Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's Comic Book Day! Special Edition Madness #1/2 (The New 52 Part 3)

Just as a side note, I have to point out that I was more geeked out and excited about one episode of Young Justice last night than I was after reading any single issue in the relaunch.  Just a disclaimer and some perspective on who's bringing you these opinions.

Legion of Superheroes is a book that I picked up for much the same reason as Legion Lost, i.e. I wanted to see how a book that was suppose to not be rebooted would work in the reboot atmosphere, and what DC had planned to relaunch without rebooting.

Over the last few years I've picked up a few issues of the new LOSH and Adventure comics, so I kind of know what's going on.  Storyline wise, it picks up right where the old series left off.  No reboot at all.  Also, no real introduction, so if you are a mythical new reader . . . well, the Legion cartoon from a few years ago was a fairly good introduction to these future people.

Also, like most of the New 52 . . . we spend most of the issue learning that there is a murky impending threat without any real resolution or a contained story arc.  Honestly, if I ran RPG sessions like this, I'd say "X, Y, and Z may be a threat, everyone roll initiative . . . and that's the end of the session, good night."

I feel like I'm saying this a lot, but, not a bad book, but also not one that makes me care if I'm not already following LOSH, and not one that does anything to explain the group if I am really new to the concept.

Nightwing also ends in a cliffhanger, but I liked it.  It does, indeed, directly reference the "old days," i.e. before Flashpoint, by having Dick talk about his time as Batman, but it's also nice to get back to Dick being his own man, and mentioning that he wants to be Nightwing, even if he had to be Batman.  I wasn't sure how the "visiting the old homestead" thing was going to work with Nightwing going back to the circus, but it wasn't really bad.  Plus, the book may not have ended, but a least the mysterious lurking threat actually attacked Nightwing and started a fight by the end.

I'm liking it, as it doesn't seem quite as overtly grim as the other Bat books.  I'm not sure it's a great "starter" book, but you do at least pick up that Dick was the first Robin, became Nightwing, filled in for Batman, and then returned to the Nightwing persona, and the visit to the circus at least gives some nods to his origins, which is a lot more that some of these supposed introductory books did.

I was worried about the new costume and new home announced for Static Shock.  I really didn't want Static to move away from Dakota City or lose anything that made the book what it was originally.  After reading the book, I'm not too disappointed in the direction it took.  While there isn't much in the way of explaining Virgil's origins or past exploits, we do get that he's been a superhero, he just moved, he's a science geek, and he's establishing himself in New York.  I can't put my finger on it, but it at least feels like there is some momentum towards explaining the character, instead of just jumping without any backstory at all.

In fact, the book feels like it kind of promises some resolution, especially when it comes to Static's conversations with Hardware back in Dakota.  If I have a complaint, it's that I wasn't thrilled with the art, and the villains didn't really grab me, being a bit more "we're villains that have a nefarious plan you don't know about, so let's attack" kind of guys.  But that can all be fixed in context of a good follow up story.

If, of course, the fact that the book is already changing writers doesn't kill all of this positive momentum.  Sigh.

I will never, ever read another issue of Stormwatch.  Pretty simple.  I picked it up because of Martian Manhunter.  He does absolutely nothing of consequence here, and exists in the book only to let you know that these Wildstorm characters are now in the DCU.

How to sum up the book?  These guys have vague weird high concept powers, they are a million times better than the Justice League, and fight threats that are kind of like what would happen if God dropped acid.  "What's this, the intestinal tract of an alternate reality is perforated and cosmic feces is infecting sub-space?  Quick, let's use our powers that directly affect the plot to make us look quirky high concept!"

I was so not impressed that even knowing this book will tie into Demon Knights bumps Demon Knights off my list of books to keep up with.  I'm not really even sure why this book (which is really the Authority not Stormwatch) is one of DC's big relaunch books.  An actual DC Stormwatch would have been better, except that that Stormwatch is really JLI.

I'm not sure how to take this book, and part of the problem is that I know too much "meta" information, i.e. that the writer of Superboy, at one point, said that Superboy may have been active and returned to his status at the beginning of the book.

Basically, Superboy's origins look a bit more like his origins in the Young Justice cartoon, i.e. with far fewer sympathetic good guys working at the lab where he was born, and with a member of Gen 13 assigned to watch him  (not sure if any version of Gen 13 canon exists beyond the character), and Rose Wilson, who I'm not sure is Deathstrokes daughter or not, assigned to off him if he goes off the rails.

It's confusing.  I'm not sure it's "damning" confusing, because it may actually be building to some kind of resolution, and appears to be tied to Teen Titans for part of it's story.  Not sure how I feel about that within the construct of a big relaunch like this, but, surprise, this book doesn't resolve any kind of story by the end, just introduces the potential connection to Teen Titans.

I'm still picturing a memo from DiDio:  "Remember, the best way to get people to buy the next issue is for people to not have any idea what happened in issue #1.  So don't resolve anything!"

Supergirl does not appear to be off to a bad start.  From the blurbs, I expected an "attitude" drenched hip know it all Supergirl, but she pretty much seems like a bewildered teenager that doesn't know what's going on, which fits.  I do think that it lessens the impact of Supergirl when she shows up as we are still trying to figure out who Kal-El is in this universe, but, hey, that's not this issue's fault.

All in not, it's not a bad book, and probably better as an introduction since it's actually an origin story.

One more round, and I should be all through everything that I planned to pick up from the #1 issues.  Interestingly, my thoughts on continuing to follow these has gone from, "hey, I might, some of these aren't bad" to "wow, DC really seems to be dumb, so I'm not sure there is a point in even following the OK titles" due to some more recent events, but who knows?

Finally, I'm really waiting for the DC Universe Online Legends book to wrap up, as I am actually fairly convinced that the scenario and timeline presented are actually a pretty good set up for an RPG setting based on DC Comics, even if the game isn't the best MMO going.

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