Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 8

October 25th, 2011 by | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Another week has gone by and once again, I have my plate full. Last month, I dropped Blue Beetle, Legion of Superheroes and Red Hood and the Outlaws. From what I hear from those who have read those, I made the right decision. That leaves ten comics to read and review.

First is Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, which may no longer tie in with Nightwing. It’s hard to tell, since their “Dick Grayson is a killer” plots appear to be moving in different directions. Still, it’s the best Bat-book of the relaunch by far. Snyder’s Batman seems to embrace just enough sci-fi gadgetry, high-octane action and dickery without going too overboard. I really dug his moment of confronting Nightwing about the suspicions that he was involved in a murder. He takes Dick’s explanation at face value, which makes it seem like a trust moment where he’s cool because they’re family… only we find out that Bruce is a bit of a cock (calling him a dick in presence of Dick doesn’t sound right) and didn’t trust him all that much after all. Dick, used to all of this, plays it off like it’s the usual Bruce thing, but even Bruce seems a little disappointed in himself.

“Yes, I’m a jerk. I know.”

The main story is moving along well enough and I’m cautiously optimistic about the possibilities of the new mayor hopeful character. Of course, I won’t know more about what he’s all about until the next issue. Most definitely sticking.

Birds of Prey by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz isn’t so much a bad comic as it’s just weak. I kind of like it, but there’s nothing especially strong about it. There wasn’t too much in terms of strength of the last issue either. It’s cute and I can easily see the potential in the characters, but it’s in this strange middle area. Nothing about it offends me, but nothing about it has me super excited. I’m going to go probation style on this one. Sticking, but I need something to latch onto by the next one or I’m done.

Captain Atom by J.T. Krul and Freddie Williams II is a very strange book. I like the old version of Captain Atom. He’s a good guy and is strong enough to face down someone like Superman, but he lacks the warm, human charm in his actions. He’s just a military dude who does what he thinks is right and has that cool metal shell gimmick going for him. Krul’s Captain Atom has very little to do with that Captain Atom. Or maybe he does. I don’t know. In two issues, we’ve yet to really get into his head all that much. He’s still just a superhero who appears to have zero off time because he’s an energy being.

I was ready to drop the book, but then it hit me. Around the time of Captain Atom actually curing a kid of his tumor (which is usually a big comic no-no), I finally understood what this series is really about. When you think back, DC’s incarnation of Ted Kord really picked up in popularity when he became out of shape and kind of pathetic. Just like Nite-Owl, his Watchmen counterpart. The Question didn’t become as much of a household name until Justice League Unlimited portrayed him as a competent nutjob with a penchant for conspiracy theories, much like his Watchmen counterpart. THAT is what this is all about.

Captain Atom by J.T. Krul is a comic about Dr. Manhattan in the DCU. Sure, he’s still a soldier instead of a scientist in his origin and he isn’t without emotion, but he’s got the same level of omnipotence and currently has more to do with Manhattan than his pre-reboot self. I have to admit, the idea of seriously doing a Dr. Manhattan comic has me curious. I’m 90% sure it’s going to be a total trainwreck and Krul has yet to change my mind so far, but I can’t look away just yet. Besides, Williams’ art is really nice. Sticking but probably not for long.

The ever-so-controversial Catwoman by Judd Winick and Guillem March continues on. Most of it I didn’t mind. In fact, I really enjoyed the scene of Bruce Wayne flirting with Selina where you can’t tell how much of it is truly an act. A lot of it was okay. Then there’s the ending where they kill off her only supporting character for the sake of introducing her Outsider-knockoff villain Bone. Right there, my interest in the title screeched to a halt. Unlike dreck like Captain Atom and Fury of the Firestorms, there’s nothing in here that makes me want to see what happens next. Despite all the sexy stuff, what kept me going was the fun aspect of it all. Even when she gets out of this scrape, I can’t see the fun factor recovering too easily from having the only non-Bat friend in the comic being taken out. I don’t care about grittiness. I want swashbuckling. Dropping this series.

DC Universe Presents by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang picks up where the last one ended nicely enough, but then goes into a completely unexpected direction. It seems strange to be taken aback by the idea of a ghost interacting with other ghouls, but I guess we’ve just hit the ground running after a comparatively slow first issue. It’s a pretty great exhibition of how fun his powers are when you go crazy with it. I feel like the vampire interludes and all that helped liven up the story so far that even when we get what’s supposed to be a downer cliffhanger, I don’t feel so bad because I just got to see a ghost do stand up. Going to stick with this baby.

I’ve been sticking with Green Lantern Corps by Peter J. Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin from before the reboot and I plan to stick with it for the time being, but that was NOT one of their better issues. I’m hoping this isn’t a downward trend. Isamot still rules, though.

We get the return of Justice League by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, the reboot’s big spear into the new age. This is a far stronger issue than the first one, giving us a hero vs. hero fight between a Superman too raw in the game to show restraint and a Green Lantern too stubborn to know when to fall back. I kind of want to see Green Lantern try to take another shot at Superman somewhere down the line. I love the idea that he’s pissy over not being king shit in the DCU. The makeshift team feels pretty organic so far, so it’s going to be interesting to see how Wonder Woman and Aquaman round things out. The very discussion between Vic Stone and his father about how worthless human sports are in the coming days of supermen has me very curious on how Johns is going to define this version of Cyborg. I have a feeling he’s going to be very similar to Captain America, tethered to his humanity despite his heightened status.

This comic really feels like the pepped up event series it needs to be, so I’m going to stick.

Nightwing by Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows titles the issue Saiko Killer and naming your book after the catchiest of Talking Heads songs is a good way to get into my graces. While not very developed yet, I do like Saiko’s design and he has the makings of a strong rogue. The comic is pretty much split into two things. Nightwing vs. Saiko acts as the bread of the sandwich and it’s pretty damn cool. The middle half of it is exposition development that appears to be for shaping the series’ status quo. That is, if Dick Grayson owning the circus lasts longer than six issues. It could be a good way to differ this series from Bruce’s books and give it its own identity outside of the smug street fighting and acrobatics. It still hasn’t hit its stride as much as I’d like, but I’m confident in what’s been given to us so far. Sticking on this.

If you haven’t read Supergirl by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Mahmud Asrar, but checked out yesterday’s installment of This Week in Panels, you know what the comic is about. Never has the cover been so accurate as to the contents of the inside comic book. Supergirl punches Superman, Superman tells her to chill the fuck out and repeat. In-between the beat of knuckles, we get some moments where we either learn scraps about Kara or watch her learn about herself. I mean, if we’re going to get two issues of decompressed story where Supergirl learns about powers we know she has, why not have her fight mechs and Superman while she does it? With Asrar’s pen on art, there are certainly worse fates. I’m going to stick on this for another go. Three issues of Supergirl in a row? This is easily a record for me.

Lastly, it’s Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. It moves really fast and admittedly doesn’t give us much on our title character, but it’s those around her who get their moments. Zola herself only shows up briefly, but she’s portrayed as pretty likeable with hopefully a long future to hold onto. I’ve never really read a Wonder Woman series, but from all accounts, she’s only as strong as the supporting cast. So far, that appears to be a good sign. I’m going to stick on this one. I’m enjoying the world-building so far.

I only dropped one this week, meaning I’m down to a pull list of 35. Looking at last month’s go at the final batch of #1s, I have a strong feeling that this coming week will cause me to drop comics like flies.

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2 comments to “Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 8”

  1. After reading one of his novels recently, thanks to Amazon’s Kindle Deal of the Day, I don’t think I’d want to touch a comic written by Duane Swierczynski. The book was just so ludicrously stupid in so many ways…

  2. About Bruce having checked out Dick’s whereabouts rather than trust him … nothing dickish about that, in a world of demonic possession, mind-control lipstick, clones, multiversal counterparts, and so on. You have to make sure or else you’re not Batman. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bruce had done due diligence with complete faith that, whatever he found, it certainly wouldn’t be Dick Grayson committing murder.