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Saturday, September 10, 2011

The New 52: Week 2!

I also thought it'd be fun to say a word or two (or a hundred) about some of the other New 52 books I picked up this week--even if they don't have anything to do with Aquaman!

sgFirst up, appropriately enough, is Action Comics #1--it feels weird even typing that!

I had no intentions of picking up any of the Superman books. While I have nothing against the Man of Steel, its just been so long since I read a really captivating Superman comic that I had sort of given up on the whole Superman corner of the DCU.

But I heard lots of good, even great, things about Grant Morrison's take on the early days of Superman, and I was glad I did!

Morrison consciously and conspicuously returns Supes to his earliest days--that of the warrior for the common man, unafraid to take on authority to do what he perceives as right. It was really fun to see this old/new take on Kal-El, and I actually liked it enough to probably pick up the next issue. A welcome surprise.

sgNext is Animal Man #1, written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Travel Foreman and Dan Green, who give the book a unique, almost ragged, look.

Lemire reintroduces us to the affable Buddy Baker, via a very clever opening device, and the book keeps you constantly off-guard. As you can tell from the cover, this version of Animal Man leans more towards the horror corner of the new DCU, and this book doesn't really look like something the "old" DC would have put out.

There's a nightmarish feel to the whole thing (even before Buddy starts bleeding out the eyes!) that worked well in this context. I'll mostly likely be back for the second issue, since this was a good start.

sgFinally, I also read the first issue of the new Batgirl series. Behind this beautiful cover by Adam Hughes, we are introduced to the new/old Batgirl: Barbara Gordon, no longer paralyzed and in the role of Oracle.

I'm not sure how I feel about putting Babs right back to square one, being Batgirl again, after they did such a good job making her her own character again, in a completely different role. From what little I saw, DC generally treated Barbara Gordon's paralysis with care and dignity, so it was almost startling seeing her so ably kick bad guy butt here.

There's some good action here, some fun new villains, and a good amount of humor. Again, I don't know if I'll be compelled enough to keep buying the book after this, but I'd consider it. But I do wonder: do we need Batgirl and Batwoman titles?

sgI also picked up Men of War #1, one of the books I was most interested in because it was not, as far as I knew, a superhero book, a nice change of pace I thought.

I had heard this was a modern updating of Sgt. Rock, and while that's usually a recipe for disaster, I was willing to give this book a shot, since I've always liked Rock and Easy Co.

Turns out Men of War isn't so much a reboot as a sequel--it opens with young Cpl. Joseph Rock, grandson of the famous WWII hero--being chewed out by a superior, insisting he's too much of a leader to remain just a grunt. Later, Rock and some others head into the desert on a mission, and then some sort super-powered character arrives, tearing up the place!

Now, I realize that Sgt. Rock
was long considered part of the DCU, but most of the time the character existed in its own little corner, rarely visited by superheroes and the like. So seeing a superhero element introduced so quickly into this book's universe was jarring, and it took me right out of the story. I was willing to try a modern-day Sgt. Rock, but this a bit too far afield for my tastes.

The book does feature a back-up strip, Navy Seals, by Jonathan Vankin and Phil Windslade (a perfect choice for material like this), which was more more in the vein of what I hoped
Men of War would be; a no-nonsense, gritty war strip. I can't say whether I liked it well enough to keep buying the book just for that reason, especially at $4 a pop(!). I guess I'll decide this time next month!

sgFinally there's OMAC #1, another title I had no intention of getting until I read some complimentary things about it.

In a strange way, I think I enjoyed OMAC the most of all the New 52 books--and that includes Justice League--because it seems to come from the most singular vision, at least of the books that I read this week.

That might seem an odd description, since the book is a collaboration between Keith Giffen and Dan Didio, and the whole thing is one giant alt-version of Jack Kirby's original creation.

But reading it, I didn't get the sense that Giffen and Didio gave a damn whether anyone found this book marketable or not, they're just gonna go ahead and do OMAC the way they want. And that made it fun to read. I don't think for a moment OMAC will last, but I'll enjoy it while its around!

So, what did you all read this week?

For Further Reading: Check out F.O.A.M.er Siskoid's lengthy and considered reviews of all this week's New 52 books over on his blog, Siskoid's Blog of Geekery!


Joe Slab said...

WOW! rob!

We are in sync on the New 52 thus far! I was blown away by how much I enjoyed OMAC (a character I care little about by a writer whose last series I thought was awful) and in fact, would say that OMAC #1 is my favorite thus far from the New 52 offerings, and yes that includes JUSTICE LEAGUE too!

I enjoyed Batgirl but was not captivated by any sense of the word.

I found Green Arrow to be a "Smallville-ized" disappointment and am not engaged by this new personality-less Oliver Queen.

Can't wait until next week when we do Round 3 on the Aquaman Shrine!

Designer Daddy said...

Sorry, but I can't get past OMAC's laser-mohawk-thingie to even consider reading that title. Plus it still looks very Kirby-esque — and while I appreciate his contribution to comics, I've never liked his drawing style.

rob! said...

Hmm, this really throws cold water on my MohawkedHeroesShrine blog idea...

Wings1295 said...

I am waiting for my comics to all arrive in one, big, end-of-month shipment. Sigh.

I did get Bionic Man #1 last week and enjoyed that, a lot!

Designer Daddy said...

Haha! Sorry to rain on your parade, Rob. But who would all be included in this new Shrine besides OMAC? Storm? Nuklon? I don't know of any others.

rob! said...

Mr. T!