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DCnU Step 2

Posted onOctober 25, 2011 by     Leave a comment

The next batch of #1s turned up, so now it really is time to see what this DC new Universe is like. With mild trepidation, I dived in…


Justice League Dark #1

Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin

A set-up and origin issue of sorts. The Enchantress is causing problems, the nature of which are unclear but bad enough that the Justice League can’t sort them out. And so the first hint of an idea of “Justice League Dark” is born via Batman and Zatanna and Madame Xanadu and Shade.

This is all portents and preamble but it’s rather well done for all that and Miligan is the right guy to understand these characters and make them gel (hopefully better, however, than the Flashpoint mini-series did). If this becomes a Shade comic, I may be out but I like the other characters, the writing and the art enough that this is a keeper for now.

The art, point of fact, was quite a suprise and I preferred it to the Ryan Sook cover, which is something of an oddity with comics these days.



Superman #1


George Pérez and Jesus Merino

I have no problem with the change of status quo for Superman (Lois Lane has a boyfriend, the curiously named “Jonathan Carroll”, and the Daily Planet has been taken over by a Murdoch-like Morgan Edge) but this just left me dry. The narration is in the form of a newspaper article and not great writing. Meanwhile Superman fights a fire creature that might have some Kryptonian roots. Clark Kent gets the scoop but Lois Lane is orchestrating the TV cameras.

This is the least enjoyable of the #1s thus far. There’s just no real heart or intrigue. I simply don’t care what happens next. It’s too by the numbers (making sure to drop key, classic phrases, to boot). The art doesn’t help – a comment about the cameras being able to see the face of the fire creature is a confused reference when no such thing is apparent. First casualty of the launch so far, and I didn’t expect it to be this!


Resurrection Man #1

Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino

I was late to the original run but loved it and was hoping DnA might bring the same quality back (although was worried after their lacklustre Heroes for Hire, even if theire Marvel cosmic work has been excellent). This appears to be more Vertigo in its leanings with hints of Heaven and Hell trying to capture Mitch Shelley’s soul.

To get up to speed, we have a “birth” complete with requisite new power, heroics, grisly death and rebirth. It establishes the concept neatly for anyone new to this. It’s a bit thin – especially in the characterisation of Mitch Shelle, so fary – but there’s enough here to come back for more.

Mostly because I like the character. The villains, I am so far less convinced about. This one’s on a very short leash…


Mister Terrific #1

Eric Wallace and Alberto Ponticelli

This almost feels as though it’s outside the main DC universe, which is no bad thing. We get an origin to give character backdrop and an indication of just how smart Mr Terrific is (with a little too much emphasis on him being the third smartest person, although I think that will pan out narratively). Beginnings of support characters, too, which is always a better thing for solo comics than most writers seem to remember. There is also a place for Karen Starr which will no doubt infuriate Powergirl fans.

This is trying to be Sci-Fi but it’ll have to be careful as some of the science sounds on the edge of unconvincing – as if the writer doesn’t really understand it. Someone like Warren Ellis would have convinced by being further out there than this.

Still, this is enjoyable enough and I’m sticking around for some more. My only real confusion is: how is it not blindingly obvious that Michael Holt is Mr Terrific?


Birds of Prey #1

Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz

I was a latecomer to Gail Simone’s BOP but loved it, so this has a high watermark to lap up to. So far, it looks as though it might be well safe.

We start in the middle and get some backdrop as we go – Black Canary is wanted for a murder she (obviously!) didn’t commit but in the meantime is still intent on superheroics. Starling is her partner and the BOP roster is clearly about to be expanded.

Art is crisp and enjoyable, the characters similarly. A reporter has been following Dinah, not without her being aware of him, and we open with the reporter in trouble from the mysterious foes that hired him. Luckily, our heroes were aware of this and are themselves there to observe and, as it transpires, save the day…sort of.

Better female characters than Red Hood, methinks. This one stays for a few more at least.


Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E #1

Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli

Coming out of the less-than-stellar Flashpoint mini, I wasn’t overly hopeful about this but Lemire seems to be effortlessly creating the sort of dark but adventurous mood that he did so well in Superboy.

Frankenstein, as well as being a monster, is something of a man-out-of-time; all honour, seriousness and anachronistic language. It works well – considerably better than a wisecracking version might have been, for instance. Hopefully, this series will flesh out SHADE a bit (Father Time, the head, as a young girl is already a winner for me).

It’s bound to get compared to BPRD, the female Creature Commando looking so like Abe Sapien already having been noted (but it’s only because both are meant to look like the creature from the Black Lagoon, really). I think Lemire can handle that – and the whole “agent of” premise gives lots of varying story opportunities without having to build up any mega-arc. I hope it pans out that way. Keeper probably, although I’m sorry to see an upcoming crossover with OMAC, which I’m not interested in. Cross pollination will not draw me in; rather the opposite.



So far, the relaunch is considerably more hit than miss. The next 2-3 issues will likely show how permanent or not that is. I’m yet to read Action, Justice League and Batman because I figure I’m in safe hands there but I seem to be tending mostly towards the “lesser” characters. Fear of events, no doubt.

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