Week Three: September 21st, 2011

Wonder Woman #1 (BUY)

Written by: Brian Azzarello, Art by: Cliff Chiang

Synopsis:

“The Gods walk among us. To them, our lives are playthings. Only one woman would dare to protect humanity from the wrath of such strange and powerful forces. But is she one of us – or one of them?”

Three things, in my opinion, make this book immediately worthy of must buy status: First, it’s written by Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Flashpoint – Batman: Knights of Vengeance). Second, the art, by Cliff Chiang (Human Target), looks exquisitely weird. And third, it’s a horror comic book – starring Wonder Woman.

Frankly, this is the first time I’ve been interested in the character since Greg Rucka left her book back in 2005.

Captain Atom #1 (DO NOT BUY)

Written by: J.T. Krul, Art by: Freddie Williams II

Synopsis:

“Charged by nuclear energy, possessing vast molecular powers, Captain Atom has the potential to be a literal god among men – a hero without limits. But the question is: Will he lose himself in the process? Don’t miss the start of a legend from writer J.T. Krul (GREEN ARROW, TEEN TITANS) and artist Freddie Williams II (JSA ALL-STARS)!”

Why will I be skipping this? See: Green Arrow, J.T. Krul, and dead cat hallucinations.

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DC Universe Presents #1 (EH)

Written by: Paul Jenkins, Art by: Bernard Chang

Synopsis:

“It’s the start of a new series spotlighting some of the DC Universes’s most exciting super heroes! First up is Deadman, straight from the pages of BRIGHTEST DAY, in a five-issue epic where the body-hopping hero meets his match in a new foe who wants to make sure the souls that Deadman helps out go straight to Hell!” 

Paul Jenkins is a solid writer. Bernard Chang is a solid artist. And Deadman is – well, he’s pretty cool, too, I guess. I just don’t know if he’s cool enough to support his own book without a really all-star writer to support him. I’m interested in seeing where this series goes once other DC characters become the focus, but I’m not nearly as interested in issue number one.

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Supergirl #1 (DO NOT BUY)

Written by: Michael Green and Mike Johnson, Art by: Mahmud Asrar

Synopsis:

“Meet Supergirl. She’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman – and none of his affection for the people of Earth. So don’t piss her off!” 

Sorry, but I’m totally uninterested in the, like, twelfth version of Supergirl as a character. Or, if not as a character, then as a character with her own comic book that costs $2.99 or more.

I followed Bryan Wood’s excellent Supergirl pre-reboot run because I’m a fan of Bryan Wood, which is why it pained the hell out of me to hear that DC didn’t want him post-reboot. They rejected his pitch – he has since moved onto Marvel and Wolverine – and gave the book to Michael Green and Mike Johnson, a couple of obscure writers who wrote some obscure Batman/Superman comics.

Admittedly, I’ve never read anything they’ve authored, so they could very well be the next James Joyce and William Faulkner, for all I know. Nevertheless, this book’s a DO NOT BUY until I hear otherwise. So long, Bryan Wood – we hardly knew ye.

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Batman #1 (BUY) 

Written by: Scott Snyder, Art by: Greg Capullo and Jonathon Glapion

Synopsis:

“Be here for the start of a new era for The Dark Knight from writer Scott Snyder (AMERICAN VAMPIRE, BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and artist Greg Capullo (Spawn)! A series of brutal killings hints at an ancient conspiracy, and Batman learns that Gotham City is deadlier than he knew.”

Everything about this book screams BUY to me. Scott Snyder is hot off his critically-acclaimed and all-around excellent run on Detective Comics, and Greg Capullo’s art looks better than ever – kinetic, energetic, and fun, with a pinch of Batman: The Animated Series aesthetic thrown in for good measure.

Basically, this book looks like one of the more exciting titles of the entire reboot.

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Nightwing #1 (BUY)

Written by: Kyle Higgins, Art by: Eddy Barrows and JP Mayer

Synopsis:

“Dick Grayson flies high once more as Nightwing in a new series from hot new writer Kyle Higgins (BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM)! And as he embraces his destiny, Haley’s Circus, the big top where Dick once performed, returns to Gotham City – bringing with it murder, mystery and superhuman evil. Nightwing must confront his past, among former friends and enemies from his circus days, while uncovering a much greater evil!”

Just in terms of art, this book looks downright excellent. I’m less sold on the writer, Kyle Higgins, who has written very few comic books – the best of which was co-written by Scott Snyder.

Furthermore, why is Nightwing being portrayed as Batman Jr.? Why is he all edgy and dark and angry-looking? Grant Morrison nailed the character last year in his sixteen-issue run on Batman and Robin, where he posited that Dick Grayson is interesting precisely because he’s not like Bruce Wayne. Dick is friendly! He’s personable! He’s charming and funny and kind! He’s the guy you want to hang out with, not the guy who scares the living daylights out of you just by being.

Reservations aside, the synopsis – murder! mystery! the supernatural! et cetera! – sounds enticing enough. Oh, what the heck! I suppose I’m willing to give this thing a chance come the 21st.

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Catwoman #1 (EH)

Written by: Judd Winick, Art by: Guillem March

Synopsis:

“Meet Catwoman. She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is – she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good. Find out more about what makes Catwoman tick in this new series from writer Judd Winick (BATMAN: UNDER THE HOOD) and artist Guillem March (GOTHAM CITY SIRENS)!”

This book seems less interested in telling awesome stories than it is in making Catwoman look sexy. And hey! There’s Judd Winick again! Trying to make Catwoman look all sexy!

Listen, I’m all in favor of Catwoman returning to her status as a not evil villainess (which basically means she has a conscience, just not when it comes to stealing things from rich people). It certainly suits her better than her last two roles as a reluctant anti-hero and an absent mother.

Alas, this book feels more firmly situated in the sexploitation genre than any other book in The New 52. I suppose that could be a proper selling point for a large swath of fans, but it doesn’t do much to remove the stigma that superhero comic books cater to infantile adolescent man-boys.

Sexploitation or no, Guillem March is doing a fine job on the art. I’m happy to see that his quality work on Gotham City Sirens – which also featured Catwoman – is garnering him more work at DC.

 Week 3 Part 2…

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