Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Comic Book Day Extended Special Edition #1 (The New 52 Continued)

Continuing my journey through the new 52 issues that I read, now only about a month late on a few of them!

Demon Knights #1 gave me a weird mixed feeling about a lot of things.  On one hand, it had enough mystery to it that it would have been interesting to follow up with, but on the other hand, there were a few stylistic issues and entanglements that keep me from being comfortable with the book.

Thematically, I'm not thrilled that Etrigan isn't the cagey rhyming demon we've seen before, and that the first New 52 appearance of Vandal Savage has him appear as almost an affable barbarian instead of a brutal immortal villain.  Theoretically, this reboot is as much about new readers as old ones, so this the first chance you have to make an impression with these characters.  And also, since DiDio seems to be very conscious of other media appearances of the characters, people that may have seen these guys on Justice League may not even remember these guys as the same characters.

The story doesn't really resolve, which isn't a fatal flaw, but the book seems to be linked to two other books, Justice League Dark and Stormwatch, and that you may not fully get all of your answers just by following this book.  It takes a really stellar story to convince someone to invest in a mystery that might span multiple titles, and those titles have to really be hitting all the right notes as well.

As you can tell from my long winded inability to peg this book down, it's got lots of potential, and is an interesting read, but creates a lot of uncertainty that I'm not sure is worth the digging and investment that might come.

Detective Comics #1:  Hey, this one is easy.  Didn't like it.  First, it was too confusing to figure out that this was another "in the past" book.  Second, Joker, as a serial killer that is very prolific, looks like a clown, and has been hard to catch, is a really, really boring character.  Audacity and chaos make Joker, not body count.  Finally, I don't mind Batman dealing with serial killers.  Track down Szasz or Cornelius Stirk once in a while.  But the crux of this is that Joker, who is a serial killer, is being stalked by a family of other serial killers so that they can all work on serial killing together . . . gah . . . really?

Green Lantern Corps #1 appears to have been written with the same paradigm that many of the other New 52 books had, which is, don't resolve anything in one issue!  Whatever you do, don't tell a complete story!  It's not that I mind, but it really seems like a few "introductory" stories could have been more complete.

That said, this book wasn't bad.  It not only gave you a background on who Guy Gardener and John Stewart are, it gives a really quick synopses of the GLC without getting dragged down with explaining a billion lantern corps or hammering new readers with "the Guardians suck!"  I didn't pick up Green Lantern #1, because I promised myself that I wasn't reading any GL book that didn't move away from the spectrum corp soap opera, and honestly, this one looks like a better introduction to the GL universe than the standard GL book or the New Guardians.

What can I say about Justice League #1?  It's Geoff Johns in a nutshell.  I really enjoyed the character interactions, and yet the story hardly advances at all.  It was worth it to see Batman tweak Hal, and then to see Superman pretty much put Hal on his ass, especially after years of "Hal is better than you all gave him credit for," and the Batman denigration that occurred in Rebirth.  

I'm not sold on Cyborg being a founding member, but that's as much a part of the freaking screwed up timeline as a problem with the character himself being on the team.  I actually want to keep reading this, as it was fun, but I'm really afraid I'm getting set up for another Johns "this was fun and interesting up to the halfway point, at which point I got lost and then in the last issue a bunch of stuff that was never even foreshadowed happened to resolve the story without really resolving it so we can wallow in the same stuff for years" storyline.

Justice League International #1 reminds me that I feel like I'm getting whiplash from all of this jumping forwards and backwards in time.  The Justice League is just forming, but after it's been around for five years, the UN decides to copy it with their own team!

I didn't mind the issue, but I did feel like some of the inter-team conflicts were played up too much to establish that this team isn't suppose to get along well, even if some of the conflicts feel really vague.  It's also a little confusing to figure out who has been where.  Were Fire and Ice on the regular JL over the last five years?  Was Guy?  I got the feeling that this book was still a work in progress with DCnU continuity not quite settled, and the book had to be written around that.  It's an interesting set up, so I think its worth giving more time to develop, I just hope the interaction feels a bit more natural and less forced as it moves along.  And where the Hell is Skeets?  If you don't have Ted Kord for Booster to play off of, at least you need Skeets!  Jurgens of all people should know that!

I'm not sure why I got Legion Lost #1.  I think this had to do with the fact that I wanted to see how the "not being rebooted during a reboot" worked for the Legion, and because, in this comic, I thought it would be fun to see how a group of Legion members would cope with being in the modern day realm of current superheroes.

Guess what?  I didn't get that.  I got a bunch of B and D list Legion members chasing a terrorist with some kind of plague through time and technobabble happens and their Legion stuff doesn't work and they can't go back through time because of technobabble.  Instead of letting Timberwolf use his powers to track down the bad guy, it's more important to sit around and argue about why the technobabble doesn't work, and then something happens, and techobabble apparently kills two members of the team along with my interest in ever reading this book again.

I think I will hold off on that last round of new 52 books at this point.  However, at this point in the New 52 framework, let me just say, some books aren't bad, some are amazingly bad, but none of them really seem to be hitting that magic must read button or feel like the great jumping on point for the mythical "never read  comics before" reader that DC claims to want to snag.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting again!

    I didn't read Demon Knights, but my wife loved it. It seemed to me, from flicking and listening to/reading about it, that the whole thing was a little more "capers" than the line up would suggest. Like if Hannibal Lector somehow was in Cannonball Run.

    Detective Comics; meh. I'm really tired of bat-angst. I'm enjoying Batwing, that's a little more fresh and different enough to be enjoyable, but everything else bat-related is too grim for me. When will LEGO Batman get his own comic? Edit; forgot about Batgirl. That was okay.

    GLC was great. It set up an interesting villain, on par with the scale of the Corps, and gave John/Guy a lot of character building screen time. My only complaint was that the team they assemble didn't include anyone *weird*. I the GLC for the really weird members.

    JLA/JLI were okay. I preferred JLI because it was more light hearted and interesting. I don't really want to read about how the JLA was formed, 5 years ago; it is distracting me from what is and isn't in continuity. Also, do we really need to see how they teamed up? Origin story over-exposure thanks to all the movies, I guess. Where is Snapper Carr? ;p

    I was also missing Skeets. Sadly, I think that the era of the side-kick is coming to an end....

    My wife hated it too, but I loved Legion Lost! It was fun to see them referring to the reboot as an actual in Universe event. As the second Legion title, it was never going to feature the main team, and I enjoyed the line up. I hope Gates is okay!

    I admit that it was pretty standard, and a score of anything over 3/5 would be bias, but personally, I really liked it. As an intro to the Legion and a first issue it did kind of suck. Doesn't stop me from giving it a personal score of 4/5, though!

    Shame you are going to stop there: I really wanted to read your opinions on Flash!