Thursday, February 9, 2012

Comic Review: DC The New 52

Nothing like being on the cutting edge and having the pulse of the comic book community. Indeed, I am nothing like that.

Six months since the relaunch, and what do I have to show for it? Not this massive hardcover comic book collection, with all 52 #1 issues crammed inside, that's for sure.

That I had to borrow.

I gave thumbs up to Justice League International, Justice League Dark, Aquaman, Firestorm, Mr. Terrific, Superman, Batman, Batwoman, Batgirl, Batman & Robin, Birds of Prey, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern New Guardians, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Frankenstien: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Resurrection Man, Demon Knight, Storm Watch, OMAC, All-Star Western, Static Shock, Blue Beetle, Legion of Super Heroes, and Legion Lost.

28 thumbs down to Justice League, Wonder Woman, Flash, Captain Atom, Green Arrow, Savage Hawkman, Deadman, Action Comics, Superboy, Supergirl, Detective Comics, Batman The Dark Knight, Batwing, Catwoman, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Green Lantern, Red Lantern, I- Vampire, Grifter, Voodoo, Death Stroke, Suicide Squad, Black Hawks, Men of War, Teen Titans, & last and least Hawk & Dove.

First, the overall mandate and tone is not to my taste. It's vile, grisly, sexist, and pandering. But it's got plenty of bad points too. Like over half the writing.

Hawkman was emblematically wrong-headed. If an amnesiac immortal with metal claws tearing out of his flesh sold comics... oh, I get it now. I just wish they'd put "Wolverine" on the cover so I could ignore it more.

Who thought ELEVEN Bat-titles was not excessive? Who wants Jason Todd alive, let alone a lead character? Why is Wonder Woman so stab-happy? When did Starfire become a dead-eyed sperm reclamation facility? How come all organizations with more than ten people are covert, evil, and practice torture? Where should I send the anthrax for ending the marriages of Clark & Lois, or Barry & Iris?

Second, major praise to the artists. Not Hawk & Dove or the Jae Lee impersonators, but credit where credit is due: these people serve their material well.

Third, I love complaining, so why are some of them unexpected surprises? Why would I like Justice League Dark (and I really did)? Or be so disinterested in Green Lantern (tired of Sinestro already)? How do you make Teen Titans unappealing (enjoy Tiny Titans instead)? And in what parallel world do I like Resurrection Man?

Finally, the format. Who would buy this? It's nearly 180 bucks. It's a brick. Too big to cart around, too heavy for a standard nerd to hold up to his sunken eyes. It's only good for smashing windows and editors. It'll still be single issues, light trades, and weightless digital comics for me, I'm afraid.

"The New 52" makes me weep for the future. But there are two dozen issues I didn't dislike. A handful I'm even buying. And if losing Lois and Iris stings, Mr. Terrific seems to be schtupping Power Girl, so it's not all bad.

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