Robot 6

Grumpy Old Fan | Relaunch roundup, Part 1

After a year, I still don't quite get the knee-braces

Because it’s the first week of the New 52 Year Two, the time has come to review where I stand at the end of Year One. It also happens to be the week I’m away on a bidness trip, unable to react to whatever dern-fool thing DC did on Wednesday.

That would probably take a back seat anyway, because I’m a little curious myself to look back at these books. In terms of reading habits, it’s been a rather funky year. Some weeks I wouldn’t have time to read everything I bought, and sometimes that meant books just dropped off my radar. I caught up with a few of these, but a few I just didn’t miss — which, of course, is never a good thing.

You’ll remember that last year I bought all 52 first issues, and talked about each as September proceeded.  Of those which remain, I am reading 27: Action Comics, All-Star Western, Animal Man, Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Batman & Robin, Batwing, Batwoman, Blue Beetle, Catwoman, DC Universe Presents, Demon Knights, Detective Comics, Firestorm, Flash, Frankenstein, Green Lantern, GL Corps, I, Vampire, Justice League, Justice League Dark, Stormwatch, Supergirl, Superman, Swamp Thing and Wonder Woman.

Additionally, I was reading six titles that have since been canceled: Blackhawks, JLI, Men of War, OMAC, Resurrection Man and Static Shock. For a while I also read Grifter, Red Lanterns, and Superboy. Filling in some of those holes are second-wave titles Batman Incorporated, Earth 2, Worlds’ Finest and Dial H.

To keep your eyes as glaze-free as possible, this will be a two-part survey. Today we’ll look at the Superman and Batman families, the “historical” titles, the main-line Justice League books, and a few others.

Onward!

Action Comics (written by Grant Morrison, penciled by Rags Morales et al.) started strong, but as the year went on I feel like it got a little too quiet compared to the rest of the superhero line. I don’t have any real complaints about Morrison and company on Superman. Certainly Action Comics is more self-assured than Superman, but the latter has been plagued by editorial caprice and the lack of a consistent creative team. In other words, I think Morrison has gotten to do what he wanted with the character, but ironically it seems like the thrill wore off fairly quickly. So far, the highlight has been Issue 9 (featuring the Superman of Earth-23), mostly because it showed Morrison simultaneously at his most audacious and his most reverent. All that said, Morrison will be a hard act to follow. Action is one of those books I’m very reluctant to drop, but I’m on the fence pending the next creative team.

I wrote about Superman a few weeks back, and not much has changed. We know George Pérez had a frustrating experience, we saw Keith Giffen co-write a few issues with Dan Jurgens co-writing and penciling, and now Jurgens has finished his brief stint as writer/penciler in favor of Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort. Maybe things will settle down under the current team, or maybe that’ll have to wait until Morrison leaves Action Comics, taking his shadow with him.

Lobdell isn’t a deal-breaker for me, in large part because I enjoyed the first few issues of Superboy (penciled by R.B. Silva). After a while, though, the Boy of Steel’s journey of self-discovery simply failed to engage me, and I stopped getting the book right before the Teen Titans/Legion Lost crossover. Perhaps I would like it if I got caught up. Still, there’s no real impetus for me to do so until this fall’s Super-book crossover, and that doesn’t look particularly inviting.

By contrast, Supergirl (written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson, drawn by Mahmoud Asrar et al.) has been a very nice change of pace. Instead of approaching Kara Zor-El as a relatively innocent youngster, eager to live up to her cousin’s example, Green and Johnson have recast her as inexperienced but pragmatic. Even as she tries to find her way around her new home, she doesn’t really have much of a bond with Superman. For someone who really enjoyed the Bronze Age Supergirl, when she was old enough to come into her own, it’s both shocking and refreshing. (To be sure, Superman isn’t exactly the inspirational figure of old these days, either.) Asrar’s art is earthy and dynamic, emphasizing Supergirl’s capabilities over her appearance and complementing the more downbeat scripts pretty well. I’d drop Superman before I stopped reading this book.

After eight years, Geoff Johns’ work on Green Lantern is remarkable for its intricacy. Pulling together various elements of GL history into a relatively cohesive narrative about the Guardians’ secret history and the perils of the various Lantern Corps is no small achievement. Before seeing the latest rumor, I thought Johns would write Aquaman (penciled by Ivan Reis) long enough to craft something similarly ambitious. However, Aquaman’s problem is that too much has been done to him already in the name of accessibility, from the hook-handed Peter David days through the sinking of San Diego and the Sword of Atlantis relaunch. Compounding this is the notion that you can’t just take Aquaman back to basics, because everyone apparently thinks the basics are stoopid: talks to fish, needs water every hour, wears orange, parodied on “SpongeBob.” For some reason, also verboten is the tremendously fun walking exclamation point of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. At first Johns put Aquaman in situations where a super-strong, bullet-resistant King of the Seven Seas could be effective, like stopping invaders from the sunless depths and getting stranded in the middle of the desert. Recently, the Black Manta arc has taken a hyper-violent turn, with Aquaman going all stabby on random henchmen. This reminds me of similar attempts to gin up interest in Wonder Woman by embracing her warrior training (and perhaps also to live down bad ‘70s TV?). I think it’s Johns and Reis, not the violence (yes, they’re separate) that is fueling renewed interest in Aquaman, and I suspect this is just an arc-specific phase. Still, it makes me wonder what Johns will leave behind. I’ll stay with Aquaman as long as Johns does, but after that I’ll probably re-evaluate it.

I never read any of Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti’s Jonah Hex, but I may have to, because All-Star Western (penciled by Moritat) is all kinds of entertaining. On one level it’s very much a familiar odd-couple setup — Hex the jaded, grizzled, uncouth gunslinger and Arkham the effete intellectual — but the lively scripts and Moritat’s evocative artwork make the difference. Although ASW opened with an arc set in 19th-Century Gotham, it wisely broadened its scope, and is a good example of how a non-superhero title can work within the larger universe.

Almost by necessity, Demon Knights (written by Paul Cornell, penciled by Mikel Janin) hews a bit closer to superhero sensibilities, but it’s more of a fantasy title than it is Justice League Medieval. Like ASW, its setting makes it more free to play with standard superhero tropes, and that gives it a certain anarchic energy.

I like Blue Beetle (written by Tony Bedard, penciled by Ig Guara et al.) pretty well, but there’s nothing especially groundbreaking about it. Jaime is an appealing protagonist, he’s surrounded by an entertaining supporting cast, and he gets in fairly straightforward adventures. Sometimes you just want to read an uncomplicated superhero book, and — except for the occasional out-of-left-field plot twist from a heretofore-unrelated Annual — Blue Beetle is just that.

As a fan of anthologies, I was glad to see DC Universe Presents (written and drawn by various creative teams) in the New 52, and I continue to support it despite its ups and downs. The ups include the five-part Deadman arc and the three-part Vandal Savage story, while the downs have been the Challengers of the Unknown three-parter and the one-off Kid Flash issue (which failed to draw me into the Teen Titans conclusion). Anthologies haven’t done so well lately, so sticking with DCUP is probably less of a commitment than I might think.

Considering that Batman (written by Scott Snyder, drawn by Greg Capullo) spent its first year on the extended “Court of Owls” storyline, it may be premature to evaluate its merits going forward. For example, the fact that it spent a year on one storyline doesn’t necessarily speak to Snyder’s overall approach to the book; and neither might a reader’s reaction generally to the Owls (who, it must be said, seem pretty well-received). Still, that story effectively introduced the by-now-ubiquitous Owls as a convincing threat. Snyder had already established his Bat-bona fides on Detective Comics, and Capullo proved to be a fine creative partner. Most encouraging, though, was Batman #12 (drawn mostly by Becky Cloonan), which offered a good glimpse into how the book would look on a more personal scale.  It’s all very promising.

On the other hand, Batman and Robin (written by Peter J. Tomasi, penciled by Patrick Gleason) can at times seem almost too eager and/or too earnest. I hesitate to call a comic book which showcased an adolescent assassin’s lethal tendencies “earnest,” but bear with me. As he did on Nightwing, Tomasi wants to highlight how these ostensibly dark, driven characters are all family, and thus how that bond trumps virtually all other considerations. That’s not a bad goal, particularly as a response to the Bat-books growing ever grimmer. However, after a while it becomes so obvious that it threatens to overshadow the book’s other merits. Tomasi keeps things hopping, and he and Gleason make a good team. They just don’t seem confident that you’re getting their message.

If it’s unfair to judge Batman on the merits of its year-long story, that may be doubly true for Batman Incorporated (written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Chris Burnham). Not only is it the continuation of Morrison’s six-year-and-counting macro-mega-arc, it stretches back explicitly to pre-relaunch continuity — that is, when it’s not completely reinventing a couple of main characters’ origins to fit the new five-year timeline — and it’s still hugely entertaining. I have no idea whether this title will survive Morrison’s departure, and I’m not sure I would want it to. As long as it’s around, though, I’m in.

Part of me thinks Gail Simone simply transferred her particular set of Birds of Prey skills to Batgirl (penciled by Ardian Syaf et al.), because it doesn’t feel like it belongs with the rest of the Batman line. This Babs isn’t exactly Oracle, just healed and back in costume, so there’s no overt connection to those stories. Instead, Batgirl works on a more personal level, as the story of a young crimefighter learning to trust herself all over again. It reminds me as well that Simone is arguably better-known for ensemble books than for solo titles, but when she gets into a good groove on one (like All-New Atom), it’s worth it.

Batwoman (written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, drawn by Williams, Amy Reeder, et al.) is another Bat-series that doesn’t trade much on traditional Bat-trappings, instead picking up from where Kate Kane’s Detective Comics adventures left off. I have no complaints. It just chugs along nicely, kicking into an especially high gear whenever Williams draws.

Batwing (written by Judd Winick, penciled by various artists) was one of the books I was prepared to defend on principle, even though principle seemed to be all it had going for it originally. “Love-or-hate-him DC mainstay writes the Batman of Africa” seemed trainwreck-ready, especially compared to the brutal honesty and well-researched nuance of Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli’s stellar Unknown Soldier. Not that I expected subtlety from a Batman series (or from Judd Winick), but still. Now, after a year, I like Batwing pretty well. It’s not Unknown Soldier, but it’s done a good job building its own corner of the New 52. Although Batman’s been in just about every issue (maybe for insurance), neither he nor the other guest-stars overshadow Batwing and his supporting cast. I don’t know where this book goes post-Winick, or for that matter post-Justice League International, but so far, so good.

I talked about the first arc of Catwoman (written by Judd Winick, drawn by Guillem March et al.) with Michael May a few months back, and by and large that still holds true. If Winick wanted to distinguish the New-52 Catwoman from the Chuck Dixon/Jo Duffy/Jim Balent ‘90s, or the Ed Brubaker/Darwyn Cooke/Will Pfeifer ‘00s, he surely did. The question is, did he need to? That I can’t answer — but I did think Catwoman was a consistently engaging anti-hero book. Occasionally it strained belief, in terms of both physics and characterization, but not prohibitively far. I’m optimistic about incoming writer Ann Nocenti, so I’ll stick with Catwoman for now.

For the past year Detective Comics (written by Tony S. Daniel, penciled by Daniel et al.) was my mulligan. This is one of a handful of DC books I will read virtually by default. I’ve been reading ’Tec for more than 25 years straight, my collection of consecutive issues stretches back almost 30 years, and I’ve been reading it off and on almost 35. At the very least, that represents a strong inertial drag — and by and large the creative teams have been very good — but this past year I stopped reading the issues as they arrived. Finally I caught up with them a couple of weeks ago, and the story of Batman fighting a radiation-powered bad guy never really seemed much more than a decent attempt. From what I can tell I’m in the minority, since the book has been selling well. Looking forward to John Hayman and Jay Fabok, though.

Justice League (written by Geoff Johns, penciled by Jim Lee et al.) is one of the other DC books I’d read regardless, and again, this year that’s especially true. By now you should know my feelings about Justice League’s potential, and why I don’t think it’s lived up to that potential. Still, in that respect I do think it’s gotten one thing right, and that’s as a clearinghouse for the next Big Event. If a catastrophe is big enough to affect the whole superhero line, the League should be first in line to deal with it. Whether or not that makes Justice League a gateway to the larger universe (and I would argue it does), the book should be at least representative of the line as a whole. However, over the past year I believe Justice League has more often demonstrated the New 52′s most superficial, stereotypical qualities. It needs to get better.

The thing about having two Justice League books going simultaneously is that one will always be the “real” League. For a few years in the early ‘90s, Justice League Europe played with this notion by including mostly old-school Leaguers like Aquaman, Green Lantern, the Flash and the Elongated Man, and having Batman and Wonder Woman guest-star. The upcoming Justice League of America arguably does the same thing, by putting the B-listers with the A-list name. Ironically, though, often this means the “other” team ends up going on more traditional superhero adventures, because the main team has gotten so good at doing its own thing. Accordingly, the early years of Justice League Europe saw them fight the Queen Bee, the Extremists and Starro, while over in Justice League America Beetle and Booster were opening the KooeyKooeyKooey casino.

So it was this past year with Justice League International (written by Dan Jurgens, penciled by Aaron Lopresti et al.), which mixed a couple of fight-heavy storylines with the perpetual threat of being disbanded … on the way, as it happens, to being canceled after 12 issues and an Annual. Although I always enjoy Aaron Lopresti’s work, JLI suffered from some of Jurgens’ clunkier dialogue, and the series never really gelled. Even so, between the stabs at U.N. politics and a diverse super-team, JLI tended to have more going on than its higher-profile sibling. Maybe that’ll be true too for the new JLA.

Next week: more of the “dark,” plus the Earth-2 books, Firestorm, Flash, some Lanterns, Stormwatch, Animal Man, Swamp Thing and Wonder Woman!

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Comments

36 Comments

I also thought of JLI as the “real” Justice League book because it was much more straightforward.

I disagree with you on Batwing. It had a promising start but since the book fixated on team ups and overseas work, the Batman of Africa has been nothing but a disappointment. Shame because the first arc was really cool.

I stay on Batman, Batman & Robin, Batwoman (my #1 favorite of all DC titles), Batman, Incorporated and Green Lantern since their first debuts.

The rest of them, formerly Action, JLA, all dropped.

Marvel? Um, I guess it is just Daredevil and that’s about it.

I started with half of the new 52 and am now only buying Batwoman, and borrowing Batman, Animal Man, All-Star Western and Swamp Thing from my mates as they are still a decent read

I was reading JLI until my mate dropped it as issue 6, and have to admit I have not bemoaned the loss

Hey Grumpy!
Great article… as usual

The first arc of Batwing was great. Since then it’s been schizophrenic…in a “good” way. Crazy sh*t happens out of nowhere. It keeps me guessing. However, I’d really really like to see more stories in the vein of the original arc.

I LOVE All Star Western, especially the last 2 issues. And ye, you should read all of Gray & Palmiotti’s Jonah Hex. it’s quite good.

I dropped JL after 6 issues, found it very boring and surface.

Batwoman’s first arc was great, the second 6 issues were a bit convoluted for me, but I’m still reading it. Willimams’ art is worth the price of admission.

Blue Beetle you nailed. Not groundbreaking, but terribly fun, energetic and well-paced. One I look forward to every month.

I recently asked a friend: “If you had to choose only four of The New 52 to continue enjoying, which would they be?”

I chose “Legion of Superheroes”, “All-Star Western”, “Aquaman” and “Flash” (which wasn’t even one of the ten books I selected when The New 52 began).

He chose: “Batman”, “Batman & Robin”, “Animal Man” and “Swamp Thing”.

We share a lot of similar reading tastes overall, but as you can see, our ‘keepers’ are a lot different. As long as The New 52 has a wide variety of books, readers (both old and new) will always have something to look forward to.

In other words, “New 52: Meh.”

Gee, Chris, you summed up the nu52 in one word. “Meh.”

But I think you were being too generous. Some of the nu52 books do reach the level of “Meh” but most of them are not attaining that elevated height.

I’m a latecomer to it, but now I’ve totally fallen in love with Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Here are some thoughts I wrote up on the first eight issues:

http://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/comic-book-reviews-frankenstein-agent-of-s-h-a-d-e-1-8/

It’s a really good series, currently my favorite of the New 52 books. I definitely recommend giving it a try.

I’m agreed about your opinion on Supergirl and Justice League.

For a “Grumpy Old Man” you seem to like EVERYTHING no matter how mediocre or poor it might be.

So when can we stop referring to the DC books as the “New 52″?

I have to agree with dsimons about Batwing. Although it hasn’t been bad by any stretch of the imagination (on the contrary, I loved it to begin with), I think the team-ups and dragging it into the Owls arc, etc was completely unnecessary. It would have been better to stay distant from gotham (aside from the odd Batman appearance which seems par for the course).

Likewise, I loved Batwoman to begin with but then it entered that non-linear and overly convoluted period and my excitement evaporated . Even considering that I heard that’s not the case anymore, I just can’t bring myself to bother with it again for the moment.

As for Detective, I think the less said the better….

“Same Old 52″?

new coke came out in the 80s. even though they don’t make it anymore, it’s still called new coke, so new 52 will be with us forever

@D: I think we can stop calling it the “New 52″ once DC does.

I was very disappointed in all the #0 issues I read. I was really expecting some groundbreaking, revelatory backstories… Got a lot of “meh” in return.

My favorites are: Swamp Thing, Animal Man and ASW. The “Dark” line has been a great surprise, i didn’t expect so much from this titles at first. The biggets disappointment for me has been the GL books.

And one thing, Demon Knights is pencilled by Diogenes Neves. Mike Janin is pencilling JL Dark, another of my favorites.

Up until May I was still getting around 25 of the New52. In may I moved from the US to England. Knew I would drop some books with the move but did not how many or which. I’m now down to 8 and thinking of dropping 2 more – Detective (feel like I’m only getting it for getting it’s sake), Superman (huge Superman fan but it’s just not good). Will stick with JL for at least 6 more months and if it does not get better will drop that. If I could only get 4 it would be – Nightwing, Earth 2 (the best right for me), Batman and Flash.

I’ve been collecting comics since I was a kid. When Crisis on Infinite Earths occurred, I started to collect many DC titles and enjoyed most of them. I can’t say I was excited to see another relaunch from DC. I picked up Justice League, Teen Titans, Firestorm (one of my favorite DC superheroes) and Resurrection Man. I dropped Teen Titans and Resurrection Man within the first six issues. I stuck with Justice League but am thinking of dropping it for several reasons A) I wasn’t impressed with the Apokolypse/Darkseid storyline (the Apokolypse storyline from JL of A 193-195? was much much better and guest-starred the Justice Society and had George Perez art). B) It looked like Firestorm and some other heroes were going to be a part of this Justice League and that didn’t happen (promotional flyers) C) The Shazam back-up. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Captain Marvel but if the Justice League is the premier team for DC, do they really need to share their comic with another hero. Finally, Firestorm. I cannot tell you what happened if you were to ask me about a specific issue. I think they had some cool concepts but the direction was either lost or all over the map.

The New 52 is like with the movies. You can have a big star or stars but if you don’t have the right story and direction, it gets messy fast. The question you have to ask yourself then is, do I stay until the end.

I wish I had picked up Swamp Thing and/or Animal Man. What prevented me from doing so was I read Swamp Thing and Animal Man under Alan Moore and Grant Morrison and there stories were awesome. I may have to check these out when they are in trade form.

i started of reading a huge chunk of the New52. Easily 80%. But I’ve dropped most of them due to poor quality. What remains are:

Batman
Batgirl
Batwoman
Supegirl
The Flash
Blue Beetle
Animal Man
Swamp Thing
Frankenstein
JL Dark
Wonder Woman

Still a really good roster of DC books, but considering the vastness of the line, it’s pretty small.

Kevin-J

the new 52 stinks!!! to just throw away years of rich history is reprehensible. any booger eater enjoying this, is just a fool. get out of your mothers basement

For god’s sake, “meh” is the most obnoxious word in the history of the English language.

Troll alert above!

All-Star Western is by far my favorite book of the New 52 so far, so much so that I went back and got all the trades from Palmiotti and Gray’s previous Jonah Hex title.

I gave up on Aquaman due to the decompressed storytelling and because I just wasn’t enjoying it. Geoff Johns post New 52 just hasn’t been writing as well as pre-reboot.

That said The Dark books are fun Wonder Woman has been a pleasant surprise.

Also, John Layman (of Chew fame) not Hayman is going to be writing Detective. I’m going to give it a few issues before I decide whether to drop it or not.

The new 52 got me into comics and I am loving it I started reading 20 books and added 3 with the second wave and am picking up one third wave book to replace JLI. And answering Kenozoics question my 4 are Batman, Action Comics, Nightwing, and Green Lantern

I’ve purchased and read the first issue at least of every series so far. Of the ones you’ve reviewed, here’s where I stand:

Action Comics – It’s nowhere near as good as A*S, but Morrison is a god-tier even on a bad day. Can’t say I’ll be here in a few months when he bails, but for now, it still has me.

Superman – I’m out and have been since Giffen/Jurgens failed to rectify the Perez crap. Lobdell is a nail in the coffin for me.

Superboy – Dropped that right quick as well. Lobdell just doesn’t do it for me.

Supergirl – I enjoy it. I recognize the quality in the book, but I’ve never been a huge Supergirl fan. However, I’ve enjoyed this run and Sterling Gates run immeasurably.

Aquaman – I’d buy drawings of fecal matter if Reis did it. I wish they had pulled him onto Justice League in the first place. Johns’ best writing right now is here.

All-Star Western – I’ve been digging Jonah Hex ever since Palmiotti and Gray came on board back in 03 or 04. No plans to stop now, as the Gotham wrinkle only made it more enjoyable.

Demon Knights – I’m reading this still, too, and I love it. Cornell always impresses me with his sheer ridiculous mind.

Blue Beetle – Still reading this as well. Good art, good writing. It’s not setting the world on fire, but I like it.

DC Universe Presents – Depends on who’s writing. I’ve purchased every issue so far, and I plan to keep doing it because I love the format and love the opportunities to get some great creative teams.

Batman – Of course. It’s quickly becoming one of the most landmark runs on the character ever. Miller, Loeb, Grant, and Snyder. Who knew?

Batman and Robin – This lost me recently. I’ve never been a huge fan of Tomasi, but I liked GLC when he wrote it. For some reason, when he switched to GL: Emerald Warriors, he just stopped writing well in my opinion.

Batman Incorporated – This is Grant Morrison in fine form. I’m going to be sad to see him leave. Any chance Warren Ellis is available?

Batgirl – Not fan of this character when she’s not in a wheelchair. Gail had me, but the character lost me.

Batwoman – Love it.

Catwoman – Dropped it. Early. Won’t come back for Nocenti after the crappy GA work.

Batwing – Probably going to drop this after Winick goes.

Detective Comics – Dropped. May come back for the guy from Chew.

Justice League – I’m buying it, but I refuse to enjoy it. Can’t we scam Jeff Parker from Marvel or something?

JLI – Dropped it early. Felt like crappy 90s JLAmerica writing.

So of those titles you mentioned, I’m 12-7.

AS Western
JL Dark
Dial H
Action
Frankenstein
Batman
Flash
World’s Finest
Batman Inc

fingers crossed for Superman

@mharvelous

although being called a booger-eater made me laugh, your post was unnecessary.

TRemendous relaunch, and the idea of quick replacements on creative teams and titles worlks for me, even though I loose some of my favorite toteles like Grifter (but after Edmonson, it was done) and Resurrection Man, who DC knew probably would not have lasted 6 months, but it did. great book.

Thanks to the 50% off bundle offers, I tried the first two issues of every title last year. Some were gone after just one issue: Mr Terrific and Hawk & Dove. Others have been weeded out every month. After a year I’m down to four definite buys and a maybe: Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Justice League Dark (massively improved with #9-on) and Wonder Woman. I love the Flash, especially the art, but the stories have been rather forgettable. It’s got the next arc to convince me to stay.

Some of my favorites are either victim of this pointless reboot or are just awful comics: Superman, Tim Drake, Green Arrow, Teen Titans, the Justice League. To be fair, these books were awful before the reboot as well. Now they’re awful without any sense of history. I’ve found substitutes for most of these:

Legends of the Dark Knight is better than any of the New 52 Batbooks (even BatInc!) and no stupid rebooted continuity to deal with. (We even had Tim Drake as Robin in an issue that Nicola Scott drew.) Plus, we get a new issue every week by some great creators.

Brian Q Miller is nailing Smallville every week with a Superman that is actually fun. His Superman actually seems to enjoy being Superman. His Barbara Gordon is awesome as well.

Young Justice cartoon is more than enough for my Titans/JLA fix. Till it returns, I’ve got the Timmverse JL shows on DVD. I have no idea how Warner Bros Animation can keep making DC cartoons so much better than the actual comics and no one at DC seems to care enough to want to replicate that success. Just steal the entire Young Justice concept and wash away the Lobdell taint off of the Titans/Superboy corner of the DCU already! If it’s okay to retcon Tim Drake a year into the reboot, do that for the Titans cast. No one will deluge Didio with protest waffles if Starfire stops acting like an amnesiac alien Snooki and actually remembers being a Titan.

I’m hoping that Arrow will be good enough this fall to soften the blow of the dreadful Green Steve Jobs Arrow, which actually managed to get worse with each creative reshuffle.

Update:

The Batwing #0 was was excellent.

All Batwing fans should read it. Really, all fans of good comics should read it, but those who’ve been with Batwing from issue #1 will certainly get the most joy from it.

This character is just so damn interesting. Very fulfilling to experience David’s past and see his ‘street level’ crime fighting pre-Batman’s gift.

Personally, I would buy the Sh*t out of a Before-He-Was-Batwing series written by Winick that follows David’s story from freed child soldier to masked crime fighter on the streets of Tinasha. There just isn’t anything on the comic market that interesting. We get glimpsed of it here, and it begs for more coverage.

Winick knows how to write that part of Batwing’s story.

Seriously, this was the best 0 issue I’ve read so far (better than Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Earth 2).

(fingers crossed) I hope whoever replaces Winick explores that pre-armor era or at least uses the same tone. Good stuff.

After 12 months, I’m still reading All-Star Western, Animal Man, Aquaman, Batman, Batman & Robin, Batwoman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, I Vampire, Justice League, Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman, and World’s Finest. I’m wildly enthusiastic about 10 of them from concept to writing to art. There are two where my interest drops off with fill-in artists (Batwoman and Flash). I have mixed feelings about Wonder Woman. I get sucked into the stories and love the audacity of the new approach, but then I pick apart the illogic of the stories. I continue to follow Justice League mostly out of curiosity and the Shazam back up.

I sampled 38 of the original New 52 as well as 4 of the next 6 (meaning I bought at least one issue, often several). So, I guess that means I’ve dropped 28! Whoa!

There are two caveats though:

1. I only just decided to drop Batman Inc., Earth 2 and Justice League Dark. The actual not-buying-of-the-next-issue part hasn’t happened yet, so I could still change my mind.

2. There are four books that I dropped half way through the year and have almost decided that I should go back and pick up where I left off, specifically Action Comics, Birds of Prey, Frankenstein and Supergirl. (I’ve had the same thought fleeting about Batgirl, DCU Presents and Nightwing.)

Brian from Canada

September 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I’ve read all of the 52 from the start, buying those issues I really liked — with a stronger lean to trades (which my LCS keep shrink wrapped so you can’t look at before buying, hence the issue reading in store).

Action Comics started strong for me but fizzled, especially with the Superman of an alternate Earth. Morrison does not have a trajectory on this book and I don’t feel it’s gotten any traction as a result.

Superman, by contrast, has some good ideas of where to go and has a classic feel to it, but feels like it’s chomping against restraints over what it can and cannot do. It’s weak because of that.

Supergirl I totally agree with.

Superboy was strong UNTIL the crossover event. Then it failed from lack of direction, just as Teen Titans did. Yes, Harvest makes for a strong potential villain, but there’s nothing else there to rely on. It’s… flat.

Lobdell was stronger on Red Hood & The Outlaws, a book that improved once Jason stopped being the lead. The latest story is about Starfire, with Arsenal as the second, and it’s got more strength. Not perfect, but a good read.

Batman’s “Year Of The Owls” story was thoroughly enjoyable. A strong recommendation for that.

Not so strong a recommendation for The Dark Knight and Detective Comics, although both still adhere to a strong hero-villain battle of wills, particularly with the Scarecrow story of Detective.

But the two Bat books I dislike the most are Batman & Robin and Batman Incorporated. The latter doesn’t have an identity on its own, it fits right in with the former — and that book should either just be Robin or merged into another Batfamily-style book… especially since Nightwing is in the Batbooks just as regularly.

Nightwing had a strong start but flatlined, despite having a decent hero-villain storyline. There’s something missing in the writing.

Batwing had a good start, and I liked the concept behind the second story. The problem is Africa. We don’t have enough sense of David and the country, so it becomes window dressing. I feel we need to care about David and Matu a bit more for the story to have real emotion.

Batgirl and Catwoman are both excellent: story potential is being mapped out, the story itself is tight, and the characters are presented with multiple facets. Excellent.

Batwoman, not so excellent. The broken timeline of the second arc, combined with so many character points, weakens it. The art is still strong, and hopefully this Wonder Woman arc will be stronger.

Birds Of Prey is a Batbook as well, technically, but I feel it’s weakened by the team aspect over at least one character we’re to care for. There’s no sense of comraderie either, and that’s needed.

Justice League is missing it too. In spades. There’s no sense of team, no sense of unity… it’s characters working it out. Maybe this is just their early days, but I feel there’s no real connection other than rules. The Shazam! backup is more entertaining (and I can certainly see the whole anti-bully thread in the character) but it’s not enough to justify the expense.

Justice League International was a much stronger team. It felt like the team had momentum too, and could really be a good underpinning of the DCU. So disappointed by the end.

Green Lantern though? No. Absolutely not. The only Lantern book I like is GL Corps, and mostly because that book treats the Lanterns as a unit not as a series of individual heroes acting on their own the entire time.

Aquaman may be violent, but what’s working with it is that it’s teasing out the payoff with little points between. It’s not just “The Others,” it’s the Aquaman/Manta relationship that’s slowly being unravelled as well.

All-Star Western is my favourite book. I loved the original Hex because it was classic western, and this is even better in its connection to the Batworld without losing its focus. And the backups are damn worth it too: we get a sense of a bigger DC Western Universe without it hampering the top quality of the opener. Kudos, DC.

Demon Knights I find slipping. The stories seem a bit decompressed and I feel we’re losing the central focus of the series in a single character or two. Who is the lead here? Why do we care?

And I totally agree about DCU Presents. The Kid Flash was weak filler for a 2-issue arc that got pulled from its main book into this release. Make it more character-based, and you’ve got a winner.

Finally, since the other books are being held for next time, I do want to say that I do happen to find Legion Of Super-Heroes and Legion Lost have now both got their teeth in. The traitor storyline from LSH was high adventure and drama with the sense of Legion scope, while Lost’s recent story begins plumbing the whole mystery of the team and their dynamics. The payoff is longer term than some of the other books we’ve seen so far.

i agree with most of this article. with the 0 issues coming out and arcs wrapping up, im using it as a point to revaluate some of the books ive been reading and maybe change a few up for something entirely different. Catwoman and Batman are mainstays, just as the yours includes detective. but right now Aquaman and Flash are titles im on the fence with. like others have said, The Flash looks pretty and i like the lead but i just find it not all that engaging, the recent rogues arc was good but im quite indifferent to the rest of the run, so after issue 0 im looking for a new book.
Aquamans first arc was fantastic, the new monsters, the mystery, Mera shopping for dog food – all great reads, but the current arc has dragged on, i really dont care for the Outsiders at all, and am honestly getting bored with each cover promising revelations etc and yet we get nothing. after 0 i guess i may be looking to replace this book too.

i hear good things about Supergirl and All Star Western so i may add them to my pull list which so far consists of Catwoman, Batman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman, JL Dark, Aquaman, Flash (soon to be replaced) and Wonder Woman

Since everyone else is giving their lists of what they are still reading I thought I’d throw mine in.

Earth 2, Flash, Animal Man, All Star Western, Swamp Thing, Worlds Finest, Captain Atom, Resurrection Man, Supergirl, Justice League Dark

Then I went and got an iPad and ended up adding a few more books: catwoman, blue beetle, nightwing, wonder woman, I, Vampire. I’ve also purchased a couple firestorm and hawkman. Both I want to like, both I struggle with.

I’m likely to be adding Legion of Superheroes as I spent the last week trying to get my head around the recent history of the Legion as the New 52 number one was an awful jumping on point.

Despite its poor sales, I have really enjoyed Captain Atom. Mainly for the existential themes. And issue 12 had a moment that I plan to ask Mr Krul about at some point.

The only DC titles I still have on my pull list at this point are:
Supergirl (probably my favorite of the new 52)
Batgirl (it’s decent, but I’d trade it in a heartbeat for pre-52 Stephanie Batgirl and SImone’s Birds of Prey run)
Batwoman (very much on the fence with this one.. love the art (when it’s Williams’ turn), but the storytelling is nonsensical to me)
Teen Titans (I like Brett Booth’s art, and the stories have been ok, although I really, really wish Lobdell hadn’t brought Superboy into the cast, as I cannot stand him)
Wonder Woman (Interesting series and entertaining enough, but really doesn’t seem like Wonder Woman to me)

Titles I tried at least one issue of and dropped:
Batman
Birds of Prey
Catwoman
Detective
Justice League
Justice League International
Justice League Dark
Legion Lost
World’s Finest

So, if I go ahead and drop Batwoman and Wonder Woman like I expect I will, I’ll have stuck with 3 of the 13 titles I tried. Probably not the #s DC was hoping for.

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