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Saturday, October 01, 2011

The New 52: Week 5!

The final debut week of the New 52 had some other books worth saying a few words about, as well, so let's do a quick review of the stuff I picked up...

sgOf all the New 52 books, I think I liked All-Star Western the best. It transplants Jonah Hex into a new situation, but nothing as drastically removed as, say, the 1980s Hex series.

In this series, Jonah is a sort of bounty hunter in Gotham City (shades of the movie--is that a good idea?), hired to find a serial killer. And while some of Bat-references get a little heavy (the names "Wayne" and "Cobblepot" show up on one page, as if no new families have entered Gotham in the last century), I found the story involving and fast moving. Jonah is still recognizably the bad ass cowboy we've come to know and love, but writers Gray and Palmiotti are trying something a little different, which I appreciated.

And as much as I loved the story, I was thrilled by the art, by someone simply named Moritat. Some of the pages look like woodcuts, a perfect feel for this kind of book. It was a pure delight just looking at this book; I will definitely be picking up All-Star Western #2.

sgI didn't intend to get this book, having lost touch with the various Firestorms over the last couple of decades. But my Fire and Water Podcast co-host Shag was so bullish on it that I thought I'd give it a try.

Overall, I liked it quite a bit--this is an all-new Firestorm, using the basic characters from the previous series, but with an all-new history. The story (by Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver) moves at a breakneck pace (a nice change from some of the other New 52 books), cramming a ton of action and characterization into 22 or so pages.

The art, by Yildiray Cinar, is very solid superhero action-type stuff, but with a more soft, painterly edge to the coloring, a combo of Cinar and the colorist, making for a nice-looking book. I'll probably keep reading this, if just to have something to talk to Shag about on the podcast.

sgFinally is The Savage Hawkman, which makes me giggle every time I say, read it, or type it.

This book seems a sort of hybrid of a reboot and the classic Hawkman character--it's Carter Hall, but a lot of the history I was familiar with seems to have been swept away. Being a huge fan of Shayera/Hawkgirl, I hope not everything from the old Hawks continuity is never to return.

The story's not bad, and the art is very pleasing as well. I wasn't blown away by anything I saw in this first issue, but I like Hawkman as a character so much I want to give it/him a couple of issues to hook me.

...and that's it for the New 52! Now the real test begins for DC's grand experiment: the number twos!


Count Drunkula said...

THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN was a major disappointment, and I said as much on Luke's "Being Carter Hall" blog. I do not like Tony Daniel's writing on any comic and he completely missed a grand opportunity with this book. Hawkman needed a fresh reboot unhindered by all of the continuity messes, even everything Johns did to try to make sense of it. Daniel's story was clunky and uninspired and left me with LESS of an idea who Hawkman is than before his resurrection in JSA. You can set up a mystery in your first issue, but it shouldn't be who is the main character, what are his motivations, why is he Hawkman, what is Hawkman, what does Hawkman do, why does he do it, why is Carter suicidal and why should we care? Those questions ought to be clear by the end of the first issue. Tony Daniel answered none of them. What's worse, he forgot to include a scene where Hawkman flies. Seriously! It's Hawkman--his whole schtick is having wings and flying and we never see that!

On the other hand, Philip Tan's art was incredible and the only reason I'll be checking out issue two of this series.

FURY OF FIRESTORM was a little bit jumpy, a little bit clunky, and I'm still left with some questions about these characters, but at least I know that the authors have a direction they're going that will answer these questions. The art was terrific and I think the second issue will be better than the first.

THE FLASH was awesome! I wasn't sure Manapul and Buccellato would be able to tell a fun story, but they did. This was even better than the issues helmed by Geoff Johns; it was fast, fun, and the artwork was stunning. Manapul probably comes in second behind only JH Williams' BATWOMAN in terms of using panel construction to move the story in creative, fluid ways.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT was... really unnecessary. I'm sure this was the deal it took to get David Finch to leave Marvel, but this story didn't tell us anything new. It begins with Bruce Wayne giving a presentation and ends with an Arkham Asylum breakout--the opposite structure of the far superior BATMAN by Snyder and Cappullo. Also, based on a lot of the designs, I felt like this book was really aimed at fans of the ARKHAM ASYLUM/CITY video games, but I don't know if that was advertised at all.

BLACK HAWKS was pretty cool, very different than I expected. I'm a G.I. JOE fan, so I like the cutting-edge military team aspect, though really this could have been anybody, not the classic Black Hawks. I'll check out issue two and see if it keeps me interested.

Count Drunkula said...

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK made me interested in a lot of these characters that I'm not familiar with, like Shade, Madam Xanadu and John Constantine. Above all, this book gave me a real sense that there is a reason for this team/group to exist and they're not forced together for publication reasons, which I got from JL INTERNATIONAL.

SUPERMAN astounded me simply by the volume of story contained. Yes, it was 25 pages instead of the usual 20, but the pages were so loaded with story, panels and text. Compare this to SUPERGIRL which had 20 pages, 15 of which were Supergirl fighting, chasing or being chased and the other five were her just sort of waking up. SUPERMAN felt like it was five times longer/denser than any book I read this month.

And lastly AQUAMAN, which is one of my favorite books of the new 52. It isn't perfect, for two specific reasons:

1. We never see Aquaman in the water. Really, no swimming, no diving, never in the water.

2. We never see Aquaman use his signature power. He talks about it, yes, and describes it, clarifies it for his audience and the readers, but we never see him use it.

Those are two fundamental parts of Aquaman that were lacking from this issue, but I forgive them because Geoff Johns delivered exactly what AQUAMAN #1 needed to be in order to bring in readers who would ordinarily scoff at the notion of an Aquaman book. The story is fun, funny and fresh. Also, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and the rest of the art team just murders the hell out of this book. Everything looks soooo goooood. I cannot wait for two years from now when we get the Aquaman version of "Sinestro Corps War"!

The other books from this week I'll get a chance to read on Monday, but I'm excited for All-Star Western, and I kind of want to see I, VAMPIRE because I've heard people say it's great and people say it's aweful.

Wings1295 said...

Just so you know, I'm not ignoring the Aquaman review and these reviews. I pre-ordered my comics and am STILL awaiting their arrival.


Pre-ordering is losing points with me.

rob! said...


I've seen a bunch of people say this. What's the advantage to having books shipped? Is it that you don't have a LCS near you, is it cheaper, etc? Not getting the books for almost a week later seems like a huge downside.

Count Drunkula said...


Speaking for myself, I've started getting a lot of books digitally through ComiXology, but prior to that, for about a year now I've been purchasing most of my books online through Discount Comic Book Service. Most of the titles I would pick up are 40-50% off. You do have to pay for shipping, though; and you can have them shipped weekly, biweekly or monthly.

I started ordering my books online because I moved and my nearest LCS is over an hour away. And it's not a very good store. The nearest semi-decent LCS is about two hours away, at which point the "L" no longer belongs with the "CS". The cost of gas alone for a weekly trip to the store surpasses the shipping costs of DCBS' weekly option.

So, getting them cheaper and sparing myself trips across the state every week or two makes up for not getting the books for five days. At least until I start getting everything digitally, which I probably will with DC now: download the titles I like and collect the trades for the titles I really, really like.

Wings1295 said...

Like Ryan, I ordered through DCBS, mainly to save money on what was a pretty big order for me, for the month of September. I chose the shipping method of just one for the month, so that means waiting until everything for that month has been released. It has been a long wait.

The plus side is yes, I have saved money. The downside is the long wait. Since this was my first order, I didn't place a second right away, wanting to see how the books looked upon arrival and how the service worked, so I am going to be going to my LCS to get any issue #2s I need. And I may just keep going there.

This might be one of the few cases where the plus of the savings does not outweigh the downside of the wait!