Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's Comic Book Day! Lucky Issue #13 (The New 52)

Yup, I broke down and checked it out.  I have a few weaknesses.  One weakness is that I have a very hard time when others can (rightly) say that my opinion isn't based on fact.  It makes me want to go out and gather facts.  My other weakness is that I love DC Comics, even when they suck.  Doesn't mean I'll keep reading, mind you, but I do love the DC Universe and their characters.

With that disclaimer in place, what have I read so far, and what did I think?  And do you care?  And should you?  And if you do, what does that say about you?  Erm, back on topic . . .

Man, they got me to buy a Grant Morrison book.  This isn't going to be the best review, as I've got a lot to get through.  It's not as radical as it was touted, but it also doesn't feel that much like Superman to me.  It doesn't even feel like Smallville.  Strangely, it doesn't even have much of Morrison's trademark WTF moments.  Superman doesn't have all of his powers, and he's willing to break every bone in someone's body, but probably not kill them.  And Lois' father is still playing evil general.  May check out another issue, but leaning towards no.

Oh, and with a nod towards "new reader friendliness," unlike Justice League, it's pretty easy to get lost in where this story is taking place.  I figured it out because I've read a ton of interviews.

Not a bad book, and not a horrible one for jumping on.  You find out pretty quick that Barbara got shot and is just getting back into the hero game, and the villain looks interesting.  It seems unlikely that she was ever Oracle, given the time frame mentioned in the book, which is disappointing, but overall, if everything were rebooted  (sigh, which it's not) that would be a less annoying nit pick.  Jarring to see Jim Gordon made younger, and I'm not sure the point.

I'm hearing a lot of people saying that this book is a break out hit of the new 52.  It's not bad, but I'm not getting the break out hit thing.  We get introduced to a lot, see Bruce interact with a lot of his supporting case, and get a vague hint about a conspiracy/mystery that will play out eventually.  Enough to make it worth while to check out another issue maybe, but "not sucking" really shouldn't be the standard for "hit."

Full disclaimer:  not a big fan of Damian.  I liked Son of the Demon, and I liked Bruce's son in Kingdom Come . . . Damian isn't that guy.  Still, between Red Robin, Batgirl, and even Batman and Robin that I read in the "old" DCU, Damian was kind of starting to mellow and grow on me a bit.  So to make a point, now that Damian is paired with dad again and for the new readers, his jerk factor goes up.  Also, with the references to Batman Inc., Bruce's disappearance, and Dick's time as Batman, you wouldn't even notice a reboot.

I guess that's good for people that really enjoyed the direction of the Bat books, but man is it jarring reading this mix of old and new universe.  Yet, despite all of that, I kind of enjoyed this one, despite not liking Batman Inc. or Damian.  Go figure.

As much as I loved Ted Kord, Jaime really grew on me.  Between the Brave and the Bold cartoon and Generation Lost, I was convinced that I could live with Jaime as the Blue Beetle, because he was great.  He was funny, energetic, charismatic, and likable.

I didn't mind this issue.  It starts from scratch, with Jaime getting his powers.  It was even nice to see a few B list DC villains show up.  But I couldn't shake the feeling that it feels a bit too soon to retell Jaime's story with minor tweaks, and I have to admit, from all of the Spanish exclamations I felt like there was a bit of "hey, look, a Latino hero!"  Maybe I'm just cynical.  Overall, it's okay, but I hope they get some of Jaime's personality back into the book.

I haven't harped on art much thus far, but I'll mention it here.  If you think the costume looks a little impractical on the cover, you should see it inside.  The stuff looks like vaguely high tech full plate with random spikes and blades on it, that somehow don't snag on door frames or stab Slade when he walks.  It's a mess.  And why is the mask now a helmet with a face plate that swivels up?

Okay, art out of the way.  The author wanted to reinstate Slade as the number one bad ass metahuman assassin in the DC Universe, minus any hint of failure or positive traits.  No family, no regrets, no higher purpose, and no loosing.  So in this comic, Slade pulls off a really hard assassination, double crosses his allies, and has multiple people mention how bad ass he is, even though we are introduced to an undercurrent of doubt that he's getting too old to be at the top of his game.

Slade's a good assassin that is a jerk.  No need for me to read any more.  Mission accomplished, and in just one issue!  Nice work.  I just don't miss the 90s and comics with "Death" in the title that much to keep reading.  I kind of like Slade as a bad ass because he pulled off things like introducing Terra to the Titans, instead of measuring bad ass in gallons of blood and body count.

I think this would be a better, more interesting book if it were about Slade getting the better of established DC heroes and villains.  Not killing them, mind you (not because I don't want Slade to kill, but because I don't want to loose good heroes and villains), but out maneuvering them and pulling off some mission or another right under their noses.

That wasn't all I got, but it's all I got time for at the moment.  Hopefully I'll have time soon to keep going.


  1. Looking forward to seeing your further comments. :D
    I 100% agree with you on Deathstroke. Fortunately, I got my copy for free at the comic shop as my wife and I were buying so much other stuff and the store had some water-damaged copies.
    I enjoyed Batgirl. I thought it was a good first issue and liked the way it set things up. I can't imagine every possible direction the story could take, so am looking forward to being surprised.
    I think that Barbara was supposed to have been Oracle, just only for a year or so.
    I skipped on the Batman titles as I am so bored of the current dark take on Batman. I went for Batwing instead and was glad I did. 5* with amazing art and none of the bat-baggage.
    Overall, haven't really enjoyed the new Superman. It is painful to see him as "not-Jesus". If one character didn't need a younger/darker make over, it was Supes.
    Thanks for posting!

  2. I'm confused over the Batgirl/Oracle thing one way or another, and I wonder if they even told Gail Simone 100% for sure what was up with Barbara's time as Oracle.

    I've been watching the DCAU Batman/Justice League/Superman episodes, so it's really hard for this current Superman/Batman era to compete with those stories.

  3. I don't think anyone at DC told the writers much of anything. I think it was a case of "Get on with it and reference as much stuff as you like - our editors will decide if it is too much for the re-vamp." And the editors were told to "Keep it newbie friendly." :o)

    I keep meaning to re-watch the Superman animated series; maybe when I'm done with X-men.