The DC-nU concludes its rollout with week four’s releases. While many of the trends I’m not wild about continue, there was nothing really bad this week, no title that really had me going “Is this seriously the best you could do?” Not that they were all great books, just nothing as majorly bad as some of the offerings of past weeks. Here are my picks, in order, for this, the final week of number ones.
Teen Titans by Scott Lobdell:
This was pretty good. I like the set up and see some potential in some of the characters. The way a few of them were brought together made sense, and I really like this take on Tim Drake. A bit less thrilled with nu-Kid Flash and don’t think any of the costumes were improved, but I’d give this best of the week.
All Star Western by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti:
I had a lot of reservations about this- a “Western” set in Gotham? But I was suprisingly pleased by how this turned out. Jonah Hex is his usual rough-hewn self, somewhat out of place in the city but well portrayed. In a reversal of usual stereotype (at least so far), while there IS a Dr. Arkham who seems to be a major character, he doesn’t seem to be either crazy or evil. There are enough names of famed Gotham families to keep Bat-fans happy, and the quest for the “Gotham Butcher,” who seems to be Jack the Ripper’s American franchise, is off to an interesting start. A very close second best of the week.
Aquaman by Geoff Johns:
I suppose “better than I thought it would be” isn’t much of an endorsement, but that was the first thing that I came up with when I read this. Just to change things up, Aquaman breaks up an armored car robbery, displaying some fairly impressive strength and invulnerability (he takes automatic weapons fire from close range and looks annoyed). They play with a lot of the expected sterotypes and turn them on their heads here. It was a good read. I’m likely not getting the next issue, but it was nice to see a character treated as a joke by so many taken seriously. And he’s back to his “classic/Superfriends” look, which I could have done without, but I guess that goes with the “most iconic” line.
The Flash by Franics Manapul and Brian Buccellato:
Most of the Barry Allen status quo seems intact, aside from DC’s edict against all the previously established relationships. He’s dating someone called Patty instead of Iris, but Iris is around as a reporter. Barry is a police scientist, and Flash seems to be an established hero, who spends the issue fighting high tech thieves. There has been a lot of protest/complaint about the treatment of Wally West since DC brought Barry back, and he seems wholly absent from the DC-nU. Just to rub salt in the wounds of the Wally fans, Barry’s costume has been tweaked to resemble Wally’s.
Justice League Dark by Peter Milligan:
There are a lot of “Huh?” moments in this book. Multiple June Moon’s running around, the Enchantress is stuck in a magic envelope, and some magic threat defeats the Justice League. Madame Xanadu tells Shade the Changing Man he will need to gather some specialist magic users to fight it. Zatanna and John Constantine are barely in this issue, which has its moments. Best line: Madame Xanadu “I have looked into the future. The future looked right back at me and told me to mind my own business.”
Green Lantern: New Guardians by Tony Bedard:
After a re-telling of Kyle Rayner’s origin, we see various representatives of the other color Lantern Corps suddenly being “decommissioned” and losing their rings, many of them fatally. All the rings go to Earth and find Kyle, telling him he has been selected to bear them. Members of the other Corps all show up and demand Kyle return the rings he has “stolen,” while he’s still trying to figure out what the heck is going on. While all the other Corps are supposedly powered by different emotions, they all seem to show up angry and threatening violence.
Batman: The Dark Knight by David Finch:
This shows some of the speech Bruce Wayne made in “Batman,” but rather ridiculously shows Batman changing to Bruce in an alley, but then using a Batman line thrower to swing up out of the alley. After meeting some new supporting cast who are more interested in Bruce than Batman, there is yet another Arkham breakout, which ends the issue with Batman facing what appears to be Two-Face a la Blockbuster.
Superman by George Perez:
The DC-nU seems to be a good bit darker than the pre-reboot world, and Metropolis seems no exception. The Daily Planet building gets demolished, and at least some of the citizenry seems to have turned against Superman, who has apparently been out of town for a while. Supes ends up fighting some powerful alien fire creature in an apparent tie-in with Stormwatch. We also see Lois Lane’s new boyfriend, and the reboot Morgan Edge, who is now black. Call me a purist, but one of the most off-putting moments for me was Superman’s line “Bull!” Personally, just my opinion, but that’s not how my Superman talks. And, gotta admit, I hate the new costume.
The Savage Hawkman by Tony S Daniel:
This was one of the oddest offerigns of the week. Carter Hall drives into the woods to burn, shoot, and bury his Hawkman costume. The costume apparently objects, and comes after him. Seriously. An archeologist friend of Carter’s discovers some alien artifacts off the coast of Bermuda, and sends for Carter to decipher them. Carter wakes up in his apartment, naked and confused, but decides to go to the archeologist’s lab, where the “alien mummies” they found come after everyone, and the Hawkman costume suddenly emerges from inside Carter’s body. No questions at all about past continuity are addressed.
Blackhawks by Mike Costa:
This seems to be part action/spy movie and part hero origin, with a healthy seasoning of cliches. The Blackhawks, instead of their former, independent aviator selves, are now some secret UN team dealing with terrorists and “nanocites.” Again, no references whatever to the past of the team or name.
Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Men by Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone:
A total reboot of the Firestorm character, wiping out all past history. There are many cliches and some truly ugly costumes here. They include many bits of classic/80′s Firestorm story elements, but all changed. I had high hopes for this with Gail’s name on it, but I just didn’t really care for it.
I, Vampire by Joshua Hale Fialkov:
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: there’s this good vampire, and he just wants to be left alone and be at peace with the humans, but another vampire is evil and wants to declare war on them, revealing themselves to humanity as they slaughter, and of course, the vampires have a prior relationship. It seems like parts of the Sookie Stackhouse books mixed with the TV show “Being Human” but not done as well as either.
Voodoo by Ron Marz:
I didn’t read Wildstorm so I know nothing about this character. Having read issue one, I don’t know much more. Voodoo is apparently some kind of reptilian looking alien who came to Earth to become a stripper, using shapeshifting/illusions to pass for human. She/it is being hunted by some agency or other, notably by a man who she/it apparently kills during a lap dance, with blood spray everywhere, then takes on his form as she/it quits the club. My pick for worst of the week.
More on DC’s new universe @ acomicbookblog.com/tag/new-dcu