Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DC New 52 Picks - Week Four Reviews

Alright, this is the final wave. I haven't read everything last week, but I'm going to review some of those that I picked up.

Superman #1 by George Perez and Jesus Merino - this is by far the most disappointing book that I read in the new 52. It wasn't that bad in every stretch of the imagination... it's just that I expected more from George Perez story and dialogue-wise. Having a young Superman / Clark Kent deal with the demolishing of the old Daily Planet and seeing the new office building and its new management is nice, but there was nothing new here. I mean, reporters, the Daily Planet, and Superman saving the day from a flaming alien is all the same to me - except that Supes here is a little brash and quips lines like Green Arrow.

The final pages showing Clark sucking it up and being a loser once again didn't help either, just like Perez' shallow storytelling that made me think that he was having a hard time finding the right words to describe all the action.

Merino's art wasn't that impressive but it was nice, with that old-school vibe to it as influenced by Perez' layouts, but I wish they could get somebody else better to draw Supes. 

Still, I'm going to read the 2nd issue just to see if they could bounce back. But right now, this is almost forgettable to me. Thank God we still have Action. 

Aquaman #1 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis - "How does it feel to be nobody's favorite superhero?" 

I mean let's face it - nobody likes Aquaman because he's a guy who only has powers when he is in the water and because we have this belief that HE FUCKING TALKS TO FISH. Who wants to have that kind of hero?

But damn, Geoff Johns' nails it by poking fun at Aquaman himself, using all the jokes that undermined the character all over the years. He gives Aquaman an almost Superman calm attitude with an almost cold demeanor, and this makes the character a sympathetic one at that. Right from the opening scene where Aquaman saves the day by taking down some robbers in a truck, we immediately see Aquaman making that i-dont-know-anything-about-that face when asked by the police if he needs water - which is illustrated right on the spot by Ivan Reis - sets up the whole tone of the story. 

Johns' continues his funny jokes even when Aquaman enters a seafood restaurant and gets backhanded compliments from people, and in the process, Aquaman becomes more of just a laughingstock - but a real superhero who knows exactly what people outside of his kingdom think of him and thinks that he deserves more than what people is crediting him for. 

Flashbacks showing a young Aquaman with his father sitting on a nearby shore together and introducing his beautiful wife Mera gives us the more sentimental and softer side of this hero, and the ending with those ugly looking water monsters gives me more reasons to read the next issue. 

Ivan Reis gives us his trademark detailed illustrations that trudges beautifully through all the action, horror, and the more serene moments. Very well done by my favorite Green Lantern artist.

To sum it up: Geoff Johns just made me a true believer . And that's that.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Batman: The Dark Knight #1 by Paul Jenkins and David Finch - Obviously trying to capitalize by using the same title of the blockbuster movie of 2008, this Batman comic is nothing of a blockbuster as it appears to be from the title and cover. Its complete garbage. 

We get Batman's internal monologue talking about fear this and fear like that which sounded too crappy for me, then we have that familiar Arkham Asylum breakout which happened twice in the other two Batman comics (Detective and Batman by Snyder), and finally a bunny as a villain and a shot of Harvey Two-Face in all of his roided glory. I mean, what's up with that? I have seen better with Batman: Arkham Asylum comic book series.

Clearly, this is a big Bat-FAIL from Jenkins, but David Finch saves the remains of this comic book with his nice looking 90's-esque art that for some reason reminded me of Jim Lee. Its  pretty looking art, especially with that full page of Batman on top of the police car, but nothing spectacular especially when it comes to facial expressions.

Utterly forgettable issue overall, and after seeing that bunny? Nah, you can throw getting issue #2 into the trash can. 

Rating: 2 out of 5

I, Vampire by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino A story in the mold Bram Stoker's tales. 2 star crossed vampire lovers. The guy doesn't want to hurt people, but his girlfriend wants to embrace her inner evil and completely eradicate humankind with her horde of the undead. A clash of beliefs and nobody wants to compromise, and now guy vampire has no choice but to prevent her lover from executing her nefarious plans, even if it means killing her in the process.  Now if that doesn't sound compelling (and tragic) stuff to you, then maybe you should read more Bram Stoker.

Truth be told, this was not an easy read at all and is quite confusing for new readers because the monologue doesn't really match with the art that is being shown on many of the panels (maybe its some kind of a flashback technique?), but the idea behind the story is so good that it makes for a very interesting read. There's clearly a lot of back story that needs to be told in order to fully grasp the story, and I hope that will be addressed next. 

Andrea Sorrentino adds a lot of goth and horror with her dark, moody pencils that gives off that classic Stoker feel, and her use of thin lines, lighting and shadows works well for this book. She should let us see her characters faces next time though.

Good first issue and if both writer and artist elevates their work as this series goes on, we might be seeing another DC classic right before our eyes. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Flash #1 by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato - Artist handles the writing duties as well in this issue as Francis Manapul takes center stage with help from Brian Buccellato, and frankly, this team makes a good introduction for the best Scarlet Speedster of all time - Barry Allen without any hint of him remembering what happened in the old DCU or even Flashpoint

And that's a good thing. Its new, refreshing and is unhampered by previous continuity. His relationship with Iris never happened but she makes an appearance here which is nice, and the decision of not using any of the Flash's familiar rogues gallery just made it even more new-reader friendly.

The main story involving Barry's old friend and mysterious clones that popped out of nowhere is quite confusing, but it leaves readers interested, mainly because of that impressive cliffhanger. 

Manapul's art is as energetic and creative as ever, and is very well on his way on being a definitive Flash artist. Flash is his favorite character, and his love for the Flash is evident with this patented whitewashed artwork that just keeps on getting better.

Want a book that you can give to a non-comics reader? Well, look no further. The Flash is the book for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Justice League Dark #1 by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin - A team that deals with supernatural entities that even the most powerful superheroes can't? Madame Xanadu, Zatanna, Deadman and John Freaking Constantine as the main characters? That's awesome. Their debut issue? Not that awesome, but passable. 

This issue was supposed to introduce us to DCU's magic world, and yes we do get a taste of how formidable magical villains are as shown when Superman - the man of fricking steel - is getting torn into ribbons (as Wonder Woman's dialogue says) by a whirlwind of decayed witch's teeth together with his Justice League mates Diana and Cyborg. Wrap your head around that. You can't. That's why its awesome.

But at the same time, trying to fit in all of these characters into the story made it too convoluted and confusing, starting with Madame Xanadu's mindless bumbling, to the replicated June Moones, and John Constantine suddenly showing up out of nowhere together with all the explanation of the weird arcane. The idea is not bad, but the way the script was written wasn't that effective. It didn't achieve what it was trying to aim, and worse, made the whole book very hard to read.

I'm not yet digging Mikel Janin's art, but he has a solid start here and I'm looking forward for him to improve his facial anatomy and start illustrating these characters less square-jawed. Other than that, he's got nice pencils. That's all I can say for now. 

A little bit disappointed with JLD, but I'll come back for another round. Hopefully it rebounds by then. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

Voodoo #1 by Ron Marz and Sami Basri -  After the controversy caused by Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 and Catwoman #1 a couple of weeks ago, here is DC again with another sexy (literally) comic book title featuring a stripper who happens to be... okay I'll stop right there as to not to spoil anything for you.

I said this book is sexy. And it is. Ron Marz has this whole thing set up in a stripper bar and lets us get into the lives of the women who chose this as their way of earning money. And truth be told, Marz gives a clever dialog all through out the issue as to make this more of a "sexy comic book that actually packs a good story " instead of just pure "stripping, with lots of tits and ass shots". The pretty grotesque twist by end was nice and it tells the reader that the "hero" (if I could call her that) of this book is not somebody you want to fuck with.

Admittedly though, there are a lot of T&A scenes here right from the beginning. We see Priscilla Kitaen - the mysterious protagonist - stripping her way to please her customers up until the very end of the issue. Like I said, its very sexy, but I believe this is nothing compared to the scenes in Catwoman #1. Character-wise though, Priscilla is more of like dumb and I'm more curious to know more about the remaining female agent who looks more interesting than Voodoo, herself.

Sami Basri's art is.. well... what can I say? Its awesome. I really dig his art. Since this guy took on Power Girl last year, I was looking forward to seeing more of his art and thank goodness he got a monthly comic book project now with Voodoo. His trademark anime/manga-influenced art style that is defined by clean sophisticated lines has never skipped a beat, and he has done his homework when it comes to giving his characters the right facial expressions. His frequent colorist Jessica Kholinne also contributed to improve the art, and her colors just made everything more vibrant and energized. Glad to see them working together again.

In summary, Voodoo #1 wasn't that great, but because of Sami Basri's art and because Ron Marz is writing - and he never makes a crap story - I will stick to this title. There is a lot of potential behind his mystery-horror-erotic hoopla you know. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

That's all for now. I know I missed a couple of books but don't worry, I will update this post as soon as I get to read them.

No comments:

Post a Comment