I picked up six issues of DC Comics’ “New 52” universe-wide reboot. I enjoyed the initial kick-off, Justice League #1, and was anxious to see what other changes would be made to the DCU. The six books I picked up on my iPad 2 (via the outstanding Comixology) were Action Comics #1, Animal Man #1, Batgirl #1, Detective Comics #1, Green Arrow #1, and Justice League International #1. Here are some random thoughts (not a review) on these six comic books. Light spoilers ahead!
Action Comics #1: I’m more of a story guy than an art guy, but I was totally captivated by Rags Morales’ artwork in this book. Grant Morrison’s writing is really hit or miss for me. He can be brilliant (New X-Men, Justice League) and he can be all over the place (Final Crisis, Batman R.I.P.). Action Comics is definitely the “good” Morrison. It’s a fresh take on a young Superman that’s just starting out. While Superman’s character development is going to take a few issues, the new Lex Luthor came off as a bad-ass through a handful of pages. There have been some awesome portrayals of Luthor over the years and I have a feeling that Morrison’s new Luthor will be one of the best ever.
Animal Man #1: This was one of my two favorite updates from this week’s batch. I absolutely love what Jeff Lemire is doing with this character. Animal Man is a reluctant, semi-retired superhero that’s trying to balance marriage, raising kids, being a superhero, and being a celebrity. Making AM a hero to liberals is a fresh and modern twist given the political climate in America today. I can totally see him being interviewed on The Rachel Maddow Show or being a frequent commentator on Morning Joe. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Animal Man juggles all of his responsibilities with his wants. Hmmmm, perhaps I’m projecting.
Batgirl #1: Gail Simone is one of my favorite writers (very underrated) and Adam Hughes is one of the best cover artists of all time. Also, redheads that can beat you up are sexy as hell. With that in mind, I knew I’d enjoy the new Batgirl. I’m completely lost as to how Barbara Gordon went from the wheelchair-bound Oracle back to the dynamic Batgirl, but I can’t wait to find out. I really enjoyed Babs’ inner monologue — her self doubt and flashbacks to getting shot in the spine by the Joker gave her an endearing sense of vulnerability. Plus…red hair and spandex!
Detective Comics #1: This was a good, but not great, start for the new Detective Comics. That said, I can see the first issue setting up a great arc. I loved the gritty feel of this book. Even though he’s the hero, I felt a little bit scared of Batman. The Joker felt revoltingly evil. It was cool seeing Batman’s relationship with the Gotham P.D. and how Jim Gordon seems to be coy about their one-on-one dealings (despite his giant Bat Signal). This single issue didn’t blow me away, but I’m pretty sure the entire arc will.
Green Arrow #1: Similar to Animal Man, I love this modernization of Green Arrow. Imagine a young Steve Jobs that uses his technological prowess and connections to fight crime — that’s Green Arrow! He’s definitely similar to Marvel’s Tony Stark/Iron Man, but writer J.T. Krul is making the character and tech easier for real people to identify with. For example, Green Arrow’s alter ego Oliver Queen is the founder of Queen Industries, makers of the hugely popular Q-Phone and Q-Pad. *snicker* I’m really digging this fresh, modern, and relevant take on Green Arrow. I’m also pleased that the new version is not sporting that ridiculous Errol Flynn mustache.
Justice League International #1: This was the only book that disappointed me. It was definitely fun and entertaining, but I was expecting more. The original JLI is my favorite series of all time. While I knew this book wasn’t going to be all “Bwahahahaha!!!” and Martian Manhunter addicted to Oreos, I just wanted…something better. This is more of a straightforward action book featuring B- and C-listers. It’s fun and I dig the international aspect of JLI (it’s great watching Russia’s Rocket Red and China’s August General in Iron interact). I’m also intrigued by the horny nature of Britain’s Lady Godiva. I’m definitely going to keep reading this series and I’m sure that I’ll enjoy it in the long run, but I sincerely doubt I’ll love it as much as the original JLI.