is a well written comic, but for my money, is lacking consistency in the art department.

Detective Comics #1:  Without a doubt, Batman is my favorite superhero.  Probably because there is nothing "super" about him, he's just a regular guy, albeit incredibly fit, and a touch crazy.  Ever since I've returned to comics as an adult, I've been hoping for an opportunity to jump onto some Batman titles and read the adventures of my childhood hero.  That opportunity never presented itself, at least not without me having to read a few graphic novels worth of key back story from the last decade or so of Bat-history, until the relaunch.  Once the relaunch was announced, I immediately signed up for the two key Bat-titles, Detective Comics and Batman, to be added to my pull list.

Of the those two titles, I'm less excited about Dectective Comics mostly because Tony S. Daniel handles both the writing and the art.  I'd flip-checked some of his past bat-work and never been all that impressed with either his writing or his art.  I figured I'd give it a shot though, especially considering how much I've been wanting to read some Batman the last couple years.

The comic itself turned out to be a pretty solid, if somewhat standard Batman comic.  It's got all the usual Bat-stuff you've seen hundreds of times, like Batman sprinting/jumping/bat-grappling from roof top to roof top, Batman driving the batmobile through holograms into the bat-cave, Batman engaging in some banter with Alfred, Batman talking with Gordon, Batman disappearing on Gordon mid-sentence while his back is turned, and so on...I almost felt like Daniel was filling out a checklist of necessary, cliched bat-moments while interspersing them into the story.

The story, though somewhat juvenile, is pretty interesting; It deals with the Joker, so that is an instant plus, and has a pretty gruesome and shock factor-ish ending which could potentially lead to some cool plot lines down the road.  I don't want to be too hard on Daniel, his art in this issue is pretty strong, and reminiscent of Frank Miller's Dark Knight Batman art.  The writing is pretty decent too, I just think I hold any Batman comic to pretty high standards, and this one didn't quite reach those heights.  I'm definitely excited to see more of what Dectective Comics has to offer, but slightly on the fence about his title.


San Mateo carpet cleaning said...

Thank you for spending some time and sharing this information with all of us. It was in fact very beneficial and insightful.

Ryan said...

Cool, glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully it'll get you reading some great comics!

societe hk said...

The problem with all these "new" titles, is figuring out which ones are worth reading.

Ryan said...

The answer to that is: Not many. 6 months later, and I'm now down to two DCnU titles: Batwoman and Batman.

Yakima County Jail said...

Very efficiently written post. It will be useful to anybody who usess it, including me. Keep up the good work. I can’t wait to read more posts.