30 Days of Comics, Day 30: Week Four Wrap Up
Well, this is our final wrap up; below are the last comics I didn’t review from Week Four of the DC Relaunch.
Batman: The Dark Knight
All right, I know I’m just repeating myself from last week’s Batman #1 review, but I mean it this time: enough with the goddamned Batman books! Seriously, three ongoing Batman series is more than enough and four is clearly too many. I’m also singling this one out for being the least interesting of the four. That being said, nothing from this book is memorable.
All that happens is that Batman monologues for several pages and Bruce Wayne flirts with an Indian socialite at some event. Towards the end we get a breakout at Arkham Asylum which Batman seems to immediately connect to Two Face despite him not being mentioned anywhere previously in the comic. I’m seriously scratching my head over this whole breakout because all of the escaping villains look crazed as if they were extras in 28 Days Later; somehow this feels like a tie in to the Arkham Asylum video game and nothing really makes sense or follows a cohesive narrative. Again, if you want to follow one Batman book, just stick with either Batman or Detective Comics; this one is just confusing, unnecessary and just not interesting.
Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of the Flash; I have nothing against the character, I just never really got into him. This book didn’t really help change those impressions either; it’s not bad, it just doesn’t really stick out for me. It’s a good starting point for new readers as we get a great introduction to Barry Allen and the supporting cast. We get to see the Flash in action as both a superhero and a forensic scientist. The artwork is nice and the writing is pretty good. While I wasn’t particularly enamored with it, I give this one a good recommendation for new readers and Flash fans alike.
Green Lantern: New Guardians
I feel as if I’m repeating myself yet again when I say that this will be a little confusing if you’re not already familiar with some of the newer concepts of the Green Lantern mythos; specifically, the concept of the other Lanterns in the emotional light spectrum. This book is essentially going to chronicle Kyle Rayner as he leads a team composed of each type of lantern from the emotional spectrum: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.
This concept is set up pretty well and we do get a new origin story for Kyle Rayner; this makes the whole set up a little more palatable for new readers. Much of this can be figured out pretty easily and will hopefully be better explained as the series goes on. Overall, this one is pretty good, but not much really happens in this first issue. I give it a fair recommendation and it is one of the more accessible Green Lantern titles. Give the first issue a look and see what you think.
Justice League Dark
I was actually quite disappointed in this one because I was actually looking forward to it; I really like the concept and the characters being brought together for it. This is essentially the Justice League for magical and paranormal heroes. Madame Xanadu has foreseen a great calamity that seems to be connected to the villain known as Enchantress. After the combined efforts of Superman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg fail to defeat Enchantress, Xanadu recruits a team of mystic experts to fight her and prevent the end of reality as we know it. We get to see the coming together of Shade, Deadman, John Constantine and Zatanna in this first issue, which is pretty awesome.
Now, while I do love the concept, the execution isn’t the greatest in this first issue. Everything is overly vague and cryptic and not a whole lot actually happens; we haven’t even seen the team come together by the end of the book. The fact that the characters aren’t given much backstory will also make this one confusing for new readers. As an aside, I also have to say that I hate Zatanna’s new costume. I have no problem with her wearing pants instead of fishnets, but nothing about her costume communicates the fact that she’s a stage magician. You know, the entire point of her character? I’m going to follow this one because I love these characters and want to see where they go with it, but it doesn’t get a strong recommendation.
The Savage Hawkman
Another terrible choice for new readers and something that could be called a missed opportunity. Hawkman is already a pretty obscure character for many people and this book doesn’t really make any effort to explain who he is or where his powers come from. All we learn is that Carter Hall has decided to stop being Hawkman so he tries to burn the Hawkman wings and armor. The armor is made of the Nth Metal, which grants Hawkman his powers, and for this reason it isn’t destroyed. Rather, it burrows into Carter’s skin and fuses with his body. It seems that now Carter can transform into Hawkman when he needs to. This is an interesting development for the character but the book is still confusing as hell; we have no idea what brought Hank to this point and why he would want to destroy Hawkman. We get a “new” villain who is kind of a Venom rip-off and he fights Hawkman towards the end. Overall, the book is well-written and gorgeously drawn; you might want to check it out but I can’t really recommend it for new readers and nothing about it made me really want to follow it.
This book gives us the Superman that Action Comics #1 seems to be leading up to. Superman is no longer an inexperienced social crusader and has become Metropolis’ champion. We get an interesting development in this book as the Daily Planet is bought by a large media conglomerate. Clark Kent has a lot of issues with the company’s new direction and this plays out well between him and Lois, who are inexplicably not married at this point. I won’t fault DC for breaking up Lois and Clark as part of the relaunch, but I don’t see it serving much of a purpose; it’s not like they won’t wind up together, so their developing relationship doesn’t really add tension. This book boils down to your standard fare as Superman fights some alien made out of fire. If you already like Superman, you’ll probably like this one. I didn’t care for it myself, but I wouldn’t discourage new readers from checking it out; if you’ve been alive in the last 80 years, you probably know enough about Superman to follow this.
This is a book I was looking forward to seeing if only to get some answers about what the hell happened to Starfire between leaving the Titans and joining the Outlaws. We don’t get any answers as this seems to be a completely new team that is being formed by Tim Drake, former Robin and current Red Robin. This book seems to take place pretty far along in the new DCU timeline and suggests that superpowered teenagers are cropping up in large numbers around the world. These teenagers are also being inexplicably targeted by N.O.W.H.E.R.E, the evil secret organization we saw in Superboy #1. Robin decides to recruit the newly empowered teens and teach them to work as a team so that they can take down N.O.W.H.E.R.E.
Overall I don’t really have anything bad to say about this book. The art is all right and the writing is pretty strong. If you’re not familiar with the Teen Titans then this might be a good book for you to pick up. If you were hoping to see some of the more iconic Titans like Raven or Beast Boy, you might be a little disappointed. If I do have one gripe, it’s that the cover features an entire swath of characters we don’t even see yet. We only meet Red Robin, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl in this book so it feels like kind of a gyp to see a bunch of characters that aren’t even part of the team yet. Regardless, this is a pretty good book and it gets a strong recommendation for new readers.
Well, it’s been four weeks and along the way I read some good comics, bad comics, mediocre comics and even a few fantastic comics. This was an interesting journey for me and I will say that while it wasn’t everything I hoped for, I found some great books to follow and that’s all that really matters. Later this week I’ll put up some final thoughts on the whole relaunch but until then it’s Wednesday so I’ve got some new comics to read. Will you be reading anything good this week?