Robot 6

New 52 Pickup | Weeks 9 and 10

Each Wednesday, DC’s New 52 hits shelves and CBR Staff Writer Steve Sunu is looking for the best bang for the buck in ongoing series. Cutting half his pull list each month from the original 52 in a battle royale, Steve has already narrowed the number to just 13 books. Which titles will make it past Issue 3?

After a quick break, New 52 Pickup is back to cover two weeks’ worth of pull list books — and the cuts are starting to get tough. Last week had three quality titles, while this week features the fan pick that keeps coming back like Solomon Grundy, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Also joining the pull list from the poll is Batman and the Jonah Hex/Amadeus Arkham buddy Western All-Star Western. Let’s get to it!

Warning! Spoilers ahead!

Action Comics
Written by Grant Morrison with art by Rags Morales and Gene Ha

Action Comics continues as one of my favorite books in DC’s New 52. Grant Morrison is giving the Superman mythos a face-lift for new readers and longtime fans alike, with an amazing opening sequence detailing the destruction of Krypton. While the Clark Kent sequences aren’t grabbing me nearly as much as I hoped, the Krypton mythos coming back around for the cliffhanger is slick and something I’m looking forward to reading. Rags Morales and Gene Ha continue sharing art duties, and it seems to work well. In my eyes, this is the Superman family book to beat, and it’s going to take some stiff competition from the other books to get this one off my pull list.

Animal Man
Written by Jeff Lemire with art by Travel Foreman

That said, Animal Man may offer just that competition as we get down to cuts at the end of the month. Jeff Lemire’s pseudo-horror saga continues to impress, building on the concept of the Life Web and the Red while exploring Buddy Baker’s relationship with his family. Before going further, I really have to commend letterer Jared K. Fletcher on an excellent job. The lettering for the supernatural creatures helps promote the horror aspect and ramps up the excitement significantly – and artist Travel Foreman continues his amazing run, perfectly setting the tone for Lemire’s saga. It’s impossible for me to say enough good things about this book.

Swamp Thing
Written by Scott Snyder with art by Yanick Paquette

Abigail Arcane is back, and even readers unfamiliar with Swamp Thing will get a huge kick out of Scott Snyder’s clever exposition and setup for the series’ antagonist. While the cover is a bit misleading, the interior pages really pull together everything that’s happened so far and shot-puts it in a direction that’s both intriguing and terrifying. Snyder’s passion for these characters and the story comes through while reading this book, and this issue is a great example of that. Even the recapping of Abigail’s history is exciting and interesting – and it’s only enhanced by Yanick Paquette’s gorgeous art. Paquette can make a mundane psychiatrist’s office look stunning. This creative team is killing it on Swamp Thing, and I don’t want to have to leave this book anytime soon.

Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman with art by J.H. Williams

Each time I open up an issue of Batwoman, I feel as if I should wear gloves, because every single page is a work of art. Each issue, J.H. Williams III manages to do something amazing with the layout that I would’ve never thought possible. It really is a gorgeous book, which only adds to the story and the handle co-writers Williams and W. Haden Blackman have on these characters. It’s interesting to see Flamebird come back by the end of the issue, and I’m excited to see how the writers plan to have her contribute to the Batwoman mythos as Flamebird rather than Kate’s diminutive sidekick. Williams and Blackman are making me care about Kathy Kane in a way that I never thought I would. This is an amazing book, both artistically and plot-wise.

Demon Knights
Written by Paul Cornell with art by Diogenes Neves

Story continues below

This book really delivered in the first two issues with the assembly of the Demon Knights in Issue 1 and the attacking veloceraptors in Issue 2. By comparison, the third installment is pretty tame. Paul Cornell slows things down a bit so we can get to know these characters better as they prepare for an all-out assault on the ramshackle village they’re holed up in. There’s a lot going on, including Madame Xanadu’s sacrifice that steals her youth and the constant hypotheses about Shining Knight’s gender, but after all the action and ridiculousness of those two previous issues, it’s difficult to come down from that energy to these more intimate moments. Diogenes Neves is excellent on this book, and I hope he gets to draw dinosaurs again. While the issue didn’t overwhelm me, I do like the core concept of this title, and only time will tell whether it stacks up to the other books this month.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
Written by Jeff Lemire with art by Alberto Ponticelli

This is a fan-favorite book, and it’s easy to see why. Frank and crew are trapped on Monster Planet after the events of the last issue, and they discover the mountains are actually huge monster titans that they have to slay. It’s cool stuff, and Lemire hammers home Frank’s bad-assery. While I do enjoy Lemire’s writing, I’m still not the biggest fan of Alberto Ponticelli’s art. I can definitely see how it enhances Lemire’s writing, and it’s starting to grow on me. But with Lemire’s Animal Man as excellent as it is, I have high expectations of Frankenstein that just aren’t being met. I gave it my best shot, but I don’t think this book is for me.

Resurrection Man
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with art by Fernando Daginino

I want more of Mitch Shelley. Sure, we get to see him put on a few new powers in this issue, but beyond him being stuck in the unnamed place between Heaven and Hell, we don’t get much of him in action. However, Abnett and Lanning more than make up for the lack of Mitch with some cool new revelations about the femme fatale bounty hunters. They may not be able to resurrect, but they can definitely regenerate – they have ridiculous healing factors and they’re set to use them to bring Mitch in. Fernando Daginino, who manages to keep Mitch looking like himself even with a rocky exterior, exquisitely illustrates each panel of their fight to great effect. Honestly, though, the most pleasant surprise of the entire issue was seeing Darryl, the retired super-villain, suit up as The Transhuman to try and save Mitch. Abnett and Lanning took a character that looked like a one-off and made him a huge part of the next issue.

That’s it for the first two weeks of November. What did you think about the issues on your pull? What worked and what didn’t? Sound off in the comments and we’ll see you in two weeks for the second half of the month and some really tough decisions to make in the cuts!



Patrick Maloney

November 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I absolutely loved Resurrection Man, didn’t think much of Darryl when he was first introduced by now I can’t wait to see him again. I can’t believe that like 15 of the 17 books I am invested in are off your list, only Swamp Thing and Resurrection Man

These books are all good. For me the biggest surprise was Blackhawks. I love the writing in that book. Considering that I’m usually not a fan of non-superhero books, I am hooked on Blackhawks, OMAC, Demon Knights, Frankenstein, Resurrection Man, and even All Star Western. Clearly DC must be doing something right. To be honest, I would not have even bought those books if the place I get my books from did not offer all 52 for less than $80 every month since this started. With a deal like that I had to take it and I’m actually buying and enjoying more books that I thought I would have. The incentives that DC put in place allows the retailers to give better deals and allows the customer to get better deals as well. It’s a win-win. Also, from what I’m reading it seems that this initiative is not hurting any of the other publishers, so that’s a positive as well. Hopefully they all saw a little bump in sales as well.

Animal Man and Swamp Thing were fantastic, but I thought Action slipped this week. Like other Morrison books from the past (but thankfully not in the first two Action books), it seemed like there were panels missing from the action and sometimes you were left re-reading the page over and over and still scratching your head as to what happen. Somehow an old woman was able to grab Clark’s super duds out of a gym bag and hide them where, in her depends? And do this in a tiny, cramped apartment filled with three cops and Superman and none of them saw her do this??? There were a few other instances where you wondered how the writer got from point A to point B, too. But the art was the real distraction. Morales is to faces what Liefield is to feet, but he can’t not draw faces, can he? The close-ups of Clark at the beginning of the book were horrible, each shot of Clark’s face (esp the nose) looked completely different than the last, yet at the same time even worse (although not as bad as the faces of Lois in book 2 – yikes). I don’t know if it’s because Rags tries to draw too much detail to faces or not enough, but he is just awful at drawing anything from the neck up. Which is a shame, because everything else he draws – backgrounds, tech stuff, character’s bodies – is great. Action is still a must-read book, but #3 definitely wasn’t as fun to read as the first two.

Animal Man, Batwoman, and Swamp Thing. Must reads and buys. Nuff Said!!!

I picked up Batwoman, Grifter, and Frankenstein and thought all three were pretty awesome. Grifter’s the closest thing I’ve found to ever feeling like an over the top action movie in comic form, and I’m all about that.

I don’t know why everyone thinks that scene was the destruction of Krypton. Seemed the stealing of Kandor to me.

Agree with you on Frankenstein, Steve – the artwork (IMO) makes it really hard to stick with the title. Amazing covers, though.

I fully agree about the 3rd issue of Action. It was not very well done at all.

Books that I tried but have given up on: Demon Knights (surprised I dint like it), Red Lanterns (don’t care about any of the characters and don’t understand why this is even a title), Frankenstein (the art is a big turn off and the addition of the other monsters is cheesy), Deathstroke (terrible costume and terrible handling of the character), Batgirl (laaaaaaaame), Dark Knight (how is Finch still allowed to write?!?!)… a lot that I stopped with after issue one.

What I am reading:
Batman – Great
Action – Okay
Green Lantern – Barely hanging on
Aquaman – Fun
Swamp Thing – Great
Animal Man – Good
Justice League International – Okay/Good
Suicide Squad – Fun
Wonder Woman – Good
Batwing – Good
Nightwing – Okay
All-Star Western – Good
Batwoman – Good/Great
OMAC – Fun

I can’t handle anymore GL books handled by Johns. I rather read writers like Azzarello, Milligan, Snyder, Lemire and even JhW3 than Johns monthly books.

I recently just lost my job but i still have room in my budget for Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Batwoman. Ah, who am I kidding? I don’t have room, but I’m still buying them.

Action Comics has been pretty bad, I couldn’t even read the third issue. Dropped.

Before September, I was buying 20-25 DC’s each month. Since September, I’ve been skimming the nu52 at the store, but I’ve only liked 6 enough to buy: Action, Batgirl, Batwoman, Aquaman, All Star Western, and Animal Man.

Unfortunately, I’m ready to drop All Star Western because I can’t stand that Moritat art. He needs a real inker (one that uses a pen and brush) to add some dimension to the linework. (And I’m still extremely annoyed that Jonah Hex has been shoe-horned into Gotham! Whose dumbass idea was that?)

And I’m about ready to drop Aquaman because the story is dragging. Everything that’s happened so far could have been presented in one issue.

And I’m dropping Animal Man because the story is taking Animal Man in a direction I don’t want to go. I’d prefer they keep this kind of stuff to Hellblazer and the Vertigo books. This ain’t the Animal Man I know.

So that’s going to leave me with three DC’s each month: Action, Batgirl, and Batwoman. And when the creative forces behind those books (Morrison, Simone, Williams) eventually abandon those three titles, they’re going to be dropped, too.

Thanks to the nuDC, I sure am saving lots of money!

Unpopular Opinion

November 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Animal Man is visually flat and exectued dumb-de-derp pander panda.

Steven E. McDonald

November 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm

I was delighted to see some easter eggs in Swamp Thing (the name of the psychiatrist, the make of Abby’s shotgun) and I’m intrigued by the direction the book just shot in.

Resurrection Man got dropped; it is taking way too long to get anywhere and I don’t need splash pages introducing characters who don’t appear for the rest of the issue (like that angel gal).

I am actually enjoying Action! Batwoman by far is my fave (and a surprise). I dropped Animal Man, I just don’t get it. Rez Man is with Hawkman in my 1 and done pile. Wonder Woman dropped as budget move, Dark Knight dropped because it’s terrible. I think I’m over Batman… I’d rather play Arkham City than read any of his titles. I’ll stay with Jonah Hex in any incarnation that let’s him stay a western, so All Star Western is kept… And I like Moriat’s art! And Aquaman, Flash, and Justice League have kept my attention do far.

Doesn`t it bother you that now Swamp Thing has a tipical, I would say even Geoff-Johnian (!) aproach to the whole thing? I mean… The Green… and the Rot? (and the Red? what`s next, the Blues?) I know the idea is to mix a little of the old Swampy with a “super-hero” feeling, but it starts to feel like a dumbed-down Swamp Thing to me. Alan Moore put a lot of work to the idea that nothing is black and white. I think the Rot belongs to the Green as much as anything else, that`s the whole point of the concept. (I know, but at least for now, it`s impossible not to think about Moore`s work, especially if they keep refering to it in issue 3)

I’ve pretty much bought all the bat books (barring dark knight cos its just not my thing) and all the titles featuring justice league members, as far as the rest goes, demon knights AS Western and Voodoo from the edge and dark lines. My top 5 are: batman, catwoman, aquaman, flash and wonder woman.

I find I’m reading reviews about books I didn’t initially try and am picking up more and more as the weeks go by.

@nataniel Read your dc comics. The Green and the red were already pre-existing comics before the relaunch. The only new thing Snyder added was the Rot. And even so what’s the big deal?

All of the titles are definitely top titles I’m reading. I expect that Frankenstein is an aquired taste with the art – I enjoy him from Morrison’s 7 Soldiers of Victory run – so I’m keeping him. Swamp Thing got much better this month with the antagonist (some brutal scenes in there) – Action is a perfect comic.

Of them all, I think I’d have dropped Res Man as he didn’t even star in his own comic this – big mistake. But I loved 1 and 2 so much.

Can’t drop any. breaking the rules

@nataniel: Oh man I’d love to read about The Blues.

Who could be the star though? I can’t think of a super hero bluesy enough to be tied to such a force.

Except maybe the Weeper but I doubt he could carry his own book.

Then again, no one used to think Animal Man could carry his own book either…

@Jake: Which Animal Man do you know? The one I know is the Morrison and Vertigo one, and this seems like the same guy. Swamp Thing is going in that direction as well which is why I enjoy them both. Superhero comics could use a little more Vertigo, and Vertigo could use a little more superhero, and then comics would be REALLY good.

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