Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 13

November 29th, 2011 by | Tags: , , ,

The third full month of DC’s New 52 experiment comes to a close and I’m going to take my last look at the lineup for a little while. Coincidentally, I don’t have much of a choice in taking a break from writing about the New 52 as this coming week has zero books from the reboot being released. I don’t mean zero books that I’m following. I mean absolutely none of the 52 titles altogether.

First of the week is All-Star Western by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Moritat and Jordi Bernet. It’s a rather odd issue, as the Gotham Butcher storyline almost takes a bit of a break. The good guys win, almost a little too easily and once the villains get back at our heroes, Hex simply shrugs it off and leaves it behind for the next story. Obviously, the plot threads will stay in the background, ready to come back at a moment’s notice… at least, it better. I am noticing as the comic goes further that Hex is essentially Frank Castle in the DC Universe, only in a different time. Same personality, only he uses his bounty hunter persona to feed his need to kill those who need it rather than devoting himself to his own never-ending war.

The backup was so uninteresting it’s shocking. El Diablo fighting zombies turns into a brief confrontation with a Native American antagonist, some arguing between the main characters and then it simply ends. I can’t believe they pissed away all the good will from the first installment. I’m still enjoying the main story enough that I’ll endure the extra buck and check out the next backup. Just as long as Arkham isn’t completely pushed away from the story. I like him. Sticking.

Aquaman by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis continues its strong run. It does a lot of decent world-building, while holding onto the fun gimmick that few take Aquaman seriously. Even when he proves himself a bit, the reaction is just slightly better, but still condescending. Not only are our villains given some more background, but we’re introduced to a new (?) villain of sorts in Mr. Shin, whose appearance only brings potential to upcoming stories. Will he rise as a threat or remain a bitter and sad man? What was he talking about when he brought up Aquaman’s trident? What’s that stuff going on on the side of his neck?

I think this has potential to be one of the top three best New 52 comics when all is said and done. Going to stick.

Continuing the stream of good comics, we have Flash by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. It’s so fitting that the comic is so good because I’ve never seen a Flash comic go so fast. Lot of different things going on here, but it’s over before you know it. That’s not such a bad thing, as each panel is strong on its own and no motion feels wasted. The threat of the series thus far, Mob Rule, is fleshed out a bit more and we’re promised the return of the Rogues sooner than later. Most importantly, we have this completely beautiful art. Just look at this layout.

Definitely continuing to stick with this run.

Green Lantern: New Guardians by Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham and Harvey Tolibao is a strange series. It doesn’t feel like its own thing, but a Green Lantern Corps storyline that they decided to give its own comic. I still don’t even truly know what the comic is about outside of Kyle Rayner, some Lantern representatives and some rings. That said, we’re getting some Orange Lantern action and I love that part of the recent Lantern mythos. I’m going to keep it on probation, but stick with it to see what’s up with Larfleeze and maybe the series will actually explain its identity for once.

I do have to admit that one of the things keeping me around is the possibility of the Oans getting their comeuppance. Finally.

I, Vampire by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino continues to be the biggest surprise of the New 52. Now that the threat and enough of the backstory has been explained through the first two issues, we’re finally given some expansion on our protagonist as he recruits an old human friend of his and allies himself with a young girl who happens to hunt vampires. A lot of it is exposition, but it’s enough of a change of pace that I don’t mind it. Most important is the cliffhanger, where Andrew’s buddy John mentions that killing Andrew would most likely end the vampire threat completely and that in itself is something he may have to resort to. Another issue that feels too short, but what the hell. I liked it. Stick.

Finally, Justice League Dark by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin. I’m sad to say, but this series has lost its hold on me. The potential is definitely there, but there’s nothing in there to keep me in place. As it is right now, I don’t care enough about the villain and whatever bad things are happening. Hell, I can’t even really describe what it is that’s happening or why other than, “Enchantress is evil.” The team is still too loose, which I guess is the point, but there’s just not enough substance to keep my interest. Sadly, I have to drop this series.

And that’s the end of the road for now. I figure a chart would work quite nicely right about now. After all, I gave all 52 books a fair shake and acted lenient on quite a few. Here’s what the past 13 weeks have given us.

30 comics I’m still checking out, 32 if you count the miniseries for Huntress and Shade. Looking over the list of stuff in October, I picked up 22 different Marvel comics (I’m not counting comics that came out twice that month). I’m sure the number of DC titles will drop when I get tired of them and deem a couple no longer worthy of keeping up on, but that’s a damn good jump. Remember, when I started this experiment, I said that I was down to about 6-7 DC titles in total. Now here I am, buying more DC than Marvel. Not that it means everything. Truth be told, I find myself reading most of those Marvel titles first, as I have more interest in them as a whole, but this can definitely be seen as a success on DC’s part. I figure in a couple months, I’ll revisit this and see what I’m keeping up with, what I dropped and why.

We’ll see if DC can keep up the momentum.

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2 comments to “Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 13”

  1. I thought this “Aquaman” was slow and it was a drag on the momentum of the series, but this is Geoff Johns, and I recognize he is setting things up for later. Good catch on Shin’s neck, I didn’t notice that. The guy’s got to become a threat or else there’s no point in setting him up; I see him becoming a mad scientist in the employ of Ocean Master or maybe Black Manta.

    My guess on “New Guardians” is, if Ganthet was stripped of his emotions, they had to go somewhere, so they went into rings that sought out Kyle for protection. This will make it easier to restore Ganthet, probably.

  2. I’m actually reading less DC now than I was before.