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The DC New 52 Review (Part 1)

· by roy · Read in about 5 min · (1036 Words)
Categories: Pop Culture | Tags: Comics

If you’re reading this, that means I’ve done it: I’ve read the first eight issues of every DC New 52 book. I’ve always been a Marvel fan more than DC, my previous DC reading having been restricted to JLA and the Batman books, so I figured exposure to the New 52 would widen my appreciation of the DC stable of heroes. Here are my reviews:

Justice League

While the art is Jim Lee-fantastic, the first story arc left much to be desired. It was basically a meet-and-greet where we’re introduced to the team members and after a while they knock Darkseid back down a boom tube. Nothing overly complicated, and it would be okay for an introductory arc if it didn’t take six issues to get to that point. (By comparison, Morrison’s far more interesting White Martian arc that launched the JLA book in 1997 finished in four issues). The characters aren’t particularly fleshed out, which is fine. Justice League books have always been more about the powers and big epic battles than serious characterization, though hopefully Geoff Johns can sneak in something more than a “Hal Jordan is shallow” joke every once in a while. They’re starting a new story arc with issue #9, and based on the FCBD DC New 52 book, they have a Trinity War story arc coming up next year, so hopefully the book picks up the pace.

Justice League International

Reading this book feels like watching the animated Justice League Unlimited series. That’s where I was first introduced to some of the characters like Fire, Ice, Vixen and Booster Gold. Booster is a great character, and while he doesn’t have his own New 52 book, it’s nice seeing him take the helm in this one. The art here isn’t exceptional and like Justice League the story is more about the powers than the characters but at least the pacing is better than the Justice League book. Guy Gardner’s problems with Booster are a nice touch, but it’s kind of overkill to have started this book with Batman as part of the team in the main story arc; I’m not sure if Batwing will be taking his place in the team after issue 8.

Aquaman

It’s nice that the book is really meta about Aquaman’s status as a Justice League member, implying he’s the butt of jokes even in the actual DC universe. The stories so far have been entertaining, and the characterization of Arthur and Mera have been okay; Johns’ writing is better here than in Justice League so far. The art looks nice, though not spectacular. The ongoing “The Others” storyline seems to have promise, hopefully we’ll see some epic Aquaman arcs. Not sure if I miss the hook from Peter David’s days.

Wonder Woman

The art style here is weird and unusual, but I kinda like it. The storyline so far has dealt mainly with Greek myth stuff and has made significant changes to Diana’s origins linking her more to the Olympus pantheon. It’s a good read especially if you’re into all the mythological references.

The Flash

Barry Allen is back as the only Flash in the DCnU, though we’ll see how long that lasts. The first story arc was ok, showing us some details of how Barry interacts with Iris West and the police, while the second story arc brings us some new details on how The Flash interacts with The Speed Force in the DCnU. The art is okay, I like it a bit better than Aquaman. The only obvious question at the moment is: where is Wally West?

Captain Atom

So far the art on this book hasn’t been very appealing to me. The story line is a lot of “oh no, I’m having trouble controlling my powers and the norms don’t trust me”. I’m not sure what his range of powers were pre-New 52, but the way it’s described here he’s basically able to do anything, including time travel, matter transformation, etc. Anything except FIND LOVE. The book is meh, I wouldn’t mind losing it.

The Fury of Firestorm

I seem to remember that there was a previous Firestorm incarnation where it was two people trapped in the same body. It’s different this time around, they have two teenagers who are both Firestorms, each with a different power set. (Only one of them can do transmutation, et cetera). Additionally, they can combine into a bigger, badder Firestorm! Also, other countries have Firestorms too, albeit most are flawed versions. Firestorms seem to be kinda like nukes here. The art is nothing to write home about. The book is ok I guess.

Green Arrow

Ugh, the art is mediocre and the storylines are uninteresting and feel unnecessarily convoluted, especially the latest one. Oliver Queen here is shallow and uninteresting, playing out the lazy heir to a fortune while secretly fighting crime in a costume. I think we already have one of those (Batman, and he’s already pretty overexposed), so Green Arrow needs some way to differentiate himself. So far he hasn’t shown any of the grit or social consciousness that was characteristic of the previous incarnation.

The Savage Hawkman

The art here is a bit unusual, but I kind of like it. The storyline revolves around Carter Hall and his archaeological pals accidentally unleashing some sort of evil alien that had previously been trapped on Earth. There’s some changes to his powers as well, as the Nth metal which enables him being Hawkman is now ‘bonded’ to his body such that he can transform into Hawkman at will (sort of like how Iron Man’s current armor is just nanomachines in his body). Well okay, I’m not exactly sure how the previous incarnations worked, but my impression was that the Nth metal was just a harness he put on. It’s still unknown how Carter Hall in this universe is related to Katar Hol, the Thanagarian who was previously Hawkman, or whether we’re going to see Hawkgirl/Shayera anytime soon, but this series has potential.

Ok, I can’t do everything all in one post, so let’s save some for later. For the curious, I’m doing these in Wikipedia order, which means the Batman family will be in part 2.

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