Posts tagged “Superman

Reviews: Another Round of the New 52

Lots to talk about this week, and lots of changes happening the DCU.  I’ve been torn between what books to try and what to leave on the shelf, and have had to pick and choose what I think might be good enough to mock enjoyable.  I haven’t picked up the latest stuff from this past Wednesday yet, although I am looking forward to Batwoman.  I’ve heard some horrible things this week—namely about Superboy and Suicide Squad (and this about Amanda Waller, which honestly disappoints me to no end), not to mention the latest fuss over the new Birds of Prey, and that flat out makes me want to cry.  I’m trying not to cry, but it might happen.  I’m all cantankerous ‘n’ stuff.  I’ll try to make this quick:

 

Action Comics #1Action Comics #1
Written by Grant Morrison
Illustrated by Rags Morales
Price:  $2.99

 

Well now.  Who’d have thought I’d ever pick up this book?  I’m not a Superman fan, and I’m not really a big Grant Morrison fan either, so it was kind of startling to find myself actually interested in giving this a shot.  But then, how could you not be interested?  After all the controversy of rebooting this title, winding back the clock on Superman, and turning him into a “Bruce Springsteen” version of himself (creator’s words, not mine), it was kind of impossible to shy away.

So I read it.  And … it was weird.  And I don’t really know what to think, other than it feels like I was reading Batman.  Superman comes off extremely belligerent, and it’s just so strange compared to the image of him I have in my head.  I mean, what’s THIS about?

 

Superman Action Comics

(Click to enlarge.)

Right?  Huh?  I don’t know.  I get what’s happening, and I get what Morrison is trying to do, and I fully understand that this is meant to be a “different” Superman or whatever, but I’m not sure it works for me.  I’d give you a plot synopsis, except that I’m on the fence right now as to how much more I’m going to read, so I’ll just say this:  if you’ve been following along in the solicitations and previews, the plot is pretty much what you’d gather.  Mostly.  There are one or two interesting changes I didn’t anticipate, but I’ll leave them for you to discover.

Really undecided here … at the moment I’m leaning toward sticking around to see how it plays out.  I wonder how the standard Superman title will fare in comparison.

 

Animal Man #1Animal Man #1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Travel Foreman, Dan Green
Price:  $2.99

 

The only reason I had even a remote interest in this was because I had read a four-page preview quite a while ago that sounded very well-written.  I liked Jeff Lemire’s Superboy a lot, and once I’d heard some praise for this issue after it hit the stands, I grabbed a copy.  I’m glad I did, because this may easily be one of the sleeper hits of the New 52.  I didn’t know squat about Animal Man before picking this up, but Jeff Lemire can apparently write the heck out of an intro issue to a book, so it easily passes the “new-reader friendly” test.

Flat out:  I loved this.  It’s the one and only thing I unsparingly love so far from the new batch of DC.  It’s heartfelt, creative, intelligently written, dark, intriguing, and a host of other things.  Right away, you think to yourself—okay.  It’s a guy who can call upon the characteristics of any animal—that’s neat.  But then you read it and, as a newbie, you realize it’s going to be about so much more than that.  His powers are almost completely secondary.  I don’t want to say any more than that.

Please go pick this up.  Just go buy it.  It’s so freaking cool.

 

Batgirl #1Batgirl #1
Written by Gail Simone
Illustrated by Ardian Syaf
Price:  $2.99

 

Oh man.  This … this was tough for me.  I can’t believe what I’m about to say, but I was actually disappointed by this first issue.  I never thought I’d have reason to utter that about a Gail Simone-penned book, but … I guess there’s a first time for everything.  Ouch.

The thing is, I’m not sure I can even explain to you what it is about this that’s disappointed me.  It hasn’t particularly failed in anything.  It hasn’t really done anything wrong.  It’s actually a very good set up issue, and both Gail and artist Ardian Syaf do a lot of things RIGHT.  So why do I still come off it feeling so lukewarm?

I guess it’s a problem of the lead-up to the book having set up some very high expectations.  I think Gail was put in an impossibly difficult position in being responsible to appease all the fans who are heartbroken over what we perceive to be the loss of the Oracle persona.  But speaking only for myself, I definitely went into this expecting—nay, demanding, answers.  I wanted all the information right off the bat (no pun intended) as far as why/how she’s Batgirl again, how she was healed, was she ever with the Birds of Prey, and whether or not she ever actually was Oracle in this new continuity (supposedly the answer is yes, but we haven’t found out for sure yet).  So when I read through this issue and received basically none of those answers, it was pretty deflating.  That’s not say that Barbara’s past won’t be addressed—I give Gail way more credit than to think she’d brush it all off, and knowing her writing style, she’s going to take her time setting us up.  We’ll get there, sure, but I’m having a hard time being patient.

That disappointment aside, I will say there were definitely things I loved here.  I love the fact that Gail Simone is writing Barbara as a sufferer of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, thereby acknowledging her accident and fleshing out the reaction time between what has happened from then until now.  I love the new villain she has created for Barbara, who comes across seriously dark and awesome.  I loved the artwork, and let’s face it—it’s pretty damn cool to see Barbara Gordon swinging around in the Gotham night again.  I have a few reservations about one of the plot choices—Barbara and her new college roommate—but that’s nothing I can’t get past.  So I’m keeping my head down and I’m chugging along with this at least for the remainder of the first story arc, if not more, but I still feel a little twinge of sadness for the Oracle that I knew and miss.  I suspect that will always be there, regardless of how good this title winds up being.

We’ll see what happens next.  I’ll try to abate my sadness in the meantime.

 

Hawk & Dove #1Hawk & Dove
Written by Sterling Gates
Illustrated by Rob Liefeld
Price:  $2.99

 

… BWAHAAHAAHAHAHAAHAAA.  Next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swamp Thing #1Swamp Thing #1
Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Yanick Paquette
Price:  $2.99

 

Swamp Thing.  Another surprise for me.  I’m a fan of Alan Moore and have always intended to go back and read his Swamp Thing, but it’s a little low on the priority reading list at the moment.  When this title was announced, I figured it would be a good introduction of the character for me, and I have a certain level of faith in Scott Snyder’s writing abilities.  I’m please to say he didn’t disappoint here.  The story opens up in a captivating way, and even a new reader can tell that there’s a history to this character.  I have to wonder how much I am actually missing out on by not reading any previous stories, but at the same time, I’m getting enough information here where I don’t NEED to read the earlier stuff.  I don’t need to, but the urge is certainly there.  This is comics done right—this is the way to pick up those “new readers.”  You needn’t ditch years of that “scary” and “intimidating” continuity, because a book like this is what makes you want to go back and learn and read everything you can get your hands on.  It’s really a shame more comics aren’t written in this manner.

The talented Yanick Paquette was clearly made for a book like this.  I was a little disappointed to learn that he’ll be utilizing some fill-in artists in between story arcs, but I’m hoping it won’t detract too much from the book.  Paquette’s style is definitely suited to this book—while his Superman cameo came off kind of weird-looking to me, his version of Swamp Thing is awesome.  Looking forward to issue two.

 

 

Okay, kids, that’s all I have for today.  Be thankful that that crazy Comic Junkie is out of his mind enough to be reading and analyzing every issue of the New 52 over at his blog.  Really, we ought to be thanking him for sparing us some of the torture.

One final thing before I go—don’t forget the Craig Thompson signing is this week at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square.  If you’re interested, get your ticket early, and be sure to say hello to me if you’re going to be there.

Until next week!

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Pants: Never a Good Decision

…at least where Wonder Woman is concerned.

Why hello there, comic shop peeps!  If you’ve been trying to reach me via e-mail and I haven’t replied, please know that I’m not intentionally ignoring you (unless your name is Dario*)—rather, my e-mail has not been working lately.  And by “not working,” I mean “forgot my password.”  Don’t ask me how I managed to do that, but I did, and thus haven’t been able to log in for about three weeks or more now.  EDIT:  fixed!

I am staggeringly behind on my comics reading and haven’t picked up any new stuff in two weeks, so I ask your forgiveness for the lack of reviews.  In the meantime, some notes/commentary:

  • As the final cover and variant cover for Justice League #1 come out, the great pants/no pants debate rages on, and it’s absurdly amusing if not very depressing.  For the record?  I’m pretty thrilled to see the pants gone (although that David Finch cover makes me want to cry).  DCWKA has a pretty great post that rather nicely sums up most of my own feelings on the topic of female character uniforms.
  • Oh.  I finally saw the nixed David E. Kelley Wonder Woman pilot.  To say that it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever watched would be paying it a compliment.  Thank goodness this thing didn’t get picked up.  As I sat there twitching and staring at the television in disbelief, Boyfriend fearfully turned to me at one point and said, “I can actually feel the rage coming off of you right now.”
  • Because I am completely obsessed with comics to the point I spend my … um … “lunch break” (heh heh) reading about comics news on the internet, I just saw that The Source has a first look at Henry Cavill as Superman in the upcoming new movie.  It looks very good, wouldn’t you agree?  And as the article mentions, Laurence Fishburne now has the role of Perry White.  Are we following in the footsteps of a Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury?  Not a bad decision, if you ask me.
    Rachel Rising #1
  • Another thing that’s not a bad decision is Marvel’s reveal of who the new Ultimate Spider-Man is.  SPOILERS here and here.  The character’s debut issue hit the stands on Wednesday in Ultimate Fallout #4, so snag a copy while you can.
  • The first issue of Terry Moore’s new book, Rachel Rising, also came out this week.  Is anyone checking this out?  Because you should.  Terry Moore is legit amazing—I would hate for his awesomeness to be eclipsed by the latest Marvel and DC hype.  Really looking forward to getting my hands on this.
  • Speaking of amazing—oh my goodness, Craig Thompson.  I love him.  His new book, Habibi, is coming out in just a few short weeks, and the previews I’ve seen are unbelievably gorgeous.  It makes me feel better to know I’ll have something to look forward to in September when the “New 52” inevitably lets me down.  Also, Mr. Thompson is doing a signing at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square the day after the book comes out, so if you’re in the area, let me know because I will most certainly be there.  PSYCHED, PSYCHED, PSYCHED!
  • Saw Captain America the other week.  It was awesome.  Avengers trailer after the credits brought out my squealing fangirl.  ‘Nuff said.

Okay, that’s all I got!  It’s gonna be a three-day weekend for me, so I’ll catch you punks later!  Happy comic reading!

*Just kidding, Dario, you know I love you!


Superboy: A Dose of Old-Timey Goodness

I’m not a Superman fan.  I don’t read any Superman titles.  I’m not in tears over Smallville’s last season, and Henry Cavill’s recent casting as the Man of Steel doesn’t make my heart race.  I tend to side with the argument that Superman is … just … boring.  Utterly vanilla.  I’ve never been hugely taken in by any Superman story I’ve read—he just doesn’t do anything for me.  And in truth, I’ve probably never given him much of a shot.

But that’s because right now, I love Superboy.

This is a fairly recent development.  As I’ve never particularly followed the Teen Titans, my exposure to Conner Kent has been sparse at best.  I knew he was a clone.  I knew he dated Wonder Girl.  And I knew that he died during a Crisis.  That’s about it.  And now that I think about it, I don’t even know how or when he returned.

SuperboySuch as it is, I’m not sure what prompted me to pick up the new Superboy series by Jeff Lemire and Pier Gallo.  I suppose a part of it was Rafael Albuquerque’s gorgeous front cover to the first issue.  Nothing set the tone of this book better than that healthy image of a smiling Superboy, and the feeling only gets better when you crack this thing open.  You’re sitting in a rocking chair on a wrap-around porch with a glass of lemonade and the sun shining around you.  Oh, and there’s Krypto barking by your lap.

The best way I can describe what Lemire is doing here is by using the phrase “old-timey.”  We’re bringing back what was once good and what the Superman franchise was built upon to begin with—the “clean.”  It’s clean in foundation, in moral, in outlook, in artwork.  It’s upbeat.  It’s the Kents on a farm in a small town.  It’s a young kid with his buddy and his dog… and then it’s also something else.  Superheroes and bad guys.  Back to basics, but it works spectacularly well.  The title’s first story arc is set off by a foreboding appearance from the Phantom Stranger and followed by an attack from Parasite, but it’s peppered with quiet moments and heart-warming character exchanges.  And yet, it still surprises you.  It’s almost a book of contradictions, as that classic style and air will switch on you and give way to something you didn’t expect.  Parasite, for instance, is followed up by Poison Ivy.  Psionic Lad’s wholesome appearance in one issue is trailed by … well, I can’t tell you.  You’ll just have to read it.

Lemire’s Superboy struggles with his place in the world, his relationships with his friends, and his own identity to an extent.  It’s all capped off with a few pieces of campy dialogue here and there—not enough to turn you off the book, but Superboy & Kryptorather just deliberate and delicate enough to flavor it with a—let’s call it “vintage”—writing sensibility, giving the book a traditional feel.  The art offers a fresh-faced look with clean lines, decent camera movement, and wonderful colors.  Most of us didn’t grow up with the Superman of old.  While I have a few minor complaints (Lori’s ridiculous outfits, for one), this, to me, offers its readers exactly what the phrase “of old” could have felt like, and Lemire’s only just getting started.

My little crush on this book hasn’t prompted me to pick up Superman: Earth One or any issues of Action Comics.  But who knows if it will get me there eventually.  Maybe one day, thanks to the incessant pestering of my comic shop people, I will give the Man of Steel a fairer chance.  But right now, I’m ready for the upcoming Superboy/Kid Flash race.  It is, apparently, the first ever.

X-posted @ Nerd Caliber


HOORAAYYYYYY!

Hark!  Do my eyes deceive me?  Is it true?  Could It possibly be even remotely true that JMS is off of Wonder Woman (and Superman) as of the last issue?  OH YES, IT IS.  Happy early birthday TO ME!

Bye, bye.

Good:  JMS’ completely misguided paws are off of one of my favorite heroes.

Bad:  His plot line is still going forward, but with a new writer.

Good:  His run only lasted all of four and a half issues.

Bad:  I have no idea who this “Phil Hester” guy is.

Good:  Ummm … did I mention that JMS is off of Wonder Woman?  Yeah?

Bad:  I’m considering the possibility that this unplanned change could potentially be even more detrimental to the Wonder Woman title, and raises a slew of new questions.  How long will Phil Hester be on the book?  Who will take over next once this abysmal plotline ends, and what will he or she have planned for Diana?  The news only serves to further the chronic instability of the title, which is not a good thing neither story-wise nor sales-wise.

Conclusion:  JMS is off of Wonder Woman.  That means there’s hope.  And this fangirl is happy enough with that for now.