INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
It’s the end of the road for the second round of the New 52. This week had some major all-stars on the pull – but did they live up to their first-issue counterparts? At the end of the overviews, we’ll take a look back at the highs and lows of the month, which titles get to move on and which ones will get the ax.
Also, if you’re still interested in No. 1 issues, the new Legion: Secret Origin miniseries debuted today, and at select stores you get a replica Legion flight ring with purchase. If you’ve been confused by some of the other Legion books, this might be a good place to start.
Onward and upward!
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with art by Moritat and Jordi Bernet
This issue probably offered the biggest story value of the week. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray continued their Holmes/Watson dynamic with Dr. Amadeus Arkham and Jonah Hex but also introduced some key Gotham mythos, like the Crime Bible, and added much more action. There are three pages of Jonah taking out a dozen hooded gunmen all on his own depicted in amazing, gruesome detail by Moritat. The issue has a great structure with tight pacing, and on top of the original story, readers get the start of an El Diablo co-feature drawn by Jordi Bernet that pits the character against a zombie horde. Both parts of the book are strongly written by Palmiotti and Gray, although I would have liked to see some more of the investigation dynamic we saw in the first issue. A very strong second installment.
I love what Geoff Johns is doing with this character. Much as he did with Green Lantern, Johns is taking key aspects of the character and bringing them into the modern era (with Mera along for the ride). While this issue felt much shorter than the first, it has some great character moments between Arthur and Mera, with the added mystery of what these new aquatic monsters are. The cover image is especially interesting, with the first issue’s cover reflected in the monster’s eyes. Ivan Reis does a great job with the action sequences, and I hope he gets more of a chance to flex those muscles in future installments. This is one of the stronger ongoing series of the New 52 and continues to bring relevancy to a character who had fallen out of vogue.
The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men
Co-plotted by Gail Simone and Ethan van Sciver, written by Gail Simone, with art by Yildiray Cinar
If you needed more proof that Gail Simone writes great characters, look no further than the second issue of this book. While the three core heroes all get great development, the villains trying to hunt them down have an opportunity to shine as well, giving readers a better idea of the big picture. There’s so much information in this issue, but to the credit of Simone and artist Yildiray Cinar, it never feels like exposition. The entire issue has a feeling of urgency, a huge testament to the pacing and layout. This book goes a mile a minute, and I’m enjoying every second of it — from Jason and Ronnie’s arguments to the mystery of the Fury they combine to form.
If you were at all confused by the state of Boston in the first issue, Joshua Hale Fialkov sheds some light in this installment. With a focus on Mary, Queen of Blood and her plot to take over the world, we’re given details of the character’s origin, her relationship to Andrew and the events leading up to the slaughter in Boston. This second issue provides a much better understanding of the first, building on the plot and story that Fialkov set in motion. Andrea Sorrentino is great on this book, bringing a gothic horror flair that falls in perfect step with Fialkov’s script. Moving forward, it seems as though I, Vampire will be as much about the relationship between Mary and Andrew as it is about evil vampires taking over the world.
Written by George Perez with art by Jesus Merino
One of the things I’m really digging about George Perez’s Superman is that it feels like an old-timey comic book with a modern sensibility. While the second issue directly follows the events of the first, it could also easily stand alone as a Superman monster-of-the-week story. There’s definitely a greater plot and purpose here, but Perez makes the book work on its own, which is a great direction for a New 52 title to take. This issue focuses much more on Superman’s relationship with Lois and (surprisingly) General Sam Lane. Even after the monster-of-the-month fight, the issue still makes you want to come back for more through the tiny seeds of the main plot sprinkled throughout. This is a great Superman book for anyone to pick up.
There are a couple of other Titans who make short appearances in this issue, but for the most part it’s the Tim and Cassie show in the continued origin of the new-new-new Teen Titans. It’s interesting to see how Scott Lobdell is developing the relationship between Tim and Cassie while giving us a taste of the rest of the eventual roster. We’re introduced to some new characters — Skitter, a bug-like creature with acidy spit, and Solstice, who appears on the very last page — and briefly check in on Superboy and Kid Flash. The end of this issue teases that the new roster should be set by Issue 3. A lot of this installment seems like build-up, but the villains are interesting and Lobdell is doing a good job so far writing these kids.
With that, we’ve come to the end of the second month and it’s time to see what will move on to Issue 3.
Animal Man continues to be my favorite book of the New 52, with Action Comics coming in at a close second. Out of this month, Swamp Thing, Batwoman, Demon Knights, I, Vampire and Resurrection Man led the pack in terms of quality continuing from the first issue. Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Justice League entertained me enough that I’d like to see what happens next.
Although enjoyable, Blue Beetle, Catwoman, Green Lantern Corps, Justice League International, Red Lanterns, Stormwatch and Superboy didn’t quite live up to their potential this month, and it’s time to take them off the pull.
ON THE FENCE
Believe it or not, there are so many other great title this week that it’s difficult to decide which of them I should carry over. So once again, I leave it up to the readers: Which of these books should get a shot at the IN list? The top three entries will get one more month on the pull and a chance to be the last New 52 book standing.
Cast your vote and make yourself heard in the comments! Do you think last month’s wildcard, Frankenstein,Agent of S.H.A.D.E. deserves another chance? Is Teen Titans piquing your interest as DC’s premier teen team? Sound off!