Robot 6

New 52 Pickup | Week 6

We’ve passed the first round No. 1 issues for DC’s New 52, and now it’s time to get to the real meat of the stories with Issue 2. This week’s pull had six continuing titles from Round 1 with some strong contenders for the final surviving title.

Also, some might be interested in the results of the wildcard selection from last week. There was overwhelming support for Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., so I’ll give that book another shot. I’d like to note that every book got at least a little love, with O.M.A.C. and Nightwing receiving a number of shout-outs in the comments. Expect Frankenstein to pop up later this month.

Also, I’m going to try something a little different from this month on: Each book will still get a short review, but the pull list won’t be fully evaluated until the end of the month.

Finally, two No. 1 issues for two miniseries dropped today, Huntress and Penguin: Pain and Prejudice. Both are a lot of fun and definitely deserve a look.

With that, let’s get to the six No. 2 issues on the pull this week!

Warning! Spoilers ahead!

Action Comics
Written by Grant Morrison with art by Rags Morales

Morrison continues his stellar tale of a fledgling Superman in style, subtly revealing a number of plot points while establishing Lex Luthor’s place as the main villain, and setting up Steel Soldier as a possible adversary down the line. Superman has an air of bravado that you’re not going to find in other books, but Morrison makes it work for the character just coming into his own as the Man of Steel. This issue also introduced a young Dr. John Henry Irons and the Kryptonian rocket seized by the government. As always, Rags Morales brings his A-game, making even Superman’s torture at Luthor’s hands look gorgeous. Everything from the moment Luthor asked whether Superman’s natural state was a goat to Lois Lane’s not-so-subtle infiltration of the Army base was tightly plotted, well paced and excellently drawn. This is most definitely a book to continue watching.

Animal Man
Written by Jeff Lemire with art by Travel Foreman

This book continues to be the sleeper hit of the New 52. Jeff Lemire clearly has a great story to tell, and he’s making the most of every single panel. The story hits the ground running after last issue’s cliffhanger, with Animal Man’s daughter Maxine showing off her newly revealed powers. As it turns out, those red marks on Animal Man’s face and body are a map – a map that they have to follow to more fully explore the Life Web. Lemire’s best moments in this issue are with the Baker family as they deal with their troubles, and his exploration of Buddy and Maxine’s relationship is genius, with Maxine knowing more about where their powers come from. Lemire also starts to reveal the series villain, but in a way that barely touches upon it, keeping you poised for the next installment. Travel Foreman continues to be a good fit for this book, especially considering the direction it seems to be going. An excellent second installment with high-quality story and art.

Justice League International
Written by Dan Jurgens with art by Aaron Lopresti

The first issue of Justice League International left the JLI poised for a fight with a giant robot – and that’s exactly what happened in this issue. Jurgens took much of this issue to continue establishing the team roster, bringing Guy Gardner back to the ranks, and cementing Booster Gold as the level-headed leader. There are a lot of things that work about this issue, like the dysfunctional team dynamic, and the setup for some kind of battle royale between the JLI and four Signalmen revealed across the globe. However, the banter between Rocket Red and August General in Iron is already starting to get a little repetitive, and Godiva’s promiscuous advances toward Booster seemed a bit odd. Aaron Lopresti is really hitting a great artistic note, and continues to deliver high-quality pencils. I would have liked to see a little more focus on some of the other JLI members, and I hope that comes in the following issues. This is a really fun book and I’d like to see more.

Red Lanterns
Written by Peter Milligan with art by Ed Benes

Peter Milligan constructs this issue almost like a one-shot featuring Atrocitus. He spends the first few pages bringing readers up to speed on the war-torn planet Ghan IX, where the Ghanites and the Yuevers are constantly at war. As Atrocitus puts it, “the planet has become a perfect furnace in which to produce rage and pain.” As the issue progresses, a Yuever ship opens fire on three Ghanite children, mistaking them for hostile warriors. Atrocitus, of course, destroys the Yuever ship as the only surviving child howls in rage. While the issue doesn’t end with the Ghanite child getting the red ring, Atrocitus does re-examine whether rage just begets more rage. With the exception of the first page and last two pages, this story probably could’ve been a self-contained one-shot. The story was solid, and Benes’ pencils are pristinely awesome, but I’m not sure I enjoyed this direction for a second issue. It didn’t really build on much of what the first issue covered. I feel like, despite the strength of the overall story, this issue really broke the momentum.

Stormwatch
Written by Paul Cornell with art by Miguel Sepulveda

This issue was difficult to evaluate. Paul Cornell has a story to tell, and the giant eyeball villain really interests me, but it feels rushed. As a team, Stormwatch isn’t nearly as well known as, say, the Justice League, but much of this issue expects that you’re at least a little familiar with these characters. Miguel Sepulveda’s art continues to grow on me, but I do wish there were some kind of “Who’s Who” explanation in the issue. The Swordsman really got a chance to shine here, and his ability to think about all situations as though he were in a swordfight was a great bit of character work on Cornell’s part. I would’ve liked more Martian Manhunter, but as it was this book is still pretty fun, albeit a bit confusing at times.

Swamp Thing
Written by Scott Snyder with art by Yanick Paquette

I love Scott Snyder’s take on the Swamp Thing mythos. He’s definitely shaking up the status quo and a lot of what readers might already know about Swamp Thing. The writer crafts an incredibly intriguing story that has the benefit of a tightly plotted and well-paced expositional issue. Readers get a lot of answers to questions they didn’t even know to ask, and it’s rounded out with more of the villain reveal and a great cliffhanger. Yanick Paquette is an incredibly talented artist who shines on this title. Not only are his pencils fantastic, but his layouts are really something special. While Alec Holland hasn’t embraced his role as the Swamp Thing just yet, that’s perfectly fine; the story is really just that good. This is a creative team that has some great things in store, and as second issues go, this one was one of the strongest I’ve seen so far.

Nothing’s in or out just yet, but there’s a whole lot more to come! What did you love on your pull this week? Is anything getting cut from your list? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments

29 Comments

OMAC #2 was incredible, probably my favorite book on the stands. That it ties into Nu52 is icing on the cake.

I’ve only read the preview posted here on CBR of Red Lanterns, but even from that I could tell the issue was going to be a ham-fisted Afganistan/Iraq war metaphor. I guess we should be giving kudos to Milligan for at least having something to say with a book that could have just decended into exploitation, but you’d hope for a little more subtlty.

The only 3 books that survived to issue 2 for me all do not disappoint. Action Comic continues the greatness with tons of little treats, Animal Man continues to serve up weirdness galore and Buddy’s family reads like a real family, and OMAC continues with OTT action and good old fashion fun the way comics used to be for me.

It’s absurd that half of Miguel Sepulveda’s art is photography and he STILL can’t deliver an entire issue. Just bring in Leonard Kirk or someone so Stormwatch can fire on all cylinders.

Animal Man, Swamp Thing and Detective Comics continued being great! All continued, in my opinion, some great stories. Those were the only 3 I got from the first week so it was a 3 for 3!

Michael M Jones

October 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Steel Soldier—-> Clearly going to be Grant Morrison’s take on Metallo.

OMAC! ACTION! Stormwatch! JLI!

They’re all going strong for me, and each have their own dynamic (which I appreciate, especially the seeming inversion of elements between Stormwatch and JLI).

Green Arrow is staying afloat, for now… I may hang on long enough to see if it improves once JT Krul is replaced.

I had never read a DC comic before the relaunch. I figured I would pick a few and run with them from the beginning since I felt I could never jump in before with all the continuity. The only one I read from this week was Swamp Thing, which I thought was amazing! Had to use Wikipedia to get the full effect of the cliffhanger, but this is an awesome story I think everyone should get on board for, and this is coming from a new reader who has no idea if the story is that much better if you know the full background

Detective Comics art is kick-ass. Daniels is really taking it up a notch. Yes, Action Comics was fantastic, and Stormwatch is turning out far better then I expected.

Action/Animal Man and Swamp Thing nailed it for me.

It’s absurd that half of Miguel Sepulveda’s art is photography and he STILL can’t deliver an entire issue. Just bring in Leonard Kirk or someone so Stormwatch can fire on all cylinders.

Kirk’s a little busy with X-Factor, but I wouldn’t object to Al Barrionuevo sticking around.

I agree with the other posters who said that OMAC #2 was great!

OMACtivate!

Action is moving along nicely. But I hope we don’t get eight pages of text again. Otherwise, a really good comic.

Swamp Thing and Animal Man are both good mixes of horror and heroics. But I am not sure I really want to read both the same week. Right now, Swamp Thing is ahead due to the amazing art.

Batwing is shaping to be a good solid well crafted comic. Nothing over the top amazing so far, but entertaining and just a bit different.

So far, Red Lanterns has been a let down. Milligan’s expository style doesn’t fit with the nature of the subject. Rage isn’t introspective. Internal dialogue feels out of place for beings that are blinded by anger.

Forgot to mention that, indeed, Lemire is rockin’ Animal Man. Swamp Thang is good too.

Going into this week:

Out: Hawk&Dove, Red Lanterns, Men of War, Green Arrow
In and still in: Action, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, OMAC, Detective (issue 2 slipped a little, though)
On the Bubble: Batwing (much better than #1), JLI (still fun), Stormwatch (want to see how Cornell connects it with Demon Knights). All 3 make it to #3.

“Action is moving along nicely. But I hope we don’t get eight pages of text again. Otherwise, a really good comic.”

Uh? Did you get copy that had 8 page of pure text? You might want to return your book, man.

Well detective rocks as well

Sad that Sepulveda didn’t do the whole issue! How many pages did he do? (I won’t be getting it for a few weeks). His run on Thunderbolts was AMAZING!

Its a shame we only get partial reviews this week. :( It was great having mini reviews of everything in one article last month!

I don’t know what came out this week (I’ll check eventually) but I am getting everything listed except for Red Lanterns – which I will most likely get in trade.

was a decent enough week. Anyone else notice Bruce having multiple women on the go and no one blinks an eyelid but Catwoman having sex is frowned upon (not by everyone of course) i felt that was a bit of double standard.

i find reading stormwatch immensely frustrating. Having little background with the old wildstorm, alot of the references went way over my head. this is likely going to end up in my out-pile, which is a shame because i really want to like it

Good point Jess.

Swamp Thing and Animal Man were far and away my favourites of the DCnU #1′s, and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind so far.
I wasn’t overly thrilled with JLI and Stormwatch and I felt the same with issue #2 – They’re getting the chop for me!

Rags Morales shared pencilling duties with Brent Anderson on Action Comics #2; it wasn’t a solo effort by Morales.

Not sure what’s so frustrating about Stormwatch. Half the characters are brand new or DCU native and the plot is pretty straight forward. This second issue even opens with a two-page origin for one of the characters! I’m not huge in the old Wildstorm univese, having only really read Millar’s Authority run and Sleeper, but I’m just trying to go with the flow picking it up as I go along.

Can’t wait for Action #2! I haven’t picked it up yet but I love what Morrison is doing. Now if we can get rid of Rags, that would be something! I didn’t like his art in Action #1, very inconsistent in my opinion. Superman looked anywhere from 18 to mid 40′s and Lex looked like a chubby toad at times.

(Jess, good point on the Batman/Catwoman double standard.)

Disagreeing with @SJMitchell

Just putting down my support for Rags Morales. He has a dramatic, almost cinematic, style of story telling that is larger than life and yet still very much rooted on ‘realism’. Lex’s weight issue is a creative decision made by Morrison as explained in the ‘creative process’ pages. Rags Morales to stay!!!

What’s frustrating about Stormwatch is that it’s a very intriguing concept saddled with a mediocre writer. Issue #1 was a mess, from painfully awkward exposition to a complete lack of making clear who these characters are and why we should care about them and their struggles, and from the sounds of it #2 isn’t much better. Creating an air of mystery around the proceedings as a hook to keep people coming back is one thing, but the flip side is the assumption that everyone will stick around long enough to figure things out – a poor decision especially considering there are 52 books in the line-up and many readers are going to try more books than they can actually stick with for very long, so a savvy writer needs to come out of the corner swinging as hard as they can when the bell rings. I wasn’t expecting to be spoonfed a cut-and-dried origin of Stormwatch in #1 but I put down the comic with no real desire to see what happens next. To the best of my knowledge I’ve never read any of Paul Cornell’s previous work, and now I’m inclined to avoid anything with his name on it. DC really needs to do a talent search, get some fresh writing blood and show some of their middle-of-the-road hacks the door, instead of awarding them multiple titles.

Feel the same way about Grifter, which could be a cool book with an interesting set-up, if not for the bland creative team.

Ok – I stopped reading Mike’s post after ‘mediocre writer’. What the?!? Cornell is a great writer, and I’ll definately continue reading Stormwatch. :)

Steve, I’m gonna have fun following this column — but why limit yourself to just one winner? Maybe go for a top 10 of the New 52? (Otherwise, I foresee this eventually becoming an Animal Man/Swamp Thing column wherein you keep repeating, month after month, “Yep, these are both still pretty good… See you next time!”)

Anyway, my list:

Out after Issue 1: Hawk & Dove, Red Lanterns, Men of War, Green Arrow

Solid INs after issue 2:
– Animal Man
–Swamp Thing
– Static Shock (I’m surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed this… it’s a got a light tone to it, and a lot of promise)
– Stormwatch (Totally reminiscent of The Authority — and to me that’s a good thing! Another one with a lot of promise.)

On the fence after issue 2:
– Batwing
– Action Comics (I’m sure the whole package, in trade form, will amount to something, but the first two issues, as individual stories, have seemed pretty boring to me. I’m surprised people are liking this as much as they say they are.)
– Detective Comics (I’m surprised people don’t like this MORE than they seem to. It’s kinda standard Batman, but definitely has a hook that reeled me in. I’ll at least stick around to see how this first arc plays out…)
– Justice League International (the one-note characterizations are most definitely wearing thin)

Out after issue 2: O.M.A.C. (What a weak cliffhanger — not to mention that it won’t mean anything to readers who have lapsed for longer than a few years. I get the homage angle, here — but I’m just not interested in knowing what’ll happen next.)

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