Robot 6

New 52 Pickup | Week 5 — decision time!

It’s the final week of New 52 #1s, and that means it’s time to make some decisions. None of this week’s books will be on the fence, as it’s time to figure out the 26 titles that make it to next month. But before we get to the final list, there were some fantastic comics that hit this week that really made me sad I couldn’t have more titles on my pull for next month. Let’s get to it.

For those only interested in the results, scroll down for the final standings and a big surprise.

Warning! Spoilers ahead!

All-Star Western
Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Moritat

A murder mystery with Jonah Hex as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Amadeus Arkham as Dr. Watson? Sign me up! Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have always had a great handle on Jonah Hex, and All-Star Western really takes advantage of that experience to hook both new and longtime readers with a well-plotted first issue. Moreover, the book is set in Gotham with clear links to a lot of the Batman mythos. Moritat’s art is a great fit, giving the book an old-timey Western movie feel, and the narration from Arkham gives the book a real sense of mystery. This book hooked me in a big way, and I can’t wait for the next issue.

Status: IN

Aquaman
Written by Geoff Johns with art by Ivan Reis

This is an excellently done issue. The character of Aquaman as it stood just didn’t appeal to me, but with the New 52, Geoff Johns has once again demonstrated his ability to make everything vintage incredibly relevant for the modern age. The exposition of Aquaman’s powers as he sat down in a seafood restaurant ordering fish and chips was great, and the pointed jabs at Aquaman being “nobody’s favorite superhero” were very tongue in cheek. And you can’t say enough about the high quality of Ivan Reis’ pencils. For the first time ever, I’m interested in where this character is going. Well done, creative team!

Status: IN

Batman: The Dark Knight
Written and plotted by Paul Jenkins with art and plot by David Finch

This is a tough book to judge. On the one hand, I really like David Finch’s art, and unsurprisingly it fits very well with the story he and Paul Jenkins are telling. However, it did feel like not much happened during the issue other than the Arkham Asylum breakout at the end of the book with Two-Face all Bane’d up. It looks like a pretty good Batman story in the making, but it doesn’t stand out in comparison to some of the other amazing books I’ve read this month.

Status: OUT

Blackhawks
Written by Mike Costa with art by Graham Nolan and Ken Lashley

I was kind of hoping to see more of Lady Blackhawk, Zinda Blake, in this issue, but she never showed up. The Blackhawks are a black-ops peacekeeping squad that deals with threats to humanity. The concept is pretty sound, and Mike Costa does a good job getting readers up to speed with these new characters. But as a result, the book is mostly exposition, with a heavy focus on “nanocites,” tiny machines that seem like they can do pretty much anything. Although the exposition seemed organic, there wasn’t much keeping me interested in the cliffhanger at the end.

Status: OUT

The Flash
Written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato with art by Francis Manapul

I love Francis Manapul’s art. It was a great fit for The Flash, and it’s good to see he’s back with art for the new book. In addition to the great-looking art, Manapul and co-writer Brian Buccellato put together a pretty solid story. Although there will be traditionalists who are up in arms about Barry Allen and Iris West no longer being together, it was interesting to see Barry on a date with another woman. The eventual story was well-paced with a good lead-up, but the ending just didn’t make me want to stick around for another issue.

Status: OUT

The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men

Written by Gail Simone and Ethan van Sciver with art by Yildiray Cinar

The Fury of Firestorm introduces Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch, the two characters who previously held the Firestorm mantle. Gail Simone is great at this kind of story, focusing on what drives the characters and introducing conflict between the two that will most likely carry throughout the series. Ethan van Sciver doesn’t really get a chance to shine here until the last few pages of action sequence, but his pencils are still fantastic, no matter what he’s drawing. This is a book that has a lot of depth from the first page on, and the final plot twist of two Firestorms combining into one giant Firestorm is interesting enough for me to come back.

Status: IN

Green Lantern: The New Guardians
Written by Tony Bedard with art by Tyler Kirkham

I was pretty confused by this issue, as I have no idea when it’s supposed to take place. The book opens with a pile of dead Guardians on Oa and Ganthet as the only survivor. Kyle Rayner has just become a Green Lantern when rings from the other Lanterns leave their current hosts to locate him. While I didn’t find the book particularly difficult to follow, I left the book feeling as confused as Kyle looked. As Green Lantern books go, this one wasn’t the strongest.

Status: OUT

I, Vampire
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov with art by Andrea Sorrentino

This book is amazing, and easily has the potential to be one of the best books from the New 52. Joshua Hale Fialkov sets up his main characters nicely, sowing the seeds for a dark and unconventional vampire story, the like of which the DC Universe has never seen. Fialkov’s narrative devices work well as the story jumps back and forth between the past and present. Andrea Sorrentino’s linework is fantastic. This is easily the standout and most surprising title of the week.

Status: IN

Justice League Dark
Written by Peter Milligan with art by Mikel Janin

Peter Milligan sets up this book and its cast nicely from the pages of Secret Seven. Like many of the team books in the New 52, a lot of time is spent introducing the new members. Madame Xanadu has gotten a lot of love in the New 52, and this book really takes advantage of that. But the real focus here is one June Moone. Shade, the Changing Man appears as well with a pretty good intro for new readers. John Constantine, Deadman, Zatanna and Enchantress don’t get nearly as much focus, and there’s a cameo by the Justice League. The thing is, I really wanted to like this book, but just couldn’t get into it. Despite the excellent art by Mikel Janin and Milligan’s great setup, the book just didn’t grab me the way I thought it would.

Status: OUT

The Savage Hawkman
Written by Tony S. Daniel with art by Philip Tan

This is an interesting take on the Hawkman we know and love. Carter Hall is still a cryptologist, but the book begins with him attempting to destroy the Hawkman armor. As it turns out, the Nth metal somehow got inside of him and manifests on command. The antagonists here are metamorphosed blobs of black goo who want to steal Hawkman’s Nth metal. Unfortunately, it was the villains that failed to grab me by the book’s end. Tony Daniel’s focus on Carter was great, and Philip Tan is a good fit for this book, but dealing with those black blobs for another issue isn’t my cup of tea.

Status: OUT

Superman
Written by George Perez with pencils and inks by Jesus Merino

This is a great way to reintroduce the character to a new audience. George Perez puts all the elements of a great traditional Superman story into one issue, and by the end you’ve had a great adventure with some excellent plot threads to carry over into the next issue. While I’m not a huge fan of all the changes taking place in Superman’s world, Perez pulls it off with style and grace, making me a believer even in the Lois/Clark marriage being no more. This is definitely a Superman book for those who want a satisfying self-contained story.

Status: IN

Teen Titans
Written by Scott Lobdell with art by Brett Booth

In the 1990s, Scott Lobdell had a real handle on the teen team superhero book, and it’s good to see he hasn’t lost his touch. Teen Titans focuses on Tim Drake, aka Red Robin, as he delves into his investigation of N.O.W.H.E.R.E.’s abduction of teenage metahumans. Lobdell also introduces Kid Flash, Wonder Girl and Superboy by issue’s end, rounding out much of the core cast. Brett Booth’s pencils serve the story well, and Lobdell’s handle on Wonder Girl is particularly refreshing. For anyone who loves teen team books and might need a little reintroduction to comics, this book is perfect for you.

Status: IN

Voodoo
Written by Ron Marz with art by Sami Basri

Alien spy who shape-changes into a stripper so it can lift secrets from military soldiers who come to the club from a nearby base. While the reader doesn’t really get a chance to find out who Voodoo actually is, that’s part of the mystery that Ron Marz is trying to build. By the end of the book, Voodoo is impersonating the government agent who was close to finding her out. There was an excessive amount of time spent on half-dressed ladies in this book, and if that’s what you enjoy in comics, you should read this book. I wasn’t overly impressed with the plot and the promise of an alien super-spy was not quite enough to get me to Issue 2.

Status: OUT

There you have it. Now, it’s time to make some tough decisions. While there were a number of quality books, it was clear to me from the comments that Wonder Woman belongs on my pull for another issue. It and Justice League are the only books that actually make it onto my pull from the “On the Fence” category. It’s also caused me to re-evaluate a few issues that were previously “In” – namely, Static Shock and Men of War.

IN
Action Comics
All-Star Western
Animal Man
Aquaman
Batgirl
Batman
Batwoman
Blue Beetle
Catwoman
Demon Knights
The Fury of Firestorm
Green Lantern
Green Lantern Corps
I, Vampire
Justice League
Justice League International
Red Lanterns
Resurrection Man
Stormwatch
Superboy
Supergirl
Superman
Swamp Thing
Teen Titans
Wonder Woman

OUT
Batman: The Dark Knight
Batman and Robin
Batwing
Birds of Prey
Blackhawks
Captain Atom
DC Comics Presents
Deathstroke
Detective Comics
The Flash
Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
Green Arrow
Green Lantern: The New Guardians
Grifter
Hawk and Dove
Justice League Dark
Legion Lost
Legion of Super-Heroes
Men of War
Mister Terrific
Nightwing
OMAC
Red Hood and the Outlaws
The Savage Hawkman
Static Shock
Suicide Squad
Voodoo

You may notice there are 25 titles “In” and 27 titles “Out.” That’s where you come in. I’ve left one spot on my pull list as a wildcard slot. In the poll below and in the comments, make yourself heard as to which cut title should get a second chance. Whether you’d like to campaign for Captain Atom or give The Flash a rebirth, this is your chance to get me excited about a book that you’re excited about.

As always, sound off in the comments as to what you liked and didn’t like, and what you think should be saved!

Update: We’re now aware that the poll software limits the options to 20, meaning seven titles were left out: Nightwing, OMAC, Red Hood and the Outlaws, The Savage Hawkman, Static Shock, Suicide Squad and Voodoo. If you think one of those books deserve to be moved to the “In” list, vote by leaving a comment below.


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Comments

69 Comments

“All-Star Western..”

I expected this would be good, and your description of the first issue seems to confirm that. I need to go pick this up. Thanks for reminding me about this.

In terms of which one should add to the wildcard spot, I would vote for OMAC, as I felt it was the most suprising book in terms of being enjoyable, but the choices on the poll stop at Mister Terrific…

I’d say give Frankenstein another look–I’ll admit I was less-than-excited for that one before it came out (due largely to the dismal Flashpoint tie-in, and the fact that, of Morrison’s 7 Soldiers, Frank is my seventh favourite), but I thought this was a strong setup with some intriguingly weird elements. I love Father Time, and I really hope Ray Palmer retains his role here rather than becoming the Atom–yes, I’m one of those rooting for Ryan Choi to get another shot at the big time.

Seconding OMAC. One of the most fun books of the entire line.

Of all the 4 weeks of reboots, I find this week’s offerings the least impressive. It is a shame as I had hoped the whole month would end with a great bang, firing me up for the issue 2s that are on their way. Maybe it is also because of the high quality of my 2 non DCnU titles in my pile (Ultimates #2 & Ultimate Hawkeye #2).
Still, it is not so disappointing as to put me off following up with those titles I have fallen in love with.

The four standout titles this week for me are-

Aquaman
- I have noticed Johns’s writing style is of the school of slow burn, some may even say crawling. But for Aquaman, it is the perfect treatment. There is a feel of some horror movie about those uglies from the trench, so I am most pleased with this. It is a gorgeous looking book, too. IN

Firestorm
- in total agreement with the reviewer’s assessment. It stares some really potent social issues in the face but is not preachy. The tie-in with current scientific development (higgs boson and the god particle) is very relevant and makes it believable, or as believable as a comic book can be. IN

I Vampire
- this is not just a comic book. This is a GORGEOUS beautifully drawn piece of art! Plot wise it doesn’t offer anything one have not seen/read in all vampire themed book/movie/tv series, but I feel this is a story which at its core is about the two protagonists and the conflicts that arise from their divergent paths. And therein lies its strength. IN

Justice League Dark
- this book is full of potential, but it is walking a fine line between refreshingly left field and contrived naffness. Not sure about Constantine being part of the set up. He is just not someone one would think fit in a group dynamic. IMO, if Milligan pulls this off, this may be a great hit. Purely for its sleeper potential- IN.

The rest of this weeks’ fare are like flat champagne. Would still have a sip if the fridge is empty but would prefer if it still fizzes.I have to say Teen Titans is the biggest disappointment for me. I can’t help but wonder if this is coloured by the whole Starfire debacle the week before. Having said that, “Wonder girl” is no Starfire. Although not fully fleshed out, at least it is not the inflatable sex doll flat charater that is the “new” Koriand’r (why is she named after a herb, I often wondered) and so I am not entirely giving up on it yet.

Give DC Comics Presents another chance. As far as narrative goes, it does a lot well, and it sets itself up for a very satisfying read. If you reread the issue and actually look at the characterization, you’ll see a whole lot of promise there, which is more than I can say for so many other issues. It has absolute potential, and it should be on your list.

I cast a vote for Nightwing, largely on the simple premise that if you really enjoyed Batman #1 (and I think most people did), you’ll find that this title will tie in closely to Batman in the coming year, based on what Scott Snyder has said in interviews. Similar pairings of closely related titles are Superboy/Teen Titans and Animal Man/Swamp Thing (based on what their creators have said), but those four are all on your list already.

Also, if you like Batman Inc., Grant Morrison has said he’ll be working closely with Pete Tomasi on Batman & Robin, so you might want to keep that series in mind as well.

First off, do note that EVS did NOT draw Firestorm, he’s the co-plotter. Yildiray Cinar is the artist.

Second, I cast Outlaws for the 2nd chance. That book, at the very least, could get pretty crazy.

For Green Lantern: New Guardians, not sure if you missed it, or just because it wasn’t stated in the beginning but when it skips from Kyle’s origin to the other colored lanterns being killed it says PRESENT DAY. So Kyle getting the ring is in the past, and then everything else is the present. Personally, I thought it was one of the better books of the week, but I’m also a big fan of Kyle.

Well, your list and mine are pretty similar (with the caveat that i haven’t read today’s books yet), but keeping in mind that Static Shock and Green Arrow are getting new writers soon, maybe one of those? So I vote Static Shock with a huge issue 4 asterisk.

New Guardians is awesome. You need to give it a second chance.

Red Hood/Outlaws. If I had to pick something from the 20 listed, Detective.

Nightwing is my vote for wildcard. It carried Dick’s story into the future excellently.

I was most surprised by Batwing. Wish I could say more, but the reasons why elude me.

OMAC, awesome book – lots of fun – give it try everyone!!

u gotta pick nightwing, i thought it was quite good

AnalogousGumdropDecoder

September 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I’ve enjoyed both OMAC and Justice League Dark.

While the story in OMAC didn’t give me quite enough to go on (Hulk-ish?), I think it may have the potential to develop into a really fun book if the writing is handled well. I really enjoyed the lighthearted tone, and the art is great for a modern book from a mainstream publisher (not fond of this new-fangled digitized stuff, I like to see evidence of direct human involvement – pen/pencil on paper). Regardless Giffen does a good job at evoking Kirby (down to the weird vertical lines bisecting the characters’ chins) without ripping him off wholesale – there’s some shading and layering that just couldn’t have happened in a classic four-color book. I’d be happy to see this book continue just so I can look at the pictures. Still I’d like to give it at least three issues to see how it develops. As beautiful as the art is, story will determine whether I actually keep buying in.

With Justice League Dark, on the other hand, Milligan really drew me into the story with a nice mixture of mystery and quirk. The art is good as well, although not as crackling with personality as I expect from an artist.

I want both of these books to hang around for a little while.

I love westerns, I love the concept of “All Star Westerns” … but I really don’t care for Jonah Hex.

Nightwing gets my vote for the wildcard. Its a solid book with a great character.

O.M.A.C Should get a Second Chance I thought it was amazing. I also didn’t realize how badly I was missing a Good Kirbyesc Art Fix until I read it.

I vote for Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. I wasn’t expecting this to be even worth a look but I saw Lemire (who IMO has the best new DC title with Animal Man) and Alberto Ponticelli’s (from the much underestimated Unknown Soldier) names on the cover and trusted in the creative team. Man, was I surprised! Probably in my top 3 DC new #1s alongside Animal Man and Action Comics. Brilliant stuff and I think it could really lead to some fun, crazy comics in future issues! Reminds me a little of Umbrella Academy/BPRD; high praise indeed!

I am so utterly bored of vampires and zombies. I don’t ever want to read another vampire or zombie story as long as I live.

FRANKENSTEIN FTW!!

O.M.A.C. was a blast!

Red Hood isn’t in the “second Chance” voting list. I liked it the first chance I got to read it. Anyone who didn’t like it because they felt it “objectified women”, well, male superheroes are just as objectified. Do men really look like that on the street? No. So who cares. Read the book, it’s good.

I’m voting NIghtwing. It surprised me in how good it was and I think the story tying to Batman is a nice touch, though done very lightly, as it should be. Give that one another go and let us know what you think of issue #2.

Red Hood and the Outlaws

Give Nightwing another chance, it was a really good comic.

OMAC OMAC OMAC OMAC OMAC OMAC OMAC

Just cause i want to be vocal abt this one too, CAPTAIN ATOM

As much as I liked Frankenstein, Justice League Dark I thought was one of the best of the bunch and I’m a little shocked and slightly horrified it didn’t make your initial IN list. What wrong with you? lol

Nice to hear that “All Star Western” is good.
Great.
I’ll pick it up when they collect in a TPB.

I was disapointed by Flash. I am a huge fan but this story really didn’t do anything for me. New Guardians wasn’t the best either but as soon as the teams origin gets established I think it could be a pretty good book. Though I am just saying this because I have a large interest in the emotional spectrum.

red hood and the outlaws is worth a second issue

I too am voting for Nightwing.

Me too (Nightwing). Bit surprised you couldn’t fit it into the top half.

How is Nightwing even a wild card pick? I only found four other books to be superior to it (Batman, Wonder Woman, Action Comics, Animal Man). Nightwing is the obvious pick. Its an even better pick if you’re also going to follow Batman (not to mention that Dick Grayson is an incredible main character to read about).

OMAC was amazing. I havent seen anything from the new 52 that grabbed be as hard as that book, so far. That not being in the “IN” list makes it hard for me to take this list seriously :D

Seriously, OMAC was surprisingly awesome. Keep reading it!

Dude, Suicide Squad deserves a second chance. I know OMAC is the “light and fun” comic, but even as much as I like it, I don’t think it’s going to last long. Suicide Squad is both light and fun, and totally deserving of another shot. It’s fun and simple, without any other baggage (I’m hoping…)

How can you not follow Dick Grayson?

Frankenstein and OMAC are awesome, as well. Especially, the former. I feel you’d regret not sticking with it.

DCU Presents aims to tell a great Deadman tale but due to the nature of that book perhaps you should trade wait.

I feel some of your IN books should be absolute outs. Blue Beetle was the most basic opening issue I have ever read and Catwoman was almost all exploitation.

I found all star western really boring, just could not get into it. I felt superman played it too safe, and dark knight was a rehash of everything from tec, batman abd b and r

Wasn’t a good week for me though aqua man shone through

I voted for DC Universe Presents but I would also really wanted to say OMAC, Nightwing and Frankenstein. I’d get rid of Justice League Int’l, Catwoman and Stormwatch which were half-polished turds in comparison.

I think Red Hood/Outlaws deserves a chance.
(But if I had to pick something from the 20 listed, it’d be Detective Comics.)

Definitive Frankenstein: Agent of Shade!

Voted for DC Universe Presents Deadman. The title actually breaches my top 5 – I think the writing is really something.

In: catwoman, batman, detective, nightwing, wonder woman, super girl, action, aqua man, flash, JLA, JLA dark.
The rest are dropped but I may venture back from time to time.

I’d go with OMAC. I thought it was fun.

Great article, good insights. As for second chances, I’d definitely go with FRANKENSTEIN. Lemaire is a fantastic writer and won’t let you down – and the art has grown on me. An explosion of ideas that will work for a long time!

Don’t go with Frankenstein. I get why it’s good, but I, like you, hated the comic. The art really wasn’t my thing either. I would recommend either sticking it out for a couple more issues with Justice League Dark, or else trying out Nightwing again. Nightwing was a LOT of fun for a lapsed DC reader.

Pretty much agreed, at least in terms of the books that I tried (All-star Western, Aquaman, I, Vampire, JLD, & Voodoo), but I wanted to stress how much I think you should give Frankenstein a second chance. I think it, along with books like I, Vampire, are going to be the sleeper hits of the new DCU.

Suicide Squad and JLDark are the two I think are worth reading off your OUT list. My vote goes to Suicide Squad.

I totally think you should give the savage hawk man a second chance, I thought morphicius was the most fun villain of the new 52

D. Eric Carpenter

September 29, 2011 at 8:14 am

There are several I’d put up, but the one that surprised me most was Flash. Usually I dread an artist taking over as writer, but in this case it made for an organic and, for superhero comics, some pretty experimental storytelling. I’m not wowed by the story premise at the moment, but I think there’s enough there to keep watching.

Surprisingly, I did like half of Red Hood. I was stunned I might like it at all. For me, the down part wasn’t the “Let’s have sex!” attitude–it was the other half of Starfire’s personality change. Her whole “All humans are the same and are completely meaningless” alienness was just a character shift that really bothered me. I’m hoping, really hoping that the personality change is really a plot point and not a redefinition of the character.

That aside, I actually enjoyed the Jason/Speedy interaction as sort of an odd couple/buddy movie. The first several pages I was really enjoying.

Red Hood and the Outlaws for the win. Trust me the Starfire issue is part a subplot which will pay dividends at the end.

Red Hood and the Outlaws

You hate batman? How can you hate batman?

I’m tempted to vote Hawk and Dove. But then my ex-wife says i’m an evil man who enjoys the suffering of others, so take that with a grain of salt. ;-)

I’d leave the slot open for the various minis that are coming out (e.g. Huntress, Justice Society, etc.) to boost their sales and get them turned into an ongoing (if they so deserve it).

OMAC. It was fun, captured the feeling…gotta see where it develops in the next few issues!!!

Static Shock

You should definitely give OMAC another shot. I loved it and plan on buying it at least as long as Giffen sticks around

I’ve read almost all of these, and will say out of the OUT titles you’ve listed, I will say there are 3 here you need to take another look at :

Frankenstein – crazy wild ride

OMAC – see above

Hawkman – great re-introduction of a character with huge potential. Really liking where this is going and finding out more about what’s what

I’d keep the slot open for the “Shade” book that’s coming in October! James Robinson returns to the “Starman” mythos!

Zinda’s the one in red. You only see her from behind in one panel in the book.

This is a great column. I missed weeks 1 through 3 and would love to read them, but it’s virtually impossible to find them on this site. The search engine gives poor results, and the Robot 6 blog link has a ton of recent posts but doesn’t go back far enough to any of the previous 52 Pickup columns. There should be a link to previous weeks’ columns at the bottom of this week’s column…

Mike, the “New 52 Pickup” tag at the bottom of the column will show you the previous installments.

Thanks, Kevin! Awesome :)

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