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DCnU Thus Far…

Posted onFebruary 21, 2012 by     Leave a comment

Good comics get shifted to the back of the pile and read late; in this case these were presumed good comics for the most part and so it’s taken time to catch up…

Justice League #1-#5

Disappointing would be the overall conclusion for me. It’s not bad, per se, but my expectations were high. Characterisation is a little too forced and extreme to underline the differences in the characters (Green Lantern in particular) so that, seemingly, the comic can get on with the action sequences. All illsutrated quite nicely if you’re a fan of Jim Lee (I’m not, particularly, and find his style to have become very dated, very quickly).

The plot is pretty thin, giving just enough reason to move on to meet the next Justice League future member and fight them. And because it is almost entirely fight sequences with Bendis-esque blobs of dialogue to “entertain”, it’s not a very immersive experience. There is no real foreboding or underlying threat to Darkseid amongst all battles and he looks terrible. Worst incarnation I’ve seen thus far.

And one aspect I’m uncomfortable about is the killing. The bad guys might be Darkseid’s minions, but parademons are still alive, right? And yet dozens are torn apart by Aquaman’s sharks, whilst Wonder Woman scythes through them without thought or care; even Superman takes a head off. This is not the Justice League. Even if parademons are constructs, unless I missed it, there doesn’t seem to be an indication of our heroes being aware of that.

I’m probably painting too negative a picture, since I’m not dropping it, but I compare this to the Grant Morrison Justice League stories back when I was starting comics again after a hiatus and the thrill I had with those issues has barely even its shadow captured here. There are good elements: the first meeting of Batman and Superman is played nicely and I do have to keep remembering that this is pre-Justice League. I bring too many of my own bigotries and presumptions with a backlog of decades of reading!


Action Comics #1-#5

The only real problem I have with this is that I don’t really like Rags’ art; he seems to make everyone just a little too rubbery. It’s not bad, and better than many, but I would have loved Simonson or someone on this.

The story, though, is fine. It’s not up there with All Star Superman but it’s a kinetic, vibrant, even dangerous re-envisioning of Superman. He seems young, boyish even. It’s been a long time since he seemed that. His liberal leanings mean that he is back o the idea of being a righter-of-wrongs and a symbol of justice, rather than any tugging of kiss curl to the Government. I like that vigilante aspect; government might mistrust him but the people who vote for them won’t. It’s light on politics but this is where I would prefer Superman to be; ever since Superman-as-lackey in the Dark Knight there’s been too much of a tendency to portray him as someone who speaks to the President instead of someone who speaks to the people.

Where the book has suffered, I think, is either slow Morrison, slow Rags or editorial; it seems fairly clear that planned story has needed to be delayed and that does remove momentum – damaging for a book that is all about momentum.

Nevertheless, great fun and I hope it stays at its temporally-challenged position in the DCnU for a while. There is lots of potential here.


Batman #1-#5

With expectations measured against delivery, this is the stand out book of the DCnU for me. Scott Snyder has seamlessly continued into the DCnU, switching from Detective to Batman. Capullo’s art is lovely, detailed and dark, and fits the tone of the book perfectly. There’s lots of text here, but it’s not superfluous; it’s thoughtful and thought out. There’s detection and action – also a good balance of Bruce Wayne to boot.

Gotham itself plays a large role, unveiling historical secrets and the Wayne family history with Gotham is further revealed. I do feel that the Wayne history is being a little overused, coming on the tail end of so much from Morisson, but it’s a small quibble.

My only real quibble, in fact, is that by issue #8 there will be a large crossover to do with the Court of Owls affecting all the bat titles and Birds of Prey. Not happy about that at all.


Animal Man & Swamp Thing

I’m battling, I fear, with nostalgia here. I keep forlornly waiting for Morisson’s Animal Man and Moore’s Swamp Thing. It’s not that these aren’t perfectly fine comics but the whole Green/Red/Rot thing feels like something I’ve been through before. Swamp Thing is just taking too long to move the story: slow does not automatically equal horror! And considering how much I’m enjoying Snyder on Batman, it’s odd to find myself non-plussed here.

Animal Man has something of the same pace problem but my main issue here is that it just doesn’t feel like “Animal” Man. There’s no real reason to have used a superhero in this story, the way most of it is panning out – Buddy Baker, yes, but Animal Man, no. And I signed up for Animal Man.

My detectors start to beep whenever I see hyperbole like “will affect the DC Universe forever” so I think I will have to turn off the battery to my nostalgia-pack and drop both of these.




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