Thursday, 29 September 2011

DC New 52 - Week 4

The final week in the issue-by-issue reveal of DC's brave new world. We've seen Barbara Gordon walk again, a dramatic change for the Joker, a new direction for Wonder Woman, a disturbing Cat/Bat sex scene, exploding babies and lots and lots of bras and thought boxes. So what does the final week bring?


Reboot or not, I never thought anyone could ever get me to buy an Aquaman book. And they didn't. I read it quickly in the shop. (I was buying four other comics, okay?! They got plenty of money off me) But here's a shocker, possibly the biggest shocker of the New 52. Geoff Johns might have actually made Aquaman... cool. Sort of. Almost.

Johns has done the only thing that could have been done: he acknowledged that Aquaman is a joke. And it's not just us real-world folk who think so. This comic is littered with people asking AC how it feels to be the laughing stock hero, asking him if he needs a glass of water and gaping when he orders fish and chips (Americans have fish and chips? This is massive news.) He spends the entire comic looking slightly pissed off.

He has a sexy new look (although the ridiculous orange and green costume somehow survived the reboot) and Johns seems to have wisely scrapped the Atlantean angle, focusing instead on the fact that Aquaman is half-human. If anyone can make the character work, it's Johns. So, it might not be long before Aquaman actually becomes one of the DC big-hitters.

The Fury of Firestorm

I picked this one up just because Gail Simone's name was on the cover. I have no love for the character and, I've got to be honest, after reading it I still don't. Two teenagers bitch at each other, wonder if the tension may be racial, get superpowers and try to blow each other up. I never felt the conflict between the characters and the fact that, once empowered, they attacked each other rather than the gun-wielding villains was just bizarre.

Yildiray Cinar's art is good and one page showing Jason and Ronnie having family meals hinted at the more subtle path the comic could have gone down, but frankly this is a bit of a mess. I don't expect to have all questions answered at the end of each number one, but The Fury of Firestorm just bewildered me and left me unengaged.

I, Vampire

The extent of my knowledge of the character of vampire Andrew was (the brilliant) Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality. So you'll understand why I was surprised that, 1. He was getting a comic in the reboot, and 2. That it was getting good reviews.

I picked it up, not wanting to miss out like I did with Animal Man and Swamp Thing, and I'm glad I did. Moody art, interesting take on the vampire mythology, and ticking boxes both for people who like their vamps romantic and those who like them blood thirsty.

I'm not entirely sure where this comic is going to go (surely any one of the three Justice Leagues would soon be on hand to put down a vampire uprising?) but the central relationship between the two warring lovers was compelling and it could be an interesting addition to the DC catalogue - albeit a quiet one.

Justice League Dark

This is one I was really looking forward to, and my opinion on it may be clouded by the fact that I desperately want it to be good. But I really enjoyed it.

It's not perfect and some of the dialogue is clunky, but it's stuffed full of weird and wonderful ideas (and the most inventive motorway pile-up I've ever seen) and nicely sets up the tone and plot of the series. Xanadu, Zatanna and Shade are sketched out nicely here and John Constantine makes a helluva entrance (although I'm concerned that they're setting him up more as a conman than a mage).

Mikel Janin's art is lovely and the book has done enough to hook me. Unlike the other team book of the week...

Teen Titans

I love Teen Titans and I came to this book already pissed off that it was getting a hard reboot. I was concerned that not only were DC wiping out the New Teen Titans, they were also messing with the chemistry of the most successful TT line-up since the Perez/Wolfman era: Tim Drake, Wonder Girl, Superboy and Kid Flash (and Ravager, who I can only hope will return one day to her rughtful place as a Titan).

It remains to be seen whether they will eventually recapture this chemistry - as of the end of this book the 'team' only consists of Tim and Cassie, and they're not exactly getting on. But, from what I've seen so far, I'm not enthused by this book. After the disaster that was Red Hood and the Outlaws, Scott Lobdell manages not to do anything horribly offensive in his first issue, but he also fails to do anything exciting. Tim is still in character (although the wings are just as bad as you'd expect) and Bart's homemade costume is a cute touch. Cassie is just an Angry Young Woman.

And as for the art... urgh. So very dated.

It's impossible to tell how this book will go in the long term as only half the team actually showed up. We still have no idea who - or what -  the new characters are. The most interesting part of the whole book were brief computer clips of Miss Martian, Solstice and - New Teen Titans Watch alert - Raven, the first indication that those characters still exist in rebooted DCU. Which is good news.

I'm still wondering if I made a mistake by not picking up The Flash and All-Star Western, both of which have had excellent reviews. I may go back for those two...


  1. Yes, we have fish and chips in America. We also have these things called "pubs" and some of us even watch Doctor Who. See? We're not completely hopeless here.

  2. It just shows y'all have damn good taste!