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Monday, September 26, 2011

DC New 52 Picks - Week Two Reviews

After reviewing a lot of the first week titles from DC's New 52 initiative, I'm back with more titles from their 2nd week of publishing.

So let's get in the bizniz, shall we?

Batman and Robin #1 by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason -  Frankly, I was excited to read a book that finally stars father-and-son Bruce and Damian Wayne. Excited to see how their relationship goes and how Batman will deal with a spoiled brat of a son that he has. And it worked pretty well in this comic. The back and forth dialogue between them is fun, but Robin becomes more annoying everytime with his disrespectful banter and  "my way or the highway" style of doing things. I hope they will tone it down a bit.

Also, it was nice to see Batman celebrate the time of his parent's wedding instead of their deaths, and that signifies something on the lighter side that I haven't seen in the character in years. He's still brooding yes, but at least he makes an effort to forget the bad stuff and celebrate the good ones.

Finally, the action is well executed and was beautifully illustrated, but I wish their first encounter was with somebody more powerful, rather than just some bunch of ordinary thieves. Good ending with the mysterious Bat-killer and the Batman of Russia (yes, Russia has one. Read Batman Inc folks) in a pool of vat though. Its something that I could look forward to.
Rating 3.5/5

Batwoman #1 by JH Williams III and Haden Blackman - Its been a long time since I read a Batwoman story and the last one was way back 2010, with the incredible Batwoman: Elegy. So normally, I would expect nothing less but absolute perfection with this book.

And as expected - JH Williams didn't disappoint. 

He killed the storytelling (with help from Haden Blackman of course), infusing detective work with the horror genre, and then giving us his patented 2-page spreads of remarkable art filled with dynamic and fluid action sequences and awesome paneling that only JH Williams can do. The only problem I have (if there is anything), is that Williams had Kate spill all of her emotions in a spread just to keep new readers up to speed with what happening, and how the hell did we end up here. Its a beautiful storytelling technique, but its too confusing and too much to absorb, especially if you just have to understand everything through images. 

Still, this is the BEST book from that week, and its one of those comic books that you have to have in your hands in order for you to appreciate its beauty. That's right: JH Williams tells us that you can't read his book with a damn iPad (or any type of device for that matter)!

Rating: 5/5

Demon Knights #1 by Paul Cornell and Diogenes Nieves - Are you a fan of magic, sorcery and dragons? Then this book is for you. Set in the Dark Ages of the DC Universe, Demon Knights introduces the other side of DC, with sorcerers, dragons, medieval knights, and exploding babies. Wait... come again? 

Yes exploding babies. If that doesn't sound mystical (and creepy) to you, then I don't know what it is.

The book doesn't explain much as who these characters are and how are they related to each other, like you're supposed to know them already. The truth is, I don't know Madame Xanadu, Etrigan, Merlin and the Shining Knight and this was my first time encountering them in a comic, but what the hell... the comic is so damn entertaining and wonderfully drawn that I couldn't help but keep on reading. Its like reading and playing a video game with the detailed medieval environment, the familiar formula of a bleak but interesting prologue + characters meet and greet in a pub, then capping it off with DINOSAURS crashing the party. Yeah, dinosaurs. They're back! 

Paul Cornell and Diogenes Nieves are fcuking awesome. Now, they have to introduce all (if not some) of these characters in the second issue one way or another while getting them to kill some giant reptiles.

Rating: 4/5

Continue after the jump for more reviews... 

Resurrection Man #1  by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning - Another title that had me going mainly because of the characters ability to resurrect every single time, and then coming up with a whole different ability/powers. I mean, that's sick. That's definitely something that I haven't seen in a superhero comic book.

Now the story of this book doesn't rely on too much exposition which is usually used to explain the protagonists' origins or how did he get his powers, and instead just explains RM's abilities through his dialogue and actions, conveyed masterfully by Lanning. On one moment he has the powers of magnetism, and then after dying again, he gets to take the shape and form of water. Clearly,  "staying the same" and "dying" isn't in this character's vocabulary. Not much to tell you about the story because Abnett didn't want to spill everything in the debut issue, apparently just giving us teenie-tiny bits of information, so little that had tons of questions by the end.

If you noticed too, I keep on saying "the character" or "the protagonist" through the course of this review. That's because of the interesting weirdness happening in the whole run of the comic: the hero's real name isn't mentioned... or maybe it did mention it one time then I just forgot.

Either way I will probably stick with this one just because I want to know more about this guy and what/who the hell is he dealing with, which I'm guessing has to do with demons, ghost and other apparitions.

Rating 3/5

Green Lantern #1 by Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke - Everything that Geoff Johns' write I dig. Especially when it deals with our Green Lanterns.

You know what's funny about this title? Its numbered as a "#1" when it is essentially the continuation of the War of the Green Lanterns Aftermath and Green Lantern #67. So with that, we can basically call this Green Lantern #68.

It immediately picks up where it left off, with Sinestro wearing the green ring again as the sole protector of Sector 2814 and interestingly, he is doing his job though he keeps on saying that he doesn't want to be a Lantern - brutally killing off a Yellow Lantern and destroying his power ring before it even found a replacement sentient. That's badass and refreshing at the same time.

And with the Korguarian taking care of the intergalatic police work, Hal Jordan is obviously powerless and is back to being an ordinary human - again. But I believe that won't last very long after that not-so-surprising-cliffhanger but still managed to keep excited for some reason. Anything that has to do with big favors in exchange of something really works.

Doug Mahnke continues his brilliant Lantern pencilling here and I hope he will stick with this title for as long as he can because he's the only one who can draw this book other than Ivan Reis (another favorite GL artist).

Solid issue, but I hope that Johns won't bring back Jordan to the Corps too soon. Its fun to see him deal with the problems of ordinary human beings. Time to ground him a bit and let Sinestro do his thing for the meantime. Veering away from the status quo sometimes doesn't hurt, does it? 

Rating: 4/5

Deathstroke #1 by Kyle Higgins and Joe Bennett - Nothing much to be said here asides from pure action, guys getting decapitated with a broadsword (the Jonah Jameson look alike getting beheaded was a priceless shot at Marvel), and a brutal twist that couldn't have been perfect for Deathstroke's nature.

Kyle Higgins knows that Slade Wilson is a do-it-first, ask questions later guy, so he doesn't waste time on long dialogues explaining who the hell Wilson is, and just like Resurrection Man, the art does the talking for him. 

Pretty nice art from Bennett, though I felt like we're back in the 90s here with all the belts and pouches on Deathstroke's costume, and that sword... does he really have to carry a big one? It looked kind of awkward to me. I always thought that regular longswords or even small katanas will work for a mercenary-for-hire, but again, who am I to dictate what he will wear or carry?

For now Higgins has me on board for this, but he has to make an interesting storyline already because too much killing without a good story won't cut in the long run. His shock factor is good though, and he can use more of that in future issues.

Rating: 3/5

Superboy #1  by Scott Lobdell and RB Silva  - Ever since I saw RB Silva's art on the Jimmy Olsen One-Shot,  I was pretty much looking for him every where and I'm glad that he got a work at DC... and not only that, he got to work on Lobdell's new Superboy - who is the same cloned guy made from the fusion of Kryptonian and human DNA (we all know who owns those DNAs sure, but we have to play innocent here and act like we know nothing for the meantime), but different - because this Superboy doesn't know where he came from, how he came to be, devoid of any morals, and apparently doesn't know how his powers work - he just knows they are there and he can use it.

Question is, is he going to use it for the good? or for the worst? That's what we are left with with this amazing issue. Lobdell perfectly plants the seeds for the coming issues by testing Superboy's morality and letting us know that though he is called Superboy, he is no Superman - at least not yet - and has a long road ahead of him before he even becomes the hero fans knew.

Plus, a certain lovely red-head is back (guess who this is anyone?) and acts as the young scientist in charge of the Superboy N.O.W.H.E.R.E. project, and Rose Wilson (who was previously known in the old DC Universe as Deathstroke's daughter) is here as well acting as a love-interest for Superboy in a nice fake reality test (damn, Lobdell got me on that one). 

And as I have said, RB Silva's clean art makes this even more admirable, as his pencils makes everything work together without making scenes too dark/grim.

With that, Superboy is clearly on my pull list. Probably one of the best books that week, next to Batwoman and Demon Knights.

Rating: 4/5 

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E by Jeff Lemire and Alberto Poticelli - Hah. Frankie is back and he has newfound friends (which includes his trigger happy four-armed wife) and is looking to be the hottest new superhero group in town, And they're all MONSTERS. Couldn't it be any more fun?

Its a whole new series featuring monsters killing off monsters ala Hellboy. Ah, there you go. What a perfect way to describe things because quite frankly, I have a hard time thinking of ways to tell you what this issue is other than saying monsters. Its wacky, it totally out of the ordinary and it gets even weirder as you go on - which is how a comic book with Frankenstein in it should be. Lemire is the man.

Ponticelli has quite a knack for group shots too, and he loves to draw full spreads of absolute mayhem which he draws nicely.  I want more of that. 

One last thing before I wrap this up - I have always asked myself how Father Time looks like. You will get to see him/her in this issue. Finally. And Father Time isn't exactly what you thought he/she would be - another reason for you to get this.

Rating: 3.5/5

Grifter #1 by Nathan Edmonson and CAFU - I like Grifter from the old WildC.A.T.S days, and he is by far, my favorite character on that group. Maybe its because of the mask. So when I learned that he is going to get his own freaking series... I was just ecstatic.

But to my disappointment, his debut issue didn't hit me that hard. Its confusing dialogue and plot that involves paranormal villains/voices that talks to him inside his head and the reveal that his brother is a military guy assigned to hunt him down at all costs, this looks to me, the weakest of the books in that week. Nothing much is conveyed in this first issue, except for the fact that Cole Cash is introduced and is shown at what he does best - being a con artist... and running. Other than that, the villains motives are unknown, no gunfights, and Cash's background and other motives are unexplored.  Maybe that's for the next issue. He put his famous mask by the end anyway.

CAFU's art is good though and that's the only saving grace this book had, as far as I'm concerned.

Still, I'm going to give this one more try and see what Grifter is gonna do with all these unexplained things happening to him. I just wish we get gun fights already, just as what the cover of this issue seemingly conveyed.

Rating: 2/5.

That's it folks. Week Three coming right up soon.

What's next?:  Cheesecakes, in-your-face sex, girl power, and brutal killings that spans galaxies.

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